Race Rules 2015


2014 Siskiyou Sled Dog Races - Mid-Distance, Sprint and Skijor Classes 

It is the musher’s responsibility to know these race rules.
Please address questions concerning these rules to info@siskiyousleddograces.net

I. Eligibility


a. An entry form and fees for a race shall be submitted prior to the start of the race. Late entries may be allowed at the discretion of the race marshal.
b. SSDSA may reject any entry for just cause.
c. The SSDSA shall prohibit any person convicted of animal abuse or neglect at a misdemeanor or greater level from participating at these races.


a. The driver starting a team in the first heat of a race shall drive that team throughout the race, except that (refer to b).

b. A change in driver can only be made as the result of illness or injury to the authorized entrant and must have the approval of the Race Marshal.

c. Any driver disqualified in any heat of the race is not eligible to compete in the remainder of the race.

d. Drivers disqualified from a heat for animal abuse shall not be eligible for further participation in any sanctioned class that is part of that event.

1. 3. DOGS

a. The Race Marshal may disallow entry of any team or dog for just cause.

b. Any team or dog coming to the starting line, which in the opinion of the Race Marshal, is unfit or incapable of safely completing the race shall be disqualified.

c. One substitute dog which did not race in the first heat is allowed to be added to a team for subsequent heats of a race, as long as the maximum number of dogs allowed in that race is not exceeded. This substitute dog must be from the mushers own kennel.

d. Any team or dog disqualified in any heat of the race shall not be eligible to compete in the remainder of the race.


a. No dog or equipment shall be brought from a kennel where rabies, distemper, hepatitis, leptospirosis, or any other contagious disease exists.

b. If the Race Veterinarian diagnoses any dog present in the race area to have a contagious disease, that team shall be disqualified and shall immediately leave the race area.


a. If the race Marshall or Veterniarian deems it useful, dogs may be marked so that teams stay uniform during heats and/or to designate healthy or unhealthy dogs

b. A team  may add  one substitute dog from the team mushers own kennel in subsequent heats within the maximum team limits.


a. Two-Dog Skijor Class Team shall consist of not more than two (2) dogs, and not less than one (1) dog, One (1) new dog from the drivers own kennel may used in second heat so long as no more than two (2) dogs are run in a heat.

b. Four-Dog Class Team shall consist of not more than four (4) dogs, and not less than two (2) dogs. One (1) new dog from the drivers own kennel may used  in second heat so long as no more than four (4) are run in a heat

c. Six-Dog Class Team shall consist of not more than six (6) dogs and not less than four (4) dogs. One (1) new dog from the drivers own kennel may used  in second heat so long as no more than six (6) are run in a heat

d. Eight- Dog Class Team shall consist of not more than (8) dogs and not less than five (5) dogs. One (1) new dog from the drivers own kennel may used  in second heat so long as no more than eight (8) are run in a heat

e. The  Unlimited Open Dog Class Team  shall  consist of unlimited dogs( controlled by conditions) and not less than (6) dogs.  You may run less dogs the second day.  You may not run substitute dogs the second day.  Dogs you run the second day must have run the first day.

f. After the first heat and each ensuing heat, a driver may voluntarily reduce the size of the team, subject to minimums.

g. After the first heat the driver may voluntarily add one new dog from the drivers own kennel so long as the maximum number of dogs allowed in the class is not exceeded.( Not allowed in unlimited open class.)



a. All stimulants and depressants, analgesics, prescriptive and non-prescriptive Anti-inflammatory agents including, but not limited to, corticosteroid, anti-prostaglandins, and salicylate, Anti-anxiety agents, Anabolic steroids, Diet pills. Any other substance that may affect the performance of the dogs is prohibited. Any State, Federal or Provincial controlled or restricted substance is prohibited.


a. If an organization intends to test for drugs, it shall declare so on the entry form.  SSDSA will allow a positive test for previously declared paraciticides in the test for prohibited substances in sled dogs. It is incumbent upon the driver/owner to declare all foreign substances used in his/her dogs before testing occurs.

b. Whenever a specimen is requested for testing, the owner or driver shall be present (or his/her representative) and shall declare in writing to the sampling official all medications administered to the dog(s) within 72 hours preceding the start of the event.

c. If an owner or driver refuses to allow a sample to be collected from a dog, that team shall be disqualified from the event.

d. If any dog in a team shows a positive test of a prohibited drug, that team is subject to disqualification, the decision to be made following a hearing.



a. Drivers, teams, and equipment shall be available for inspection in the vehicle holding area at least ten (10) minutes before their scheduled time of departure.

b. A team in harness shall not be required to stand for inspection longer than six (6) minutes before the time of departure.

c. Inspection shall take place in an area that does not interfere with teams in the start or finish chutes.

d. A team shall be available for inspection after each heat at the request of the Race Marshall.

e. All equipment is subject to the approval of the Race Marshall.

1. 2. 2. HARNESSES and LINES

a. All dogs shall be harnessed in single or double file.

b. All dogs shall be fastened to the tug line by a neckline and tail line with the exception of the leader(s) who shall be harnessed in the team by a tail line but may run with or without a neckline. However, in the case of a trail with head on passing during any portion of the trail, dual leaders shall be fastened to each other with a neckline.

c. A snub line may be carried on the sled but it shall not be used in any manner other than to tie down and hold the sled.

1. 3. 3. SLEDS

a. A sled shall be capable of adequately carrying the driver and have

a basket capable of carrying a dog.

b. A sled shall be equipped with an adequate brake, brushbow and snowhook.

c. A sled shall be equipped with a ventilated dog bag adequate for the safety of the dog, capable of restraining a struggling or incapacitated dog and covering a dog. No part of the dog should be able to extend beyond the bottom, sides or back of the basket. A minimum of 93.0 square inches (600 sq. cm.) ventilation must be provided.


a. A muzzle or any collar that can be hooked as a full choke shall be prohibited.

b. A racing number for each driver shall be provided by the race-giving organization. The driver shall display this number on his person throughout the race.

c. SSDSA prohibits the use of signal whips on any or all portions of the race trail.

d. Drivers under the age of 18 shall wear protective helmets.

e. Drivers my use dog paw pad booties at own discretion.

D) FINISH TIME  (Optional)


a. A team may be disqualified from competing in subsequent heats if its total elapsed time exceeds 2 times the average time of the three fastest teams in the same heat of the same class, at the discresion of the race marshall.



1. The starting positions for the first heat of a race shall be determined by preference of the entrants with first choice of position going to the first entry received. Second choice to the second entry received, etc.  Late entries shall be added in order of receipt. Final positions will be determined at the 8 AM  mushers meeting.

2. For Sled races: The second day’s starting positions shall be determined by the first heat times, fastest to slowest, with the fastest team starting first, the second fastest team starting second, etc.

3. For Skijor races: The second heat start order will be determined from the first heat times, slowest to fastest, with the slowest team starting first, the second slowest second,etc.


1. For all races except those in which the starting group consists of all drivers (mass start), if the total elapsed time of two teams is identical, the order of start for those teams shall be the reverse order in which they started in the preceding heat.

2. For races in which the starting group consists of all drivers (mass start), in the case of a tie, where the first day’s starting order is not being used to determine the starting order in subsequent heats, the Race Marshall shall decide the starting position by the flip of a coin.

3. Teams with equal times for the entire race shall be awarded (share) the higher finishing position.

4. The purse (No Purse for 2013…Awards Only) for the tied place and the next lower places (s) shall be combined and divided equally among those teams tied for that place.

D) STARTING POINT AND TIME (Time between Starts)

1. For Sleds,the brush bow of the sled shall determine the starting point of the team, for skijor races the forward most ski tip determines the start point. The start point shall be behind the startline at the time of the 5 second count down.

2. Trail time for all teams shall begin after the 5 second countdown begins and when either the starter says “GO” or when the sled brush bow or ski tip passes over the start line whichever is earlier.

3. A team that fails to be in the starting position at its scheduled starting time shall be declared a late starting team.

a. A late-starting team shall be allowed to start  when the race marshal deems it appropriate, this determination being informed by the will of the on time mushers, and subject to the predetermined race intervals

b. A late-starting team shall not interfere with any other team.

c. If more than one team is declared late, those teams shall start in their originally scheduled starting order.

d. If a team is late at the starting line for its second scheduled time of departure for any one heat, that team may be disqualified.

4. A team not clearing the starting chute (minimum distance 100 feet for single starts) prior to the scheduled start of the next team may be disqualified.


1. Unless otherwise specified by the Race Marshall prior to the start of the first heat of the event:

a. Any amount or type of assistance is allowed to a team prior to the actual starting time.

b. Once a team’s starting time has commenced, only the chute judge or officials designated to assist may help in the chute.

c. In the event of a tangle or a dogfight during a group start, unlimited help is allowed. F) FINISH

1. A team shall have finished the heat when the first dog on the team crosses the finish line.

2. If a loose team crosses the finish line ahead of its driver, that team shall have finished when the driver reaches the finish line.

3. When multiple starting chutes are used as a finishing chute a team may return on any trail.



1. A team and driver shall run the entire course as established by the race-giving organization.

2. If a team leaves the trail, the driver shall return the team to the point at which they left the trail.

3. The trail shall be marked as follows subject to modifications as deemed appropriate by the race marshall:

a. “Right Turns” shall be indicated by a directional arrow and/or red markers on the right of the trail

b. “Left Turn” shall be indicated by  directional arrow and/or a red marker on the left side of the trail.

c. “Straight ahead” shall be indicated by directional arrows and/or blue or green markers.

d. “Caution” shall be indicated by yellow markers.

e. The end of the Starting Chute (minimum length, 100 feet for single starts) shall be indicated by markers on both sides of the trail.

f. A marker may be placed to indicate the start of the “NO-RIGHT-OF-WAY-ZONE”. The SSDSA will attempt to make this zone at least 1/2 mile from the finish line unless trail conditions dictate otherwise. This sign may read “PASS @ WILL”. The SSDSA will try to have the trail within the ‘NO-RIGHT-OF-WAY-ZONE’ at least 10 (ten) feet wide and aligned so that an overtaking team may pass freely on the run. The Race Marshal will clarify where the “NO-RIGHT-OF-WAY-ZONE” starts at the pre-race meeting.


1. A sled driver may ride the sled, pedal or run as wished. A skijorer my use any technique

2. A driver shall not interfere with a competing team.

3. All dogs starting a heat shall complete the entire course, either hitched in the team or carried on the sled. If the Race Marshal determines that all dogs did not complete the entire course as above, that team shall be disqualified.

4. A dog removed from the team must be loaded in the sled and enclosed a dog bag adequate for the condition the dog is in. Overheated dogs should be placed in a ventilated dog bag or snow packed around dog or veterinary assistance requested.

5. Carrying a passenger at any time during the race shall be prohibited unless:

a. Called for in the conditions of the race.

b. Giving a ride to a driver in an emergency situation.


1. All teams may receive similar assistance of any type from officials stationed at designated points along the trail as authorized by the Race Marshall.

2. Drivers running in the same heat may assist each other in any manner authorized by the Race Marshall.

3. Handler and spectator assistance shall be limited to holding the sled, except in the case of a loose team, or a team so unmanageable as to create a clear and present danger to itself, other teams or persons.

4. No one shall assist a team by willfully pacing it.


1. All drivers must assume that a loose team or dog is an endangered team or dog.

2. A loose team or dog shall not delay or interfere with another team.

a. The driver of the loose team must overtake the loose team by the quickest means available to ensure the safety of the loose team.

b. In the event that a driver cannot quickly and safely recover his/her team, the driver must accept assistance, including a ride when available to recover his/her team. Failure to accept available assistance may result in disqualification of the driver of the loose team. The Race Marshal shall determine if a driver is to be disqualified.

c. Any person(s) is/are encouraged to stop and hold a loose team.

d. Drivers who receive a ride to recover a team will be assessed a time penalty of 20% of the total elapsed time of the heat in which they received a ride.


1. When teams are passing on a single trail:

a. The team traveling down hill shall have the right-of-way.

b. The in-coming team has the right-of-way.

2. In the one-half (1/2) mile “No-right-of-way finish zone”, no team shall have the right of way over a finishing team.


1. Teams will start sequentially, one behind the other at pre-determined intervals, passing rules are defined as follows.

2. When a team driver intends to pass another team, the passing team driver may demand the right of way when the lead dog(s) comes within fifty (50) feet of the sled of the overtaken team.

3. The overtaken team shall make way for the passing team by steering the sled to one side of the trail, slowing his team and, if demanded by the overtaking team driver, stopping and keeping the team from moving forward.

4. If the passing team becomes tangled or bunched up in the course of the pass, to allow time to untangle and tighten lines, that team’s driver may require the overtaken team to remain stopped for up to one (1) minute in Unlimited and Limited Classes involving eight (8) or more dogs, one-half (1/2) minute in all other classes.

5. Once a team has been passed, that team shall not repass so long as the driver in front is making an effort to keep his team moving forward until:

a. In Limited Classes involving fewer than eight (8) dogs, after no less than two (2) minutes or one-half (1/2) mile.

b. At any lesser interval when both drivers are in agreement. EXCEPTION: – After a pass has been completed, a team that has been passed need not hold his/her team while the other driver: repairs gear, or unhooks and transfers a dog or dogs from one position in the team to another position in the team, or goes off the race trail before the above mentioned distance or time interval has elapsed. Loading a dog in the sled constitutes changing a dog’s position in the team.

Note: Common sense will be the goal of passing.  Once a team passes, the passed team should let the passing team some room(suggested 50 yards) before restarting. It is not polite to draft right on the heals of  the team that has just passed. The race marshal will go over this at the mushers meeting. 

6. A driver, coming upon two or more teams stopped together, may pass all such teams. The stopped team drivers shall make every effort to clear the trail for the moving team(s).

7. Teams following each other shall maintain an interval of not less than one (1) team length, except when passing or in the “No-right-of way zone”.

8. When a team is overtaken in the “No-right-of-way zone”, that team does not have to stop and yield the trail.

9. No driver shall interfere with a competing team.



1. All drivers shall be responsible for the conduct of their dogs, their designated handler, and themselves whenever in the race area or on the trail.

2. Common sense and good sportsmanship shall prevail. If the Race Marshal determines that driver, handler or team conduct at any time in the race area or on the trail is detrimental to the sport/race, that team shall be disqualified.


1. Abuse of a dog, with or without an implement, shall be prohibited. If the Race Marshal determines that any dog has been abused, that team and driver shall be disqualified.

2. No whips allowed.



1. Race officials shall report overt rule violations to the Race Marshal verbally, in person or by radio, immediately or directly following the heat in which the violation occurred.

2. The Race Marshal shall act, at his discretion, on any overt violations witnessed and reported by race officials.


1. Drivers wishing to report an alleged violation of the rules by another contestant shall notify the Race Marshal immediately following the heat in which the incident occurred. Notification may be verbal.

2. All verbal driver reports shall be followed with a written report, given to the Race Marshal within one (1) hour of the completion of the heat in which the alleged violation occurred.


1. Any driver implicated in a report of an alleged violation of the rules may request a hearing before the Race Marshal.

2. Said hearing shall be granted by the Race Marshal.


1. 1. For violation of any Siskiyou Sleddog Race Rules, the Race Marshal shall either issue a verbal warning to the driver, or disqualify the driver and team from the race.

a. No other disciplinary action shall be imposed.

b. Decisions shall be announced as promptly as practical but no later than two (2) hours prior to the start of any ensuing heat(s).

c. Any disciplinary action following the final heat of the race shall be acted upon prior to the awards ceremony.

d. In the case of drug testing, the above time schedule does not apply to allow for laboratory findings and hearings, should the latter become necessary.

*It is the musher’s responsibility to know these race rules. Please address questions concerning these rules to info@siskiyousleddograces.net


* All of the Race Rules and Procedures above shall apply to skijoring classes with the following exceptions:

1. DRAWING – Drawing for the starting order of the skijoring class shall be by:

1. The starting positions for the first heat of a race shall be determined by the start position preference listed on your form prioritized by the order the entry was received. .

2. The second heat starting positions shall be determined by the first day’s finish order, if a small number of skijorers (less than 6) is entered, the preferred order is slowest team first to fastest team last to encourage the best efforts of each team, a large number of contestants or a shorter race may make this impractical. A vote by skijors at the morning meeting shall finalize which start order is used.

2. TEAM SIZE – Skijoring teams shall consist of a maximum of two (2) dogs and a minimum of one (1) dog. A new dog from the same kennel/owner may be used  for the second heat as long as no more than 2 dogs are used.


a. Skijoring teams must be attached via harness and tow-line to the skijorer’s belt in a safe and secure manner, allowing the skijorer’s hands to be free of the line. The line length shall be a minimum of seven (7) feet and a maximum of twelve (12) feet as measured from the skiers belt buckle to the snap on the nearest dog’s harness.

b. The minimum width of the skijoring belt across the back shall be three (3) inches. A quick release device within arm’s length of the skijorer is recommended.

c. Necklines are optional.

4. STARTING – The tips of the skijorer’s skis shall determine the starting point of the team.  Starting interval is 1 minute unless this interval is modified at the morning mushers meeting in agreement with the race Marshall

5. PASSING – Skijorers need not come to a full stop, but must slow, yield the trail and give immediate right-of-way upon demand.

a. Once a team has been passed, that team shall not repass for two (2) minutes or one half (1/2) mile except by mutual agreement of both drivers. Within the “No Right of Way Zone” there is no limitations on re- passing.

b. Unless passing or in the no-right-a-way zone, a competitor must maintain a minimum distance of twenty (20) feet between his/her dogs and the skijorer in front.

6. FINISHING – The nose of the Lead Dog(s) shall determine the finish time of the team.

We recomend that all musher keep their teams vacinations updated due to teams coming in from different areas of the country.  Have your records with you in case the vet has a concern over an issue with one of your dog’s health.

It is the musher’s responsibility to know these race rules. Please address questions concerning these rules to info@siskiyousleddograces.net

Siskiyou Snow Dog Sporting Association info@siskiyousleddograces.net or call 530-926-3641 or 530-598-0466.