Dog sledding under a bright sun in Kangerlussuaq, West Greenland

Dog sledding

Greenland has the Arctic’s largest remaining sled dog population and is the only nation where these animals continue to be used for traditional purposes. From the Arctic Circle to the far north of the country and all along the east coast to South Greenland, hunters and some local families use Greenlandic sled dogs as a key transportation option.

Dog sled tours

On a winter visit to the Arctic Circle region, one of the closest ways to connect with nature and traditional Greenlandic culture is to go dog sledding. It is a relatively slow and peaceful journey where the only sounds are the panting of dogs, the glide of sled runners, and the occasional voice commands of the expert mushers as they steer their team. 

Although it is possible to go on a 2-hour dog sled excursion, we recommend the 4-hour options as these allow you plenty of time to get used to the sled and then sit back, relax, and take in the full experience as you travel through the Arctic landscape. On such a tour in Kangerlussuaq, you typically head out onto the frozen fjord where there is a good chance of also seeing wildlife. In Sisimiut, dog sledding through the mountain passes offers incredible views of the snow-enveloped mountains and frozen fjords.

For those looking for an even larger adventure, there are also multi-day dog sled trips available. The most popular is the 3-day trip along the Arctic Circle Trail between Kangerlussuaq and Sisimiut, where you sleep in backcountry huts, have a great chance of spotting wildlife, and experience a wide variety of landscapes under the power of this ancient form of transportation. 

Is dog sledding ethical?

Although the Greenlandic sled dog has been used for thousands of years by the Inuit, climate change and the introduction of the snowmobile to Greenland has seen a sharp decline in the numbers of dogs (more than 50% of the population over the past 25 years). 

Tourism is seen as an important way of preserving the dog sledding culture in Greenland for future generations. Income earned from excursions can help feed the dogs during the summer months when they don’t work, and international interest in the experience encourages locals to keep their dogs rather than trading them for snowmobiles. By purchasing a dog sledding experience, you are actively helping to continue this important tradition.

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