Activities for Arctic Breeds


Information about sledding, hiking, weight pulling and other activities the arctic breeds enjoy

Sledding, backpacking and weight pulling are sports that many dogs enjoy, particularly the arctic breeds that have a natural instinct to pull.


Dog sledding in Australia is mainly done on dirt tracks with dogs pulling scooters or wheeled rigs, however there are also a few snow sledding events in the alpine regions. For “dry-land sledding” on dirt tracks, teams of 1 or 2 dogs pull scooters, whereas larger teams pull 3 or 4-wheeled rigs. Distances can vary from 1 km to over 10 km for the larger classes. To participate in sledding it is most important that your dog is old enough and has the correct equipment and training.

Weight pull

Weight pulling is a competition of strength that many breeds of dog can enjoy as long as they are of a suitable size and age. Dogs pull a wheeled trolley with weights a distance of 16 feet. General fitness must be maintained when weight-pulling as heavy loads can place unnecessary strain and lead to injury if you do not maintain a sound physical condition of your dog.  For this reason, dogs cannot participate in weight pulling until they are at least 18 months old. For more information contact your State canine body or breed club.


Agility is a great way to spice up your dog’s exercise and training regime by engaging their brain as well as muscles. Any time, anywhere… Although, there are some agility training and competitive clubs and a lot of equipment you can get to train with your dog, agility is not just for competing. You can easily squeeze a little agility in to spice up your regular walks by using kids play equipment or fallen trees in your nearby park.  


Backpacking is an enjoyable activity for both you and your dog. Hikes vary in length from a short distance suited to puppies (over 6 months) and less fit dogs, 16 km 1-day hikes for fit dogs over 18 months old, all the way up to a 65 km hike that takes place over three days. For the multi-day hike dogs and hikers are required to carry all equipment needed for self-sufficiency. To qualify for the ANKC Working Pack Dog title dogs must carry the full 30 percent of its body-weight over a certain distance. Of course, these hikes should never be attempted with dogs that are untrained, unfit or not in excellent health.


There are a number of dog-friendly hikes in Victoria, whether you are a fan of a lovely coastal walk with an occasional swim or more of a bush-buddy that likes to go exploring the State Parks. Which ever it is, always make sure you have enough water and a collapsible bowl with you to keep your dog hydrated. Vigurous exercise should be avoided on hot days as Arctic Breed dogs can easily overheat, so save the long walks for cooler months.

Obedience training

Basic obedience training is so important to build a strong relationship with your dog. Knowing how to set the right boundaries when bringin a new dog into your home will make it much easier for the dog to settle in and become a part of the family. Reliable obedience skills will also give your dog more freedom to play, explore and tag along on camping trips and family holidays! See the section on Dog training and Trainer recommendations.


Boredom Busters

Engaging a dog’s brain can be much more tiring for them than physical exercise. While obedience training is a fantastic way of working on your dog’s manners while making sure you will have a happy and sleepy puppy tonight, you might not have the time for a daily obedience training session. Does your dog enjoy play time with toys? There is a whole range of engaging toys that can boost your dog’s ability to problem-solve, make their crate training more enjoyable and keep them entertained and out of trouble while you are busy cooking dinner, getting ready for work or even at work. Kongs stuffed with goodies, treat-dispensing and brain-teasing toys are only some of the examples. Make sure that any toys that your dog is playing with when unsupervised are durable!