Dog Sledding In Alberta: Truly A Canadian Experience

Photo credit here.

Photo credit here.

If you want to have an adventure that is distinctly Canadian, you can do better than dog sledding in Alberta. This is an ancient practice that has been transformed into a modern sport and leisure activity. You can have the thrill of sledding across the pristine wilderness of this region which is surrounded by the majestic Rocky Mountains.

Origins of Dog Sledding

While today when people think of dog sledding they usually think of races such as the Iditarod, the practice goes back many centuries. In fact, it is estimated that various fluffy dog breeds, which are well suited for cold weather, were used to pull sleds around 3,000 years ago in regions such as Siberia, Alaska, Lapland and Mongolia.

The sled dogs of today have evolved into several distinct breeds of dogs. These include Siberian Huskies, Alaskan Malamutes, Canadian Eskimo Dogs and Greenland Dogs. If you go dog sledding in Alberta, you are likely to meet these and similar breeds. Of course, dogs for sledding are chosen for their endurance and willingness to run, not for purity of breed, as in dog shows. For this reason, sled dogs are not always pure breeds, but may have a mixed lineage. All that really matters is that they are happy pulling sleds!

The Modern Dog Sledding Experience

Fortunately, you don’t have to be either a nomadic tribesman or an experienced dog sled racer to experience the unique thrill of this great sport. In places such as Alberta, you can sign up with a company that offers dog sledding experiences even if you are a complete novice.

With an experienced guide, you can learn the basics of dog sledding. You will learn how dogs are fed, trained and harnessed for sleds, as well as the different types of racing. Whether you want to learn the sport so that you can participate in it yourself or just enjoy an organized dog sled adventure, this can be a memorable vacation. Before doing so, however, you should be prepared for an outdoor adventure. It takes a certain fortitude to be out for many hours or days in the cold wilderness. Needless to say, you must dress properly, as temperatures routinely drop well below 0 degrees Celsius.

There is nothing quite like being pulled across the snow by big dogs who thoroughly enjoy the experience. Interacting with these well trained dogs is also part of the fun. While they are work dogs and not pets, they are still lovable and affectionate. It gives participants a chance to live closely with both animals and the natural landscape in a way that is uncommon nowadays. Anyone seeking a uniquely Canadian adventure should consider dog sledding in Alberta.