Dogs of the 2019 Iditarod

It is a common belief amongst those who do not know the Iditarod well enough, that the mushing dogs are abused. I wish to prove you wrong through my writing and photography. 🙂

If you’ve heard that the dog’s paws get cut, bruises, torn apart (etc), you can lay your worries to rest! The mushers make sure that each of their dogs are wearing botties, that keep the pads warm and protected. Also, these dogs aren’t running over sharp terrain; mostly snow or else the musher’s sled wouldn’t be able to stand the ride either. 🙂 The dog’s paws are continually checked and massaged and sometimes even bathed to assure they are comfortable and well taken care of.


“The dogs are forced to run!” If you have watched, or been to, the Iditarod, you’ll know that these dogs are BARKING like crazy!! You can barely keep them FROM running! In fact, it is the people who hold the dogs who are forced to run!

Some media has said, “The dogs are starving for attention.” Well, this is just not true! The mushers get so attached to their dogs, that if one very gets hurt or dies, they are heart broken and say that “…it’s just not the same if you don’t cross the line with all the dogs.” The mushers know all their dog’s names, even if their is over fifty; and before the race, they take time to whisper to and let each dog. At the check-points, the dogs are massaged until they are sleepy! All of the mushers and dogs are extrealmy attached— that includes mouth-to-mouth licking! And we all know, an animal will do whatever they can to make you pet them more, right?

The mushers never push their dogs, letting them run at their own pace and resting if that is what is needed. A few years ago, on guy was coming in first; but his dogs were just not able to keep up the past, so he didn’t push them…settling in for third. Their dogs are MUCH more important than the race. A lot of the mushers just do the race for the beauty of Alaska and the thrill of the solitude and bonding with the dogs.

Most people are used to seeing 20 pounds over weight house dogs. Mushing dogs are just very fit, just as Olympic athletes are; and the dogs are purposely bred small so they can run faster. A lot of them are also bred with greyhound, which are actually very thin dogs.

Now that we have those out of the way, shall we just enjoy a few pictures of these gloriously happy dogs? 😀

This mushing team chose green bibs for their team ‘decor’ this year.

Adorable colors are breed!

Love it when I tip the camera on an angle; the picture has more action in it.

Panting from excitement and frustration at being held still; the very thought!

Dog breath in the cold

LET US RUN! LET US RUN! LET US RUN!

Adorable eyes for his musher. The lead dog (s) are often bond most closely with the musher, and he/she with them.

Little muscle girl
The look on his face… Yessss paparazzi!

I would highly recommend this documentary on the history of the Iditarod. I watched it this week, and the stories behind are very interesting! Be ready to have tissues and a table to slam your fist on;

Iditarod 2019

Saturday, March 2 was the 111th Iditarod held in Anchorage Alaska. Well, the opening ceremony that is; all the racers assemble in downtown Anchorage for the opening ceremony and then one-by-one mush to the airport where the dogs get put away until Sunday where the race officially starts in Willow AK.

This year was an “odd year” where the mushers will take the southern route, skipping Fairbanks.


On “normal years”, the mushers would use the northern route.

I had a lot of fun being there, and expeshually because I had a camera! I really enjoyed searching the crowds for emotions and styles (etc) and interactions between the mushers and their dogs; as well as how the dogs were feeling. I could explain everything to you in words, but I feel pictures may be able to tell you this story a bit better this time. 🙂

While taking a corner, quite a few of the mushers fell because they didn’t know how to ‘take the turn’. This team here, however, knows you have to slow the dogs down by using the brake and slide the left foot out to balance yourself and the sled.
The black sled and the rider in the front sled (sitting) are only for show here. During the real race, it will only be the mushers and his dogs.
Musher touching noses with one of his dogs and checking in them before being called for introduction and the ceremonial mush.
For each of the sixteen/ twelve dogs, (sets of six or eight) somone of the mushing family or friends would stand and (try) to keep the dogs calm and from trying to run before it is their time. The easiest way is to attach an external harness, show here, to get a good, big grip and plant your feet in solid.
Each team had their dog team “decorated” in a different way that expressed them. Bins here, could it be any cutier??
You’ve probably heard the way mushing dogs BARK while waiting to run! These two were yawning for stress and barking from anticipation. 😄
My favorite team; due to the utter softness and cuteness!!
Musher putting booties on one of his dogs to keep the paws protected from sharp objects (I.e gravel and ice) and to keep the pads somewhat warm, though these dogs are bred for frigid temperatures. (The mushers are not)
Each tram received much cheering and and clapping all the way to their airport. Thankfully there was enough snow this year that not much had to be added to the streets.
The CANADIAN military was stationed here to, well, mostly shovel. Lol
A perfect combination of dog, musher, mountain, light and snow.

I will be writing several more blog posts on different elements of my Iditarod experience. You can be sure there will be many, many more pictures for me and adorable dogs!

If you would like to know more information and get more in-depth about the routes (etc), I found this website most helpful-https://iditarod.com/about/the-iditarod-trail/

Hope you can join us in Alaska next year for the 112th Iditarod race! 🙂