Musher Terminology

Ever wonder what the strange commands and mushing words mean? Read this list of common musher terms and commands so you will have a better understanding of what is going on at the starting line and along the track.

  • Lead Dog: dog(s) running in the lead. Must be intelligent and fast
  • Swing Dog: dogs behind leaders that help "swing" the team
  • Wheel Dog: dogs closest to sled. Must be very strong to pull sled around corners. 
  • Team Dog: any dog in the team that is not mentioned above.
  • Dog Bag: gear bag on sled large enough to carry dogs along with all kinds of mandatory race gear
  • Dog in Basket: carrying an injured or tired dog on the sled
  • Handler: a much-needed assistant to the musher
  • Gang Line: main rope that all dogs are connected to - usually made of polyethylene, nylon and/or cable
  • Snow Hook: a claw hook attached to the sled that plows into the snow to hold the team
  • "Haw": command to lead dogs to turn left
  • "Gee": command to lead dogs to turn right
  • "Come Haw", "Come Gee": command to turn the team 180 degrees in either direction
  • "On By": command to team to pass another team or obstacle in path
  • Staging: bringing a dog team to the starting line of a race
  • Brake: a toothed mechanism on sled that mushers stand on to slow the team down
  • "Hike", "Lets Go": commands to start the team
  • "Line Out": command to lead dog to hold the team straight - used while hooking up dogs
  • "Trail": request to other mushers for right-of-way on trail
  • Alaskan Husky: a cross of several northern breeds with needed endurance of the sport

Add new comment

Full HTML

  • Web page addresses and e-mail addresses turn into links automatically.
  • Global tokens will be replaced with their respective token values (e.g. [site:name] or [current-page:title]).

Filtered HTML

  • Web page addresses and e-mail addresses turn into links automatically.
  • Allowed HTML tags: <a> <em> <strong> <cite> <blockquote> <code> <ul> <ol> <li> <dl> <dt> <dd>
  • Lines and paragraphs break automatically.

Plain text

  • No HTML tags allowed.
  • Web page addresses and e-mail addresses turn into links automatically.
  • Lines and paragraphs break automatically.