Dogsledding, activity in which a dog team pulls a sled and a driver over snow and ice. Drivers, commonly called mushers, stand on, push, or run with the sleds. People practice dogsledding recreationally and competitively, and in remote areas they use dogs for transporting freight. In the northern regions of Alaska and the Yukon Territory of Canada, dogsledding stands as a symbol of the hardy frontier life of the past, when survival depended on the bond between humans and dogs.
Dogsledding: Originally a form of transportation, dogsledding is now a popular sport. Each year about 4000 sled-dog races are held throughout the world. Preparing for these races requires training each individual dog and the team as a whole, managing the dogs’ diet, and giving medical care when needed.
Most popular in Alaska, Canada, and Scandinavia, dogsledding also exists in mainland Europe, the continental United States, South America, and even Australia, New Zealand, Japan, and South Africa. Dogsledding’s presence in warmer climates has prompted innovations such as wheeled carts that dogs can pull during warmer months when there is little or no snow. The term mushing, which people often use to refer to dogsledding, can also refer to pulk racing and skijoring, in which people wearing skis are pulled by one or more dogs.