Dog sled

As sled dogs huskies ( Siberian Husky or Alaskan Husky ) or Alaskan Malamute are often used, their thick coat, stamina and need to move are good conditions for these tasks. The leaders of the vehicle combination is called musher.


The first dogsled was used by the Inuit in North America and Greenland. In the 19th century it was the preferred mode of transportation in the winter in the polar regions, particularly in Alaska and Siberia. At the time of the great gold rush in Alaska in the late 19th century, the whites had come to know the benefits of dog sled.

The former carriage differed in one point clear of the current (see sketch): at that time it was customary at the front to put on the slide or set and drive the dogs with the whip. The present form, in which the mushers at the rear end of the slide is on the skids and can increase the stability of the slide by means of shifting your weight seems to have prevailed until the 1920s. The whip is no longer part of the equipment.

General attention outside of the polar regions was the dog sled through the latest so-called Great Race of Mercy in the diphtheria epidemic in Nome in January 1925. Twenty mushers had then at temperatures down to -60 ° C and snowstorm in just five and a half days, a distance of 1085 km across Alaska traveled to bring an immune serum against the epidemic in the city Nome on the Bering Strait. On a part of this section the Iditarod takes place since 1973 every year. It is considered the longest and toughest sled dog race in the world.

In the race to the South Pole dogsled also played an important role.

Areas of application

Dog sleds are used mainly in the polar region such as Alaska, Greenland and the Arctic. Here they are ( eg the Iditarod ) was used as a simple means of transportation, means of transport or in races. As a means of transport can be expected as a payload the weight of the dog.

Sled dog races are held at different places of the world, next to Alaska in the Alps and in Scandinavia. Driving with a sled dog team is now also a tourist attraction and an important source of income for the locals in Alaska, Greenland, Lapland and Spitzbergen. More recently, adventure holidays are offered by dogsled of specialized tourism companies. In Europe, such offers are mainly for Lapland (eg Kittila, Muonio ) or Spitsbergen, in North America in western Canada and Alaska.

Important components of the sled are the skids on which the carriage is running and standing on their rear ends of the mushers ( sled guide). About weight shift on the runners cornering can be influenced. At the front of the carriage, a semicircular arch is mounted in soft wood or plastic, the so-called brush -bow. This is to prevent the sled dogs injured if he approaches it. The patch on the skids design essentially comprises the loading area and the handle- bar, the handle on which the musher holds while driving.

On a modern dog sledding, there are certain components that will allow safe operation. Important is the brake which is present mainly in two constructional variants; Both systems are based on the mushers between the rear skid comprises applying a resistor and this weighed down with his body weight:

  • Wherein a metal claw brake claw is hinged to the end attached to the carriage, a spring keeps them away from the ground. The musher enters the brakes on the mechanism and drives the claw into the ground.

Before you can stop while driving or to make an emergency stop, has the slide on a snow anchor. Analogous to the ship's anchor it involves a sharp-edged metal construction, which is connected via a line to the sled. The anchor can be set in the snow, then contracts under tensile load further into the ground, thereby preventing the team at running away.

Strain types

Tandem tension ( Single File / Single Tandem Hitch )

  • Easy - reduce speed to a trot ( when driving downhill )
  • Whuuuu - speed reduction, stop