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Dog Sledding

Three dog teams transporting small carrioles on a northern lake, 1917; the photographer labeled the photograph “In the Cree country.”
J. Cameron (Saskatchewan Archives Board) R-B3499

Dogs were used by First Nations as pack animals for transporting hunting supplies and for moving camp. The dogs sometimes carried supplies in packs on their backs; loads were increased by having the dogs pull a Travois on the plains, and sleds or toboggans in the northern Forests. Horses gradually replaced dogs for transport, as they became more available on the northern plains in the 18th century. In the late 19th century, as dog sledding became more common, breeding with European dogs increased the size of the animals; the numbers of dogs per team also increased. Traditional and non-traditional settlers in remote northern areas used dog teams until they were replaced by the snowmobile in the 1960s. Today, dog sledding is primarily a recreational activity and a competitive sport.

Bob Ivanochko

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