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Introduction |  
Origins of the Postal Service |  
Dog-Teams |  
Types of Dogs |  
Dog-Team Equipment |  
Weight Allowances for Dog-Teams |  
Dog Food |  
Hardships |  
Conclusion |  
Mail Routes |  
Mail Routes Map |  
West Coast Map |  
Philately |  
Endnotes |  
Bibliography |  
Credits |  


The sleds pulled were often
the Yukon type or the Juneau arctic sled,36 which were "seven feet [2 metres] long, sixteen inches [40 centimetres] wide on the runners, so as to be able to follow the narrow trails, and clearing the
ground by about four inches
[10 centimetres]."37 They weighed about 35 pounds [16 kilos]; cost between $8 and $10 in 1896; and could carry 600 pounds [300 kilos] of cargo.38 Steamed-plank toboggans were introduced from the Mackenzie River area during the nineteenth century;39 these were useful on the ice and on well-broken trails, but often failed in the powdery snow of the bush.40

U.S. Mail Leaving Dawson, Yukon
U.S. Mail Leaving Dawson, Yukon
Photo: Adams & Larkin
© Public domain
National Library and National Archives
of Canada, C-019249

The U.S. mail service between Juneau and Circle City, Alaska, travelled through Yukon. Dawson was a stop along the route.

Dog-teams were harnessed in a single line, with each dog's harness attached to that of the dog behind, and the wheel dog's harness attached to the sled.41 (The wheel dog, closest to the front of the sled, acted as something of a brake, slowing the sled as it went downhill.) A long trailing line attached to the sled was used to secure the dogs while they were being harnessed.42 The musher would lay the harnesses out before untying the dogs, and then hitch them one by one into place, always harnessing the most reliable dog first.43 The dogs wore moccasins, usually made of moosehide, to protect them from the jagged pieces of ice that often pierced their feet.