Last Updated on by vincent
I first wanted to talk to you about the condition of dogs in kennels. Having visited a few of them (especially in Norway, but also a pair near Rovaniemi), you should know that the dogs are very well treated. Well fed, they go out often, stretch their legs and there is not animal abuse.
Because these dogs love to run. Really, they are made for that, born for that, they only ask for that. As soon as they know they’re going out, as soon as they see customers, they go crazy and putting the harness on them to attach them to the sled is a bore because they really want to go fast 😀
When we have the misfortune to press the brake a little to avoid being ejected or because it’s going too fast, they all turn around like “what the hell are you doing man?!”, really, they love to run .
On the kennels, inevitably the big ones are more industrial, but the dogs are well treated there. In winter they all go out very regularly, while out of season they also go out but a little less. Those whose masters know they will not run away can be released during the day. But you should also know that summer is more complicated for them in terms of climate. They are winter dogs so they cannot provide the same effort. The lady of the small Lofoten kennel told us that her dogs, above 10°, were too hot and had to be preserved.
So, dog sledding is one of the best things to do in Finnish Lapland. You can also find all the best bookable activities here!
Why is Finnish Lapland a great place to go dog sledding ?
The recipe for dog sledding is not very complicated. You need dogs, a sled, snow. Well ok, it’s very easy to find in Finland. But it’s not over! You also need flat field. Large flat spaces. And for that, we can say that Finnish Lapland is perfect. As I say in this article, in Finnish Lapland, there are lakes, forests, plains, trees… in short, nothing but flat! So the locals have absolutely no difficulty finding a sufficiently large flat piece of land.
And the good thing, as we will see below, is that you can find sled dog companies almost everywhere, in all tourist places, whether in Levi, Rovaniemi, Yllasjärvi or even Inari.
And all these places have snow not far from 6 months a year, so ideal conditions, especially for dogs who need cold to be totally happy.
Frankly, Finnish Lapland is really great for dog sledding because you will be surrounded by huge expanses of snow, forests of trees petrified by the cold, frozen lakes.
How is a dog sledding tour ?
The first step is to choose the dogs that will be assigned to you. It will depend on their shape, their mood, the rhythm that we want to put also because some dogs are much faster than others. Choosing the dogs is an art, and frankly it’s super interesting so I advise you to ask lots of questions to the mushers to find out how they choose them, why this one goes to the front line, how they define the order.
Then normally (especially in small kennels) you have to dress them up and that’s funny. It is a question of putting on the harness that will attach them to the sled. They are excited but let you work, even by strangers (they are really adorable), except when you take a little time to equip them, because it’s not super easy. They look at us “but you’re really not good at it, man”.
One last step before you get started is the security part. How to drive a sled, what actions you need to know. And there it is still simple: you have two pedals, one to brake and one to stop the sled. Really not rocket science. To know when to use them, it will be your survival instinct, to avoid being ejected during a turn a little too tight (true story). Because it goes fast, very fast! Dogs are real athletes.
Also, you will have to avoid being too close to the sled in front of you. But then it’s common sense.
Finally, we will also tell you that while driving you cannot film or take photos. It’s not wrong, because it’s not stable. And when you start it is better to have both hands on the sled. It’s a little difficult, but in a straight line it can be done.
A tour lasts between 1h and 3h, depending on the agency, and you change in the middle between the one driving and the one enjoying. Even if it’s very sporty, we work a lot on the abs, thighs and arms, it’s super pleasant even for the driver. It goes quickly, it’s really a great experience!
When to go dog sledding in Finnish Lapland ?
Really, it will depend on the snow. There reservations start mid November until April. The tours rarely start before because there won’t necessarily be a lot of people and the snow is coming later and later. But for the high tourist season, which is from December to March, there will be absolutely no problem in all of Lapland, there is always plenty of snow.
The angencies will not start with the first snowfall, but you need snow that holds well, packed down, so that the dogs can easily run on it without damaging their paws.
Where to go dog sledding in Finnish Lapland? The different tours city by city
The different tourist spots in Finnish Lapland are far from each other. So if you’re in Rovaniemi, you’re not going to run to Levi. That’s why I’m going to offer you the agencies city by city.
DOG SLEDDING IN ROVANIEMI
As Rovaniemi is the biggest city in Finnish Lapland and the main tourist spot, inevitably we will find many companies and it is difficult to see very clearly.
It is a bit more expensive than in more confidential places, but less than in Tromso. Here we are in the 150/170€ in general.
The reference up there is Apukka Husky. Excellent reputation, very professional, at 160€. So honestly, it’s okay!
A nice and longer alternative is to pair:
- dog sledding
For 6 hours and “only” €195. I have never tested this activity but frankly the feedback is excellent and it seems very reliable. A tour I VERY strongly recommend to have a great day for not (too) expensive.
DOG SLEDDING IN LEVI
There are several companies that do dog sledding in Levi. Unfortunately, a lot are not necessarily that good, ie they are expensive for a short duration.
But we have Eanan Levi who is very good, very good feedback and much cheaper than the others! We are at 130€, they pick up at the hotel if necessary and have an excellent reputation.
DOG SLEDDING IN YLLASJARVI, AKASLOMPOLO AND KITTILA
These 3 cities are really located next to each other, within 10km. So you can easily go from one to the other for activities.
DOG SLEDDING IN MUONIO
I haven’t found it in Muonio, but in Akaskero there is a great team, offering half day, daily tours, and also tours for several days and even a week. That could be great !
DOG SLEDDING IN KILPISJARVI
Some tips and information
- Price: it will depend on the duration and the places. We can say that it starts at 90€ up to 200 for long journeys.
- Difficulty: there isn’t really any difficulty, it’s sporty, it pushes on the abs, arms, thighs, but it doesn’t require great physical condition. Everyone can do it. Just have a little balance when driving the sled.
- Who it is for: Well, that depends. It’s physical, some accept children from 5 years old (not to drive, eh), others only adults. It will also be necessary to avoid if you are pregnant, in plaster, that sort of thing.
- Is it dangerous: well no, it is not strictly speaking dangerous. On the other hand, you can easily be ejected from the sled, especially when you are driving. But the idea is to fall in the snow so that’s fine. On the sled itself, you must above all store your feet and especially not allow them to stick out.
- If you are afraid of dogs: then they are really lovely in general. They are selected for their sporting abilities but also for their sociability. If they can bite humans, then they can’t be in the kennel, it’s as simple as that. So they will never be mean to you. Let them approach, avoid sudden gestures anyway. But they want hugs. Others are not going to calculate you because what they want is to run. They are hyperactive! So absolutely not dangerous, but it wiggles, so it can surprise, especially children.
And There you go! I believe I have told you pretty much everything I know and I hope I was able to provide you with the information you need if you want to do dog sledding in Finnish Lapland. There are many agencies, good and not so good, so pay attention to the reputation, the duration of the tour (super important). But it’s really a great experience so don’t hesitate 🙂
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