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The Role of the Lead Dog in a Sled Dog Team

The Role of the Lead Dog in a Sled Dog Team

The lead dog in a sled dog team is the one directly in front of the musher. Often, a great lead dog will have a very excitable attitude that makes him eager to run and willing to follow the musher’s commands. A good lead dog will also be able to handle the many obstacles that sledders encounter on the trail such as bad snow, difficult terrain or a windy storm. The lead dog is the first to face these difficulties and needs to be able to react quickly and instinctively. Many mushers prize their lead dogs and protect them from other competitors because they are the heart of the team.

Lead Dogs: The Unsung Heroes of the Sled Dog Team

The next lead dog in the sled are the swing and point dogs. They are the powerhouse of the team and maintain the speed set by the lead dog. These dogs are identified by their position as right or left swing depending on which side they are positioned on the gang line and also by their names like “Balto” (swing) and “Termination Dust” (point). Some mushers will place young dogs in these positions to give them experience while allowing more experienced dogs to compete for the lead spot.

When pet owners notice their dogs showing signs of lead poisoning it is very important to give a detailed history and provide the amount of lead your dog ingested. Providing this information will help your veterinarian determine the cause of your pet’s symptoms and can speed up the diagnosis process.

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