Sled dog season kicks off with howling start in Westbrook

Posted Jan. 08, 2013, at 9:32 a.m.
Last modified Jan. 08, 2013, at 10:09 a.m.
WESTBROOK, Maine — The sound of the howling hounds made it seem like the Sunset Ridge Golf Club was hosting a fox hunt, not sled dogs races. Where were the thick-furred Alaskan huskies?
It turns out mushers who compete in sprint races have learned long ago that by breeding the German short-hair pointer with the husky you get a web-footed dog built for speed on the snow. The resulting dog, known as a Eurohound, looks like it can’t possibly be warm — but, wow, are they fast!
About 45 teams of sprint dogs pulled mushers and skijorers, or racers wearing skis, over a five-mile course in the New England Sled Dog Club’s season opener last weekend.

The race wasn’t even scheduled, but thanks to the plentiful snow and a team of volunteers led by snow groomers from the Westbrook Trailblazers Snowmobile Club, the race came together in just three days.