The Alaskan Husky – the best endurance athletes in the world.
By Katie Gyltnes
You will notice from the photos you see on our website and social media that we don’t have the typical ‘husky’ that you see on TV. This is because all of our dogs are Alaskan Huskies. The Alaskan Husky is a performance bred mixed-breed and is not bred for their appearance, they can be black, brown, white, spotty, long haired and short haired, pointy ears or floppy ears. Our focus is on their performance as sled dogs.
Our Alaskan huskies are also very social and love to meet new people. When you meet them at our kennel they will want to sniff you and say hello. Our dogs are not aggressive and love to ‘talk’ to you with little barks and howls.
We use our dogs to help guests experience the wilderness of Arctic Norway all year round.
In winter we operate dog sledding tours up in the mountains, teaching our guests how to drive their own team of huskies and mush their own sled dogs. Our dogs can run up to 40km per day. For perspective, racing dogs when at the peak of fitness will easily run 100km per day in good conditions. These animals truly are endurance athletes. They love what they do, and at the end of a busy winter season we give them a holiday and change of scene on the weeklong dog sledding expeditions.
In the summer time we take hiking trips, with the dogs helping us up the hills. We start training our huskies for the next winter season in August when we move all of the dogs to our training camp. The dogs love being at the training camp, tucked away in the forest it is colder there and we also have a large free running area where groups of dogs can run loose. Training includes teams of up to 14 dogs pulling a quad bike to build up their power and stamina, as well as hiking with staff to practice directional commands.
Summer time is puppy time!
We have a strict breeding program, and carefully select only the best dogs to breed from; those who show high fitness, a kind temperament, good fur, long legs and a good appetite. Health and temperament are key.
We welcome several litters of puppies each summer to maintain the bloodlines we have worked hard to perfect and replace our retired dogs with fresh youngsters. We never sell our puppies or dogs, but of course we do occasionally buy in adult dogs to bring in new bloodlines. If a dog does not want to be a sled dog (this is very rare!) then we rehome them to staff, friends or families that we know can give them a good and active life.
All of our dogs are wormed, vaccinated and given parasite treatment. Our local vet, Lisa, has has worked with us for many years helping us to keep our animal welfare standard so high. We are proud of the achievements of our dogs, we have lead dogs who have won the Finnmark Race, retired dogs who have been to the Geographic North Pole and up and coming youngsters who we are excited to watch develop next season.