Winterhawk Dogsled Adventures



Home Tours Photos & Videos Contact Us What To Wear FAQ's About Our Dogs Directions












We have partnered with 4 Eagle Ranch.

About our Dogs

We use primarily Alaskan huskies on our tours.  Alaskan huskies are the descendents of  the dogs that pioneered the gold trails, freight runs, and mail routes  of  the early Alaskan territory.  In the early days, dog sleds were the only means of wintertime transportation.  Dogs were in short supply and very valuable, so just about any dog would do.  As a result, cross breeding involving every large breed from retrievers to pointers to Malamutes and Siberians occurred.  With the advent of snow machines and the decline of the “working” sled dog the local Alaskan mushers turned to recreation and racing and the focus of their breeding changed.  Unfortunately, the big, strong freight dogs could not compete and a new breed began to appear.  This new breed based primarily on the smaller, faster “village” dogs became known simply as the Alaskan Husky.  Although not a “pure” breed the Alaskan Husky is known for its speed, endurance, and gentle personality.  The Alaskan loves to run the way a retriever loves to retrieve. 

We run five teams of 12 each and upon first seeing 60 Alaskan huskies ready to run we usually get two comments.  The most common first timer comment is “they’re smaller than I thought they would be”.  Our dogs average between 50 and 60 pounds and without the fluffy coat usually associated with a Siberian Husky, they do appear smaller.  The Alaskan is considered to be the “marathoner” of the dog world and is the dog used primarily in long distances races such as the 1175 mile Iditarod Race Across Alaska.  So, don’t be surprised by the lean distance runner look of the Alaskan as opposed to the power lifter look of the Malamute.  Another comment we hear on a daily basis is, “they all look different”.  Because of the early crossbreeding, the Alaskan has no standard color.  However, if color is ignored, most Alaskans have the same basic conformation.  They all have a long body for a longer stride length and fairly long legs to match. They have a deep chest that accounts for the tremendous endurance of the breed.  They all have the same basic “husky” shaped head with two possible variables.  Because of the crossbreeding, the Alaskan can have either the typical husky “stand up” ears or the “flop” ears more typical of a hound.  Also, because of the Siberian husky in their linage, the Alaskan can have brown eyes, blue eyes, or one of each. 

Although we continually bring in proven Iditarod finishers to constantly improve our kennel, we learned years ago to not brag too much about pedigrees.  Some of  our most beautiful, most highly pedigreed dogs can’t come close to making our race team.  Even though most of the race team dogs are very social, they are very driven and focused and can be a little intimidating if you don’t know them.  More often than not, our guests fall in love with the cute little mutt that seems to have a smile on her face standing patiently waiting to hear the “ok” and head off down the trail.  So, we don’t put much stock in pedigrees or “7th generation” dogs.  What’s more important to us is that the dog is happy and healthy, loves its job, makes us happy, and makes our guests happy.  Now that’s a good dog! 

If you find your favorite and fall in love, we do have an adoption program.   Just fill out an application and get your name and the dogs name on the waiting list.  If you can provide a good home we will usually consider adoption.   It’s always hard to let them go, but we’d rather not wait until a dog retires and then start trying to find a home for them.  Of course, there are a lot of them that we won’t ever let go and upon retirement become our personal pets.



Home | Tours | Photos & Videos | Contact Us | What To Wear | FAQ's | About Our Dogs | Directions