Mushers build their sledding team by matching dogs mainly in terms of size, speed, and ability to keep up with the team’s pace. The typical sled dog is 2 to 10 years old and weights around 35-70 pounds (16 to 32 kg), the ideal weight being between 45-60 pounds (18 to 20 kg). They can be both purebred dogs like Alaskan Malamutes, Canadian Inuit Dogs or Siberian Huskies and crossbreeds or mutts which are commonly found in most of the present long-distance races. In order to be part of a sledding team, dogs must be a able to work together and pull hundreds of pounds through the snow, thus the sought attributes are strength, endurance, attitude, resistant feet, and speed.
Despite being raised, trained and cared for as canine athletes and being working dogs, they are affectionate family pets. Like any worker they retire someday and sometimes they need to find a new home. Some of them keep active by partaking in less strenuous activities such us bikejoring, canicross, and other harness canine sports. While some retired sled dogs require adjustments in they training to transition into pet life, most of them adapt very well to their new families. Many sanctuaries, shelters, and advocacy groups work very hard to get them adopted and find loving homes where they can be cared for, appreciated, and loved during their senior years.
EUROHOUND, EURODOG or SCANDINAVIAN HOUND
The Eurohound is a crossbreed between the Alaskan Husky and German Shorthaired Pointer. This breed was developed and used in Scandinavian countries, where Pointers were popular among Swedish mushers.
They are energetic, intelligent, and efficient sprint racers because they can quickly pick up speed during short distances.
The Greyster was bred during the mid 80’s in Norway by crossing German Shorthaired Pointers with the ultimate racer, the American Greyhound.
This is a remarkable sled dog who became, in subsequent generations, one of the best dogs for sprint races.
SEPPALA SIBERIAN SLEDDOG
The Seppala Siberian Sleddog has the same ancestor of the Siberian Husky. The Seppala has always been bred solely for working as sled dog, allowing them to develop innate teaming and obedience skills.
They are affectionate, easy to train, efficient pullers, and great mid-distance racers, despite their light body constitution.
The Tamaskan Dog is a Finnish crossbred dog type of sled dog obtained from crossing different arctic breeds, amongst which the Northern Inuit Dog, Siberian Husky and Alaskan Malamute can be found.
Today they are gaining worldwide popularity thanks to their intelligence, endurance, and versatility, which allow these dogs to perform very well not only in sledding, but also in obedience as well as agility competitions, and as assistance, therapy, search and rescue dogs.
SAMOYED O BJELKIER
The Samoyed, or Bjelkier, is a strong and elegant working canine with a thick extreme-weather-resistant white coat. This was the dog of the Samoyedics, the indigenous people of Siberia, who used this type of dog to herd and pull sleds.
This is one of the most ancient dog breeds, which also took part in many Arctic and Antarctic explorations, including the Amundsen’s expedition.