Webcam: Sled Dog Puppies

a puppy walking near a partly frozen creek
Nov 10, 2016: Now that the pups are bigger, they're exploring the world around them. As part of their training, encountering snow, ice and water while they're young will help them be more comfortable encountering such conditions on the trail.

NPS Photo

Welcome to the home of the Puppycam, an annual webcam that depicts the early lives of sled dog puppies at the Historic Park Kennels at Denali.

The webcam is available each year during the time that we have puppies. This is variable year-to-year, and it depends on:

  1. when our breeding female enters her heat cycle and
  2. whether or not our breeding is successful.

Intact female dogs generally go into heat a couple of times a year. Breeding usually takes place in late winter or spring, but the exact date varies depending on when the chosen breeding female goes into heat. With a successful breeding, the puppy camera might be turned on as early as May or as late as August in a given year. Even when a female is in heat, however, she may not be receptive to the breeding male; and even if the big event occurs, she may not become pregnant.

June Update: This year’s planned litter will hopefully arrive in early August.

We were able to breed Clove and S’more in early June and gestation is 60-65 days once a breeding takes place. Each year we carefully assess our dogs’ performance to choose just the right breeding pair. Clove is a 4 year old female and she and her siblings have all shown great leading skills on the trail in winter. S’more is an impressive 2 year old male who shows early signs of being just as talented in leading as his father, Lucor.

Fingers and paws are crossed for a healthy pregnancy for Clove and an easy delivery if/when the pups arrive. Remember the old adage, “Never count your pups before they whelp.” For the first few weeks of their lives the pups and mom will be busy eating, sleeping and growing inside their house. Once they are about three weeks old and starting to venture outside we will turn on the puppycam for everyone to enjoy their adorable antics sometime in late August. Stay tuned!

And as always, we'll post updates on the pups and the dogs on our blog.

—Jennifer Raffaeli, Kennels Manager

 
Image of sled dog pups in the 1930s
Waiting at a threshold in Savage Camp, 1936

COURTESY CANDY WAGAMAN COLLECTION

Beyond Cute

Mushing is a cultural tradition across Alaska that dates back many thousands of years. It also provides the National Park Service the most effective available means to patrol vast areas of designated Wilderness during the long winter season.

Managers of the historic Denali sled dog kennels take great care in breeding for qualities suitable for the challenges and responsibilities of a Denali sled dog. Physical traits include long legs to break trail through deep snow, compact paws to resist build up of ice between toes, and sturdy coats and puffy tails to keep warm in the depths of sub-arctic winter. Character traits include tenacity, an unbridled love to pull and run as part of a team, and social skills that tolerate attention of many thousands of admirers to visit the kennels each summer.

Last updated: June 26, 2017

Contact the Park

Mailing Address:

PO Box 9
Denali Park, AK 99755

Phone:

(907) 683-9532

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