Sled dogs are a group of dogs that are used to pull a vehicle that has no wheels but is set on runners over terrains of ice and snow. Sled dogs are attached to these vehicles by harnesses and lines. It is said that the origins of sled dogs can be traced back to Siberia as the people that live there have a long history of nomadic travel due to rather harsh winters.
There are certain breeds of dogs that are synonymous with being sled dogs. These dogs being Huskies and Malamutes although just about any medium sized dog would be suitable to be a sled dog.
Dogs that are selected to be sled dogs need to exhibit three main qualities. First of all they need to be in peak physical condition and be able to pull a sled, they need to have the endurance to be able to pull a sled over sometimes great distances and they need to have the speed in order to do the task of pulling the sled quickly. There are many teams of sled dogs that have been able to travel over one hundred miles in a twenty four hour period of time.
Teams of sled dogs can range from three dogs to a team of two dozen dogs. Sled dog teams not only pull several different types of sleds for racing and other transporting purposes they have also been known to pull skiers when there is little to no snow.
Pups that are being trained to be sled dogs are weaned from their mother as soon as possible in order to shift their attentions to their musher. They are at about six weeks old shifted from their mother into their own pen in order to accomplish this.
When pups that are being trained to be sled dogs are around five months old they are already running around with the lope that is characteristic of a sled dog and is also the time when they are first introduced to a harness.
There are many methods in which pups learn to be sled dogs. A very common method is to harness up to a dozen pups behind a pair of experienced older sled dogs and control the speed that they go with the use of an atv. The speed that the older dogs are allowed to go is gradually increased as the pups’ endurance and strength continues to increase.
People are amazed that sled dogs are so excited to be able to pull a sled over long periods of time and generally over very rough terrain. Mushers can attribute this to the very early interactions that they have with the pups that builds such a strong relationship between themselves and the dogs so very early in their lives.