|Racing Alaskan Huskies
|Sled Dog Racing events vary in distance and the number of
dogs used. One-dog events may be only a few hundred
yards long, while the longest race in the world (the Iditarod)
measures over 1000 miles. Our kennel specializes in 10 dog
sprint racing and open class sprint racing (where you can
use any number of dogs). In the past, we have also been
very successful in the 4 dog and 6 dog events.
Over the past few decades, the quality of racing sled dogs
has improved immensely. When we first started racing, in
around 1990, the average 10 dog race was won by the team
who could run (not trot) the most during the 20 or so mile
event. This would translate to roughly a 14-16 mph pace.
Today, winning teams are averaging over 20 mph in events
as long as 30 miles. Even Iditarod dogs today lope for most
of the event.
What has contributed to the unparalleled improvement in
sled dogs in such a very short time? Well, there are several
factors. Performance-focused breeding programs are the
main contributor. Where people used to race with whatever
dogs they happened to own at the time, mushers today are
breeding dogs selected for speed, attitude, and endurance.
Alaskan Huskies are a real modern-day example of artificial
selection. Breeders are continually experimenting with the
addition of new blood in attempts to improve on each of the
traits important to a winner.
Another contributing factor is the education of the mushers.
Knowledge about everything from nutrition to harness fitting
proves beneficial and will guide successes. Training
techniques have also evolved. Even the quality of equipment
such as sleds and harness have changed dramatically in the
last 20 years. A store-bought wooden sled was once the
pinnacle in racing gear - they are hard to find at most races
today, having been replaced by ultra-light weight sled made
from aircraft type materials.
|Website and photos copyright of Kerri & Harris English, 2008. Website Design by Kinderdoggin Web Design.