D is for DogSledding in Canada!

You know... I was all set to talk about different Canadian river beginning with "D" and as I was browsing through books at Costco a kids Canada alphabet book had D is for DogSled...and that was WAY more interesting than talking about the Dubwant and Don Rivers!   LIKE WAY more interesting.



One of my dreams, oh... for such a very long time has been to go on a dogsled ride.   In fact, I had a dog when my lad was young who needed a job to do so I got her a harness so she could pull the lad around.  :)   My goal was to help her become more accepting of the lad by giving her something she liked to do...work and feel useful!   (we didn't succeed but at least had fun trying).   When the lad was I think 8 we went to an Archaelogy day and he got to go on a dogsled ride...man... I was jealous!!!  But they didn't allow adults to go....ah well...

The world's biggest Dog Sled race, as far as I know, is the 1000 mile race called  the Iditarod.  There is also the 1,000 mile Yukon Quest which runs between
Whitehorse, Yukon and Fairbanks, Alaska.   There is also the 211 mile long Hudson Bay Quest and the 200 mile Canadian Dog Sled Races which are among the biggest races just in Canada.

There are two main styles of dog sled hitches.   Fan hitch and gangline.  Gangline tends to be the more popular of the two for dog sled races.    They each have their own advantage.

 The fan hitch allows dogs to spread out their weight over a larger surface area, helpful on rough surfaces, treeless areas or on ice.   The Innuk often use this method to travel.

The gangline has the dogs held closer together which is excellent for running in forested areas or on narrow trails.  Numbers of dogs can vary in this type of hitch.

Travel by dog sled used to be one of the major forms of transportation in Canadian winters, particularly among the more northern peoples.    In fact, the International Federation of Sled Dog Sports states that archaeological evidence shows dog sledding in Canada, North America, and Siberia originated 4000 years ago.  (source)

Did you know the word mush came from a poorly understand early French Canadian word where the drivers of the dog team would say "Marche!" in encourage their teams to run well.  English explorers misunderstood the term and henceforth dog sled drivers were called Mushers.(source)

  A famous sled dog is Balto...who was the lead dog in a dog sled relay of 1000 miles, in January 1925, when a deadly diphtheria epidemic threatened the children of Nome. Medicine to stop the outbreak was in Anchorage.  Balto's team covered the last 53 miles.  (source)  A statue of Balto can be found in Central Park, New York.

So there you have it, information about dog sledding and Canada.

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19 comments

  1. Love this! I think dog sledding would be a grand adventure, too. As for Balto, that is one of my children's favorite stories...even at 15 and 18. Thanks for sharing this info!

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    1. I know...dog sledding just captures my imagination. :) I need to read balto to my lad... even though he's a cat focused child.

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  2. We loved the book Balto! My husband and I recently watched the documentary, The Great Alone about an Iditarod winner. Have you seen that?

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    1. I have not heard about that one, was it any good?

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  3. This is a very interesting post, I'm glad you chose this topic!

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  4. I love learning about dog sledding. We have a race that happens around our area, and I actually got the chance to see it once. What a fun adventure! I would love to find the time to go out and enjoy nature this way...maybe when the kids are grown up ;-)

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    1. ah!!! I'm jealous Amanda... I would love to see a dog sled race. :)

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  5. Fascinating! Thank you for sharing!

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    1. thank you for stopping in Barbie.

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  6. Makes me want to go dog sledding.

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  7. Very interesting post! Thank you for sharing, Annette! My son loved learning about dog sleds as Balto is one of his favorite stories, too.

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    1. that's great Kelly. Balto is a good story.

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  8. Thanks for sharing! I will be reading this to my kids, because they are always so fascinated with dog sledding!

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    1. what did your kiddos think Tasha? Would they like to go dogsledding one day?

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  9. The idea of dog sledding holds so much adventure! I once read of a man who competed with a sled pulled by standard poodles. That one caught my eye as I have always had a standard through my life. Have you head of using poodles in Canada? (the standards)

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    1. I've seen that! Poodles aren't standard fare, but any dog could do it they were tall enough,strong enough with the right drive. Most sled dogs are a mix of a few different breeds including greyhound, husky, shepherd and the like. I could easily see poodles in the mix with their long legs and drive.

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  10. I think now that the punks are bigger, I need to read Balto again. My littlest loves Snow Buddies and I always thought the prep for sledding and putting the team together that was shown in the film was pretty interesting, but we never researched it before. We had a pup when my oldest was a teen, who really enjoyed working. She loved pulling him around. Once again, you've blogged about a topic I can bring up for a mini lesson on Monday. :)

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