Good question! This gets at a common misconception, which is that lead dogs have dominant personalities. In fact, what matters is that leaders are independent, focused, and in-tune with their musher—some are even quite submissive to their teammates. Pepé just happens to be bossy.
One way to think about it is that sled dogs are pack animals: many of them find it pleasant to see dogs in front of them. But a lead dog sees an open trail and makes it hers. She’s unstoppable. She doesn’t tell the other dogs what to do; she simply gives them something to follow.
And when you have a dog who loves charging down an open trail, who can solve problems (like finding routes around fallen trees and open water), whose natural pace is a good fit for the team, who isn’t easily startled or distracted, and who listens carefully to the musher’s cues—
You can follow @BlairBraverman.
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