Siberian Husky Bloodlines: COLD RIVER

COLD RIVER KENNELS of Beverly Farms, Massachusetts, and North Sandwich, New Hampshire, was the real thing -- an uncontested Seppala Siberian kennel. Run by "The Duchess" Marie Lee Frothingham and her daughter Marie "Millie" Turner, Cold River was an active and prestigious kennel of working Seppalas.

The main body of Cold River stock originated from pure Seppala-strain Siberian sleddogs imported towards the latter part of the 1930s from the Harry R. Wheeler kennel. (The earliest registered stock acquired by Cold River were DOCTOR DAWSON and WOLFE DAWSON from the Oliver Shattuck kennel in Alton, NH, but these dogs do not appear in the usual Cold River Pedigrees. The centrepiece of the deal in which Cold River acquired its Seppala foundation was SAPSUK OF SEPPALA, a leader who had raced the 1934 and 1935 seasons on the Alec Belford team and was a son of TSERKO the Siberia import. A son of KREE VANKA the other import was also obtained, VANKA OF SEPPALA II, called "Cossack," who became another prized Cold River leader. JUNEAU OF SEPPALA, TONGASS OF SEPPALA, SURGUT OF SEPPALA, CHUCHI OF SEPPALA and SKY OF SEPPALA (the latter two were bitches) were also purchased from the Wheeler Seppala Kennels in what must have been a very expensive transaction. There were several other unregistered dogs as well.

The purchase of this impressive body of Seppala stock set Cold River up as a major force in the New England Sled Dog Club for the next twenty years. Cold River forged its own bloodline from the Wheeler foundation, as well as providing an occasional boost to other breeding programmes. SAPSUK, VANKA II, SKY and CHUCHI proved to be a potent genetic force; these were truly fine dogs. SAPSUK and SKY produced a breathtakingly lovely white long-coated male, JEUAHNEE OF COLD RIVER, who in turn sired Bill Shearer's fine and famous leader of the 1950s, FOXSTAND'S SHAMUS.

Millie Turner drove the second-string team; the main Cold River racing team was driven by Don Shaw, a hired professional driver. Cold River stock, noted for its leadership qualities, became a motive force for other New England sleddog racing "names": bitches sired by VANKA OF SEPPALA II out of SKY OF SEPPALA became leaders for Dr. Roland Lombard (HELEN OF COLD RIVER) and William Belletete (DUCHESS OF COLD RIVER) These dogs were well-known and regarded as something special and distinct in the 1940s -- called "Seppala Siberians" to set them apart from the rest, as newspaper clippings of the era prove.

Millie Turner married and moved away, leaving The Duchess to carry on with hired trainers and drivers, the last of whom were Lyle and Peggy Grant, taken on in 1949. In 1956 when the kennel closed, Lyle and Peggy Grant acquired several of the remaining core stock: NINGA OF COLD RIVER and LENA OF COLD RIVER (leaders), ENARA OF COLD RIVER and TONGASS OF COLD RIVER -- a male and three females. The Grants did not last much longer in the dog-driving scene, both suffered training injuries and quit. Peggy Grant soon came under the influence of Lorna Demidoff. She had not liked the piebalds and the pure white dogs produced by the Cold River lineage -- cosmetic selection soon became a strong factor. The Cold River stock was interbred with Seeley strain to produce acceptable-looking show dogs for the Grants' Marlytuk Kennels. Amazingly, that was the end of Cold River as a pure Seppala bloodline; it failed to survive to the present day. Mrs. Demidoff's Monadnock bloodline, as well, took advantage of Cold River stock as an integral part of its foundation, both directly by the use of VALUIKI OF COLD RIVER at stud, and indirectly through William Belletete's IZOK OF GAP MOUNTAIN.

Although Cold River bloodline failed to survive as a pure Seppala line and is found today in Seppala pedigrees mostly through JEUAHNEE OF COLD RIVER's contribution to the Foxstand breeding, it was in its day one of the most influential and prestigious of Seppala bloodlines, on a par with Bill Shearer's Foxstand and the dogs of Keith and Jean Bryar. It is a loss to all of us that the last Cold River stock was wasted on show bloodlines. The fate of Cold River sounds a strong warning that working Seppalas can have a secure future only when completely separated from the world of show dogs.

SAMPLE PEDIGREE -- Jeuahnee of Cold River (Opens in a new window.)
SAMPLE PEDIGREE -- Tongass of Cold River (Opens in a new window.)
SAMPLE PEDIGREE -- Ch. Marlytuk's Noonah (Opens in a new window.) Cold River influence in the Marlytuk bloodline.
SAMPLE PEDIGREE -- Ch. Monadnock's Pando (Opens in a new window.) Cold River influence in the Monadnock bloodline.