11 August 2013

History Lesson: Alaskan Hitch

I love all things dog, and I love history.  So I was very excited to find an example of an "Alaskan Hitch" while on my travels through Alaska this past summer. 
 
These harnesses marked the now familiar method of hitching dogs side by side to a gangline.  Before this the majority of mushers hitched the dogs one in front of the other in front of the sled.   Doubling up allowed for more power, but a still manageable gangline. The leader was still commonly hitched up alone.
 
The harness is made of leather, and wood.  The collar is very heavy, and thick.  I am not sure what the collar is filled with, but it is stuffed.  Likely straw.  Down from the collar is a strap that goes across the back, as well as a belly band, which really goes more across the chest, behind the front legs.   There is also the familiar X across the back.  Capping the ends of the spreader bar, is brass.
 
 
If you have more information on this, please leave a comment.