There are few experiences more magical than a dog sledding holiday. Whisked through the white snow by a pack of beautiful dogs under a blanket of stars at night will be something that you and your family never forget. It is an activity that I always like to recommend to adventurous (and animal-loving) families looking for a unique holiday experience. |
Born to Run
Although it is a fantastic activity, I find that many families do not know much about dog sledding and some have concerns about forcing animals to pull a sled. The truth is that these canines are bred for the job and they consequently love to run. One breeder has described their need to run as “wanderlust” and that “somewhere else is better” to them. They are fascinating and majestic creatures, so it is worth taking a closer look at what makes a great sled dog and how they work together to whisk you through the snow.
The Alaskan husky is the most popular breed to use for sledding. This is not a pure breed but a combination of breeds, which includes Siberian husky and malamute along with others who have similar attributes. In addition to their striking looks and “wanderlust”, a good sled dog must also have a healthy appetite and digestive system as they can be out for weeks at a time. Tough paws are a necessity for traversing tough terrain at high speeds.
A Well-Oiled Machine
Anybody who has previously experienced or witnessed dog sledding will know how impressive the canines are. They work together like a well-oiled machine, with different dogs in different roles. These are the unique roles (from front to back).
- Lead dogs – responsible for direction, pace and applying the musher’s commands
- Swing dogs – responsible for making sure any trailing dogs follow turns from the lead dogs
- Team dogs – maintain speed and contribute greatly to the pulling of the sled
- Wheel dogs – as the name implies, pull and steer the sled
It is clear then that various skills are required for different roles and these will be established as the dog is raised. Regardless of the position, teamwork and a strong work ethic are crucial attributes for any sled dog. Not just this, but they must also be social and friendly to humans as they will be interacting with tourists. Often, tourists find that they manage to communicate their happiness and love for the great outdoors.
These are the key attributes that any good sled dog will have, which you are sure to pick up on when you embark on an unforgettable dog sledding holiday. We have a number of fantastic destinations to choose from, including the picturesque Dolomites region of Italy, the gorgeous Spanish Pyrenees and Canada’s best-known ski resorts.
If you would like to know more about each Summit & Blue dog sledding holiday, contact me today and I’ll be happy to tell you more.
Richard Edwards is the Managing Director of Summit & Blue, an adventure holiday company offering independently crafted holidays to destinations around the world, including France, Italy, Portugal, USA and Canada. If you're looking for a unique adventure, like a dog sledding holiday, ski touring, biking, hiking, white water rafting or canoeing, we create exciting itineraries for those looking for an experience a little more off the beaten track.
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