Sled-Dog Racing

History about sled-dog racing

Sled-dog racing originates from Nome, a little village in Alaska.

Nome attracted thousands of people during the goldrush, because the village was very rich of gold. Life was very hard and many people died, because of the dreadful environmental climate conditions. Yet many others had to learn the native habits to survive, so they began to use “luges” pulled by dogs to move from one place to another. It seemed to be the fastest and the safest means of transport.

To escape from the tedium of the long cold nights in Alaska, people organised dog races, but there were no rules at all. Scotty Allan, the first and the best Mushier, created the first sled-dog club where there was a minimum of rules to keep dogs safe. The first competition was organised in 1908 from Nome to Candle and back, it was called “All Alaska Sweepstakes”. The passion for sled-dog developed in north of America, so many sled-dog championships were created.

Surely today the most important sled-dog championship is “Iditarod”, that takes place in Alaska in March and it’s a 1900 km long track.

Only recently this fantastic sport has spread all over Europe, the first competition took place in France in 1995.

Sled-dog racing

The sled-dog racing is divided into two different events, the Nordic style (pulka style) and the sled-dog style (Nome style).

·     Sled-dog style: the Mushier drives the sledge, which the dogs are pulling. The dogs are fasten in loose ropes, and are controlled by commands from the Mushier. The compe-tition classes in sled-dog style are 4-6 and 6-8 dogs, but there is also an open-class with unlimited amount of dogs in front of the sledge. You can compete in sprint and distance driving. The most important dog in the team is the leader dog.

The Mushier controls the sledge and the dogs with commands through the leader dog, which knows right, left and stop. You need a sledge, snowchor, tow-line, harness and of course dogs.

·     Nordic style: in the Nordic style the dog pulls a pulka with cargo and the Mushier skies after. You can also have two or more dogs pulling the pulka. The cargo on the pulka increases compered to the number of dogs. To drive you need skies, staff, Nordic harness, tow-line pulka + weight, a belt and a dog. 



The dogs that are used in sled-dog racing are:

Alaskan Malamute

Siberian husky

Eskimo dog

Samojed dog

The Birddogs that are used are: Vorstehn, Pointer and Setter.

Competitions and Italy rank

-         1992 Transitaly: Competition on average and long distance (500 km). Final rank 10th

-         1993 Tansitaly: Competition on average and long distance (500 km). Final rank 10th

-         1994 Italian Federation sled-dog in Italy cup. Final rank 1st

-         1995 Alpirod: Long distance from France to Austria. Final rank 42nd

Long distance Italian Championship. Final rank 4th

Doko cup sprint Italian Championship. Final rank 13th

-         1996-1997 Sprint Italian Championship. Long distance with 6 dogs on snow. Final rank 2nd

Long distance with 4 dogs on land. Final rank 4th.

Swedish members

There are about 120 sled-dog clubs in Sweden and about 437 registrated members who have 4176 dogs together.

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