Experience Dog Sledding in Furano
We are sure that most people can imagine what “dog sledding” is like, but we think that there are only a few who have actually done it. Furano is one of the best locations in Japan to experience dog sledding! Why don’t you join our tours to experience dog sledding in the winter of Hokkaido!?
History of Dog Sledding
Dog sledding was originally used as a means of transportation for both people and goods in places like Hokkaido where winter is harsh and very snowy. Like how we used to ride horses on flat lands, dogs had a similar role on snowy fields. Although there are various theories, some say that dog sledding was already used in Mongolia about 30,000 years ago. They even had dog sledding as an official game at the Olympic Games held in NY about 80 years ago too. How fascinating will it be to experience something with so much history?!
Dog Breeds used in Dog Sledding
There are various kinds of dogs that pull the dog sled, but the most common dog breeds are the ones from the northern countries where snow falls frequently, such as “Siberian Husky”, “Alaskan Malamute” and “Sakhalin Husky”. These dogs weigh about 40 kg to 50 kg, have strength and can withstand the cold. In general, one dog can pull up to its own weight, so only 2 ~ 3 heads will be needed to pull a single adult.
How Dog Sledding Works
Dog sledding is not as simple as it looks. There are mainly two types to connect the dogs. The first one is called the tandem type that connects the dogs vertically, and the second one is called the fan type that directly connects all the dogs to the sleigh.
The tandem type is also called the line type, and it is mainly used when you need the dogs to run in a straight line, in places with various obstacles such as the forest. On the other hand, the fan type is used when running through a flat field. One interesting thing here is that it is very important to determine the positioning according to the personality and characteristics of the dogs. For example, in the tandem type, the lead dog (dog placed at the very front) needs to be obedient to the Musher (the pilot). On the contrary, the dog which runs nearest to the sled is called a wheel dog, and these dogs will need lots of physical strength and cooperativeness with the Musher.
The Musher also plays a very important role in dog sledding as he/she gives instructions to the dogs. At times, our tour guide will play the role as a Musher, but if you are lucky, you may also experience this role! This dog sledding tour will only use a prepared course, so small children (from ages 3~4 years old) and beginners are also welcome to join!
Please keep in mind that although these dogs are all well trained, they may become tired or may not listen to the Musher and start playing in the snow. Please be patient and have an open mind when they become playful. If this happens, we hope you play with them too!