It takes a special kind of physical and mental endurance to be a musher. Sledding, or leading a team of sled-pulling dogs, requires a great deal of strength and athleticism – sled dogs must be able to pull many times their own body weight for great distances and over long periods of time. In addition, both dogs and sled leaders often endure frigid temperatures and extreme winter conditions, with Alaska, Greenland and Norway being the most popular sites for sledding.
Any breed is technically eligible to participate in sledding competitions like the world-famous Iditarod, in which mushers and 14-dog sled teams race from Nome to Anchorage, Alaska each March. To fulfill the strength and physical requirements and cold weather tolerance, the majority of sled dogs are Siberian Huskies, Alaskan Malamutes and Alaskan Huskies. Whatever the breed, sled dogs must be carefully bonded – with human and dogs alike – to work as a team.
Sledding at any competitive level requires an intense time and financial commitment. Equipment, classes and care for a team of sled dogs can be expensive. Still interested? To learn more about sledding:
- Tour a sled dog kennel and/or attend a race to get a feel for the sport
- Contact a sledding organisation to find an entry-level expedition and to be connected with a mentor to help set expectations.
- Be patient – it can take years of training to build your team, learn the sport and reach a competitive level.
When you finally have your team together, their performance will come down training, body condition and nutrition. Eukanuba™ Premium Performance is specially designed to with the nutrients sled dogs need for extreme performance.