Dogs are still part of life in rural Alaska. Small and large teams are used for in and out of town transportation to haul wood, water and run trap lines and hunt. They are raised and trained for racing in order to prove their abilities for sale and win races. Every non musher fish camp has at least one for companionship and bears.
Years back an informal survey done by members at a Tanana Dog Mushers meeting counted 47 dog teams in the village of Tanana in 1977. Counted were teams as small 3 dogs and family yards consisting of 70 or more. One fall back then, which is the season of highest numbers because of summer pups, another survey counted 1500 dogs in Tanana and about 450 people. Today there are about a dozen teams and a couple of family yards of 50 or so (and 300 persons). Tanana is one of the places still holding on to the use of dogs. Times are changing but the low salmon runs of the past 10 years has had alot to do with this decline which also has affected all areas of subsistence. With the runs hopefully rebounding now some more teams may return.
Play a Joe Bishop Dog Driving song called Mushing
click > MUSHING
Dog Photos from this area
click on to enlarge