A dog sits on top of its shelter at a dog yard in Bolterdalen, Norway, Tuesday, Jan. 10, 2023. The yard is located half a dozen miles from the main village in Svalbard, a Norwegian archipelago so close to the North Pole that winter is shrouded in uninterrupted darkness. (AP Photo/Daniel Cole)

VIDEO: In Norway, sled dogs train and play in warming Arctic

The pups thrive in freezing weather, but are struggling with increasingly common warm spells

Out of the dark, frozen vastness in this Arctic valley, a chorus of barks and howls trumpeted the return of Green Dog’s oldest puppies from a dogsledding training run through the polar night on Tuesday afternoon.

Karina Bernlow and her husband, Martin Munck, run the outfit Green Dog, which has nearly 300 dogs in three yards. It’s located half a dozen miles from the main village in Svalbard, a Norwegian archipelago so close to the North Pole that winter is shrouded in uninterrupted darkness.

The working dogs, younger puppies and new litters played in the lashing winds that shifted thigh-high snowdrifts. This mix of husky and Greenland dog — a breed known for taller legs, big paws and thick fur — is especially social and thrives in the cold, Bernlow said. They don’t even fear the rare occasion when a polar bear ambles past the yards.

What hurts them is when this lunar landscape turns unusually warm, which is happening more often as much of the Arctic heats up several times faster than the rest of the world.

Last summer, a few dogsledding tours had to be canceled so the dogs wouldn’t overheat. One of the tours leads to an ice cave and Bernlow, who’s been here for more than a decade, said they’re watching it disappear year after year.

“What we can do is teach our children to take care of the planet,” said Bernlow, the mother of four children.

As she walked by them, the newly returned dogs strained their chains to reach out to be petted and puppies rushed to watch from their enclosure.

___

Associated Press climate and environmental coverage receives support from several private foundations. See more about AP’s climate initiative here. The AP is solely responsible for all content.

Daniel Cole And Giovanna Dell’orto, The Associated Press

WATCH ALSO: Okanagan athlete puts smile on (chunk of) ice

Karina Bernlow pets a Greenland puppy at her dog yard in Bolterdalen, Norway, Tuesday, Jan. 10, 2023. Her and husband, Martin Munck, run Green Dog. It’s located half a dozen miles from the main village in Svalbard, a Norwegian archipelago so close to the North Pole that winter is shrouded in uninterrupted darkness. (AP Photo/Daniel Cole)

Karina Bernlow pets a Greenland puppy at her dog yard in Bolterdalen, Norway, Tuesday, Jan. 10, 2023. Her and husband, Martin Munck, run Green Dog. It’s located half a dozen miles from the main village in Svalbard, a Norwegian archipelago so close to the North Pole that winter is shrouded in uninterrupted darkness. (AP Photo/Daniel Cole)

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

ArcticDogsdogsledding

Be Among The First To Know

Create a free account today, and start receiving free newsletters.

Sign Up with google Sign Up with facebook

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy Policy and Terms of Service apply.

Reset your password

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy Policy and Terms of Service apply.

A link has been emailed to you - check your inbox.



Don't have an account? Click here to sign up
Pop-up banner image