About Sleddogs

Racing classes

A sled dog race can be run in accordance with a variety of regulations. . The WSA Championships are run in accordance with WSA regulations. Because it is a WSA World Championship which is being held in Sveg, Sweden, WSA rules consequently apply. Some Swedish rules regarding dogs safety may apply due to laws in Sweden.The rules differ depending on whether it is a sprint or a distance race. These differ in the length of the trail and in the equipment used, which must be brought to the starting-line on a sled by a musher.

Sprint

 

There are three heats for the sprint classes at the World Championships in Sveg (on Friday, Saturday, and Sunday). The following track lengths apply. UL class: more than 18 km, 8-dog class: 16-19 km, 6-dog class, S and SJ: 10-15 km, 4-dog class: 7-10 km, 2-dog class: 5-6 km.

 

Class 2-Dogs

 

In this class for novices, two dogs run in front of the sled or cart (in a gang hitch). The same two dogs must be hitched in all heats. The musher must be at least 16 years old. Many mushers gain their initial experience here, before progressing to larger teams.

In the 2-dog category, the mushers have to give their dogs a lot of support, for instance by pushing the sled or cart uphill.

Mushers between 12 and 15 years of age can start as juniors in the 2-dog class or in Skijoring. Their status as juniors is specially indicated on the results board.

No gender-based distinction is made for classes of more than two dogs, but the breed of dog is still taken into consideration. The suffix /1 means that the team is made up exclusively of Siberian Huskies, while /2 means that Alaskan Malamutes, Samoyeds, and Greenland Dogs are used.

 

Class 4-Dogs

 

Here, three or four dogs run in front of the sled or cart (in a gang hitch). The musher must be at least 16 years old. A 4-dog team is still quite easy to steer, because the whole team is constantly in view. Braking is also still relatively easy.

Here too, the musher must assist the dogs, although not as much as with a 2-dog team.

 

Class 6-Dogs

 

Five or six dogs can be hitched in front of the sled or cart in this class (in a gang hitch). If one or two dogs have to be removed from the team in the first heat, the second heat can be run with a minimum of four dogs. Mushers must be at least 16 years old.

Quite a lot of discipline is required in this class. For instance, six powerful Greenland Dogs cannot be prevented from following a hare by brake-power and brute force alone once their hunting instinct takes over.

 

Class 8-Dogs

 

Seven or eight dogs can be hitched in front of the sled or cart in this class (in a gang hitch). If one or two dogs have to be removed from the team in the first heat, the second heat can be run with a minimum of six dogs. Mushers must be at least 18 years old.

Because the 8-dog teams are quite long, it can happen that the musher is no longer able to see the leading dogs on tight bends. As a result, the lead dog must be able to react independently to unexpected problems, because the musher may still be unaware of them.

 

S or Scandinavians

 

In the pulka class, between one and four dogs can be driven. Because it is possible to engage in sled dog sports with just one dog, this is often popular with newcomers to the sport, even though the Scandinavian sport is extremely demanding, both for the mushers and for our four-legged friends.

The dog is hitched between two shafts (in a tandem hitch) and draws a flat-bottomed, tub-shaped sled made of wood or plastic, known as a pulk. The dog is attached to the musher by a trace which is secured to the pulk, and follows on cross-country skis. This requires some skiing skills, because when travelling uphill, the musher must ensure that the dog only has to pull the pulk, and when travelling downhill, the musher must help to brake the pulk so that it does not propel the dog forward and make him lose his footing.

A single dog in the Scandinavian class must be very sure-footed, self-confident and eager to run, because when two or more dogs are running, they infect one another with their enthusiasm and can correct each other if a dog has misunderstood or failed to hear a command. So if you are driving with a single dog in the Scandinavian class, you should be confident that the dog is unwaveringly focused and obeys commands without hesitation.

Usually this class is subdivided by gender: SW for women mushers and SM for men. In addition, a differentiation is made depending on the breed of dog used. The suffix /1 means that the team is made up exclusively of Siberian Huskies, while /2 means that Alaskan Malamutes, Samoyeds, and Greenland Dogs are used.

 

SJ or Skijoring

 

The Skijoring category is much the same as the S class, but with one significant difference: there is no pulk. The musher is attached directly to the harness of the dog and follows behind on cross-country skis. Only one dog may be used, and the minimum age for mushers is 16. There are different classes for men and women, as well as for different breeds of dogs. This is indicated by the addition of the letters W and M and of the numbers 1 or 2. For example, the class for Skijoring, female musher, Samoyed dog, is: SJW/2.

Mushers between 12 and 15 years of age can start as juniors in the 2-dog class or in Skijoring. Their status as juniors is specially indicated on the results board.

Distance

Like the sprint races, distance races are run over several heats. The length of the trail is at least 40 km, and is the same for all classes. A distance route is being offered for the first time this year in Frauenwald (on the Thursday, Friday and Saturday). An exception will be made on the Thursday, when the race will start after dark along a shorter route.

 

Class DS

 

DS is the class of the distance event for novices. As in the sprint, mushers race with one or up to four dogs and a pulk. It is also possible to race without a pulk in the style of Skijoring, although then no more than two dogs may be hitched. The minimum age for competitors is 16. Classes for men and women may also be included. However, no distinction is made between different dog breeds.

 

Class DL

 

Teams of three to six dogs may race in the DL class. The minimum age for mushers is 16. No gender division is made, but the same distinction is made as in the sprint categories depending on the breed of dog used (1 for Siberian Huskies, and 2 for the three other breeds).

 

Class DU

 

In the DU class, an indefinite number of dogs may be used, but no fewer than seven. The mushers must be at least 18 years old. No gender division is made, but the same distinction is made as in the sprint categories depending on the breed of dog used (1 for Siberian Huskies, and 2 for the three other breeds).

 

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