Background of the Auckland Sled Dog Club

New Zealand’s 1st National race was held in 1986 in the South Island and was followed in 1987 in the North Island at Maramarua, South Auckland. In 1989 the sport grew to include a few more races and the weight pulling competition, and so the start of the Great Northern Classic. Our annual Great Northern Classic had been held at the Maramarua Forest up till 1992 but since 1993 it has been held in Rotorua (for colder weather), and consists of single dog bike teams, 2 to 4 dog rig teams, and a weight pulling competition. This was New Zealand’s first Sanctioned race for the I.F.S.S. (International Federation of Sleddog Sport). 

The Auckland Sled Dog club is an internationally recognised club. The club is situated in Papakura, Auckland New Zealand and caters for anyone with a passion for sado-masochistic activities. We run in association with our sister club TrailBlazers, in West Auckland. Both clubs supply vast amounts of knowledge to new members in regard to the training and coaching of the dogs in harness. The clubs host two races a year together, both of which were highly successful in 1997. The clubs dogs range from purebred Siberian Huskies to what we refer to as South Auckland Specials (crossbreeds). Our main purpose is to have fun and enjoy the race. 

Training methods 

Currently our sleddog training lasts the entire length of our sledding season and consists of two sessions. Wednesday nights usually consist of teaming two dogs together and running them around the block and hopefully not maiming any pedestrians. It is impossible to run the rigs on these nights so we resort to using mountain bikes or BMX bikes even scooters which although look frailer than their counterparts are in fact during race time ½ a minute to a minute faster then the bike. These are used in conjunction with a two dog gangline and necktie attached to the bike, in my case through a carabiner through a rubber ‘O’ ring around the front handlebar. The rest of the club uses a variation thereof. Wednesday nights are usually training nights with an emphasis on commands and avoidance of obstacles. Weekends are usually where we travel to one of the state forests north of Auckland and with our sister club Trailblazers run the dogs in two, three or four dog teams. The rigs themselves are constructed from bike parts and while not particularly pretty to look at is very effective. Weekends are usually where we do the bigger distances varying between 5 to 12 kilometres over sand and through forest. This does not mean that we do not want for snow – currently the club owns 1 sled and is in the process of making another for our trip down to the snow of the South Island next year. Where we will be challenging our southern counterparts and hopefully, if the gods of mushing are with us, overcome them.

What is the ASDC all about

Well we are basically a group of mushers based in South Auckland, at one point in time we number over 40, at the moment the club is at an all time low of 10 regular members. This while a decided drop in quantity does not however transfer over in quality. Over the last two seasons the ASDC has regularly won all its own events overall, and has come either first or second in the other competitions. We thoroughly enjoy the sport and of course so do the dogs. We are at the moment endeavouring to set up a homestay system with other mushers around the world. This would entail staying with one of the Clubs families and being dragged unceremoniously at ungodly hours of the morning to meets. Where in all fairness we would hand over the reins (or in our case rigs) and let you do all the hard work while we sit back at the headquaters and have a cup of hot chocolate. Of course you could always just come and watch.

Recent happenings at ASDC 

News in from the field … The Auckland Sled Dog Club ahead of its larger rivals in New Zealand has put up the first Webpage that is devoted to New Zealand mushing, while an infant compared to some overseas pages it definitely heads the pack in New Zealand. Be sure to keep an eye out for it if you are Websurfing the URL is

ASDC will be offering a homestay service next year for some of our races if anyone is interested check out the webpage for contact details. We will try to accommodate as many as we can with traditional kiwi fare and hospitality.

Our major event next year will be held at Maramarua in conjunction with TrailBlazers in our Queens Birthday Double Header June 6th and 7th – two full days of sprint and speed mushing through one of the North Islands beautiful forests.

ASDC offers all our friends in the Northern Hemisphere a good racing season and merry Christmas from down under, think of us as we enviously eye up your northern winter.

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