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Dog sled

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Dog sled

A dog sled (or dogsled) is a sled pulled by one or more dogs used to travel over ice and through snow. Numerous types of sleds are used, depending on their function.

A basket sled has a bed raised a several inches above the surface of the snow. This type of sled is used in racing. Sprint sleds are often short-bodied basket sleds. A toboggan sled has a lower carriage and uses a closed bed, allowing the sled to slide or float over deep snow. Freight sleds, which are heavier and sturdier than sprint sleds, may be toboggan or basket sleds. Both of these types of sleds have runners which stick out behind the sled, on which the musher can stand. Modern sleds usually include drag or claw brakes built into the sled, whereas older ones relied on hooks attached to the sled with a rope.

A recent innovation in sled design was introduced in the 2004 Iditarod by Jeff King, who used a split sled for the race. This sled, the Tail Dragger, has a basket-style body with a freight-holding back end, and an open middle. The musher can sit on the back part or stand in the middle.

The komatik is a traditional Inuit sled, used in Canada and Greenland, low-slung and on which the hunter or racer sits or lies down, facing forward. The runners do not stick out as in basket sleds.

A pulk is a short, flat sled used in the Scandinavian sport of pulka. The dog is hitched to the sled and the sled to the skier. The pulk is used to carry supplies or equipment, but not usually a person.

The expedition led by the Norwegian explorer Roald Amundsen used dogsleds when they reached the South Pole before Scott.

See also: sled dog, Iditarod, dogsled racing, mushing

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