The Iditarod Poodles

Iditarod 2017, is underway, and as we populate our website with the approximately 9,000 posts put on Facebook before the site was built in May, 2016, we re-share the ones that were hugely popular; this post was “liked” by 23,944 people in the 24 hours following its posting!  

You think you know Poodles?

In the early 1990s, the famous 1,100-mile Iditarod Trail Sled Dog Race created a rule stipulating that only northern breeds such as Siberian Huskies and Alaskan Malamutes would be henceforth eligible to race. Thank John Suter and his Standard Poodles for the rule change. Musher, John Suter, entered the 1988 competition with Standard Poodles (and some Poodle crosses) as his dogsled team. Suter had brought in experienced sled dogs and mushers to teach the Poodles about “mushing,” and of course thePoodles learned very quickly. Suter’s finish in 1988 was respectable in a race where even finishing is an accomplishment of which to be proud. That first team placed 38th out of 52 starters, and Suter subsequently raced (and finished) the Iditarod with all-Poodle teams in 1989, 1990, and 1991. As for the rule change, race organizers pointed out that some of the Poodles were unable to complete the race due to frozen feet and hair matting issues.

Be sure to visit the post that shows John Suter appearing on the Tonight Show with Johnny Carson. 

Image of Suter and his Poodle team

4 thoughts on “The Iditarod Poodles”

  1. As I understand it, the problem was not frozen feet but rather the collection of hard packed snow under their feet, a problem I often have with my poodles in the winter. The solution was booties. The other issue was under certain weather conditions snow would stick to the poodles’ hair. The solution was to coat their hair with oil. So there was no problem with running poodles, and no problem without a simple solution, except for the traditionalists who were afraid that Suter might eventually win with his poodle team and the embarrassment they might feel should that happen. He kept improving each year, so it is likely he could have won had they not blocked his smart, athletic foo-foo dog team. 🐩

    I love the video of his appearance on the Johnny Carson show, in which he brought his lead dog elegantly groomed and with a bow in her hair. Yes! 🎀🐩❤️😁

    • Thanks for the input, Ethan, it’s really interesting. We’re glad you liked the Johnny Carson clip – we loved it too because it underscored the versatility of this terrific breed.

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