This week we thought it might be fun to share some of the more unusual looking dogs in our kennel, and while we have several variations of color and pattern, we find none more beautiful than our red dogs. Not everyone likes red dogs though. Red dogs can be extremely tough, as evident by nearly all of ours having finished at least one 1,000-mile race, but these dogs can also be tough-headed too. And, like no two people seem to agree on the merits of a red dog’s performace, red seems to be somewhat of a subjective term too. Butterscotch (pictured above) is a perfect example. We consider this six year old Quest and Iditarod finisher red, but some people call her orange or tangerine, and still a few others just consider her a funky shade of brown. It’s hard to say who is right, especially since we call so many of our dogs “red,” despite that they have subtle variations to their color. Here are a few examples (and only our dogs that are primarily red, we have several, like Hildy, Hank and Zoom, who are partially red). How would you describe them?
The little lady pictured above is Butterscotch’s daughter, Brick. She has a totaly different type of red than her mom. Brick’s color pattern is somewhat reminiscent of a red doberman, or possibly even a red-phase Australian shepherd. Unlike BUtterscotch who is an amazing swing dog, but who won’t take a step in lead, four year old Brick loves lead more than any other position. In fact, if we run her further back in the team, she will pull as far as she can to the outside and actually try to pass the dog in front of her to get to the front. Brick was Joseph’s leader for his 3rd place finish in the 2009 Tustumena 100. She ran out front the whole way.
O.K. this picture above doesn’t do him justice. Cyder is actually much more reddish than this rainy day picture would reveal. Unlike the girls, Cyder has a bit of white mixed in to his oragne and rusty red. Like Brick, Cyder loves to lead and ran out front for several legs in both the 2009 Quest and 2010 Iditarod. Cyder is nine years old, so he is just starting to slow down, but only slightly. We hope this powerhouse can hang in for a few more seasons becuase he is a valued member of any team he is on.
This 13 year old man above still has a lot of fight in him. This is Crazy Horse. We took him in as a retiree four years ago and he’s still going strong. He didn’t race last year, but he trained with the team almost every day, and if we had been in a pinch, I think this guy may have been able to step in despite his advanced age. His only health flaw is he has a bad nose, as evident from this picture. he came this way when we got him, and we never got the full story of if this was from a severe frostbite or severe sunburn (the red dogs can be sun sensative). We took him to the veterinarian on multiple occassions, but despite drugs and salves, his nose has remained the same. Unlike BUtter who has yellow eyes, and Brick who’s eyes seem to change from yellow to green depending on how the light hits them, Crazy Horse is red with Blue eyes, just like Cyder who is a distant nephew. However, in terms of running, Crazy HOrse is more like BUtterscotch in that he loves to run swing, but refuses to lead. Crazy Horse has completed multiple Iditarods, which is why we bred him to Oaky several years ago, the results of which produced this next guy.
Anyone who has ever visited this blog should know this handsome devil. This is (was) Kawlijah, our beautiful boy who died accidentally this past spring. He was a powerhouse who occasionally led, but typically lent his strength to the wheel position where he could help COle muscle the sled around trees and other obstacles. He lacked the contrasting blue eyes of his father, Crazy HOrse, but he had a stunning quality that was all his own. It’s hard not seeing his silly red self jumping and shouting in the yard anymore. He is still deeply missed.
This is another washed-out photo that doesn’t show the true magnificant color of this 14 year old. Bashful is actually quite good looking despite his age related bumps and wrinkles. Unlike some of the other old timers, Bashful has started to really slow down, and sadly, he may not be long for this world. Like his now deceased brother, Doc, Bashful was all power in his heyday and was on Cole’s team in her first 1st place finish in the 2004 Tustumena 100. When he finally passes away we’ll be sad to see him go, and even sadder to hear him go. This guy has a very houndy look and howl, and he often instigates dog-yard chorus sessions while hooking up a team or after a big meal has been fed.