Who let the dogs out! Welcome to the British Siberian husky racing championships
Published on February 19, 2018
One normally associates Husky dog racing with snow-covered landscapes, yet the UK lead the world in what is known as ‘on dry-land mushing’. And there is no better place to see one of the fastest-growing dog sports in the world than the British Siberian Husky Dog Championship.
Teams of dogs and their owners, drivers and trainers congregate at various forest venues throughout the short winter season (Mid- November to early March) to compete for the UK championship title.
The first Siberian Husky dogs came to Britain in the 1960s, but the first race was not until 1996. Since then, the sport has become more popular and evolved into a serious competition championship.
These race meetings are held on trails throughout Britain. Each meeting has races with classes for two, three, four, six and eight dog teams of Siberian Huskies. This contest, at Elvedon Forest, was the penultimate in this year’s 2018 British championship.
Since there is rarely snow in the UK, competitors race on what is known as a ‘Rigg’ - a 3 or 4 wheeled contraption resembling a trike.
The dogs are harnessed to the Rigg and complete the course on a time trial. The championship is highly competitive, but the safety and welfare of the dogs and the drivers are paramount. So before racing can commence, each Rigg must pass scrutineering to ensure it is race worthy; that the steering and brakes are in good order.
Each set of dogs race against the clock, 2 minutes divide each team. The forest circuits range in distance for the different teams and are also adjusted according to weather conditions on the day.