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What Is The Dog Team For?

This type of movement in the snow has never been forgotten, but was used only by the inhabitants of the Far North. Judge For it Yourself – who, where, can afford to contain a dozen burly sled dogs. And the feed on them will not save enough! But times are changing. Dog sledding races are becoming more common and very popular. Many of us have had summer cottages or houses in rural areas. We (hunters), this type of movement also should not be ignored. Unfortunately, the special literature covering the manufacture of sledge equipment, the education of dogs, the technique of controlling narts has not been seen for a long time. Let’s try, at least a little, to fix this situation .. (V.S.)

What Is The Dog Team For?


Sled dogs are the main local transport on the entire Arctic coast from the White to the Bering Sea and on the polar islands. The value of dog transport in the economy of the polar zone is enormous. The possibility of movement in the vast snow and ice spaces is determined by the success of a person’s activity in the Arctic.

What Is The Dog Team For?

Unpretentiousness, endurance, the ability to eat meat and fish (that is, local food), adaptability to harsh climatic conditions, a relatively high load-carrying capacity and high speed – all this makes dog’s transport indispensable. The use of domestic deer is limited to the areas of distribution of a specific winter food – moss, which is absent on a number of polar islands and in the coastal zone; Movement on reindeer on the ice is extremely difficult. The use of horse transport is possible only on the territory of the settlements; deep snow, viscous ground and the need for a large amount of feed do not allow the horse to be used in the tundra at any considerable distance. Mechanized transport not only does not replace dog sleds, but causes an even greater need for them (due to the increase in freight traffic).

All local deep-sea communication and transportation in the winter are made on dogs. The value of harness for Arctic research is well known.

The role of dog transport is also great in the fur and animal hunting. Diverting foxes and successful fishing mainly depends, as already mentioned, on dog transport. Hunting polar bears is effective only if you have a good team. Driving on ice for prey of a sea animal at the edge of fast ice, hauling, etc., can only be successful if there are good sled dogs, their proper maintenance and skillful management. Every polar explorer, especially a hunter, must know the basics of riding dog breeding.

In the harsh Arctic climate, under the harsh conditions of snow cover, high productivity is required from dog sleds. With a speed of 6-7 km per hour and a total daytime transition to 70-80 km, a team of ten good dogs raises sleds with a load of 400-500 kg and moves with this load for many days in a row. With easy, high-speed driving, dogs pass 150 days per day and even up to 200 km. These are the norms of their work with a favorable surface of snow or ice. In this case, the team moves without a road – in any direction.


The best breed of sled dogs in the world has been bred for several centuries in the eastern tundras of the polar zone of the USSR. This breed is known by the name "Northeast sled dog of the USSR"; it is distributed along the Arctic coast to the east of the Yenisei, in Yakutia, on the Chukotka Peninsula, in the Anadyr region, on Kamchatka and Sakhalin. In some areas, dogs of this breed are somewhat different in small, non-essential features, but in their main ones they are uniform. Not all of them are purebred, and therefore the ability to choose good (thoroughbred) sled dogs is the key to successful work of the team.

The pedigree northeastern sled dog of the USSR is distinguished by the following main typical features. It is a large, wolf-like animal of strong and dry build, with strong bones and well-developed muscles. Height at withers 55-65 cm, weight (in working condition) 30-45 kg Males are more massive, taller, with a well-developed nape; bitches a little smaller, with a thinner bone. The general format of an adult dog is stretched. The length of the body (in a straight line from the anterior protrusion of the humerus to the ischial tubercles) is 8–10% greater than the height at the withers (along the vertical line from the highest point of the withers to the ground). This is the format of the trotter, adapted to relatively fast and long run; The main gait of the sled dog in harness is the lynx.

The sled dog has a powerful development of the skeleton and muscles of the front part of the body (withers, chest, front legs), carrying the greatest load when working in teams. The head is massive, wolf type. The skull is somewhat elongated. The transition from the forehead to the face expressed rather sharply. Ears are erect, small and not high set; the top of the ear is an obtuse angle. The eyes are small, almond-shaped, set obliquely, dark brown (not on the roll out and not sunken). The teeth are powerful, well developed, fit tightly to one another, intensively covered with white enamel; scissor bite. The lips are muscular and not thin, tight to the jaws and not hung. The neck is equal to the length of the head or somewhat shorter, dry, with well-developed muscles. The withers are massive, well protruding above the line of the back. The back is strong, wide, somewhat decreasing towards the rear (height at withers is 1-2 cm more than height in the sacrum).

Well developed, deep chest goes down to the elbows and even 1-2 cm below. The stomach is tucked up weakly, but not sagging. The front legs are long, with strong bones, dry, strong muscles, an elongated shoulder blade, slightly shortened shoulder and forearm. The circumference of the metacarpus, characterizing the power of the skeleton, up to 12-13 cm and not less than 10 cm

The wrist is strong, of moderate length, set obliquely. The hind limbs are less powerful than the front, with a long thigh, a short calf, and a long metatarsus. The angles (in the knee and hock joints) are well expressed. The long and powerful tarsus is set almost vertically and laid back. The width of the hind limbs is somewhat larger than that of the fore limbs (this is not noticeable “by sight” due to the more powerful development of the muscles. The anterior shoulder girdle). The set of the hind and fore limbs should be strictly parallel to the axis of the body, which is very important for the free, proper movement of the dog. The paws are muscular, large and wide, the fingers are collected; middle fingers are elongated; if there is a fifth (“profitable”) toe on the hind legs, it is removed so that it does not interfere with the movement in the snow. The tail reaches the hock, but it is also slightly shorter; The typical style of keeping it is “logs”, like a wolf. In the excited state and on the move, the dog’s tail is somewhat elevated, but not above the back line; if he is thrown on his back with a sickle or a ring, this proves the presence of hunting blood – fishing huskies. Chopped tails are undesirable, as the dog, with a well-pubescent tail, covers his head when he lies down and curls up.

The nature of the coat is very typical and is an important feature of the pedigree sled dog. It is sharply divided into a well-developed, thick and relatively long undercoat and coarse, hard and straight guard hair, pointing backwards and covering the whole body tightly. The greatest length (8-10 cm) of the guard hair reaches on the neck, back and tail; on the neck is often formed the so-called collar. The base of the ears and the ears themselves are covered with thick hair outside. Tail trimmed well and evenly. Limbs covered with short, thick and tough coat. Hanging on the tail and feathering on the limbs are not typical. The paws are trimmed with short, stiff hair, forming a kind of brush; this expands the working surface of the paw and gives the dog stability on the ice. If the paws are soft, long wool, snow is packed into it, interfering with the movement; This wool needs to be cut. Color does not matter; the most common are black, brown and gray of different shades (with and without tan points), piebald and white. With dark colors with a tan, typical symmetrical spots above the eyes are typical “double eyed”, giving the head a peculiar expression.

The success of the training and the effective use of the sled dog depend on its corporeal strength, endurance, speed, and behavior, such as its higher nervous activity. For a thoroughbred northeastern sled dog of the USSR, calm, balanced behavior is characteristic (sanguine type); she is hardy, workable and gives in to training well.

There are indications in the literature that the sled dog does not bark, but only howls, is incorrect; she barks like domestic dogs, but howls more often and more than others, which is explained by the conditions of her keeping.


The following basic defects and defects directly affect the performance of a sled dog.

1. “Raw” physique, signs of which are loose muscles, folds in the neck (dewlap, dewlap), saggy lips (flews), drooping eyelids, sunken eyes; very thick, soft, hung ears; very rough heavy head; squat.

2. Lightweight, overdeveloped physique – a boggy appearance, lightweight and thinned bones, thin delicate skin, large and very thin ears, upright legs, strongly tightened abdomen, light head with a lightweight, pointed muzzle.

3. Wrong set of limbs – legs turned outward or inward, clubfoot, cow set of hind limbs, straight, or saber hind legs; Straight metacarpus, plyasti (inclined) tarsus; soft flowing paws.

4. Slack or humped back; wide, narrow, underdeveloped chest; square format; all signs of rickets and underdevelopment; wrong bite, small, rare, carious teeth.

5. Long, wavy, shaggy or curly and soft wool; lack of undercoat.

6. Excessive excitability, increased nervousness, phlegm, lethargy, cowardice; excessive malice towards man.

In addition, there are basic signs of an unbreeding sled dog, which, however, do not interfere with its productive work: an upturned muzzle, a rounded skull, hanging or semi-hanging ears; rounded, on the vykat, straight set bright eyes; tail hook, rod or steering wheel.

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Due to the great need of the rapidly growing Arctic economy in dog transport and the inability to provide it with purebred dogs alone, sled dog breeds with hunting-like huskies (partly deer-legged) are widely used. When selecting such dogs for work in the Arctic, it is necessary to pay attention to the following main features.

1. The total value; height not lower than 55 cm at the withers, weight not less than 25 kg.

2. Correct physique and lack of major defects in the exterior (poorness, poor structure of the limbs, sagging back, underdeveloped chest, etc.),

3. The length of the limbs (squat, short-legged dogs are unsuitable).

4. The quality of the coat (smooth-haired; with poor development or lack of undercoat; with a soft, long, shaggy coat).

5. The presence and quality of teeth, the correctness of the dental system.

6. Body type (rough, heavy, “raw”, as well as light, graceful, borzova dogs) are unsuitable.

7. Age *; dogs are most suitable for work from two to six years.

8. Paul; preference is given to males, as they are stronger and there is no need to stop their use, as is the case during estrus in bitches.

All unbreeding males should be castrated. This greatly improves their working qualities in the harness, and also reduces the breeding of non-pedigree dogs.

Bringing dogs, greyhounds, terriers of different breeds, hounds, Caucasian Shepherd Dogs and other dogs into the Arctic to work in teams is not only completely useless, but also harmful, as the result of breeding spoils the most valuable breed of polar sled dogs.

There are two main ways to harness sled dogs in a sled: tsugom and fan.


Forms of the stern cart: A – in pairs, B – herringbone, C – goose.

When tugovogo dog sleds have pairs of, one after another, on the sides of the draft – the rope (belt of leather bearded seal or walrus); The rod is attached to a horizontal arc tied to the heads of the sled runners. For each dog, a soft harness is worn over the head — an alyk sewn from tanned leather, raw leather, fur or wicked tape 4–4,5 cm wide. The alyk consists of a side strap that lies on the chest and runs along the body on both sides; in the lumbar region, both ends of the belt are sewn (or fastened with a metal ring) and in this place a carabiner swivel rotating on its axis is attached to the side belt. To the other end of the swivel on a thin but durable strap attach a wooden stick – fastener. The side belt is supported on the dog’s chest tightly stitched neck strap. At the end of the chest to the side belt tightly live dorsal, as well as the abdominal belt, one end of which is tightly fastened; on the other, free, there is a small clasp stick, which is inserted into the belt loop, sewn to the side strap, passing from the other side of the dog. So that the alyk does not rub the skin anywhere, all the seams in the knots are made from above. Two belt loops are woven into (or sewn in) every 120-150 cm, to which a canopy attached to a dog is fastened with sticks. 8-12 dogs (4-6 couples) are usually harnessed to a harness team, but four can be limited; in large freight cards sometimes they harness up to eighteen dogs. Zug team manage voice. (For distant, multi-day trips, more than 6 dogs are not harnessed. Otherwise, you only have to carry food – there will be no space left for the load – V.S.)

Sled for such teams make relatively narrow and long – triple-dust (smaller) or quad-dust (more). The most important feature of the sleds for the stern train is the absence of hard, dead bindings; all of them are made of belts, thanks to which the sled acquires flexibility, elasticity and strength, it easily withstands impacts from the hummocks, struktes, etc .; belt mounts act as shock absorbers. Sliding on movable belt mounts has tremendous practical advantages.

Particular attention should be paid also to the runners – ease of movement depends on them; the best runners are from the butt part of dry straight birch. Their length for three-dust sled – 260-300 cm, for four-dust – 350-400 cm; width – respectively – from 10 to 12-14 cm (sledges with narrower runners cut snow and get stuck).

The lower sliding surface of the runners is smooth, without a groove; the front head is thicker. The top of the runners is bent upwards and has a pear-shaped thickening; they are folded in a steamed condition so that the heads of the runners go up smoothly, and the tops of the heads fall 3–4 cm above the load sled. At 50 cm from one another on the runners are located conical elevations (the entire width of the skid); their length at the base is 18–20 cm, at the top is 12–14 cm. In these elevations cylindrical nests are made, 5–6 cm deep, into which the hoofs are inserted. In addition, in these elevations, two through holes are drilled with a diameter of about 1, 5 cm (one in front, the other behind the nest) in order to skip the strap holding the spade with the runner. The best material for the manufacture of kopylyev – birch. The length of the spear is 60-70 cm. The upper part, 40-46 cm long, is turned into a cylinder (about 10 cm in diameter), having a flat circular thickening (15 cm in diameter); in the center of this bulge a hole is made (3 cm in diameter) for belts attaching the tips to the skid. The lower part of the pit, about 10 cm long, is also grinded in the form of a cylinder with a small cone at the end, the diameter of the lower part of the pole is 4-5 cm. The kopylya for the four-fold sled is somewhat larger.

Assembly or, as they say, mating sleds lead. In cylindrical nests of elevations on the runners insert the lower end of the hoof. Each hoof is tied to a skid with a belt made of raw tissue or seal leather (or leather of bearded seal); for this, the belt is passed through one of the holes drilled in the thickening of the skid, then it is lifted upwards, the tip is raised through the hole in the thickening, and on the other side the skid is again passed through the second hole in the skid; then again they pass it through the hole in the top of the top, etc. After having passed the belt two or three times, fasten it on the base of the spade.

When all the diggings are strengthened, they begin to bind the sled. In the upper part of the jig they make a well-shaped notch where they put a transverse round bar. The junction is crossed cross-wise several times with a belt, which is then wrapped around a transverse bar, and the opposite end is attached in the same way with the other end. When mating hoofs with crossbars, care must be taken to ensure that the runners do not warp; they must be strictly parallel, and their sliding surface is horizontal and lie in the same plane, i.e., fit snugly to the floor along the entire length and width of the skid. The working height of the sled, i.e., the level at which the transverse bars are tied, should not be less than 45-50 cm in order to ensure a good cross on uneven snow surface and small hummocks. The length of the bars (the distance between the runners) in the three-dust sled is 55-65 cm, in the four-dust 70-75 cm. Thin boards with two or three openings of 4-5 cm are laid on the transverse bars (for relief). Front and back fasten them with transverse straps and tied with straps to the bars. The flooring should protrude 30–40 cm behind the front trough and not reach the end of the runners by 20–25 cm. Then the heads of the runners are fastened with a transverse bar, inserted into the sockets, drilled in the internal grooves of the tops of the heads, or fastened with stitched knots, running from the tops of the heads to the base of the first squares. The tops of the hoofs are tied with two thin poles – vardines (one on each side of the sleds), attached to the hoppers with thin straps; the gap between the vortices and the flooring, as well as the backside, is braided with a rope, like a net, forming ribs that increase the volume of the cargo area of ​​the sleds.

A “ram” is tied to the heads of the runners – a horizontal arc of a birch pole with a diameter of 5–8 cm, to which a rod is attached; The ram protects the heads from blows from the sstrugi, stones and hummocks. To secure it, a notch is made on the outside of the tops of the heads, the ends of the ram are interfered with and tied with a belt. The ends of the ram are somewhat backward; they are connected to the ends of vardines with a belt or rope; the heads of the runners are raised and a shock absorber is formed. The combination of a ram and heads of runners with sled gives a solid and flexible design.

To facilitate the progress of the sleds and the preservation of the skid, metal undercuts and ice sub-skids are used. Steel undercuts make the entire width of the runners and fasten with screws in places where the runner has a thickening, and the screw cap should go into the hole of the undercut; protruding caps inhibit movement. The sledge with ice partitions acquires a special ease of travel. The surface of the runners is smeared with a thin layer of a semi-liquid solution of clayey soil or peat. When this layer freezes, it is evenly greased in the cold (preferably with a brush from a reindeer tail) with fresh water, and an ice layer 1-2 cm thick is formed. For greater traction with the skid, the first layer can be covered with flour paste. During the ride, the ice cover is, of course, erased, and sometimes breaks off; therefore, before leaving it must be renewed. Going on a long journey, they take with them water in a tin (with a lid) stored in a bag of deer or dog fur. In the spring, when the snow begins to melt and water appears, ice podlozki replace undercuts; however, the sledge is not so easy on them.

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To control the movement of the card, stretch the rope to the ram (where the pots are attached), or tie the ram in an upright position to the sled at the first hoofs. Having jumped on the move, with the help of this rope (or holding onto a ram) they take the sled to the side in order to go around stones, zastrugs, small hummocks, etc., without changing speed; it is not difficult when moving even heavily loaded sledges. Load capacity, ease of movement and ease of slug management depend on the proper stowage. It should be evenly distributed on the right and left half. Heavy, but low-volume cargo is placed in the front, more voluminous – in the back. In front, the load is placed no higher than 60 cm from the flooring so that you can see the team and the road. Toward the middle, they put a soft load flush with the vars; this is the place of the rider. Next, the load is laid to a height of 1-1,5 m, forming a sort of back, on which the rider relies. Before laying the load on the sled they lay a panel of thin canvas, burlap or dressed reindeer skins – rovdug. When the load is laid, it is tightly wrapped with this cloth and firmly tied with a rope or a belt made of walrus (or bearded seal) leather. The cargo must be packaged and tied so that it is one with the sled and does not crumble during its overturning, shocks and on peals. All that is required on the road for hunting, work and short rest, securely tied over the load or removed under the rope to always have at hand. Guns and rifles in the covers are recommended to be tied along the sleds to vardins with the butt forward.

Correctly laying the load on the sled of the waist train

For braking narts use the so-called Ostol. A strong wooden stake is taken, about a meter long, with a thickening at the end. On this thickening put a steel or iron tip. Make a comfortable handle, which is tied with a belt loop. Ostol is inserted on the side of the sled, before the second pile, or vertically sticking the sled in front.

Turning to the left, ostolom inhibit the left side (and vice versa). For stability and greater braking force, second belt loops tie wide belt loops where they are inserted. To brake the sled, sometimes they also put ropes under the skid. You can also slow down on the move, giving the sled a little roll in one direction, changing the position of your body or standing on one of the runners. When you need to quickly stop the team (this is often the case when hunting a polar bear), use the following method: the sledge is tipped on its side, jumping off and flood it; the team immediately stops, since it is impossible to move the overturned sledge. Soft movable mounts and well-packed cargo allow you to apply this technique without any risk.

Dogs are harnessed to a sled already loaded and prepared for departure. Tension and tighten the Ostol. They put on alyky dogs and connect them with a brace. Then they take out the island, give a command to the movement and at the same time push the sled out of the place (pull the ram aside). Having driven off a little, the sled is stopped, straightened the tangled harness and move on. Usually at first the dogs get very hot. Often they sit down to empty the bowels; if it happens on the move, the rear dogs slightly disperse to the sides, the movement slows down, and so that the sled does not run into animals, it needs to be slightly slowed down. However, the dogs soon retract and move onto a level, calm trot. With rapid breathing, they stick their tongues out, and this should not be considered a sign of their tiredness.

On the way, approximately every hour, you need a 5-10 minute stop, during which they check and fix the harness, inspect the paws of dogs, etc. (at the stops, they clean the paws themselves from the accumulated snow). If the dog jumped to the other side of the trap when moving (which makes the course straight and prevents its partner), without stopping the sleds, run up to the dog, pick up the pockets with your hand and throw over it; Sometimes they lift the dog by the skin on his back and throw it over his neck to his place.

As already mentioned, the usual sledding consists of 8-12 dogs, but for a hunter to travel a short distance (hunting for seal at the edge of fast ice, inspecting traps, bear attacks, etc.), four or five is enough; if the dogs are very good, three is enough, but a small and light sledge is needed. So you can freely go for 10-20 km, taking with him to the sled and light (shooting) boat, if the hunter goes to the edge of the fast ice. The same team is used on a long trip to accompany heavily loaded sleds, which you will not chase after the beast and you will not go to the side to inspect the area; the light sledge is allowed to be the first — following the rest of them, it’s better to run.

Moving with a harness, choose the best "road", avoiding rocky places, and on ice – hummocks and the so-called salt marsh or brine (a mixture of crystallized salt, snow and water on the surface of the ice). Moving on the crust, melted sea ice and granular snow, dogs often cut off the crumbs of the fingers. To protect them, in the spring, the dogs are put on stockings made of dressed deer or seal leather, with a sole separately stitched; they are tied with a ribbon or elastic at the wrist on the front legs and below the hock on the back.

When driving loaded sledges and fast driving make smooth turns. Descending from the mountain, the sled is guided sideways on a slope and strongly brakes, and the climbs are taken from the course. To stop laden narts choose a flat place.

Tsugovoy harness controlled voice, applying mainly commands: "forward", "right", "left," stand "," lie "," stand ", as well as exciting shouting dogs -" driving words ".

Each dog should know its nickname, the command "to me" and "no". All these requirements, in particular the teams “to the right” and “to the left”, relate mainly to dogs walking in the head of the team, to leaders; the rest, moving behind them, do not require special training and quickly learn how to work in a team. The leaders perceive the command and turn in the right direction, set the pace of movement, stop the team.

Having at least the average qualities of a leader, it is very easy to train other dogs, harnessed them one by one. When you mate the most suitable dog with a leader, you can quickly, without special training, prepare a second leader. Riding dogs without leaders, who know the team, when a person has to go in front, and the team runs behind him on the trail, is inappropriate.

Training dogs to work in the team takes a little time and is available to everyone; choose two – three of the most suitable dogs from which you can make the leaders. To do this, use a small, light sled. At first, dogs are accustomed to alyk. Wearing it, you need a few hours to walk around and run with the dog, tied to alyku leash. The dog naturally rushes forward; they are encouraged by the “forward” team, making sure that the leash is taut and the dog is dragging the person behind it. It should be remembered that outside of travel dogs must be constantly on a leash; therefore, they are accustomed to accustoming to alyk with a walk, with a natural desire for movement. Continuing the training, they harness two to three dogs in a sled. One person sits on the sled, the other moves about thirty meters. The seated man gives the command “forward”, and the second one calls the dogs at the same time. If they cannot take it away, the seated one gets up and, moving the dogs around, makes a movement forward. As soon as they went, the man sits down again on the sled. After two or three lessons, when dogs become accustomed to dragging a loaded sled, the second “teacher” becomes unnecessary and even harmful: if you train the dogs for a long time, having a person in front of you who is calling for a team, they will develop an undesirable habit of moving only on the trail or the person ahead.

Teaching the team “stop” is performed automatically at each stop: detaining the sled with an ostol, at the same time giving the command “stop” For two or three days of training, dogs develop a clear conditioned reflex, and they perform this command well.

As soon as the team is well trained to pull the sled at the “forward” command, the dogs are trained to make turns. Having braked the ice of the sled, jump off it and, holding the rope tied to the ram, run to the right of the team, clearly and aggressively repeating the command "to the left" (or vice versa). Pressed by humans, dogs turn left, associating their action with a specific sound team; usually two to three days of training for several hours is enough for the team to learn how to make turns. After the turn, the command “forward” is given again, and the movement continues. It is also possible to train future leaders in turns, working with them one by one not in a sled, but on a leash attached to alyk. As soon as the first two or three begin to work, one dog is gradually added to them; it is much easier to teach them. When the initial stage of training is completed, further success depends on systematic training. Of course, not every dog ​​can make a good leader, but as a result of a long workout, you get a full-fledged leader.

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As the training and acquisition of teams to determine the places of the dogs. The most intelligent, disciplined and diligent are harnessed to the front pairs, and others closer to the narts so that they can be influenced better. Bear dogs are also placed closer to a sled, so that, if necessary, they can be quickly pulled down.

When training in the future, sometimes it is necessary to apply a physical effect. To do this, they usually use the beach time 2-3 cm wide and 90-100 cm long, on a stick of the same length. The relationship of a person with a harnessed dog can not be built only on the attachment of an animal to its owner. Their complete obedience is necessary, based on the constant maintenance of absolute power and power of man. This, however, does not mean that it is necessary to constantly beat dogs and shout at them, not letting the scourge out of their hands. The performance of the driven and pulled cart is very low. With proper handling of the dogs, it is enough to knock the pole with a scourge on a vardin, hit the draft or slam it with the scourge in the air, so that the whole team will go on the move or stop the started fight.


In fan sledding, unlike tugovoy, all dogs are placed in one row – a fan, and are controlled mainly not by the voice, but by the reins and the long pole – the trochee. The harness and control method used when using reindeer vehicles are borrowed here. Of the various options for fan sledding, the most rational is the following.

Fan Belt Forms:

A is a full fan; B – ledge; B – transitional.

Dogs are harnessed in pairs in the straps made by the type of deer. The long belt, 4-4, 5 cm wide, has two large loops at the ends, tightly fastened with belt stitching. The strap is put on over the dog’s head, passed into the ring tied to the straps of the sled, and put on the second dog. To keep the strap from falling off, a narrow strap is attached in the middle of the chest, passing between the front legs and tied to the strap on the back. Sometimes the strap is worn over the head and one front leg (in the right pair of dogs – through the left leg, in the left – through the right leg). All dogs are joined from the collar to the collar with a belt or a thin chain. Leaders put on the edges of the team. The best leader is attached to the collar to the reins. The strap of each pair slides along the ring attached to the sled, adjusting the work of the dogs and showing which ones are pulling worse. The chain connecting them for collars, will not allow dogs to lag behind or rush ahead.

Nart for a dog sled make shorter, but wider than for a tsugovoy. The so-called Novaya Zemlia sled for fan sleds is, unlike tugovoy, on dead bindings. Narrower (6-8 cm) runners are almost square in cross section. Three or four rectangular bars, substituted with slope of the peaks inwards, serve as hoppers. The length of the runners is 180-200 cm, the width of the sled between the runners is 100-125 cm, the height of the sled is 50-60 cm. They are fastened with wooden studs. The heads of the hoofs are firmly attached to the heads of the runners with a longitudinal bar replacing the vardin. The heads of the runners are also securely fastened to each other by a cross bar. On the tops of the runners, a strongly fortified belt is wound at several turns with sewn rings into which the straps are passed (for each pair of dogs, one ring). 8-10 and even 12 dogs are harnessed to the sled.

In some areas (for example, in the lower reaches of the Yenisei) other types of fan teams are used. The straps are made single (extreme shorter, medium longer) and tightly attached not to the belt, but to the ram (as in a tugovoy team). The leader is located in the center of the team on the longest strap, and the straps of the following dogs are shorter on the body, thanks to which the team is located on the ledge; attached to the leader’s collar rein. Manage the reins and the team, which with this type of team is already of great importance. Harness an odd number of dogs.

Assessing the advantages and disadvantages of types of teams, you need to recognize that the fan has great maneuverability (especially on smooth ice) and you can make very sharp turns on it. All dogs are at the same time under the direct influence of man, of which it is easier to squeeze out the maximum speed.

However, the carrying capacity of the fan doggy is low, since the number of dogs is limited and the effectiveness of using the force of power is low, and the passability in the hummocks, due to the width of the fan and the sled, is worse. Zugovaya team less maneuverable, it can not make sharp turns. Dogs are controlled by voice. But the load capacity, the use of the force of the force, the passability in the hummocks and in deep snow, is better with tugovojs.


In addition to use in sleds, sled dogs can be adapted for towing a person on skis. A couple of dogs in alykah are tied to a long leash, and they quickly pull the skier. This sport is very interesting.

Sled dogs are used in the summer, harnessed to a specially designed two- or four-wheeled cart, with a soft harness, without drawbar, arcs and other fixed methods of attachment. In summer, sled dogs are also widely used for towing boats, canoes, rafts along rivers and along the seashore. In the usual harness, several dogs are pulled on a batchev boat, etc. Well-circled animals walk along the shore on their own, and others need to be accompanied, sometimes helping them.

In addition, in summer, sled dogs are used to carry cargo with a pack. A pack of soft tarpaulin (or thick linen), hemmed with buckskin leather, is worn on a harness. Dogs are paired on leashes (disciplined go without a leash). The weight of a pack is usually about a quarter of the dog’s weight, but it can reach 40%. A good riding dog with 7-9 kg of cargo makes a day trip of 15-20 km. In addition to the usual pack, they also use the "drag" – a device with two short light sticks, the ends of which drag along the ground.

Sled dogs are very hardy and unpretentious. During off-hours, they are constantly kept on a leash or locked up (except for leaders and bearmen, who, as a rule, are not tied). The simplest method of maintenance is on stakes, scored in a place protected from the wind at a distance of 1.5-2-2 meters from one another; in winter, the base of the stakes is frozen. Put on a chain with a collar. So that the dogs do not get entangled in the chains and do not twist it, two swivels are needed: near the collar and near the belt loop, worn on a stake. A booth, box or barrel, warmed with snow in winter, is placed near the stake. If possible, they build a dog lover for the winter, also covered with snow; in a dog lover they make bunks where animals are placed on a leash. It is necessary to monitor the cleanliness: clean the floor, sprinkle with sand, etc. Places of summer maintenance, near stakes, change from time to time.

When parked, dogs are kept on a thin long chain, to which a short chain with a swivel and collar is tightly attached every two meters. Chain stretch right in the snow; one end is tied to the sled, the other end is fixed with the help of an ostola in the snow. To hide the dogs from the wind, pits are pulled out in the snow. So you can keep the dogs and wintering.

Sled dogs are fed once a day – in the evening. After eating, the dog lies down and calmly digests the food; it takes 10-12 hours. Dogs overloaded with uncooked food go very hard. Habitual feeding in the evening makes the dogs better go in harness by the end of the day, hoping for a quick meal.

The best dog food is meat and fat of sea animals, fish, poultry. In the summer, they are given soups from a variety of cereals with meat and fish, and in winter they are given meat and fish, often in frozen form (it is better to feed at least a little thawed out). Fish is harvested in dried and dried form; This is yukola. With summer harvesting, meat and fish often boil ("sour"). For a good riding dog in work, 1, 5-2 kg of meat or fish per day is necessary. Dogs should always have a normal fatness and a small supply of subcutaneous fat. On long trips, to save on weight of food, take biscuits from flour, meat or fish, as well as pemmican. Salted meat and fish should not be given as food, and if such food is still to be given, it should be soaked thoroughly.

From the originator.

Sled dogs, as a rule, are fed once a day, in the evening (to be better pulled by the end of the day). In order to save the weight of transportable food, fish caviar is harvested and frozen. The caviar briquette, the size of a fist, is equal in calories to a fish of one and a half to two kg in weight. – V.S.)

Thoroughbred polar sled dogs learn food very well, tolerate fasting comparatively easily and quickly restore strength and well-being. This most valuable property is developed by a long cruel selection in the harsh conditions of the Arctic.

All males, except for the best producers, must be castrated. After that, they become calmer (less fights in harness) and resilient. For the reproduction and repair of livestock for each team of twelve dogs you need to have at least two purebred bitches and two to three producers. Such a composition will provide high working qualities of the team and the necessary reproduction.


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