Skijoring - Why You Have to Try It

Skijoring - Why You Have to Try It

Author WDF Staff


Skijoring is a winter sport that gained a lot of popularity in recent years. Dog owners that love being active wanted to have productive fun with their dogs during the long winter months and skijoring ended up being a natural way to go. If you are interested in learning more about this exciting dog winter sport, stick with us, and you will learn what you need to know about skijoring.

What is skijoring?

Skijoring is a winter sport that started at the beginning of the 20th century in Norway. Nordic Sami people used reindeer and skis to travel vast distances for hundreds of years. They strapped them with pulling harnesses and attached themselves to the animal. It was one of the most effective, primitive ways of travel. These days, skijoring is mainly a competitive sport.

There are different types of skijoring. People use reindeers, horses, and, most recently, dogs. This popular European sport made its way across the pond after World War II. It is believed that American soldiers liberating Europe saw this sport in Switzerland and brought it home. In the 1950s, the sport started gaining some traction, and Americans made this sport faster and a lot more exciting.

The first type of skijoring in the US was done with horses. Our cowboys strapped horses with a water ski pulling rope and a handle, strapped themselves in a pair of skis, and off they went. The horses ran at full gallop in a straight line. The speeds achieved were a lot greater than the traditional European skijoring. These days, typical skijoring races are between 3 and 12 miles long, so there is no risk of having to survive a cold night in the tundra like in the case of sledding.

Interested in skijoring?

Skijoring is a great way to keep yourself active during winter. It might seem like an easy thing since your dogs pull you, but you’d be surprised how tiring this sport can get. If you are interested in dog skijoring, there are a couple of things you will need;

  • Skis
  • Dog
  • Pulling harness
  • Ski clothes

What dogs can participate in skijoring?

There are no limits to what breed can participate, although having a Chihuahua pull you might not be as effective as having a powerful, energetic breed. As long as your dog is fully developed, healthy, has no skeletal issues, and actually has enough energy to pull you, they can become a competitor. Some of the most common breeds seen on skijoring courses are;

Where can I find courses?

The tricky part with this sport is that it requires plenty of room and a safe course where you and your dog could run and ski. It would be best to start looking for more information in different skijoring clubs closest to you. Pick one that isn’t too far, or otherwise, this whole endeavor can be futile. Owners can be enthusiastic at first, but if they have to drive a couple of hours every time they want to have some outdoor skijoring fun with their dogs, it becomes too much of a drag.

If you think skijoring is something you might be interested in, check out this similar sport - What is bikejoring?

World Dog Finder team

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