Inuit people and their dogs travel by sledge. The photo was first published in Northward Over the Great Ice, explorer Robert E. Peary’s 1898 account of his trips to Greenland. In 1909, he became one of the first to reach the North Pole.

Ice Sledging

Inuit people and their dogs travel by sledge. The photo was first published in Northward Over the Great Ice, explorer Robert E. Peary’s 1898 account of his trips to Greenland. In 1909, he became one of the first to reach the North Pole.
Photograph by Robert E. Peary, National Geographic

Before the Iditarod: 8 Pictures of Sled Dogs from a Century Ago

An explorer harnesses puppies to an adorably tiny sledge, a racer maneuvers her team through a crowded street, and other photos from our archives.

The Iditarod dog sled race is known for its difficulty and extreme conditions, and this year’s event faced extra challenges. First, there was  a lack of natural snow, and then a snowmobile collided with several racing dogs.

Despite the challenges, Dallas Seavey finished the course Tuesday, marking his fourth win. Over forty competitors are still mushing towards the finish line.

Though the race has been a favorite annual event in Alaska since 1973, sled dog driving has been around for a lot longer. These photos show dogs that were used by explorers for expeditions to the North and South Poles, dogs used for transportation by residents of Alaska and Greenland, and those used for sled dog racing before it was a globally-recognized sport.

Follow Becky Little on Twitter.

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