Although evidence suggests that the sled dogs were already used in 6000 BC, it was during the gold rush in Alaska that dogsledding became popular. It was initially the only means of transportation, and interest in the sport grew. In 1908 the first big race was held; the All Alaska Sweepstakes.
Dogsledding was also the only means of transport for indigenous peoples of the North, and until recently (1950-1960) for the transport of RCMP in the great Canadian North. Although dogsledding is still used in these areas, snowmobiling now serves as the main mode of transport.
We can’t describe the history of dogsledding without mentioning an event of 1925. A diphtheria epidemic hit Nome Alaska, and because of ice and blizzard conditions, it was impossible to send medical supplies by plane or boat. Serum managed to get through with several teams of sled dogs. Even today, a well-known race, the Iditarod, commemorates this heroic feat.
Driver of sled dogs are referred to as “mushers”. The origin of the word comes from Canadian sled drivers lingo. They use the word mush to advance their dog teams said in French “marche”, became “mush” in English