The dogs in our kennel are Alaskan and Siberian Huskies, a working dog that that is bred exclusively to run and pull, while living outdoors. They are not bred for colour, or looks, and are constantly evolving over the years, which has made them exceptionally suited for their job!
Over the last 50 years, the husky was crossed with breeds such as greyhound, and more recently German short haired pointer, to enhance the athletic qualities and make them very suited to running in team and pulling sleds, while loving the attention the staff and guests give them.
There is husky in every dog, so they keep the genetics of the double coat, which helps with both warmth as well as cooling.
Because of the climate in our area, which includes warm Chinooks and an average winter daytime temperature of -4 Celsius, we are not running the 70 lb large, hairy dogs, as it is too hot for them. We can put a jacket on the dogs when it is cold, but you can’t take anything off in the warm weather! The mixed breed also means less foot problems, significantly less hip problems, and generally less health problems overall than the purebred breeds.
One of the first things people notice is the varied size, shapes and looks of our dogs. We choose the dogs for their desire to run, while being friendly and having the genetic characteristics that allow them to live outside year-round.
Over the last 20 years, we have made it our philosophy to adopt dogs into the kennel rather than have litters of puppies. There are a variety of situations by which we obtain new dogs – kennel owners want to retire or downsize, they may experience financial restraint, or the dogs do not fit into race programs (too small, too large, too slow, etc).
We do not discriminate based on appearance (looks or size) or past life situation or ability. The dogs we adopt may need work with behaviours – they become well socialized with our staff numbers, as well as the number of guests on our tours that interact with them. Many have thrived better in our kennel because they get more attention and socialization than where they came from.
The staff to dog ratio at Howling Dog Tours is higher than any other kennel in the area because we have a guide on every team/sled that runs, which means every musher is part of the dog care program. This also includes owners, family and volunteers, all who have vested interest in high standards of dog care.