Dog Sledding Has Come a Long Way
By Robert Forto
Dog sledding has come a long way; from its prehistoric roots in Siberia, to its current popularity as a racing sport. There is little doubt that the sled dog’s amazing journey started in Siberia. Many leading experts maintain that the first “true” sled dog was derived from a community of Eskimos on the Kamchatka Peninsula of Siberia. Others attribute the beginning to the nomadic tribes north of Lake Baikal in south central Siberia, between four and five thousand years ago. No matter, the journey has continually progressed over the centuries. From the early history of the Chukchi and Samoyed tribes of Siberia, who depended on the art of dog sledding for their very survival, to sporting events, such as the world famous Iditarod, where some mushers are sponsored by multi million dollar companies.
Author Ray Coppinger may have put it best when she stated that, “The records being written today about sled dogs contain more references to activities for fun than for survival, but the images of man and sled dog working together are similar, all the way from Siberia to sport racing.”