The Dog Musher

Pursue a life of self-sufficiency and travel across Alaska or other frozen landscapes. As you build skills, confidence, and experience you may choose to focus your efforts into raising a competitive dog kennel for long-distance or sprint racing.

First job: Dog handler or whatever you can do to support your extended time in the outdoors with dogs.


Professional Nomad:

Aliy Zirkle

Aliy Zirkle

Aliy Zirkle

  • 2000 Yukon Quest International Sled Dog Race Champion
  • 3-time second place winner in the Iditarod
  • 2-time recipient of the Leonhard Seppala Humintarian Award for exemplary dog care

Must Read: Aliy Zirkle: The Trail Less Traveled


Take a Virtual Next Step:

Sled Dog Central connects dog mushers with one another. This one-stop informant includes resources for building mentorships, buying and selling gear, race news, and everything else dog mushing.

Mushing Magazine is the “Magazine of Dog Powered Adventure.” It houses great articles, podcasts, and a collection of links to professional dog musher blogs.

The Sled Dogger  aims to support, promote, educate and inform all aspects of 4-Season Sled Dogging from novice to pro and the fans alike.

Veterinary Technician Training Schools—Explore vet training schools across the country


Suggested Reading


George Attla Everything I Know about Training and Racing Sled Dogs

by George Attla

Published in 1972, it remains the sled dog bible, but for a hefty price tag of $85.95




Dog DriverDog Driver: A Guide for the Serious Musher

by Julie Collins and Milki Collins

An excellent resource for new mushers, published in 2013. This book was intended as a manual and as such it covers a wide spectrum of topics to educate the would-be serious musher on their journey.


joe runyanWinning Strategies for Distance Mushers

by Joe Runyan

For the musher ready to take their kennel to the competitive level or for anyone looking for inspiration, this book by former Iditarod Champion, Joe Runyan, is chock full of valuable information.


Dog Care

Dog First AidField Guide to Dog First Aid: Emergency Care for the Outdoor Dog

by Randy Acker




The Experience

Yukon AloneYukon Alone

by John Balzar

This novel documents the 1998 Yukon Quest International Sled Dog Race. Balzar takes the reader on a compelling journey that puts them in the minds of the racers and paints a picture of competition in the frozen north.

Bonus: the documented race happened to be Professional Nomad Aliy Zirkle’s rookie race.


For Juniors

Iditarod DreamIditarod Dream: Dusty and His Sled Dogs Compete in Alaska’s Jr. Iditarod

by Ted Wood

Relates the story of a 15-year old boy and his dogs as they prepare for and run the 158-mile junior Iditarod Race


For Li’l Ones

ElimElim: The Determined Athlete

by Joan Jackson, illustrated by Robert Ferrin Gilmore

An uplifting, true story of Elim, a four-month Alaskan husky that joins champion musher Jeff King’s team and learns about hard work, goal setting, and determination.

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