Skijoring with a dog is a sport in which a dog (or dogs), assist a cross-country skier. From one to three dogs are commonly used. The cross-country skier provides power with skis and poles, and the dog adds additional power by running and pulling. The skier wears a skijoring harness, the dog wears a sled dog harness, and the two are connected by a length of rope. There are no reins or other signaling devices to control the dog: The dog must be motivated by its own desire to run, and respond to the owner's voice for direction.
Many breeds of dog participate in skijoring. The only prerequisite is a desire to run down a trail and pull, which is innate in many dogs. Small dogs (less than 35 pounds) are rarely seen skijoring, because they do not greatly assist the skier, however since the skier can provide as much power as is required to travel, any enthusiastic dog can participate. Athletic dogs such as Pointers, Setters and herding breeds take to skijoring with glee, as do the northern breeds, such as Siberian and Alaskan Huskies, Malamutes, Samoyeds, and Inuit dogs, however any energetic dog is capable of enjoying this sport. Golden Retrievers, Giant Schnauzers, Labs, and many cross-breeds are seen in harness.
The sport is practiced recreationally, and competitively, both for long distance travel and for short (sprint) distances.
The skijoring belt worn by the skier is a wide waistband which is clipped around the skier’s waist, and which may include leg loops to keep it in position. Rock Climbing belts are also commonly used as skijoring belts.
The sled dog harness can be any of the several types of dog harness commonly used for dogsled racing.
The skijoring line is usually at least 1.5 metres (8 feet) long. A longer line is used for a three-dog team. Special quick-release hitches or hooks are available, used so that the skijorer may unhook the dog's lead rapidly.
Skijoring dogs are taught the classic dog sledding commands to start running (hike), turn (gee and haw), to stop (whoa) and to pass distractions (on by). Training is best done on foot, before the person straps on their skis, to avoid being pulled into objects, like trees or half-frozen creeks.
To participate in races, skijoring dogs must be taught to pass, or be passed by other teams without interfering with them. An overly friendly attempt by one dog to stop and greet another team passing at high speed can be as problematic as a dog that attempts to nip other dogs in passing. A top skijor racing team can pass other teams head-on, without even turning to look at them.
In North America, the North American Ski Joring Association holds competitions in which a rider guides the horse while the skier navigates a series of jumps and obstacles. In France, competitions involve a riderless horse, which is guided by the skier.
DOG DAYS OF WINTER; You've got a dog. You like to ski. Why not combine them? Skijoring has a dog pulling a towline while a person skis behind. It has been popular in Alaska for years and is gaining a following in Minnesota.(SPORTS)
Jan 18, 2006; Byline: Stephen Regenold Special to the Star Tribune Lou Palmersten leaned back on his skis, bracing as the line at his waist...
Polar express ; Picture yourself on skis, being pulled by your dog. Fast and outrageously fun - that's skijoring.
Dec 26, 2004; DEIRDRE FLEMING Staff Writer Portland Press Herald (Maine) 12-26-2004 Polar express ; Picture yourself on skis, being pulled by...