Dog sledding is a real experience - there is quite simply nothing like the sensation of being in control of your dogsled and husky team.
Most people think that husky sledding is a traditional way of life here in Lapland, Finland, but it isn't. Sámi tribes don't have any history of using huskies. In the 1960s, the only husky farms were those kept by hobbyists keen to race. It's a growing industry, and the law hasn't caught up.
Unlike British Colombia, Finland has no current animal welfare specifically for animals used in tourism and no specific legislature for husky welfare. Instead, huskies are classed alongside other dogs as pets. Researchers at the University of Lapland are working to change this and created the Animal Tourism Finland project and a useful series of questions that tour operators can ask husky farms before partnering.
The Kemijoki river of Tervola Lapland is a spectacular area for dog sledding - the majestic landscape view provides the ideal backdrop for a real Arctic dogsled adventure.
At Tervola Husky Tours, we take animal welfare seriously. Our holiday companies use husky farms that they have visited personally where possible and usually have long-standing relationships. Our husky farm was happy to answer questions about their dogs – the number that we spoke to or researched for this article had reams of information on their site. But there are some ways in which we can all move towards even more responsible husky sledding. There are many husky farms in Lapland. You can enjoy your husky sled with most of the well-known farm owners.
All our recommended dogsled tours are based on driving your sled - after expert instruction, you will be mushing your husky team. For those too young or who do not wish to move their sled, shared sled options are also available for some tours.
You will find that you quickly gain confidence in handling the sled as your mushing skills develop. You will be working very closely with your team of Siberian Huskies as you journey through the wilderness together and should find that you have made some firm friends by the end of your time in the Nordic Adventure.
Choose to sled through beautiful lowland landscapes of frozen lakes and forest or spectacular mountain scenery or on the river, staying overnight in wilderness cabins, or even winter camping.
If you choose winter camping at night, you will stop at one of the cabins along the way, which offer accommodation of simple but comfortable and cozy standards. After seeing to the dogs' needs in the evening, you retire to the warmth of the cabins for dinner and a chance to reflect on the day's mushing adventures. There are also wood-fired Finnish Sauna facilities at some of the overnight stops - a fantastic way to relax after a nice adventure day on the trail.
Whichever of our dog sledding holidays and recommendations you choose, working closely with the huskies and taking part in their care is very much of the experience.
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