SP Kennel is a premier sled dog racing kennel in Two Rivers, Alaska, dedicated to the individual dog through excellent health, nutrition, training and specialized care.

Monday, October 20, 2014

The New Portraits are Posted!

For those of you waiting, the new dog portraits are posted on the Dog Page.
So check them out!

A HUGE thank you to Jeanne and her camera magic!
And of course ~ as we all know ~ SP Kennel wouldn't be the same without Moira's website magic!

Personally, these are my three favorites portraits:

Waylon is always a challenge to photograph and Jeanne sure captured his intensity without "bug eyes" this year. Junior is a strange-looking girl with huge bat ears, but somehow this portrait makes her look almost glamourous (I said almost.) Lester is a shy guy by nature but this portrait seems to bring out his awesomeness!

Saturday, October 18, 2014

Portrait Sneak Peek!

The dog portraits are complete and we are in the process of updating the Dog and Puppy pages with their new glam shots. This will take a few days so watch this space.

In the meantime we thought you would enjoy a sneak peek at some of them.

Jeanne (right, with Ginger) has managed to capture some real personality in the shots due, I believe, to how well she knows our dogs. I personally love Quito's glam shot as it shows her calm intensity along with her pretty face; and check out Pepe - he's ready to show us his stuff this season!

It's hard to pick a favourite of the puppy pics but look at how laid back and relaxed Rodney is in front of the camera.

L-R: Calmly intense Quito; Pepe rearing to go; Rodney relaxes

We are especially excited for you to see the latest pictures of our yearling class. These are the dogs you will notice the most change from their last season's pictures. Take a look at these comparisons from this time last year and see how handsome and grown up these boys are now!

L-R Champ, Commando and Nomex in October 2014

L-R: Champ, Commando and Nomex in October 2013

Of course, with any photoshoot there are always out-takes!

L-R: Beemer and Mismo forgetting how to dog

Thanks again to Jeanne Schnackenberg for sharing her incredible talent with us!

- Moira

Friday, October 17, 2014

Dog Fan Club Draw #1 - Alaska Day

Happy Alaska Day everyone! And thank you to everyone who joined the Dog Fan Club in the last two weeks. We really appreciate your love and enthusiasm for our dogs!

Alaska Day is the anniversary of the formal transfer of the Territory of Alaska from Russia to the United States which occurred at Stika on Friday, October 18, 1867.

To help commemorate this our Dog Fan Club winner will receive these Alaskan goodies (bear claw salad tongs, an Alaska dog leash and Alaska flag) in their packet along with a glossy glam shot of their dog and a Fan Club Winner certificate!

Congratulations to Mary Lynn Roush of Oregon. Mary Lynn is a fan of OLIVIA and she got extra treats and a butt scratch this morning (Olivia, not Mary Lynn)!

Our next draw is on October 31st so look out for a Halloween themed Fan Club draw! The names of everyone who didn't win this time and all new members will be in the draw to win.

Click the button below for instructions on how to join:

Click this button below to take you directly to the Dog Fan Page.

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Portrait Day

Okay, so some folks think that we are a little "over the top" when it comes to our dogs. And I'll have to admit that having a day set aside as "Portrait Day" might just put us in that category. But… every school has a "Picture Day" and everyone loves photos of our dogs. So, we do it anyway.

But it is a lot of work! Most of all, we have to thank Jeanne Schnackenberg. She puts tremendous time and effort into her photography. Taking hundreds of pictures are only the first step. She then spends hours downloading and editing the final product. In just a few days, every SP Kennel dog will have a brand new amazing glamour portrait.

Chena and Jeanne look at portrait options; They compromised on the final selection.

The kennel garage was a fine combination of professional flash equipment, lighting panels, colorful back drops and all the fancy stuff that any portrait studio would have in conjunction with biscuits, "squeaky noise" dog toys (including a dancing Snoopy) and dozens of gloves that are tossed in the air for the desired "ear perk look". The very patient photographer's assistants were Wendy and Spencer.

L-R: Tinder was slightly intimidated by the camera; Nelson shows his "best" side

Monday, October 13, 2014

October Training

Training conditions have been perfect this October. Every SP Kennel dog -- except ChaCha (13 1/2 years), Bullet (12 1/2 years) and Nutmeg (10 1/2 years) -- are in harness on a planned weekly exercise schedule.

We have four manageable training teams right now. These teams are established mostly due to the ease of hooking up. In other words, the dogs in the rear of the yard: Driver, Iron, Amber, Clyde and Schmoe will be in the same team. The dogs in the front of the yard: Dutch, Scout, Boondocks, Lydia and Izzy will be in the same team. So, obviously this time of the year, our dogs are not differentiated into Varsity or JV teams. Experienced dogs, youngsters and "tweeners" are all still training together.

Since every dog -- young and old -- are training together, obviously they have different skills sets and abilities. The September and October SP Kennel exercise schedule is set up so that the least experienced dogs can succeed. This is accomplished by establishing an overall training schedule that very slowly increases in mileage and stays at a relatively slow speed. Not every dog learns at the same rate.

The reason that we do this 'conservative' approach is that we know who are "best dogs" were last season. Quito didn't win the Yukon Quest Golden Harness two years in a row on a fluke. So, she and her championship Yukon Quest teammates, Copper Basin 300 teammates or Iditarod teammates can do an Olympic caliber training regime from now until March. But, we don't know who are "best dogs" are going to be. This is crucial.

There is so much potential in every dog! We don't want any individual to 'slip through the cracks' of training. Training to win races doesn't happen overnight and it doesn't even happen in a year. It takes patience, time and a willingness to give your future "best dogs" a chance to prove themselves.

Friday, October 10, 2014

Iditarod 2014 Summary Movie

This past week Aliy was asked to do several company presentations in and around Alaska. Since folks wanted to know what the trail looked like during the 2014 Iditarod, we compiled video clips from the "Aliy Cam".


Wednesday, October 8, 2014

Wind Back Wednesday: "S" Litter Pupdate

Happy birthday to Schmoe, Scooter, Sissy and Spoog who turned five years old today!

Today's Wind Back Wednesday (to replace Throwback Thursday this week) is from November 2009 which brought us pictures of the latest additions to SP Kennel - the Pepper x Ranger litter dubbed the "S" litter. How cute are they? All four have matured into great, hardworking and talented dogs with Sissy and Schmoe making Aliy's 2014 Iditarod team!

We brought the pups inside for a while this morning and had a grand time with them.

L-R Scooter was active and outgoing, especially enjoying time laying on Allen's chest; Schmoe played hard then crashed for a perfect little puppy nap.

L-R: Sissy has the best mustache in the Kennel... Perhaps in the entire dog universe! (We hope her doggie friends don't tease her about it.); And then there's Spoog... What more can you say than "Too cute!"

All the pups are doing very well and growing like crazy! Pepper is a very good mom, and all the dogs are helping to socialize the pups in the Kennel pack.

Monday, October 6, 2014


At least 7 inches of fresh snow by Monday morning!

Dingle enjoys the snow.(Look at the pups in the background.)

Four happy puppies: Ernie, Five, Ginger and Rodney. Scooby was off chasing his tail!

Saturday, October 4, 2014

Everyone loves a tidy Dog Yard!

The finished product.

A few days later…

Friday, October 3, 2014

Join the Fan Club!

The 2014-15 Dog Fan Club is now open!

Last season we introduced the Dog Fan Club and it was a huge success! We received so much feedback from you about how much you enjoyed showing your support for your favorite dog or dogs. As you may know, we are in the fortunate position that all our SP Kennel dogs will have individual sponsors this season and we have a wait list for this programme. We have always had the policy of "one dog, one sponsor" and that meant that, in previous seasons, many of you could not directly support your favorite dogs. Now you can!

Will you choose Beemer, Kodiak, Schmoe or one of the others?

When you join the Dog Fan Club, your name is displayed on the Dog Fan Club page and every two weeks we make a random draw for a lucky winner to receive a topical prize. Last year we gave away prizes such as a signed CB300 poster, an Iditarod DVD and a Yukon Quest T-shirt!

This year also, due to popular demand, we have included "The Five" puppies in the Dog Fan Club. Their early life struggles and their determination and fighting spirit has earned them a lot of supporters so we have decided to include them.

All proceeds from the Dog Fan Club go directly to the dogs! The winning dog also gets extra treats that they often share with the rest of the yard.

It is not a popularity contest and we don't tell the dogs who has the most fans but, just quietly, our superstar Golden Harness winning leader Quito ended up having TWO fan club cards as she had so many supporters and fans.

Last season Mismo (right) was our first winning dog - who will it be this season?

Show your support for your favorite dog today! The Fan Club is open from October to the end of March. The first random prize draw is Friday, October 17.