How many husky dogs do you have?
We have a little over 200 dogs. It has been that way about 12 years. We started with eight dogs in 1998. Depending how many we need, we breed about 10-20 pups per year.
How do you name the dogs?
We started the usual way with an A-litter, a B-litter and then it was supposed to be a C-litter. When it’s eight pups or more, in Finnish the letter C is too difficult to find the names… so we dropped it! Now we name them after themes such as; Finnish presidents, American cars, Asterix characters, planets, cities and so. Of course sometimes it can be difficult to find a name, because it has to suit the dog in question.
When do you start training the young pups?
Normally they begin training when they are 7-10 months old. With the adults dogs in September we start with ATV-training and when the snow comes we continue with the sled. If they are too small for the autumn training, we start to train them in the springtime with the sled. Pulling the sled and running is natural for them. It’s in their blood.
What qualities do you look for in huskies?
They must love the run and pull. They must have passion to work, love people and be easy to handle… but sometimes the wildest ones are the best runners!
How long is the average working life for a husky dog?
They start their work in husky safaris when they are about one year and normally they are fine till 10-11 years and after that it varies from dog to dog. At this age they can start to slow down and get stiff and they’re unable to run as fast as the young ones. But
some of them keep running almost to the end. They live about 13 years.
What is the diet of a husky dog?
In winter we need about 80kg of very good quality dry food and 50kg of raw meat per day. In the summer no meat and smaller portions because it’s warm and they’re not working.
What happens when a dog retires?
They will live in the farm as long as they are healthy, in their own cage, where they are used to living.
What activities do you offer for tourists in winter?
Husky safaris are the number one. The distances vary from about a mile to epic treks lasting five days. We see about 7,000 customers every winter. We also offer snowshoe hikes too.
Why do a longer safari?
It’s an adventure! In a five-day safari the clients take part in every task of the tour and they become a real musher.
And what activities do you offer in summer?
We rent canoes and kayaks in Oulanka National Park, mostly on the Oulanka river. We also offer guided hikes of Karhunkierros (Bear Trail) and husky hiking. Also the husky farm is open for visitors to see our dogs and other animals. It’s quieter but we still see about 3,000 visitors in the summer.
What other animals do you keep in your farm?
We have sheep, goats, llamas, hens, ducks, geese, turkeys, mangalitsa, (black pigs with curly long hair), rabbits, Finn horses, cats and of course our dogs!
What’s the best way to keep warm in Lapland when it’s minus-30?
The most important thing is the clothing; many layers with good material. The climate is dry here, so it’s not so cold… And of course you have to move.