Dog Mushing New Hampshire
Come Mushers Association
Everyone pictures the handsome
See reminds you to
Siberian Husky pulling a sled, and Sled Dogs
many Siberians do just that. They are
often seen on the trail pulling sleds for in
both racing and recreational mushers.
Traditional northern breeds such as
Malemutes and Samoyeds are also
common on the trail. But you may be Sled Dog Race Schedules
surprised to learn that people “mush” and Other Resources:
other breeds of dogs as well including
Setters, Dalmatians, Labrador Retriev- New England Sled Dog Club:
ers, and even Border
Collies. Perhaps the Sled Dog Central:
most common dog www.sleddogcentral.com
seen today at races
NH Bureau of Trails:
in New England is
the Alaskan Husky, a
mixed-breed dog NH Snowmobile Association:
that is bred specifi- www.nhsa.com
cally for racing. The NH Mushers Association:
only absolute requirement for a sled www.nhmushersassoc.org
dog is that it is athletic, in good physi-
cal condition and has a love of running.
If you attend a sled
dog race or happen to Snowmobile and ATV Riders:
encounter a dogsled • Share the trail – be aware that you
team on the trail, the may encounter dog sled teams.
first thing you’ll notice
• Use caution when approaching
is that the dogs abso-
lutely love what they
curves or passing. Promoting Safe
are doing. You can see • Maintain a safe speed. and Enjoyable
them at races leaping • Remember safety on the trail is
in the air and barking,
Experiences For All
as they impatiently wait on Trails Throughout
their turn. Or you may Funding provided by:
see them on the trail, New Hampshire Bureau of Trails
moving swiftly and silently through the Recreational Trails Program
snow. Sled dogs love to run!
the mushers responsibility to keep his
What to Expect team safe on the right side of the trail. What Mushers Do
When You Meet a Most trails are used by snowmo- to Promote Safety
biles and ATVs as well as dog teams.
Team on the Trail Sled dogs are accustomed to motorized Safety Guidelines for Mushers
vehicles — and dog teams follow the Winter trails in New Hampshire are used by
Y ou may encounter teams with any-
where from one to twenty dogs on
the trail. Such teams may be pulling a
same rules as snowmobiles. However,
given the hilly and curvy nature of our
trails in New England, riders of motor-
many and as such, all users have the right to
expect safe use of these trails. You should
expect to meet nearly anyone and anything
sled or skier through the snow — or a ized vehicles may on the trails. Your presence on the trails
should not present a safety issue to anyone.
wheeled cart, car chassis, or ATV when not see or hear an
These guidelines were adopted in a joint
there is no snow. Generally, dog teams approaching team. effort of mushers and the State of New
are configured as a line of dogs in Accidents can Hampshire.
pairs, with the driver occur when snow- DOGS — Dogs should be up to date with their
(called the musher) mobiles meet each immunizations. You are totally responsible
riding behind. other, or dog for the conduct, safety and well being of your
teams, unexpect- dogs.
Keep in mind that
edly on the trail. EQUIPMENT — Make sure your equipment is in
a team of dogs may
Riders and dog teams should be sound working order and you are able to
be moving very fast stop and remain stopped on the trails.
aware of each other on the trail and
and is incredibly
use caution when approaching or CONTROL — Never take more dogs than you
strong. Driving a dog team is like water can safely control! Trained dogs and proper
passing. Maintaining a safe speed is
skiing — the length of the team may be equipment are the key to successful control.
the key to everyone’s safety. Many
dozens of feet long, and control of the You are responsible for the behavior and
snowmobilers enjoy stopping to admire control of your dogs.
sled depends on maintaining tension in
or photograph dog teams. Above all,
the line. As with water skiing, it takes VISIBILITY — Being seen gives others the
please don’t hesitate to talk to the opportunity to be alert to your presence on
quite a distance to turn or stop. How-
musher when in doubt or just to be the trails. It does not mean they have an
ever, sleds don’t have steering wheels.
neighborly. obligation to give any special right of way.
The driver controls the team through
They may as a courtesy, but are not required
voice commands alone. Many trails are also shared by to do so. The responsibility for being under
hunters, cross-country skiers, hikers, control and in the right place on the trail still
Of course, the dogs are the key to
equestrians, and others. All trail users falls on the musher.
this sport, and it’s useful to understand
should be aware of snowmobiles and REFLECTIVE MATERIAL AND LIGHTS— The brighter
their behavior. Experienced sled dogs
each other as well as dog teams on the the better. Reflective jackets (or vests) are
pretty much ignore all distractions and best. A headlamp and some sort of light on
trail. And if you bring your own dog
keep on running. However, younger or your lead dogs should be considered the
along, please be particu-
inexperienced dogs may be frightened absolute minimum requirement for safe
larly cautious. All trail
by loud noises or distracted by operation during darkness.
users, including mushers,
passers-by. And while mushers train TRAIL USAGE — The safest possible way to run
are responsible for con-
their leaders to stay on the right side of dogs on the trails is to have an “escort
trolling their own animals vehicle” (snowmobile, ATV). Though not
the trail, most dogs have a natural
to avoid accidents. Safety always possible, it is the safest. KEEP TO
tendency to “cut the corner” when
on the trails is everyone’s THE RIGHT! Rules of the road indicate that
going around turns. None-the-less, it’s
job in New Hampshire. users should keep to the right. You must
train your dogs to run on the right hand side