I have long been looking forward to this day since I discovered that you can dogsled (or dry-sled on grass when there’s no snow) in Iceland.
First of all, I was surprised that dogsledding is NOT BIG in Iceland. At all. It is not part of the Icelandic culture. It is more Greenlandic. As a matter of fact, the dogs here are Greenland huskies! But I don’t know if I would ever have the opportunity to go to Greenland. So I seized the moment on this Iceland trip.
I was so happy when I found Dogsledding Iceland.
I mean, I can’t even explain to you how excited I was (but you can probably see it in my grin) to be with these dogs.
You see, there are people who love dogs.
And there are people who LOVE dogs
I’ve been toppled over, bitten by a rabid one, chased (not the play kind) by one– and all this hasn’t really fazed me. I specifically love big, tough dogs you can rough play with (I cannot ever be the owner of a chihuahua or any of those “cute, tiny teensy” dogs) and tumble around.
These Greenlandic dogs were the perfect companion for the afternoon.
The dogsled activity is located in Holmasel in the South Coast (close to Selfoss). It is 70 minutes from Reykjavik.
We were picked up by their partner company, Eskimos Iceland, from our hotel in Reykjavik. If you hired a car for your stay in Iceland, there are driving directions on their website.
The drive alone from the city to Holmasel is crazy beautiful:
We had the most entertaining and knowledgeable driver/guide and I was just torn. Whether to listen to his amusing Iceland facts, or to simply enjoy this unbelievable scenery.
While we saw snow on the way there, it wasn’t really snowing in the whole of Iceland at that time. So we experienced sledding on grass.
Dogsledding Iceland operates Year-Round tours, be it on snow or grass.
All 47 dogs are housed in individual cages, and they also individual covered shelters. We were told that they never use the shelters anyway because they all LOVE THE COLD 🙂
And boy do they also LOVE TO RUN.
I can’t even begin to tell you the Madness of howling and jumping when Siggi, the owner and operator of Dogsledding Iceland, was selecting the dogs to go into our “team”. Every dog and his buddy were jumping and shouting, “PICK ME! PICK ME! PICK ME ME ME ME!!!!”
And soon, the elite team of 8 dogs were chosen.
And this, my friends, is how we roll :
These Greenlandic dogs can (if need be) run up to 8 hours non-stop. What can we, humans do non-stop in 8 hours? SLEEP.
They did such a great job that after all the running, they deserved some tummy rubs and good old Holy Smithereens-play 🙂
Now you might have recognised a few of them, because these dogs are multi-talented. When they are not out pulling people on tours, they are busy being filmed.
Most of them were in David Guetta’s She Wolf (Falling to Pieces) music video!
Alright, I think our four-legged friends have had enough air(or web) time.
More remarkable are the people who run the show.
Meet Siggi, the operator and owner of Dogsledding Iceland.
A former policeman in Reykjavik, Siggi found his passion when he overtook the business in 2007. He started with 16 dogs, and has grown it into the current happy family of 47 (and counting) dogs!
Talking to Siggi, I can see that he deeply loves what he does. While he has people helping him, he was very hands-on (he was our guide on the sled). He also runs the business with his beautiful family
Klara is Siggi’s wife and is the voice and operations behind Dogsledding Iceland. I had such a pleasant time liaising with her even before arriving in Iceland, so I was very thrilled to see her in person, and even more delighted to see their little bub, Marilou.
I know I look rather lumpy and shabby next to them in the photo above (what with dog paw prints and mud all over!) but I was so happy to meet people like Siggi and Klara, who love what they do and don’t just see this dogsledding as a business. It is their passion, and therein lies all the difference. As we said to Siggi, “You live in a beautiful place, doing what you love, work with your family, and surrounded by these wonderful dogs, what more could you want?”
And with that, he smiled wistfully and said, “Yes I am lucky.”
Dogsledding Iceland gave us a complimentary Wonderful Sunset tour. But seriously, I will pay happily just to experience this marvelous afternoon all over again.