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About Us

 

Howling Dog Enterprises, LLC consists of two on-line stores: Howling Dog Alaska (gear for larger dogs) and Howling Dog Boutique (gear for smaller dogs). We are located in Leavenworth, KS near Kansas City. You might wonder why our name is Howling Dog Alaska. It is because a majority of our gear was actually developed in Alaska. The owner of Howling Dog, Ivana Nolke, spent 16 years in Alaska racing sled dogs and designing top quality dog equipment.  

 

Ivana started pursuing the sport of mushing in 1988 while living in the former country of Czechoslovakia, when she purchased her first sled dog – a Siberian Husky by the name Junardique ze Sibrtu. A second, third and fourth dog soon followed. Ivana was ecstatic about being able to combine her love for dogs and her love for sports. About a year in to her mushing career, Ivana with her competitive nature, realized that running Siberian Huskies was not going to bring her very high in race standings (even though she had one of the fastest Siberian Husky teams in Czechoslovakia). She soon added Alaskan Huskies to her team. This breed was just being introduced to her country in the late eighties and proved itself to be a better breed for Ivana’s needs. Ivana was the only Czech female musher to represent Czechoslovakia with her team during the Winter Olympic Games in Albertville, France, in 1992 where a sprint sled dog race was held as a demonstrational sport with high hopes of mushing soon becoming a real Olympic sport. Prior to that, in the year 1989, Ivana founded one of the first sled dog clubs in Czech Republic.

 

In the summer of 1992 Ivana left her country for Alaska to pursue her mushing dreams – the best place in the world for competitive sled dog racing. Ivana fell in love with Alaska. She became partners with her now ex -husband Jim Nolke (the founder of Howling Dog Kennel). Howling Dog Kennel was established by Jim in 1986. And that’s how Ivana’s business got its name. Striving to ever move up in race standings, Howling Dog Kennel became one of the first kennels in North America which started breeding and racing pointer crosses. The first Eurohound littler in Howling Dog Kennel was born 1996. Actually Ivana was the one who came up with the name “Eurohound”. Up until her first litter, Alaska husky x pointer crosses were just called “hounds” in general. Ivana thought that the name “Eurohound” would be more authentic, more appropriate, since the first racing pointer crosses in North America had European background. And that’s how the Eurohound breed was founded. 

 

Ivana used to specialize in 8-dog, 10-dog and open class racing. She owned one of the fastest sprint teams in the world, frequently placing in the top five even though her competition was some of the toughest in the world. While in Alaska Ivana had the chance to learn about mushing from some of the best sprint mushers who ever lived. Ivana's racing accomplishments consist of representing Czech Republic in couple of IFSS World Championships, she holds the title of North Pole Champion in the 10-dog class, and she is the Alaska Dog Mushers Association Points Champion in 8-dog class. Ivana participated many times in the Women’s Fur Rondy World Championship (open class), Limited North American Championship (8-dog class) and Tok Race of Champions (8-dog class), amongst other races. Ivana is also very experienced breeder, as she bred and raised about 200 puppies in Howling Dog Kennel over the years. Dogs out of Howling Dog Kennel and their descendants are racing all over the world including far away countries such as Japan, South Africa and many European countries. Ivana retired from competitive mushing in 2008, when she moved away from Alaska. Ivana kept one female Eurohound out of her best lines. This female (Minnie) later became the foundation of Ivana’s breeding program in Kansas. Now there are only 2-3 dogs in Howling Dog Kennel (in Alaska it used to be about 40 dogs on average), and an occasional litter of pups. Ivana is still involved in the sport of mushing in the way of scootering with her dogs and especially in the way of designing sled dog equipment. Ivana was always very proud of placing high in race standings (especially in open class and 10-dog class) while racing against kennels with much larger dog pull. Ivana’s motto while racing and keeping a relatively small kennel always was: “Quality over quantity”. She took (and still does) pride in superior sled dog care. The well-being of the dogs was always her highest priority.

 

In 1999 Ivana was approached by a Czech mountain climbing gear manufacturer ManMat. Besides climbing gear they were offering limited selection of dog equipment. Ivana up to that date could not really find a proper fitting harness for her race dogs. She saw a great opportunity in working with ManMat, as she now had someone to manufacture harnesses according to her own needs. And what was going to be functional for her dogs, had to be functional for all the other race dogs out there. Her standards were very high. She would not settle just for any simple design change. Developing and testing new harnesses took her years. The Light Weight Harness was the first one to be introduced to the public. The Hound Harness and the Wheel Dog Harness followed. And of course, the Distance Harness (which she developed in cooperation with four time Iditarod Champion Jeff King). The Distance Harness quickly became one of Howling Dog’s best sellers. Other new products soon followed, such as the Padded Collar, the ThermoCoat, the Hybrid Running Jacket and Chest Protector, and the latest Second Skin Harness. All those items were designed according to the needs of Ivana’s top racing sled dogs. Besides catering to sled dogs, Ivana also designed gear for hunting dogs (such as the DuraCoat and Field Chest Protector). And when it comes to supplements, Howling Dog only carries what Ivana used for her canine athletes while racing. All of the supplements Howling Dog offers are proven and guaranteed to help enhance performance and the dogs' over all well-being. Items designed by Ivana quickly became well known throughout the worldwide mushing community. Their functionality and durability was superior to anything else on the market. Howling Dog started growing and is currently one of the largest sled dog equipment retailers in the world.

 

If you are looking for top quality working dog equipment designed by professionals, Howling Dog is the right place for you. We take pride in excellent customer service, timely expedition of orders and professional business approach. We are always here to answer any of your questions, should they be related to harness selection, proper fitting or supplement use. Don’t hesitate to contact us at any time, us – the PROFESSIONALS – are always here to help!

 

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