Alaska Native Collections – Sharing Knowledge


Dog harness

łeendenaalyoye “old-style dog harness”
Language: Central Koyukon

Dogs worked year round anyway, summer and winter. Summertime, they used dog packs [to carry loads] and then in wintertime, they used the dog harness, this kind of harness.

—Trimble Gilbert, 2004

This is an old style Koyukon straight-line harness for hitching one dog directly behind another, a better arrangement for narrow forest trails than the side-by-side pairings used by contemporary dog mushers. The harness is made of moose hide and canvas, with padded “work collars” that were comfortable for the dogs when pulling heavy loads. It has places to attach decorative “dog antlers” that were draped with ribbons and yarn for holidays. Dogs pulled toboggans, sleds, and even canoes.

Culture: Athabascan
Region: Yukon River, Alaska
Object Category: Travel
Dimensions: Length 315cm
Accession Date: 1928
Source: M. W. Pope (collector)
Museum: National Museum of the American Indian
Museum ID Number: 161628.000