A Brief History of the SIBERIAN HUSKY IN NORWAY


by Rikke Bergendahl

The first  Siberian Husky arrived Norway in 1957, a dog called Pogo brought from Alaska by Gisle Bang. This dog was approved and registered as Siberian Husky in Norway. In 1958, Leonard Seppala gave the wellknown norwegian  explorer and writer Helge Ingstad  a white AKC-registered bitch as a present. Her name was Molinka of Bow-Lake, and she had  two litters with Pogo. The Ingstad family  later imported  Sepp and Sindy from Norvik Kennel in USA. They took the kennel name Brattalid, and is Europes oldest Siberian-kennel. 
During the 60thies and 70.ths came a number of imports to Brattalid kennel, which has based their stock entierly on Anadyr-lineage.
Norway has nice possibilities for wintersport and a lot of people enjoy outdoor life, so the increasing interest for Siberian Husky wasn`t suprising.The Norwegian Siberian Husky Club was formed in 1972. In the beginning,  most people used their Siberians to pull pulkas or nordic-sleds with a skier following, but among the members of the club, the interest in the sport of sled-dogracing  began to form. This sport became very popular and a lot of races took place during the 70ties. More imports arrived, some more influental in breeding than others. Up to  1981 about 50 dogs were imported to Norway. After that, a limited number of dogs has arrived. Norway has like England had strict quarantene-rules ,which has made  it quite expensive to import dogs. Today, there is still 4 months quarantine from countries outside Europe, but since 1994, european dogs can now be taken in with rabiesshots and bloodtests.Norwegian mushers compete abroad and foreigners race here.

The most importent lift of the scandinavian Siberian-world came when the swede Ingvar De Forest, Snowtrail kennel, took a roundtrip to USA and Canada. and bought 11 dogs. (3 Zeros, 3 from Igloo Pak, 1 from Arctic Trail, 4 Anadyrdogs) With him was Karsten Grønås, Vargevass kennel, who bought  2 males.
Some of these imports from 1978 are absolute key dogs in Norwegian and Swedish  Siberian pedigrees today The most important ones are the two Vargevass-imports, Arctic Trails Fang and Yeso Pac`s el Diablo, and  from the swedish owned dogs, the most influental has been Zeros Dargo, Zeros Cider, Zero`s Milky Way, Alaskans Mona of Anadyr, Arctic Trails Amber, Igloo Paks Beaver, Igloo Paks Chena, Igloo Paks Shagtoolik.

There have been some  major debates in the Siberian-world over the years. The first one was about show-dogs versus racing dogs. There were a number of show –line dogs in Scandinavia in the 70ties, but  with the interest of racing growing, they never became very popular. Then the discussion was about nordic racing. The racerules called for quite a large weight to pull in the pulkaraces, and the nordic competitors bred for very  large Siberians in order to be competitive with their dogs. Finally the weights were reduced and more people started with sled-dog racing so the problem died out. 

Finally came a really hot debate  with the arrival of the Zero imports, which really stired up the club. Were they Siberians or not? This debate continued until 1985, when it was opened for racing with all kinds of dogs, purebreeds or not.At the same time there were big discussions about wether to open the races for all dogs or not.   Most Zero-line breeders started with alaskan huskies, and this debate  cooled off. Today  a few  kennels has choosed to have no Zeros in their pedigrees, a few still breed  with mostely Zeroblood, but most dogs in Norway  is a mix of most lines. Influental Zeroimports in Norway was besides the swedish dogs, Zeros Bumper, Sparkey, Gleemer, `Spaceman, Blizzard, Ruh-Hoe and Jeeree. 

The highest numbers of  Siberians born  in Norway was in 1984, when 565 dogs were  registered. Sled-dog racing increasingly popular and it was just before the races were opened. Since then, the number of Siberians  gradually went down and t has today stabilized at approximatly 150 dogs registered  a year.
The last american imports that came was Ash of Markovo, imorted by Karsten Grønås and Ezra of Sepp-Alta imported by Øivind Nord. Ash has been quite influental in Scandinavian breeding, Ezra in less extent. 

The most influental Norwegian Kennel is Vargevass kennel. Karsten Grønås got his first Siberian in 1965 and has stayed with the breed ever since. Beside the american imports, Thalitta of Kolyma also were an influental dog in his early breeding,He has allways had one of Norways largest Siberian kennels and has been a leading racer and has exported a lot of dogs for years. He used to race in open class sprint, but the last years he has switched into Mid-distance racing. 

Other important dogs one find in the norwegian pedigrees were bred by people who raced with Siberians before and now are  (and were) well known  open-racers, like Asbjørn Erdal Aase, Kjetil Hillestad (Speedos kennel) and Roger Legård (Teamsters kennel)
A person who imported a number of dogs which has influented Scandinavian breeding, were Christen R Andersen. (Finnemarkas kennel). He imported  Natomahs Neka Nemik and Lisa,Arctic Trails Graatass, Igloo Paks Daisy  Zeros Sparkey, Gleemer  and Ruh-Hoe. 
Another kennel that has exported a number of dogs and is influental in many recent norwegian kennels are Vargteam  (Ole Dag Løvold)

The interest of racing with pure bred dogs has been very low in Norway since the races were opened. Pepole who was interested in competitive racing went into alaskans and gun-dogs, people interested in recreational mushing choosed pure bred polardogs. Norway has so much nice wilderness areas and a lot of people ownes a Siberian team and enjoys mushing without ever setting foot in a race.  The last few years, the interest of Distance- mushing with Siberians are increasing and new kennels are getting started. In Norway at the moment, the interest of sprintracing with siberians  are almost zero, the only one that do competitive sprint-racing is Torger Slettner.. In Sweden,  there is  a number of competitive sprint racers. 

Another typical Norwegian/Swedish thing is that the interest of showing Siberians are very low. At the Kennel Klub shows there are usually just a handfull of dogs entered, sometimes up to  twenty something. At the Norwegian Siberian Husky Club Show there are usually between 40-60 dogs entered. There is a new interest in show-dogs these days and some imports has arrived  Norway and Sweden. 
The Norwegian Siberian Husky Club has about 230 members and the club arrange one yearly Spesciality-show and one winter-race with both sprint and middle-distance, this year they also put on a 200 km race with 4 participants. The  NSHK-race is the only pure-breed race for Siberians, besides there is arranged a 300 km race Technical Trail for pure bred Polardogs in Norway.
In Sweden they have one yearly Polardogchampionship with sprint and Middledistance for all the polar breeds and one yearly Breedrace, sprint only, for Siberians. The rest of the races are open.

So you see, the situation up here are quite different than in the rest of the world….