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Mushing 101

Mushing is a common term for a sport or transport method using one or more dogs to pull a sled on snow.

Equipment used includes a dog sled (naturally), harnesses, and tuglines. Depending on the kind of hitch system that is being used, ganglines and necklines may also be used. Click for more information.


Inuit and Greenland hunters often use a fan hitch (right). Each dog is attached to the sled by a separate tugline so that they spread out in a fan shape ahead of the sled. This gives them more room to maneuver around rough ice, water or other obstacles in treeless areas. (Can you imagine going through a forest with this formation?)

Click for more information. THE GANGLINE TEAM

The gangline is a single line to which each dog is attached, usually in pairs, and it keeps the dogs in a tight formation ahead of the sled. This is better for forested areas or narrow trails, and is the typical harness system used in sled dog races such as the Iditarod or Yukon Quest.

Lead Dogs: At the front. Noted for high intelligence and drive (they're often females). There may be a single lead (1 dog) or double lead (2 dogs).
Point or Swing Dogs: The two dogs right behind the Lead Dogs.
Wheel Dogs: Right in front of the sled. Usually the heaviest dogs.
Team Dogs: All other dogs in the team.

Click pictures for more information and credits.
Library: Sled Dogs, Ice, Snow, Inuit, Arctic
Links: Inuit, Cold Places, Arctic
Just for Fun: Sled Dog Jokes!
News Story: Yellowknife to Baffin Island!
News Story: 16 Dogs... 4 Women... 2 Sleds...
Sled Dogs: An Alaskan Epic
Arctic Maps & Weather Reports

Double-click any unlinked word DICTIONARY: Just "double-click" any unlinked word on this page for the definition from Merriam-Webster's Student Electronic Dictionary at Word Central.
Arctic Library ARCTIC LIBRARY & GLOSSARY: Check this section for an index of the rest of the things you really need to know about the Arctic.
All sorts of Arctic Maps ARCTIC MAPS & WEATHER REPORTS: Maps of the Northwest Passage, explorers' routes, iceberg sources, Nunavut, the Arctic by treeline, temperature...
Links to related sites. ARCTIC LINKS: Even more information! Links to sites related to the Arctic and "Iceberg: the Story of the Throps and the Squallhoots".
A Guide to Arctic Sunrise and Sunset GUIDE TO ARCTIC SUNRISE & SUNSET: How much sunlight or darkness is there in the Arctic on each day of the year?

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