228 – Alaskan Malamute Breeder Pursued a Dream to Run the Iditarod

Legendary Storm Kloud Alaskan Malamute Breeder Nancy Russell Shares Her Story

Nancy Russell, breeder of Storm Kloud Alaskan Malamutes

In 1994 Nancy Russell bred and fielded the only AKC registered Alaskan Malamute team to ever enter and compete in the Iditarod. In part one, today’s talk, she shares the foundation of that journey, her breeding program and some of the incredible stories along the way. In part two next week Russell takes us through the arduous process of actually competing in the greatest endurance race on Earth.

Russell acquired her first Alaskan Malamute in 1964. She became involved in showing dogs, like so many of us, by going to her first dog show at the suggestion of her mentor.

“I got a blue ribbon and a trophy,” Russell said. “(My dog) beat two other dogs. I was hooked.”

Champion Glacier’s Storm Kloud, the foundation of Nancy Russell’s breeding program.

At that show Russell saw what “I still believe is the best Malamute I’ve ever seen.” His name was Bear, Multiple Best In Show, Best In Specialty Show, American/Canadian/Mexican/International Champion Glacier’s Storm Kloud CD ROM  ROM-OB  ROM-WD CAM.

Bear was bred to Russell’s foundation bitch and she also eventually purchased him from his breeder. Inbreeding on Bear laid the foundation that produced the entire 15-dog Iditarod team, 11 of which were show champions.

Russell said she was always fascinated by Alaska, mushing and, the ultimate, the Iditarod. She dreamed of competing with a team of Malamutes in the 1,150-mile race from Anchorage to Nome, Alaska.

“To me this would be a real test of the Alaskan Malamute’s ability to go back and do what it was bred to do,” Russell said.

Professional musher Jamie Nelson, from Minnesota, trained, conditioned and developed the team.

“I could never have gotten the team to the Iditarod without the help of Jan Richards,” Russell said, “who took a 6 months leave of absence from her teaching job to move to Jamie’s and help with the organizing of the supplies, correspondence and help with training with an extra team. Mark Scepanski spent a year helping Jamie train both the Malamute and her Alaskan team.”

Enjoy today’s journey through time as Russell shares more than 50 years of insight on breeding, training, socializing and judging the Alaskan Malamute.

For more information, visit: