Quito needs no introduction.
Quito is awarded the 2013 Yukon Quest Golden Harness.
But… for anyone new to SP Kennel or the Dog Log here is a quick refresher: Quito is AWESOME. She is a 2 time Golden Harness winner, Yukon Quest Champion lead dog (twice), Iditarod 2nd Place lead dog (three times), numerous times Copper Basin 300 Champion and she is also a really, really cool dog. Quito turned 9 years old this summer and Aliy and Allen had to make a decision: bred the 'Best Sled Dog in the World' or train her up as a mature dog and give her one more chance to win it all again at 9 1/2 years old.
Well, the answer didn't come easily because her breeding cycle wasn't due until August. That would mean that she would have pups in October - missing the entire fist half of the training season and setting her back as far as racing in 2016. Finally, the decision came down to health and age. The older a female becomes, the harder it is for her to whelp and raise a healthy litter of puppies and remain healthy herself in the long run. So, they decided that it would be a crime to NOT have Quito puppies this year.
After that, the hardest thing was finding a suitable mate. Who do you bred to Quito? Allen and Aliy wanted to keep the smaller, 'happy-go-lucky', dedicated attitude in this breeding. There are many, many studs out there to choose from… who would be perfect?
They found: Kosak. He lives at Joar Ulsom's kennel in Willow, Alaska. Both Aliy and Allen have raced against Joar (and Kosak) since 2012. Both musher and dog have been very successful in the Yukon Quest and the Iditarod (Yukon Quest 6th place 2012; Iditarod 7th place 2013, 4th place 2014, 6th place 2015.) Joar raised Kosak and his sister, Sivo, and they have been an important part of his team since he began racing in Alaska. What Aliy and Allen liked the most, was how dedicated these dogs were to their musher. Joar describes Kosak as "honest and passionate, a very enthusiastic dog who is ever loyal to me." Aliy remembers seeing Sivo, a tiny little girl, running in single lead through some of the most challenges trail sections on Iditarod. Both dogs are incredibly tough. It seemed to Aliy and Allen that this family of dogs had a resume that meshed with Quito's.
Kosak's glamour shot; the best 'body shot' but notice his tail still wagging.
But what about their pedigree? Pedigree's aren't everything but it sure would be nice to have some 'icing on the cake'. They got it with Kosak. As it turns out, Kosak's father is ChaCha's brother, Lindy. Not only would the puppies have Quito's genetics, but they would have ChaCha's genetics as well. Quito and Kosak only bred once in mid August. But once was all that was needed!
One week ago Quito whelped seven healthy babies (4 females and 3 males.) Here is a first glimpse:
Needless to say, everyone is very, very excited about this litter. In exchange for breeding Kosak, Joar will get a puppy at 8 weeks of age. It is undetermined yet which pup that will be. This was an agreement made prior to the breeding. This is the "Golden Harness" litter and currently only a few of the little ones have names. We will update you regularly.