Dog sledding is no longer limited to dedicated mushers or people competing in the Iditarod. More and more people have discovered it as a great hobby and family activity. Sled courses and competitions are becoming increasingly popular.
Malamutes and Huskies are the Dogs of Choice as sled dogs, but many other breeds and mixed breeds over 30 pounds can be taught to pull the sled. Competition teams can consist of one or more dogs.
It is an excellent way to exercise and bond with dogs, get out into the wilderness, and involve the whole family in a fun activity. Teenagers especially are often reluctant to do family activities, but few can resist the adventure of dog sledding, especially when the family honor is at stake in a sledding competition.
Over the past 15 years there has been almost 100 percent increase in the number of dog-sled events. The sled-dog market has grown an average 10 to 15 percent annually.
The costs involved put it at the high end of family activities. Keeping dogs, depending on the number, can cost up to $1000 a month. Unless you have experience, you may need to hire someone to train you and your dogs. Race equipment, maintenance, and transportation can add hundreds more and, if you choose to compete, entry fees can add another $200 or so per event.
Which makes it considerably less expensive than…oh, I don’t know…yachting, racing thoroughbred horses, polo…but this gives you a small idea of the financial commitment of the mushers in the Iditarod.