Great Land of Alaska

Mushing

Many people I've talked to are convinced that mushing is a cruel sport for dogs. After meeting many mushers and watching their teams, I'm convinced otherwise. Although there are unsavory mushers who abuse and mistreat their dogs, this is the exception rather than the norm. The dogs used for dog teams are work dogs bred for pulling sleds. They don't run at full speed like most people think, rather the pace they run at is about jogging speed for them. When I see a musher setting a team up for a race, the dogs are excited and act like they can't wait to hit the trail.

In my opinion, mushing with these dogs is as cruel as taking a Black Lab swimming, taking a Retriever duck hunting, assigning a German Shepherd guard duty, or using a Pointer to locate birds. It's what they're bred to do, and for the majority of the mushers who treat their dogs well, the dogs seem to really enjoy running on the trail.

Chugiak

Dog Crossing sign

Bet you don't have many signs like this where you live!

Chugiak

Musher's truck

A musher's truck is usually modified to carry an entire team.

Chugiak

Musher's truck

A sled dog guards his master's truck.

Chugiak

Dog team dog

This dog was watching the team as if he wanted to be out there pulling the sled too.

Chugiak

Preparing the team

A musher prepares his team for a training run.

Chugiak

Dog team running

The musher and his team are off on a run around a trail in Chugiak.

Chugiak

Mushers' trucks

Many mushers' trucks parked in a sled dog race area in Chugiak.

Chugiak

Dogs around a musher's truck

Several dogs around a musher's truck, waiting to be hooked up to the sled.

Chugiak

Sled dogs

A close-up look at a couple of sled dogs.

Chugiak

Preparing to hook the dogs up

Getting ready to take the dogs to the sled. As you can see, sled dogs aren't all that big. You'd be surprised at their

strength, though.

Chugiak

Hooking the dogs up

Hooking the dogs up for the upcoming race.

Chugiak

Jumping with excitement

The two middle guys are jumping with excitement, hardly able to wait to hit the trail.

Chugiak

Starting the race

A musher begins his race around the Chugiak sled dog trail.


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