A complete experience

While dog sledding is undoubtedly the classic way to experience the beauty of the Arctic, the unsuspecting guest may not realize that one unique aspect about sledding in Greenland includes a significant exposure to local Greenlandic culture.

Dog sledding supports the story of how Greenlanders adapt to the tough environment that surrounds them. Unlike other regions of the Arctic, dog sledding in Greenland is a freely chosen way of life, if not done so by sheer necessity. Living in and by nature, is a key point of Greenlandic identity, so thus, when one is close to nature, one is also close to the Greenlandic culture.

 

Living in and by nature, is a key point of Greenlandic identity, so thus, when one is close to nature, one is also close to the Greenlandic culture.

Dog sledding is not only a vital part of Northern Greenland’s identity, but it is also the backbone of the branding concept for the region, as well as an important element of the Big Arctic Five

Rising concern for thesled dog

There is a rising concern for the continued existence of the sled dog in Northern Greenland.

The dwindling number of sled dogs during the last five to ten years is causing worry in the region.

The Dog Sledding Association, as well as, a local organization, has approached Visit Greenland on the matter, enquiring how the tourism industry can participate in halting the decline of dogs.  

Dog sledding is not only a vital part of Northern Greenland’s identity, but it is also the backbone of the branding concept for the region, as well as an important element of the Big Arctic Five. Why is dog sledding, then threatened with extinction?

What is causing the decline in dogs?

In earlier times, the sled dog and the sled were of vital importance to the region. The sled was the engine for long distance transport in the winter, used for hunting and fishing, passenger transport, expeditions and more.

Unfortunately, the combination of climate change, with the increasingly fragile sea ice, and the rapid advance in technological development has contributed to a change in leisurely pursuits and thus made the future for the sled dog quite uncertain.

The combination of climate change, with the increasingly fragile sea ice, and the rapid advance in technological development has contributed to a change in leisurely pursuits and thus made the future for the sled dog quite uncertain.

Even though they are still using dog sleds as they have done for centuries in the Northern regions, the rapidly changing ice conditions are a great cause for concern.

There is a consensus among dog owners; that the relocation of the dogs beyond the confines of the city has made it more difficult for dog owners, who neither possess a snowmobile or a car, to care adequately for their dogs. There seems to be no doubt left that the traditional role of the sled dog in Northern Greenland is a thing of the past.

Even though they are still using dog sleds as they have done for centuries in the Northern regions, the rapidly changing ice conditions are a great cause for concern.

In the tourist town of Ilulissat, where halibut fishing is done, fishermen prefer to use their dog sleds for fishing as it ultimately provides more income.

In the tourist town of Ilulissat, where halibut fishing is done, fishermen prefer to use their dog sleds for fishing as it ultimately provides more income. 

The challenges mentioned above has alerted the tourism industry to the fact that a decline is happening, both in, the interest shown for tours with dog teams, but also in the abilityto offer such tours to guests. Consequently, larger groups find it quite difficult to embark on a dog sled tour, and one must surmise that it will not get any easier in the future.  

If we wish to keep one of our most important brands, and a vital part of the Greenlandic culture; new avenues must be sought.

Innovation

If we wish to keep one of our most important brands, and a vital part of the Greenlandic culture; new avenues must be sought.

The tourism industry is in need of the tourists who desire to go dog sledding. They come to Greenland to experience this hardy breed of dogs and the unique way they are used for transportation. It is a product, which combines traditional transportation with a nature experience, as well as, meeting a local dog sled handler.