The Use of Dog Sledges during the British Search for the Missing Franklin Expedition in the North American Arctic Islands, 1848–59


  • William Barr



dog sledges, Franklin search expeditions, North American Arctic Islands


While the bulk of the searching parties sent out from the British ships deployed on the search for the missing Franklin expedition in the North American Arctic Islands over the period 1848–59 employed man-hauled sledges, dog sledges were also used quite extensively. The dog sledges were especially (but not exclusively) used as “couriers,” that is, for communication between the various wintering ships, where speed was the primary requirement. The total distance covered by dog sledges (excluding short hauls in the vicinity of the wintering ships) was, at a minimum, 11 576 km; this distance compares with the minimum 41 555 km covered by man-hauled sledges.