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Sled Dog Racing Terms

BASKET – The section of the sled in which the freight or passengers are carried.

BRUSHBOW – The curved piece of wood around the front of the sled.

CHUTE – The starting line, and for several feet beyond.

FOOT PAD – The pad on the runners of a sled where the driver stands.

GANGLINE – The line between the dogs when they are hooked up to the sled. It is attached to each dog by way of “tuglines” and necklines”.

GEE – The command for a right turn.

GIG or RIG – A steel or aluminum cart that is used instead of a sled when there is no snow.

HANDLEBOW or DRIVING BOW – The part of a sled the musher hangs on to.

HARNESS – The nylon gear a dog wears while running on a sled dog team.

HAW – The command for a left turn.

HIKE or LET’S GO – All are commands to go forward. “Mush” is only used in old Sgt. Preston of the Yukon movies!

HOLDING AREA – The section of the race site near the starting line where dogs are staked out until race time.

LEAD DOG/LEADER – The dog(s) at the ehad of the team who receives the commands. These are most often the most experienced and best-trained dogs. They are sometimes smarter than the musher.

MUSHER – Sled dog team driver.

NECKLINE – The line between the collar and the gangline.

ON-BY – The command to pass a turn-off or another team.

PEDALING – Pushing the sled with one foot while the other stays on the runner.

POINT DOGS or SWING DOGS – The dogs just behind the leaders. This is a good position for dogs training to be leaders.

RACE MARSHALL – The person in charge of the race. If all goes well, the club put on a great race. If not, they blame it on the Race Marshall.

RUNNERS – The surface on which the sled glides. They may be made of wood, plastic or steel.

SNOW HOOK – A piece of steel shaped like a hook which is pushed into the snow to hold a team.

SNUB LINE – A line which is used to temporarily secure to a tree or post.

STAKE-OUT CHAIN – The chain the dogs are tied out to until they are ready to be hooked up.

STARTER – The person at the starting who signals the teams to go.

TEAM DOGS – Any dogs on a team other than the leaders, point or wheel dogs.

TIMER – The race official who is in charge of timing the teams at the starting and finish lines.

TRAIL – A term shouted by a driver to ask another driver for the right of way during a race. Also, the course a race is run on.

TRAIL BOSS – The person in charge of trails and trail help.

TRAIL HELP – People stationed at turns and possible trouble spots. They are there to help the drivers if they encounter problems during the race.

TUGLINE – The line from the gangline to the dog’s harness which connects at the dog’s tail.

WHEEL DOGS – The dogs directly in front of the sled.

WHOA – The command to stop. This is the command which indicates to the driver just how well his team is trained.