Winter champion: Inglewood dogsled dad takes advantage of cold

In a new series, CBC Calgary is shining a spotlight on "winter champions" — the people who embrace the season and find new ways to maximize fun in the cold, snowy months.

Family didn't know their dog required so much exercise, hooked up sled to wear him out

A winter champion in Calgary's historic Inglewood community has found a way to embrace the old-fashioned spirit of winter with his furry friend. 2:28

The dog days of summer are long past but one winter champion in Calgary's historic Inglewood community has found a way to embrace the old-fashioned spirit of winter with his furry friend.

  • How do you make the most of winter? Share your stories and pictures by emailing or tweet @CBCEyeopener with the hashtag #winterlove.

When James Ford and his family adopted Hunter — a German short-haired pointer — they had no idea the breed was a sporting dog requiring exceptional amounts of exercise. Fed up with unsuccessful attempts to unleash Hunter's energy, Ford decided to try something new — dog sledding.

James Ford and his son enjoy a ride with their German short-haired pointer Hunter along a Calgary trail. (Kyle Bakx/CBC)

"We had no idea what we were getting into," Ford said. "Low and behold, he's an amazing puller and now we're urban mushers."

Traditionally, Siberian huskies or Alaskan malamutes have been the sled dogs of choice due to their hard-working natures and suitability for cold temperatures.

However, German short-haired pointers were bred as hunting dogs and need high levels of activity to channel their energy away from potentially-destructive behaviours, according to the German Shorthaired Pointer Club of America. 

Whether it's on the streets of Inglewood or in parks around the city, Ford and his family now dogsled just about everywhere.

  • Listen to his full interview on the Calgary Eyeopener below:

"We're kind of almost famous now around the paths and dog parks, everyone sees us," Ford said.

An avid skier and stay-at-home father, Ford says he has always enjoyed the frigid months. Now he says winter is definitely his favourite season.