Dryland Sled Dog Racing
In Christchurch, since we rarely have snow in winter, all our racing and training is done on dryland, usually through forests and on four wheel drive tracks. Depending on how many dogs you have and what you enjoy, there is something for everyone, including:
- Rig Racing
- Junior Races
Rig racing is the main dryland sled dog event. Teams of up to 8 dogs pull a 3 or 4 wheeled cart (called a rig). The distance raced depends on the number of dogs in the team. For example, six dogs will race between 7 and 15 kilometres. The more the dogs in team, the further and faster they can travel. A six dog team is capable of speeds up to over 40 kilometers per hour. The speed a dog team can maintain is very dependent on the weather conditions, with it ideally being low temperature and humidity. For the safety of the dogs, races are never run if the temperature is over 13 degrees Celsius. This is the main reason why even though we don't need snow, dryland sled dog racing is a winter sport.
Sled dog scootering is similar to rig racing, except the dogs pull a two wheeled scooter. Scooters typically have a large front wheel (usually the size of mountain bike) and a smaller rear wheel (the size of a BMX bike). One or two dogs are used to tow the musher (rider) around the course. Because there are fewer dogs than rig racing, the races are shorter distances - normally 3 to 5 kilometers. A good two dog team will average over 30 kilometers per hour over a race of this distance - especially if the temperature is close to zero degrees (which is ideal).
Bikejoring where your dog wears a harness and pulls you on a mountain bike while the pedaling is optional. It is a great way to get started into dog sledding, particularly when you just have one dog. Once your dog gets the hang of pulls and running ahead of you, the only difficulty is making sure the towline doesn't go slack and get tangled in the front wheel of the bike.
Canicross is simply cross country running with your dog attached to you via a line and harness. It is generally much easier than running with your dog on leash since you can run more naturally, as well as faster. Club canicross races are 3 to 5 km in length and usually have a "mass start", which means all dogs and runners start together.