The racing rules for the LONG distance dog sled races

2002-08-18 22:49:58 Levíčková Helena – rubrika Řády a směrnice



  1. Application form
  2. Rules for mushers
  3. ulers for dogs
  4. Illnesses
  5. Marking
  6. Dividing into categories according to the size of the sled
  7. Distances, bivouac
  8. Medicaments
  9. Equipment
  10. Surviving equipment
  11.  Other equipment
  12. The checking
  13. Rules for START and FINISH
  14. Rules for the trail
  15. The management of the races
  16. Responsibility and the sportive spirit
  17. Breaking the rules


1. Application form

a. The application form must be handed in by the deadline set by the race organizer.

b. The organizer can deny the application form with giving the reason.


2. Rules for the mushers

a. The musher with whom the sled started in the first round must lead the dog sled at all times.

b. When getting ill or injured the organizers can allow the change of mushers. Then the sled can finish the race out of the competition.

c. The minimum age of musher is 18 years. Exceptions by the organizer are possible.

d. Mushers can take part in the race only if before they took part in the mushermeeting that is set in the race propositions.

e. Musher who was disqualified at one point must not continue in the race.


3. Rules for the dogs

a. The race manager can deny the presence of a dog sled or a single dog in the race with giving a rightful reason for it.

b. If the race manager is sure that a dog sled or a single dog does not fulfill the race requirements, then this dog or sled must be called out of the race.

c. The race management can order a qualified veterinary check of the dogs before the race.

d. The race management can do the checking during the whole race at their discretion. The mushers will be informed about that and the time of delay is taken away.

e. If a musher or an owner of the dogs refuses to have the veterinary check, the whole dog sled must be called out of the race.

f. In a more-day race can run only those dogs that were hitched at the start of the first round. Disqualified dogs must not take part again.

g. The dogs taking part in the race must be minimum 18 months old.


4. Illnesses

a. All the dogs taken to the race-grounds even those that will not race must have the vaccination certificates. The compulsory vaccination is dog rabies and parvovirosis. To reduce the possibility of infection, dogs should be also vaccinated against hepatitis, leptospirosis, and distemper.

b. Dogs and object taken from dog kennels where these diseases appeared must not be taken to the race-grounds.

c. If a qualified veterinary surgeon finds out an infectious disease at one dog at the race-ground, the whole dog sled will be disqualified. All the dogs from the dog sled must immediately leave the ground.


5. Marking 

a. When the race has more rounds, for the identification reasons every dog must be marked before the first start.


6. Dividing into categories according to the size of the sled

a. The racing categories are divided into limited categories, open category and category S – Scandinavian.

b. The number of dogs in the Scandinavian category is not limited. The race manager can set the maximum

c. The sled of the limited category 3-4 dogs must not have more than 4 and less than 3 dogs.

d. The sled of the limited category 5-8 dogs must not have more than 8 and less than 5 dogs.

e. The sled of the open category must have more than 8 dogs.

f. After the start the musher can reduce the number of dogs. The number cannot be reduced under the minimum size.


7. Distances, bivouac

a. The stage race is a race with more parts. The organizer has a free possibility to change the trail according to the circumstances.

b. There should be included a compulsory bivouac in between the parts. The bivouac should be cancelled only in the exceptional cases.

c. The bivouac must be planned so the mushers would have to carry all the necessities for themselves and the dogs with them on the sled.

d. The race manager has the right to check the necessary equipment before this part and also after it.

e. The checking of the sled, which is ready to start, must be finished the latest 5 minutes before the start. Other sled must not be delayed.

f. Dogs must be harnessed separately or in pairs next to each other. Each dog must be connected with the central line by the neck collar and by the harness.

g. If there are circumstances allowing different type of the harnessing, then the race manager can allow or order this different type.

h. Accepting somebody else’s help is not allowed. Mushers can help each other.

i. The race propositions should show the bivouac and its specification.

j. The race manager has the right to refuse the start with insufficient equipment.


8. Medicaments

The list of doping drugs is exists as another document that is updated every year.

a. All substances included in the list of the forbidden drugs are forbidden. No drug (oral, topical or injectable) that may suppress the signs of illness, pain or injury may be administrated to a dog that runs in a race. No drug or artificial means (e.g. blood) may be used to improve a dog’s performance beyond its natural ability. The period in which this rule is valid starts 3 days before the first start on the first heat of the race and ends after the team has finished and is cleared by the race-vet.

b. If the organizer is going to conduct a doping control, this must be stated in the race regulations. It may be conducted on every championship (EC or WC).

c. If the doping control is ordered, the musher or the owner must be present. He/she must hand over the list of all medicaments that were given to the dogs in the last 72 hours.

d. If the musher or the owner refuses the dogs are taken the experimental doping sample, his/her dog sled will be disqualified.

e. If a dog or a dog sled will be proved to use forbidden medicaments, it will be considered as a major offence and the dog or sled will be disqualified. Before the final decision the musher or the owner will be questioned.


9. Equipment

a. The type of the sled is discretionary.

b. The sled must be stabile enough to carry the rider and be spacious enough for the necessary equipment and one or two dogs.

c. Each sled must be equipped with an appropriate brake, a brushbow, security line and two snow hooks ( for teams over 6 dogs), one snow hook ( for teams to 6 dogs)

d. If a musher destroys the sled he can use a spare one.

e. There must be a bag on the sled. It must be spacious to carry baggage, a tired dog or for the transport of an injured dog.

f. Two solid rods must connect the cargo sled or “pulka” (half sled) to the harness or harnesses so it could not run into the harnessed dogs. They must be built so the front parts of the skids are not free and could not harm the musher or the dog. The must enable safe fixing of the load and must be enforced by a rope connecting it to the musher during the race. When there are more than 3 dogs at the sled or “pulka”, it must have a break.

g. The equipment for the sled of the Scandinavian “pulka” is according to §10.


10. Surviving equipment

a. The organizer can require the mushers to take with them some of the following equipment. It must be announced in the race regulations with an exact list of the equipment. Here is a list of the recommended equipment:

  • sleeping bag, tent, bivouacking bag or canvas, insulating mattress
  • spare clothes (shoes, hat, gloves, socks, underwear, etc.)
  • head lamp, spare batteries, knife, map with the marked trail, compass, GPS, passport
  • first aid kit for the dog, first aid kit for the person
  • spare rope, sled line, collar extension, collars, harnesses, carabines
  • cooking stove, equipment for cooking, matches
  • a pair of snow shoes with the gear
  • a set of booties for each dog
  • chain with pegs – stake-out, water, dog food, saucers/bowls for water
  • axe or saw
  • sunglasses – glacier glasses, sun-tan lotion
  • spare cable3-5mm, 3-5m long
  • snow shovel(avalanche shovel)
  • food, thermo bottle with tea
  • waterproof stick tape
  • personal identification cards
  • spare ski pole (Scandinavian race)

No musher must leave the check-in point or the race without the compulsory things. The checking is taking part before the race or after.


11. Other equipment

a. Before the race the organizer sets the daily amount of food, which should be taken with, for the dogs and the musher, (e.g. 500g dry food or 1kg of meat).

b. Forbidden object are: Muzzles, strangling collars, whips, bells, whistles.

c. Each musher gets a starting number from the organizer. This number can be tightened to the body or to the sled. It is necessary to make it well visible.

d. To make the equipment checks easier the organizer can set the minimum weight in the propositions. Then it depends on the musher which things he chooses. It is 7 kg per dog for sleds as well as pulkas. The maximum weight must not exceed 70kg.

e. The weight means the sled (or “pulka”), rods and harnesses, pulling lines, equipment for survival and possibly other extra weight. Each musher must find the extra weight by himself.


12. The checking

a. The sled and the equipment are a matter to the checking and are liable to be agreed on by the race management if there is not limit set before.

b. The musher, sled and equipment must be present at a marked place one hour before the planned time of the start and must be ready to the checking.

c. The sled that was accepted before the start must not be checked again 5 minutes before the start.

d. The checking in the START/FINISH area must not be in a way of other sleds.

e. At the international races the checking team is put together from people representing more countries.

f. The sled and equipment checking can also be done at the checkpoints at the trail.


13. Rules for START and FINISH

A. Drawing the rank

a. The starting rank is set by drawing the lot. The drawing takes place before the race. The organizer sets its time and place.

b. If the organize accepts the last time applications, the applicators are put to the end of the starting list.

B. The races where the start is one by one

a. The starting rank is set by drawing the lot. The drawing takes place before the race. The organizer sets its time and place.

b. The starting rank of the second round is set according to the time from the first round. The fastest dog sled starts the first, second fastest as the fastest.etc.

c. In the race where are more than two rounds, the starting rank is set according to the total time from the previous rounds. The sled which has the fastest total time also starts the first, the second as the second.etc.

C. The race with starting couples

a. The starting rank is set by the drawing. Firstly start numbers 1 and 2, then 3 and 4.etc.

b. The starting rank of the second round is set according to the time from the first round. The time list is divided into two parts. The fastest sled starts with the slowest sled. The second fastest starts with the second slowest.etc.

c. In the race with more rounds the diving into groups and the starting time depends on the total time of the previous rounds. The fastest sled of both groups starts the first.etc.

D. Equal times

a. The sleds that have the same total time will get higher position on the total time list.

b. The prizes for those places count together and divide equally to those sleds.

E. Start – starting time

a. Measuring the time starts at the time announced in the starting list.

b. The front arch of the sled must be on the start line.

c. The delayed sled must not be in the way to the others.

d. The starter or the race manager can let the delayed sled start unless it disturbs the planned time interval.

e. The sled that does not leave the zone (min. 50m) must make place for the other sled and must not be in its way for any reason.

F. Help in the starting zone

a. The way and possibilities of help in the starting zone are set by the race manager and are announced before.

b. If the sled left the starting zone then all the trail rules apply.

G. Counting the time – the finish

a. The finish time is measured when the first dog passes the finish line.

b. The final time of the sled is the difference between the official starting and finishing times. All delays such as for food, time for rest, stops due to the bad weather, bad trail etc. count into the total time of round.

c. The time stops at the veterinary or other trail checks announced by the organizer. Then the time of delay counts off the total time.

d. In the case when the dog sled runs over the finish line alone, the final measuring time is when comes the musher.


14. Rules for the trail

A. Passing through the whole trail

a. The sled and the musher must pass all the set and marked trail.

b. If the sled leaves the trail not on purpose, the musher must lead it back to it at the same place. If this does not bring difficulties for musher and the sled they can continue to the next checkpoint
but they must not shorten the trail or miss the checkpoint.

c. Mushers must follow the description of the race trail.

d. The rules for marking the trail:

“Turn right” – red or orange sign on the right side
of the trail.

“Turn left” – red or orange sign on the left side
of the trail.

“Go straight” – blue sign on the right or left side
of the trail.

“Be careful” – two or more yellow signs on both sides
of the trail.

“No overtaking zone” – info sign for 800m.

The organizers of the race can possibly use other signs for marking such as flags or light signs. The colour or meaning should not be changed. There are no arguments against signs showing the distance of the trail.

B. Behaviour on the trail

a. Musher can ride the sled or step aside or run next to it.

b. In the Scandinavian class the musher is following its sled on cross-country skis or touristic skis

c. If during the race musher uses other mean of transport apart from the sled he will be disqualified.

d. The musher and the dog sled make one team. Two or more sleds must not be put together unless it is an emergency case of help. If such a situation happens, the checkpoint people must be informed about that.

e. Musher must not delay other sleds.

f. A dog that cannot run must be taken with on the sled.

g. If from any reason it is not possible to continue riding the sled musher has to end the race.

h. During the race it is forbidden taking other people for a ride on the sled unless it is in race propositions or it is an emergency case.

C. Forbidden help

a. No one except the musher must lead the dogs.

b. The dogs in the sled must not be exchanged after the start.

c. When the musher leaves some dogs at the checkpoints, they can be put to the race again for the following rounds if the race manager or a veterinary doctor allows this.

d. No musher must use other help for the day supply for the dogs or himself. There can be an exception if the help is equally divided for all the sleds.

D. The sled without musher and the single dogs

a. The sled or a single dog without the dog leader or musher must not delay other sleds.

b. Musher must catch his/her escaped dog or dog sled on foot.

c. The escaped dog sled can continue in the race without any punishment unless they shortened the way. The musher only accepted allowed help and it was not against the race regulations.

d. It is acceptable that the spectators catch or hold the dog sled or a single dog without the leader.

e. Anyone can catch or hold the dog sled or a single unleashed dog.

E. The right of way

a. At the double start the dog sled, whose leading dog came the first to the end of the double starting trail, has the right of the way.

b. The sled going down the hill has always the right of way.

c. The sled which was disqualified or gave up must give the right of way to all others still taking part.

d. In the “800m zone” there is no right of the way.

F. Overtaking

a. The overtaking dog sled can use the right of the way if its leading dog is 15m from the sled before it.

b. The musher who is being overtaken must free the trail by leading his dog sled to the side of the trail. He/she must stop if the overtaking musher needs it. c. The overtaken dog sled can overtake after 4 minutes or 1,6km or anytime earlier if both of the mushers agree on it.

G. The campsite

a. No litter must be left on the trail.

b. The campsite must be cleaned before the dog sled leaves.

c. Mushers must take away the litter of take it on the sled with them to the marked place.

d. The campsites on the trail must be organized so they do not restrain the mushers or disturb the race.

H. Food – musher – the dog

a. The race manager sets the checkpoints where will be prepared: dog food, food for mushers, and other necessities. Musher has to have suitable lockable boxes for it.

b. The boxed must be provided with a name or a starting number and with the name of the checkpoint where they should be transported.

c. In the special cases the organizer can order that the mushers or their dog handlers transport their boxes to the checkpoint by themselves. This must be announced in the propositions.

I. The checkpoints

The checkpoints are places on the trail that are accessible by the road and where it is possible to supply the sled, check the sled, put away any injured dogs, give veterinary help etc. If a round of the race is longer than 50km there has to be at least one checkpoint. If a round is shorter than 50km the checkpoints are the start and the finish of the race.

J. The musher

1. The mushers who gave up or were disqualified must continue in the race to the checkpoint from which they can be driven back by a car.

2. The mushers who get sick or injured during the race and want to give up must ride to the checkpoint where they will get help and can be driven back.

3. If the musher is not able to ride to the next checkpoint he/she sets up bivouac and the organizer transports him/her together with the dogs to the checkpoint after the end or the round.

K. The dogs

1. The dogs that are not able to continue in the race must be transported in the sled bag and can be left at the assigned checkpoint.

2. The musher takes care of naming the dog, leaving the dog leash or dog chain and at the specific circumstances also the dog food and water for the dog at the checkpoint.

3. The veterinary doctor, who is in charge in the race, takes care after the dogs on each checkpoint.

4. The musher must say to the organizer or to the checkpoint people what is the matter with the dog and where it should be transported after the treatment.


15. The management of the races

a. If the race organizer or the veterinary doctor finds out any defects or irregularities at the equipment, which could harm the dogs, then the race organizer, the veterinary doctor or other person in charge can stop the musher for as long as it is cleared. The time for it is not counting away.

b. The management of the races has the right to:

  • call out those dogs from the dogsled that look like not able to continue in the race
  • call out such a dogsled where the musher did not hitch necessary minimum number of dogs.
  • set the helpers who will help with handling the dogs at the checkpoints


16. Responsibility and the sportive spirit

a. Mushers are responsible for behaviour of their dogs, their dog handlers and theirs everywhere on the race grounds and on the race trail.

b. The sportive spirit and human senses must dominate.

c. It is forbidden to punish the dogs with a whip, a chain, other object or elsewise.


17. Breaking the rules

a. The report about breaking the rules by the race management

1. The race management, organizers, helpers etc. immediately make the report about breaking the rules.

2. In these cases the race manager decides and is responsible for the steps that should be done.

b. The report about breaking the rules by the competitors

1. Mushers who want to make a report about breaking the rules by another musher must do it as fast as possible when they found out. They must report it orally to an organizator.

2. After the oral protest there must follow the written protest that must be handed in the latest one hour after the finish of the race or round.

c. Protests and the hearing

1. Each musher who is accused of possible breaking the rules can protest and require hearing of his case in front of the race management.

2. The race management must listen to the musher’s objections.

d. The disciplinary procedure

1. Breaking the rules for the long trails must be either punished orally by the race management or by disqualifying the dog sled.

2. The decision must be immediately announced to the musher and to the checkpoint people.

3. The disciplinary procedure after the race must be finished before announcing the winners.

4. At the doping checks it is necessary to wait for the laboratory tests.

5. The decisions of the race management are uncontestable.

6. In the exceptional cases the race management can give the time punishment.


Levíčková Helena