So far in this series, we covered an activity for the letter “A” ATV tours, “B” for birding and “C” for cabin renting. Next is an activity for the letter “D”, Dog Mushing. Dog Mushing is the Alaska state sport and, in addition to recreation, dog mushing is also used as a means of travel, especially in places that cannot be reached by road. The sled dog is not a single breed but can be any number of pure breeds or mixes, and bred for different purposes. A common type of sled dog is the husky, which is actually a mongrel, bred for speed and endurance. The first time I saw a sled dog, which was at the dog kennel at Denali National Park, I was surprised by their mutt-like appearance. Most of the dogs had floppy ears, and were all colors. Most had thin coats and long legs. They are not big dogs, about 55 pounds, and with light frames. I was expecting a broad and muscular dog with a long coat. As you can see from the dogs in the pictures, these are not the typical movie-star canines. Sled dogs tend to be quite social and this is an important trait, since they need to work as a team in close contact with each other.
There are dog sled kennels throughout Alaska and many of them offer tours, demonstrations and presentations. Some offer dog sled rides, but of course modified for the summer terrain, and some provide hands-on experiences. The DogGoneIt Kennel is down the road from us and they pass around puppies during the presentation. They say that physical contact promotes socialization so they encourage guests to hold and pet the youngsters. The Denali Wilderness Safari, also nearby, offers dog sled rides. So consider a dog kennel tour as part of your Alaskan adventure.