Canadian Winter Culture: Dog Sledding

Dog sledding has traditionally been a means of transport, specially in the Nordic areas of Canada. With the advent of the snowmobile, the reliance on using dogs for transportation has decreased. However, the popularity of dog sledding as a sport and a leisure activity is nowadays increasing. Many lodges offering winter activities in Canada, have included this activity into their touristic packages.

In fact, dog sledding races are very popular in Canada. There are annual events in several cities across the country, where people of all ages are invited to experience a fun ride.

It is not easy to train a sled dog and not all dogs are suitable to be one of them. These dogs have to start being trained when they are around 6 months old, and the preparation is year round.

The first two dogs on the gangline are the leaders and guide the team. The “point dogs”, the first pair behind the leaders, encourage the leaders to go forward and are often leaders-in-training. The “wheel dogs”, the last pair of dogs immediately in front of the sled, are usually the strongest dogs and keep the sled on track. The dogs between the point and wheel dogs are the “swing dogs” and keep the team on the trail when rounding.

The sled dogs also share a deep love with their human family and they are very gentle with children.

Give it a try and you will fall in love with this sport.