Siberian huskies in Lapland a team of sled dogs

Working as a Husky Safari Guide in Lapland

For the last two winters I’ve been working as a husky safari guide in Finnish Lapland. For me, this means working in the most beautiful outdoor environment.

When I was asked to join a team of husky safari workers for the last winter season, I didn’t hesitate. I had already gained experience for the job last year so I knew what to expect.  Less than two weeks after getting in touch with the company, I arrived in Lapland and started working the day after my arrival.

During my time in Lapland, many of my customers wanted to know if it would be possible to get employed by a husky safari company without having a special education in animal care. Most of these people were highly educated people that weren’t satisfied with their office jobs and were considering changing profession. Based on these conversations I decided to write this little description on what to expect.

People working in this field come from all walks of life. When I applied for the job for the first time, I had some skills that would be useful for the company, like my sled dog hobby, customer service background and language skills. I have no professional animal care background and it was not needed either. This job is really one of those that can be learned by doing and that’s why many places are willing to take interns as well. I have actually met two interns (one being a former forestry engineer and the other an accountant) that had no expertise with huskies and were initially afraid of dogs. They both wanted to conquer their fears and both succeeded in that as well. I love working equally with people and animals and this job has given me great memories and good friends.

how to become a husky safari guide
two young siberian huskies
Husky farm tasks
red fox maisa

There are many different tasks at a husky farm. All husky safari companies provide a little different services. The first park that I worked at had only Siberian huskies, while the second park had trained movie animals, like wolf dogs, foxes and arctic foxes as well. Some companies don’t offer park/kennel visits and therefore mostly kennel workers, handlers and mushers are needed. Normally workers take part in of multiple tasks, like cleaning the kennel area or feeding the animals.

Many mushers bring their dogs with them and unless you own a good team of your own, it might be tricky to get  a job as a musher. The companies that offer park visits need social people to work with customers and the tasks at those farms are often divided to “yard tasks”  (customer service) and “dog tasks” (mushing and taking care of the animals). I enjoy my work the most when I get to introduce my customers to Lappish traditions and tell them stories about the world of sled dogs and arctic animals by the fire.

Sled dog safari season

The sled dog season starts around the end of November and ends roughly in April. Many seasonal workers come to Lapland every winter. If you’re thinking about applying, many companies start recruiting staff around September and the search continues until the beginning of the season. Of course, the faster you act, the better your chances are.

Outside the main season, dogs still have to be taken care of and they need training. There are as many ways of taking care of that as there are husky safari entrepreneurs – every dog owner has their own idea of what is the best way to take care of their animals. Anyway, getting an all-year-round job is possible but difficult and the best way to go for it is by getting experience in the field. During the main tourist season peaks, there’s a lot of work to do. The workdays are long and one shouldn’t expect having days off on Christmas or New Year.

What about free time?
The ice bar of Levi Ice Gallery

Depending on the programs that the husky safari company offers (whether they organize evening or overnight safaris), the evenings may be free. I’m  studying at the moment and after spending my day outside, I feel just fine being at home, reading a book or listening to lectures. Almost every night that the sky is clear, it’s lit with Northern lights so quite often I just have to go out again.

In the beginning and at the end of the season (also in between the season peaks) my schedule gets lighter and I have time for exploring the outdoors on my own. I carry my camera with me and you can see some of the pictures on my instagram account.

spending a free evening in an ice gallery

Last year I had my Alaskan malamute with me and had to exercise it after my workday (malamutes are slower than huskies and my dog couldn’t run in a husky team on a daily basis). I really can’t recommend taking your own dog with you unless it works with you or you have someone that can help you take care of it. Walking outside for 11 hours a day without days off starts feeling pretty exhausting after a couple of weeks.

If you want to know more about working with huskies, you can write me in the comments below 🙂

My dog Kaylee was keeping me company last year

 

 

 

 

11 comments on “Working as a Husky Safari Guide in LaplandAdd yours →

  1. Hi,

    This is a slightly unusual question. I am considering working full time as a dog sledding guide, after volunteering as one for three months previously, but I have been diagnosed with a medical condition (blood clot in my leg) that will require me to be permanently on blood thinners. I wanted to ask if there are any safety insurance restrictions for people working as guides that you know of that would prevent someone from being able to do the job? (Or alternatively, if there is a relevant insurance agency that you would recommend I contact).

    Sorry to bother you and thank you for any information!

  2. Good day my name is Pedro Martinez, I am from southern Argentina and I work as a musher (huskies sledding guide) and I have been hearing from you for several years and I would love to be able to go to work there one day that I am passionate about. I speak Spanish and English fluently, thank you very much

    1. Hi Pedro,
      Nice to hear! It is absolutely possible to follow your dreams and come to work in Lapland! House of Lapland has made a wonderful website for people who are interested in coming to work here. https://www.lapland.fi/live-work/ The season for applying for husky safari guide/musher jobs is generally in autumn, so if you decide to make the move, I recommend that you contact several companies in August already!

  3. Pozdrav,ja sam neodlučan,a htio bi otići raditi sa haskijima,imam kod kuće 2 i vjerovatno bih ženku poveo sa sobom.Zanima me kakva su primanja za taj posao tamo,smještaj i to sve ostalo,hvala,lp

    1. Hi Mihael,
      I translated your message with Google Translate, I hope that the translation is correct:
      “Hello, I’m undecided, but I’d like to go work with huskies, I have 2 at home and I’d probably take the female with me. I’m wondering what the salary is like for that job there, accommodation and everything else”
      Salaries vary in each company depending on the work tasks, working experience and so on, but are normally between 10 and 15 euros per hour. As the season is only 4 months long, many guides work extra hours and earn a decent living during the wintertime months. Some companies offer accommodation and many that don’t, can still suggest places to rent. Good English skills are mandatory, as most customers come from abroad. 🙂

  4. Hi,

    I’m very interested in going in 2023, I want to be an animal guide of any variety, but my resume is mainly working with children as an international teacher. Do you have any tips to buff my resume or experience up before applying next summer? I’m currently residing in Japan, so availability (when I don’t speak the language) to do things like volunteer at a shelter aren’t easy to come by.

    1. Hi Britt,

      My suggestion would be applying to several companies and bringing up your interest and motivation to work in the field in the cover letter. As animal tourism jobs in Lapland include a lot of direct interaction with tourists, companies are interested in recruiting staff with excellent English skills and good social skills. These are skills that you surely need in your current job as well, so you can highlight those in the cv / application. A first aid certificate might also be useful, but depending on the company, the company might also arrange a training for the workers before the season.

  5. I’m Sofia, I’m an Italian girl and I’m 21
    I’ve been living in Norway for 10 months, and I’m looking for an experience, your offer is interesting, I would be really happy to join you in working with Hasky, I hope it’s possible
    Sofia

    1. Hello Sofia,
      Nice to hear from you.☺️ Unfortunately this blog post is just telling about my personal experience about working as a husky safari guide, and I don’t have any open positions. The winter season has already started here in the north, so it may be difficult for you to find a place for this winter anymore. Companies in this field normally start recruiting seasonal workforce already in the summertime, but you can still always try your luck and apply, maybe someone has an open spot for you!☺️

  6. Hellooo,
    Would you be able to share what company you worked for? Or other companies you know of in the area you would recommend?
    Thank you!

    1. Hi Ember,
      I’ve worked for four different husky businesses in the area of Lapland in the past. I don’t feel comfortable sharing the names of the companies that I worked for online, but send me a DM on Instagram and I might be able to give you recommendations based on where you’d be interested in working!☺️

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