Something we hear a lot with racing is about how the same people win, the same people are always on the podium and it isn’t just within the sleddog sports either, you see it in all sports not just dog sports. There is usually a reason for this and it isn’t what people seem to think…
Sports are physical, they involve work and they involve training. For dog sports that involves training and maintaining an excellent level of fitness for the dog. It can involve spending vast amounts of money on taking the dogs to hydro, getting them checked out by chiros/physios etc, a lot of time and money goes into it.
We have had several people mention about how the same people always do well because they have the right dog for the sport. We like to point out at this point that Dill has beaten several purpose bred dogs and the response we get – “but your dog is one of those pointer types”. So? He is bred to work under a gun, work independently at a distance whilst also working with you. He is bred to stop and point birds when he scents them, he is bred to retrieve birds. He is not bred to race, he is not bred to run attached to a bike but yes he does love it and yes he has been really quite successful. But there is a reason why and believe it or not it isn’t because he is a ‘pointer type’.
The other side of dog sports – the human.
Paul trains nearly every single day, he gets up at silly o’clock in the morning, he will either train with the dogs or without but does much more without than he does with. He cycles to work, he works hard on the turbo, he goes for runs. He works very very hard to maintain a level of fitness so that when he is racing Dill they work together. If Paul hasn’t got up one morning because he is human and sometimes sleeps too much then he does something when he gets home from work. He works so so hard.
So we get asked quite a lot about Large Munsterlanders and whether they make good canicross/bikejor dogs and we get a lot of odd looks when we say no. They do the sport well, I don’t know of a single munster who hasn’t pulled in harness and hasn’t enjoyed it but, and it really is a big but… they are big hairy dogs and they get hot. Due to research that has taken place at races we know that Dill has on several occasions been one of the hottest dogs after racing. We know he over heats a lot and some of that is due to the amount of effort he puts in when he runs. Also they are not the easiest dogs to live with, they will push you to your limits, stress you out and test you. If you want a dog for the sport then get one that suits you, just because a breed like munsters are stunning to look at, are a good energetic breed, does not make them the breed for you and not one for the sport.
All dogs run and it is so much more important to have a dog that suits you than to have a dog that suits something you might want to do.
I can assure you of one thing – getting a munsterlander or even a greyster or hound will not always make you a huge amount faster, it will not always make you more competitive. That is something YOU have to do. There are people that run small dogs that put down amazing times because they have the skills to get round the course. These sports are team sports, the human has to work as hard as the dog and that is why Dill has beaten purpose bred dogs. It is why in a canicross race, Paul and Mozi will be beatable. Yes he is a purpose bred dog but Paul is not the best runner out there and so they will be beaten.
So if you want to be competitive in the sleddog sports, work with the dog in front of you, regardless of size/strength/speed. If you want a dog for the sport, then yes there are some breeds that are better for running with but you pick the dog that suits you, not what you want to do because a sport is a tiny part of your life with that dog. What happens if that dog doesn’t want to run? Look at yourself, look at what training you can do, then look at your life style and the breeds of dogs that suit you. The dog is such a small part of our sport – might sound silly but the top athletes can beat most people racing with their dogs, either on a bike or running, without a dog.
So no… it’s not because Dill is a ‘pointer type’ it is because as a partnership they work hard. It will be the same with Mozi.