How Native Helps Pros and Their Canine Athletes Excel

Jonathan Hayes

Hayes Mushing

Jonathan’s background is as interesting as he is. He has served as a U.S. Marine infantryman, was ordained at the age of 22, has been the frontman of a country-rock band, served as a Maine State Forest Ranger, has authored four books, raised eight children and is now a high school science teacher while finishing his graduate studies in conservation management at Antioch University.

On top of all this, he has spent more than two decades breeding, training and mushing Seppala Siberian sled dogs from his home in Maine. In the winter of 2021/22, he undertook one of his most challenging journeys yet — a 285-mile expedition across the north woods of Maine, for which he was profiled in the recent documentary, True North: Legends of Dog and Men.

It was on this journey that he realized he needed to make a nutritional change for his eight Siberian sled dogs.

“I was using a leading brand of kibble, and two days into the run, they wouldn’t eat it anymore, so we had to switch to meat,” Hayes recalls of the expedition. “After that expedition, I went on a quest to find a better dog food. That’s how I came to Native.”

Hayes feeds his team Native 4 during the active winter season, and relies on Native 2 and Native 3 during the off-season. Upon switching, he saw an immediate difference in being able to keep weight on and better metabolize the food.

Chad Stephens

Wired Up Beagles

For Chad Stephens and his family, raising beagles and running rabbits has been a tradition for generations. From the time he was in grade school, Chad tagged along with his grandpa nearly every weekend on his rabbit hunts.

As he grew older, he took over his grandpa’s beagles — who were non-papered at that time — and was looking for ways to keep them busy in the hunting off-season. That’s when he decided to branch out and get his first papered female and begin seeking out American Kennel Club (AKC) field champions for her to breed with.

Soon, he had four pups to raise – all with AKC field champion bloodlines. Having run them noncompetitively, his friends were impressed and encouraged him to join the beagle club and enter them in field trials. In Chad’s words, this is when he “really got the itch.” It wasn’t long before he was training twice per week and climbing his way up the competition ladder under his newly formed team — Wired Up Beagles.

Today, Chad and his team of Wired Up Beagles are members of three beagle clubs and are well-known on the circuit — competing in roughly 20 field trials per year, as well as in the United Kennel Club (UKC) and AKC Nationals, having raised several field champions, including Sam I Am, Jo-Jo and Honeybun. Now, Jo-Jo’s offspring — Wired Up Nutmeg, Cool Hand Luke’s Hamlet and Wired Up Little Jo — are all competing in field trials, looking to be the next in the family to reach nationals.

Favorite products of Wired Up Beagles

Native Level 2 | Native Level 3 | Native Puppy

brand ambassador insights

Native Brand Ambassador Jonathan Hayes has spent more than two decades breeding, training and mushing Seppala Siberian Sleddogs from his home in Maine. See why he trusts his canine athletes to Native performance dog food—before, during and after their cross-country races.