Dog Sledding’s History and Rise

Dog sledding has a history of over thousands year. It outdates any modern vehicle. It is believed that dog sledding has started in the arctic region. These regions are covered in ice and no transportation was possible. Horses could not last in the harsh arctic region. But the dogs were better solution to this problem. Dogs’ endurance was much greater than the endurance of a horse and they could survive treacherous terrain much better. A team of six dogs could handle 500 to 700 pounds on one sled. That’s why dog sledding became popular in arctic region. Archaeological evidence shows dog sledding in Canada, North America, and Siberia originated 4000 years ago. When the Inuit migrated from Alaska to the northern Canada they brought with them the Canadian Eskimo dogs. It was around 1000 A.D. Researchers believe that life in northern Canada would not be possible without the help of sled dog. The Inuit used dog power for travelling from one place to another. They were also used for hunting and monitoring trap lines in the Canadian arctic wilderness. Inuit invented the dog sled which was pulled by the dogs. This sled was made of a mid range floating basket and a piece of wood. It was known as “komatik”.
In the 19th century when communities became stable from the travelling society, sled dogs were used for delivering mails, supplies and news. They were also used as a patrolling unit. In 1870 sled dogs were used to patrol northern Canadian territory by the Royal Canadian Mounted Police. Gold miners from England also relied on sled dogs for transportation. Dog sledding history was made when in 1925 Diphtheria broke out in the remote icebound village Nome. There was no road and aircraft could not land because of harsh winter climate. Sled dogs were used to retrieve the Serum from Nenana. This was a landmark in Dog sledding history. This inscribes the importance of sled dogs in the North and South Pole. After the invention of modern snowmobiles the reliance on sled dogs has decreased. However, many people still like dog sledding over snowmobiles as they are more useful in extremely harsh winter condition and the tradition of dog sledding is still alive in the arctic region mostly in Canada.
Today dog sledding are mostly used for sports event and recreational purpose. In winter, Canadian people take dog sledding holiday. Sled dog racing is very popular all around the world. The first dog sledding race was held in winter festival at Minnesota at 1886 and it continues even today. In 1920’s sled dog racing were brought to England by returning gold miners where it became popular. It was included as a demonstration sport at the 1932 Winter Olympics and again at Olympics at Oslo. The popularity of dog sledding racing is increasing every year. In 2003, around 40,000 mushers participated in the annual racing.
Dog sledding is a part of a rich heritage and it seems the tradition will go a long way. Many lodges and tour guides offer dog sledding facility for the tourist in winter vacation. The deep love of human and the sled dogs towards each other have made the arctic region a place of life and the affection towards each other still exist. That’s why dog sledding is still one of the most loving pastime in the arctic region.

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