Dog Profiles

Meet some of the special canines that are at the heart of the Yukon Quest.

This ongoing project showcases some of the Yukon Quest's most colourful and charismatic canines. The exciting new series stems from many requests from Yukon Quest and sled dog fans everywhere, as well as the efforts of volunteers and our in-house writer Emilie Joslin.

Currently listed is a sampling of Yukon Quest star athletes, up-and-coming star puppies, and race veterans.  More profiles to come.

Dog Profiles

Cyder

“Cyder man, Cyder man, if he can¹t do it, no one can...”

This is what musher Colleen Robertia often says about Cyder, who, with his blue eyes and orange coat, is one of the most beautiful dogs in the kennel. Cyder is more than just a pretty face - he is also one of the toughest dogs in Colleen¹s race team.

Cyder came from another musher who completed the Yukon Quest in 2005, but that year Cyder only made it about a quarter of the way before having to step out of the 1000-mile race. He was given to Colleen a few months later.

Since then, Colleen has been working with Cyder to develop his leadership skills. As a previous team dog, Cyder was initially nervous up front, but his confidence and skills quickly grew in leaps and bounds. Now at seven years old, Cyder is one of Colleen’s most trusted leaders and a main trail-breaker when the powder gets deep. Colleen hopes Cyder will be with her all the way to finish line during this year’s Yukon Quest.

Cyder

Dogmatic

With six races under his belt, Dogmatic is an experienced Yukon Quest Veteran. Running his first race as a yearling, Dogmatic finished his last Yukon Quest with William Kleedehn’s team in 2005.

Since then, the 8-year-old sled dog has settled nicely into life as a retiree. When he isn’t enjoying the good life on the carpet in the family cabin, Dogmatic can be seen keeping his handlers company around the kennel as they perform their daily chores.

Though life as a “carpet dog” can be busy, Dogmatic still finds time for training puppies to pull a sled - and perhaps to run the Yukon Quest as he did many times before.

Fully fluent in English, French and Swiss-German commands, it’s easy to see why Dogmatic makes such an excellent teacher: years of wisdom shine through Dogmatic’s affectionate eyes.

Dogmatic

Häx

Häx, whose name means ‘Witch’ in Swiss-German, is unmistakably a member of Crispin Studer’s ‘Halloween Litter.’

Born on October 31st, 2006, Häx and her littermates share festive names like Spell, Witch, Ghost and Citrouille (‘Pumpkin’ in French).

Intelligent Häx doesn’t need a lot of instruction out on the trails; she pulls hard and listens well. As a part of Crispin’s team for the Jr. Percy de Wolfe in 2008, hard-working Häx helped bring her team to victory. This year, Häx will be part of Crispin’s team in the 2009 YQ300.

Häx

Mickey

Like all of Didier Moggia’s dogs, 3-year-old Mickey just loves to please his musher – almost as much as he loves to pull a sled. Running along the trail, Mickey will look back at Didier for assurance that he’s doing a good job.

Running the Cantwell Classic, Percy de Wolfe, and Yukon Quest last year, energetic and affectionate Mickey has never let Didier down. His powerful stride combined with his excellent intuition make Mickey a high-performance athlete – and a dog to watch out for during the 2009 Yukon Quest.

Mickey

Minnie and Bretzel

At 2-year-olds, Bretzel (right) is already a long-distance racing veteran. She is a strong leader, and raced in the Percy de Wolfe as well as the Yukon Quest last year with musher Didier Moggia.

Bretzel will be returning to run the Quest with Didier this February, along with her good friend Minnie (left).

In fact, Minnie already has her position picked out; whether she’s near the front or closer to the back, Minnie only runs on the right side of the tugline. 3-year-old Minnie has raced in the Cantwell Classic, Percy de Wolfe and 2008 Yukon Quest. Like Bretzel, Minnie deceptively small; both of these lovely ladies are top performers despite their petite frames.

Pretzel and Minnie

Mint

Nickname: “Minty Fresh”.

At three years old, little ‘Minty Fresh’ is just coming into his stride – and everyone at the kennel is talking about it.

Word out in the dog yard used to be that spunky Mint was a big coward. Hiding out in his box until all the other dogs were tied up at a safe distance, Mint avoided conflict like no other – and he was often an easy target as a result.

But all that recently changed when Mint got picked on by his neighbour, the indomitable lead dog Kinvig. On this day, Mint stood his ground, proving to himself and the rest of the kennel that he has what it takes to be a brave, confident dog!

This winter, Mint will apply his newfound courage out on the trail, as he trains with musher Hans Gatt for the 2009 season.

Minty Fresh

Penny

At 35 pounds, Penny may just be one the smallest dog set to run the 2009 Yukon Quest. With her compact frame and slight build, pocket-sized Penny looks more like a Greyhound than a typical Alaskan husky.

But what Penny lacks in size, she makes up for in drive, stamina and strong leadership skills. Penny has finished numerous tough races including multiple Tustumena 200’s and the Copper Basin 300. This year, she will be one of musher Colleen Robertia’s main race leaders in the Yukon Quest.

At four years old, Penny is in her prime, but her small size will still be a challenge in the Yukon Quest. While she does have a very dense undercoat, she will likely have to wear not one, but two coats to keep her warm if temperatures drop to minus 40 or below. In any case, this little lady promises to make an invaluable contribution as a lead dog in Colleen’s Yukon Quest team.

Penny

Rainbow

Loyal Rainbow is a very special dog.

He shares an extraordinary bond with musher Didier Moggia, communicating with him on a unique level all his own. It’s as if Rainbow can instinctively predict what Didier is thinking out on the trails.

Running the Yukon Quest 300 in 2006, Rainbow used his extraordinary intuition to protect the entire team, leading Didier and his dogs to safety through a storm. An outstanding leader and protector, the 8 ½ year-old Siberian Husky uses his years of experience to teach puppies what it really means to be a sled dog.

Rainbow

Spell

Captivating Spell is part of Crispin Studer’s Halloween Litter, born in October 2006. Her energy is contagious; bouncing around the puppy pen, Spell almost seems to enjoy herself more than the little ones!

As a dog who never sits still, Spell requires a lot of food - and her appetite is just as enormous as her spirit.

Spell is also very vocal; she uses grunts and snorts to communicate in a language all her own. As a loyal dog who loves to please her musher, Spell will be a lead dog in Crispin’s YQ300 team this year.

Spell

Squirrel

Squirrel got her name because she was, and still is, totally nuts.

When she was only seven months old, Squirrel seemed to have trouble keeping up with the team when with her previous musher. However, since joining Colleen Robertia’s kennel, Squirrel has really built up her strength and confidence.

Squirrel ran her first race as a yearling with Colleen’s husband Joseph in the Goose Bay 120, and she looked strong right up to the end of the team’s 11th place finish. A month later, Squirrel made Colleen’s team for the Chatanika Challenge 200. Once again, Squirrel was incredibly strong and contributed to the team’s first place finish in the race.

Now two-years-old, Squirrel has proven herself to be a gifted leader. Running this year’s Yukon Quest with Colleen, Squirrel will likely spend most of her time as a team-dog along the trail – but the young dog may still get her chance to lead some portions of the 1000-mile race.

Squirrel

Stork

With his bright blue eyes and piercing gaze, Stork’s appearance certainly reflects his demeanor. Stork is a keen observer.

As a puppy, he preferred to watch the action from the sidelines: Stork’s handlers often found the young dog observing his littermates play from a distance instead of joining in on the activities in the pen.

These days, Stork still enjoys quiet moments with his handlers and other human friends - often getting as close as possible by sitting right on their feet! There’s no doubt this attentive and gentle dog will make a great contribution to Crispin Studer’s 2009 YQ300 team.

Stork

The Puppies

When Didier Moggia’s puppies heard that the Yukon Quest’s Dog Profile Team was coming to their kennel, they literally jumped at the opportunity for an interview.

These little guys were more than happy to show off in front of the camera. Seen here swarming canine biographer Emilie Joslin, the pups took a break from their game of tag to introduce themselves with an earful of kisses and nuzzles.

In between belly scratches and cuddles, all seven puppies demonstrated their strength and agility by affectionately eating Emilie’s hair – and notebook.

(With hopes of running the Yukon Quest one day, most of the puppies are well on their way to becoming athletic Sled Dogs when they grow up. One pup, however, has plans of his own: Strudel, (second from the right), intends to fulfill his dream of becoming a ‘Carpet Dog’ once he is old enough to leave the kennel.)

Puppies!

Tina

Tina’s story is that of a survivor. Born into a large litter of 10, Tina didn’t have much luck for the first few days of her life. She was the smallest pup in the bunch, and despite her mother’s resourceful efforts to keep the little puppy alive and well, Tina’s health went downhill.

But just when it seemed that all hope was lost for little Tina, musher Hans Gatt noticed a spark of life left in the tiny puppy! Using some creative measures to keep Tina warm, Hans was able to nurse the puppy back to health. Miraculously, it was only a matter of days before this strong little sled dog puppy was holding her own.

Almost 5 years later, Tina’s determined spirit remains unbroken. She has finished the Iditarod twice with Hans, and in 2008, Tina ran the Percy DeWolfe with Jamaican musher Newton Marshall. Currently, Tina is preparing to run the 2009 Yukon Quest as one of Newton’s main leaders in the Jamaica Dogsled Team.

Tina

Wyatt

Nickname: “Quiet Wyatt”

Wyatt is the biggest and loudest dog on musher Newton Marshall’s Jamaica Dogsled Team. Exploding out of the starting line, his high-pitch howls of excitement can be heard from miles away!

Wyatt’s enthusiasm for racing cannot be contained; as the team first gets moving, he can’t help but unleash his excess energy on the dog beside him. That’s why Wyatt is lucky to have his patient friend Einstein to run by his side. As next-door neighbours in the dog park, no story of Wyatt would be complete without mention of his quieter partner, Einstein.

Although Wyatt has never been able to finish a 1000-mile race, Newton hopes that with training, powerful Wyatt may be able to pace himself in order to finish the 2009 Yukon Quest. But no matter how many miles he puts in on the trail, there’s no doubt that Wyatt will make an invaluable contribution to this year’s Jamaica Dog Sled Team.

Wyatt