“That is not a sled dog,” folks will say when they come in to our yard, pointing at Apache. “What is he?” is inevitably the next question that comes from their mouths. The perplexed look on their faces when they see him secretly makes me giggle.
“Not a sled dog you say? Well, hate to break it to you but Apache IS a sled dog. In fact, he’s one of the best dogs in our yard.”
People always look stunned. “But he has floppy ears.”
“Well dogs don’t run with their ears do they?”
“But he has spots!”
We then talk about what we DO look for in a sled dog because what type of ears they have or the color of their coat doesn’t concern us. Yes we like to make sure our dogs have a nice thick coat to keep them warm through the rough Alaskan winters but what that coat looks like doesn’t matter. Look at any ski shop and you’ll quickly learn: it’s not what the coat looks like on the outside ,but what makes it up that matters. Sled dogs have two coats: a dense heavy undercoat to keep them warm in the winter which they then (hopefully) shed as summer approaches and an outer coat, called guard hairs which help keep the snow wind and ice out.
Well what about the whole floppy-eared thing? Here at Turning Heads Kennel, we run Alaskan Huskies. Basically an Alaskan Husky is just a fancy condensed way of saying “a northern breed mutt that likes to pull.” Sled dogs come in all different colors and sizes. The one in important thing is their build. We look for a nice lean, athletic build. These guys are the marathon runners of the dog world (not the weight-lifters as some mistakenly think.) We want our dogs tall, long-legged, and to some extent big-chested. To that extent Apache fits the bill perfectly.
So meet our newest dog of the week: A P A C H E
Apache is one of those easy to distinguish dogs because of his great work ethic. He is a dog that is truly fun to hook up. As soon as Apache sees that you have a harness in your hand, a big smile rolls across his face and he is lunging to go. After all the grief everyone gave him this summer about not looking the part, it was always fun to hook him up and see people’s attitudes change.
“Wow! I guess he is a sled dog!” They’d say after the run.
Although a very sweet, loving boy with Travis and myself, Apache is timid around folks he doesn’t know and so serves as a good doorbell. We know if someone has pulled in the driveway to come say hello because Apache (and his brothers) who live at the front of the kennel will let us know.
Like all our dogs, Apache has enjoyed time inside our house during the winter. He may be one of the funniest dogs when he comes inside as he enjoys collecting items. After making a bed for himself, Apache roams the house looking for tiny treasures to take back to his nest: A tin can, dad’s sock, a book, two envelopes, a penny, a pen. He never chews on the items, in fact he treats them very gingerly as if he’s afraid of breaking them or hurting them and simply lays them around his bed, looking quite pleased with himself. He’s a truly funny dog with a great disposition!
Position: Lead/Swing Dog
Interesting Fact: Apache enjoys collecting items. His niece Bonnie is his twin and when she gets to play, she always chooses to play with Apache.
Relations in the Kennel:
Siblings: Bud (m), Weiser (m), Zema (f), Guinness (f), Amber (f), Madori (f)
Nephews through BUD: Micah (m), Chumley (m), Big Hass (m)
Newphew through WEISER: Captain (m)
Nieces/Nephew through MADORI: Bonnie (f), Clyde (m)
Grand Nephews through MICAH: Levi (m), Wrangler (m), Carhartt (m)
Total Relations in Kennel: 16
Top photograph courtesy of Albert Lewis.