Sled Dog Day 2025 is on Sunday, February 2, 2025: how many times a day should a sled dog be fed?

Sunday, February 2, 2025 is Sled Dog Day 2025. A Day in the Life of a Sled Want to adopt a sled-dog

how many times a day should a sled dog be fed?

I know for short distance mushing I feed once aday the opposite time of day I want to sled them. However I have other mushers that I know feed twice a day. That comes down to what the owner wants to feed. If long distance mushing I am not entirely sure I do know there has to be a break after they feed before sledding to prevent bloat. If the stomach is full its more likely to flip and bloat. However there are crappy mushers that dont care and feed whenever.

I feed nutro high energy, my musher friend in germany feeds bosch high energy (the brand is again up to opinion of owner) I feed them around an average of 4 cups a day but this is less or more per dog. Also right before I sled I have my dogs drink a whole bowl of water to stay hydrated. In order to get them to drink all the water we mix wet cat food in it to flavor it. This is quite common practice to do about 30 mins prior to sledding and it also gives them some more calories and an energy boost before running. Its usually about 2 gallons per can of cat food so its mostly water.

Where did dog sledding originate?

Where did dog sledding originate?

Dog sledding probably origionated where ever the wolf was domesticated first. Where it is know to have existed first is in Siberia.

The Chukchi people, whose name was derived either from the Chukchi word “Chukcha” meaning “rich in reindeer”, or the Russian “chavchu” meaning reindeer people, were primarily a reindeer-herding people living inland on the tundra with their reindeer herds. Like the Saami of Lapland, the nomadic herders used their reindeer products to make tools, clothing and construct their dwellings. Reindeer were the basis of their diet, and also served as transportation.

Their sled dogs were crucial to both the survival of the maritime Chukchi and the viability of their communities. Many of the characteristics still seen in today’s Siberian Husky have their origin in the Chukchi dogs going back several millenia. Their temperament for example, had to be equable enough for them to coexist peacefully with both humans and other dogs. They could work amicably as part of teams of 20 or more dogs and their temperament was a crucial survival factor – out on the ice in freezing arctic temperatures, a major dog fight could mean the team simply did not get home but froze to death. The Chukchi dogs were also sweet tempered enough to sleep with the children as “doggy duvets.” Night-time temperatures were measured by the number of dogs necessary to keep the kids warm – eg. three dog night, four dog night etc.

The economic and social importance of the Chukchi’s dogs was also reflected in their place in the Chukchi religion and mythology. A Chukchi legend held that two sled dogs guarded the gates of heaven where they had the power to reject anyone who had been cruel to dogs during their lifetime. Another legend claimed that during a time of famine, both human and dog populations were at risk of being wiped out by hunger. Only two baby puppies still remained alive, but with their mother dead, they had little chance of survival. A Chukchi woman suckled the pups at her breast so ensuring the survival of the breed and the co-dependent nature of the human-dog relationship.

The conventional wisdom concerning the origins of the modern day Siberian Husky, claims that the breed is a direct descendent in an unbroken line of pure breeding dating back some 1000, 2000 or 3000 years (depending which book/website you read). The reality is somewhat more complex and interesting. Many of the indigenous Siberian peoples have used sled dogs as transportation and have done so for thousands of years. Indeed the 3000 year benchmark so often used in discussions of Siberian Husky history may itself be a serious underestimate. The distinguished Russian researcher N.N.Dikov found evidence of Laika-type dogs in burials in the Kamchatka peninsular which dated back 10,000 years. ( Dog Sledding Way of Life in Kamchatka - B. I. Shiroky – PADS Newsletter #5).

In fact, the Siberian Husky and the Alaskan Malamute (along with 12 other breeds) have been identified as amongst 14 “ancient breeds” of domesticated dogs whose genetic lines have been distinct from the wolf for many thousands of years. Interestingly, this research shows that the recurrent myth about northern people’s interbreeding of dogs and wolves is just a myth with no genetic truth to it at all. (“Genetic Structure of the Purebred Domestic Dog” - Science, Volume 304, on May 21, 2004 . )

“a long interchange between the peoples of Siberia and the natives of Alaska did exist from ancient into modern times.” (John Douglas Tanner Jr – Alaskan Trails, Siberian Dogs pp15)

It is very likely that some interbreeding of their dogs may well have been the occasional result of such interaction. Indeed, an archeological excavation of ancient Ipuitak sites at Point Hope in Alaska in the 1940’s recovered dog remains some 2000 years old, which were positively identified by scientists as those of Siberian dogs, not local Alaskan breeds. (John Douglas Tanner Jr – Alaskan Trails, Siberian Dogs pp15)

Further evidence of such possible interbreeding over the millennia can be seen from the fact that the research into “ancient” breeds referred to above, also found that genetically, the Alaskan Malamute and the Siberian Husky were very closely related:

In addition, the Alaskan Malamute is shown to be very closely related to the Siberian Husky, and its place of origin is far western Alaska , across the Bering Strait from the homeland of the Siberian Husky’s ancestors.

– “New Breakthrough in Dog Genetics

Sled/packing dogs?

Sled/packing dogs?

First of all, to the people who keep insisting that the Siberian "is not for the long haul", I encourage you to brush up on your breed history...or at least read the breed standard: The Siberian was developed for "carrying a light load at a moderate speed over great distances" -- and this is the only purebred dog consistently used in races such as the Iditarod and Yukon Quest (1000+ miles).

So get over that.

Siberians are able pack dogs -- as others have said, using a dog to carry a backpack makes more sense than having them pull one -- and as long as you ensure that they are wearing the proper equipment, they can help pull you up those steep hills, too.

That said, you *will* need to take heat into consideration if planning a long-distance hike. Animal Artwork gave you some good ideas. The book by Charlene Labelle is also an excellent resource. I would think a Malamute a lot less ideal for a trek of this type, primarily due to overheating issues -- they are a large, heavy-built dog, and the heat gets to them quickly.

Remember that if you decide to take a dog on this hike with you, yes, you will have a companion to help share the load, but you will also be required to look after the both of you -- not just yourself. There will be addition supplies to carry (i.e. dog food, water dish, etc.) And when your hike is done, you will still have a dog with a 12-15 year lifespan.

Also keep in mind (and this is probably the MOST important thing) that a Siberian will need to be on-lead at all times. They aren't a "stick with you" kind of dog, especially in a forested area with lots to do.

There are other breeds that can also carry a pack, but may not have the endurance of a Siberian. A lot of the hunting dogs (i.e. Labradors) have good endurance, and may not be as prone to the heat.

ADD: I assume this hike is something a ways down the road, so that you would have adequate time to find a good breeder that could give you the qualities you're looking for (i.e. with endurance and good feet in their lines, as well as a low incidence of hip problems), raise the puppy to maturity (you wouldn't want to take an immature dog on a trek of that distance), train it to work with you on the trail and carry its own load, and then condition you both for the journey...? Right?

Holidays also on this date Sunday, February 2, 2025...