Sledding

Sledding is a natural sport for an Alaskan Malamute. Sled dog races are most popular in the Arctic regions of the United States, Canada, and some European countries. There are many opinions stating that Malamutes are not fast enough for races – it is true for short (sprint) competition. But lately they are being increasingly incorporated into the sled dog teams as wheel dogs for their strength and endurance in medium and long distance races. The average speed at such race is around 15 km/h and, if trained well, Malamutes have no problems running endlessly at such pace.

The composition of a sled dog team.

The composition of a sled dog team.

Sledding is not for everyone due to the needed time, number of dogs, amount of equipment, availability of suitable training locations, etc. As a general rule, professional sled dog teams train all year round, running up to 50km once-twice per week, then every second day 2 months prior to the race and every day 1 month before the race.

On the other hand, it is much less challenging to train a Malamute for  recreational sledding. The commands are the same as for all mushing activities.

Equipment

You will need: harnesses (X-Back recommended), gang line (or main line), tug lines, neck lines (for teams of more than 2 dogs), a decent sled with good brakes and snow hook. Good quality warm clothing for the musher. Press here for more information about the equipment.

Sled setup and diagram.

Sled setup and diagram.

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