Looking after our dogs
Promoting responsible animal tourism
We currently have 200 Alaskan Huskies within the company.
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 the Alaskan Husky is a performance bred mixed-breed and is not bred for their appearance. Our dogs are 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.
Our husky kennel operates a 365 days a year (minus one day for Christmas!). In winter we operate dog sledding tours up in the mountains, and in the summer time we take hiking trips, with the dogs helping us up the hills. We start training our dogs 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 also we 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.
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 only breed on our best dogs; those who show high fitness, a kind temperament, good fur, long legs and a good appetite. 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 may 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 over the coming months.
Please scroll down to find some common questions click here to view our Animal Welfare Policy (PDF format).
Any questions about our dogs?
Find answers below to your most common questions
We keep our dogs for their whole lives.
We gently reduce their workload as they age, and then retire them to the special job of ‘kindergarten teacher’ for our young puppies. The social skills, training and patience that our older dogs have is invaluable for teaching exuberant puppies to be calm, not chew harnesses and help them start to learn commands (such as ‘right’ and ‘left’ in Norwegian of course!).
Even in their old age our dogs are very important members of the kennel. When you come on a dog sledding trip with us, you will meet all ages and stages of dogs, from excitable youngsters to retired pensioners.
We like to give our dogs a little more space to play with each other in the cages, so we have a rotation system in the kennel which means that all of the dogs will have time in the cages and time on a chain. Our dogs enjoy being on the chains because they can interact with more of their doggy neighbours and of course meet our guests for extra attention, which they absolutely love.
We have to be very careful to build up our puppies slowly.
Doing too much physical exercise before they are fully grown can damage their joints. We start to training social skills from very early on, and always leave the puppies with their mother until they are at least 13-14 weeks old. By staying in their family group for longer, they learn vital skills such as bite inhibition, appropriate play, toileting outside and feeding manners.
At 6 months we introduce them to their harnesses and teach them to be calm when being hooked up in the dog sledding team. At 1 year old they will start short and slow training runs of 3 or 4km with a retired lead dog to help them with directional commands and setting a steady pace.
A well-fed dog is a happy dog!
We use a specialist dry food for high energy activities designed by Royal Canin. This is mixed with raw meat such as cow stomach. Cow intestines especially provide essential proteins and nutrients that keep our dogs happy and healthy. You will notice that most of our dogs are fit and lean, this helps them live a long life, avoiding obesity related illnesses such as diabetes, heart problems, joint issues and fatigue.
Alaskan Huskies are bred for performance, not for looks.
This mixed breed originates from the Gold Rush era, when miners would mix big strong freight dogs with hunting dogs to get them to the remote gold mining areas faster than their neighbour! The mix of breeds has since developed focusing on long-distance dogsled races. The mix of gundogs and racing dogs such as setters, pointers, border collies and greyhounds with siberian huskies has helped to increase their speed, endurance and the drive of the dogs.
Alaskan huskies must have good fur to survive the harsh winter conditions, long legs to manage in deep snow, and a good appetite to thrive on trail rations. The wide genetic base of the Alaskan Husky means that they rarely suffer from inherited diseases, and live to between 12 and 14 years old.
Do you have any other questions?
Check our FAQ page!