Dog Sports and the History of the Iditarod


Picture: The Iditarod Trail Sled Dog Race


There are many different dog sports out there, but I decided to write on three of them today: dog sledding/skijoring, bikejoring, and canicross.

It was the cold winter of 1925, in Nome, Alaska. A throat disease was spreading around the small town, and the little hospital was crowded with sick. What the doctor needed was more antitoxin, and some had been sent to Nenana, the closest town to Nome by train. But from Nenana to Nome was 650 miles of trail in fifty degrees below zero.

The only way it could get the rest of the way was by dog sled teams and brave mushers. The trail had to be covered in less than nine days! On January 27, the first musher and his team set out with the package of antitoxin. Soon it had been passed from musher to musher, until it came to the hands of Leonard Sepela, “the king of dog team drivers”. He had is best lead dog, Togo. The husky had come a long way from the mischievous little puppy continually digging out of it’s cage! The team set off, and Sepela hoped to carry it all the way to Nome.

They came to the ice covered Norton Sound, and Sepela guided the team over the ice hoping to cross the shortcut. Just as they were coming to solid land, the ice broke up and they were stuck on an ice flow. Sepela quickly picked up Togo and threw him over the stretch of water onto land. He then told Togo to hike while he pushed the sled. The sled was safely pulled on land, and Sepela jumped off last to the solid ground! They continued on until they were met by Gunnar Kasson who took the package. Gunnar Kasson and his lead dog Balto finished the relay, and delivered it to the hospital. But what most people don’t realize is that Sepela and Togo covered more than double the miles than Balto had! Thus Togo is the true champion of Nome, though all the credit goes to Balto.

That is how the Iditarod Sled Dog Race was started, a grueling race from Anchorage to Nome. Though we don’t do dog sledding, we like to skijore with our German Shepherds. Skijoring is the sport where you harness a dog up with a rope attacked to a loop around the skiers waist. It is a lot of fun when you get pulled along by the dog!

The other sport we like to do in the summer is bikejoring, where you bike with a dog attached to the handle bars. This works well because you don’t need much effort to bike, and it really tires the dogs out. Some people will do it with two or more dogs!

Finally the last sport is called canicross. This is where someone will jog with a dog. But I don’t do it very much because I don’t really like long-distance jogging!

Comment on what sport you like to do with your dog. Thanks for reading!

Quiz: did you know there are white German Shepherds?




By Jonathan Taylor

I am an 18 year old Reformed Christian and high school grad. I like German Shepherds, drawing, and painting. I also like to play the piano and cello.

20 replies on “Dog Sports and the History of the Iditarod”

Very cool; thanks for posting!!! My parents used to have a German Shephard named Sheba right after they got married and before they had children. I didn’t know that there are white German Shepherds; that’s super cool!! I’m sure they would be really pretty.

Liked by 1 person

I know, it would be!!

I’ve heard that white German Shepherds are more aggressive, what do you think?


Well, our dog Rex bit me one time… for like no reason, and he would growl at us, until he knew for sure that it was just us. We also had two white German Shepherd Mountain Bernese dogs, and the male attacked me once while I was feeding him. So I think maybe they are a bit more aggressive, but maybe it was just our dogs.


Yeah, it probably depends on the dog. I was just reading an article saying that they are very sweet dogs…so… I have also heard that White and Black Shepherds are rare. What is your favorite GSD color?

Liked by 1 person

Yes, I think so too. Our best German Shepard was the color of your dogs ( I forget what it’s called)


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