Snowy Owl Tours Adoption Program 101

Looking for huskies for adoption in Canada? Ready to adopt a husky? Learn more about our adoption program, including what we look for in an adopter, the process, and some frequently asked questions. Our kennels are located near Canmore, Alberta.

Did you know we adopt our retired husky heroes for free? We don’t force our dogs to participate in our sled dog tours. No matter what their age, if they’re ready to hang up their harnesses, we find them the best new home possible.

Each 4-legged member of our family is unique so it’s important to us to ensure that we find them the best home for them to spend their golden years. Whether that’s backpacking adventures, or TV nights on the couch, or maybe a bit of both!

Huskies Available for Adoption

With over 30 years of ethical sled dog care and selective breeding, we know how to raise exceptional touring sled dogs. Our unique pack is a blend of 7 different sled dog breeds:

  • Seppala Siberian Sled Dogs
  • Siberian Huskies
  • Canadian Indian Huskies
  • Canadian Inuit Huskies
  • Alaskan Malamutes
  • Alaskan Huskies
  • Alaskan Racing Huskies

Learn more about each of the breeds.

Just like people, some dogs take a little longer to warm up to strangers. Our ‘shyness’ rating gives potential adopters insight into each dog’s personality, 1 being very outgoing, 5 being very shy. As part of the adoption process, potential adopters spend lots of time getting to know the dogs. Our adoption process is very selective, and we decline any candidates that don’t meet our retired husky hero’s special requirements. For more information about our adoption program, please email

What We Look for in an Adopter

Huskies, and especially working dogs, are different from regular pet dogs. These intelligent canines require experienced dog owners. This goes for children in the house as well. Families with children looking to adopt must already be experienced with dogs and display proper child/dog interaction skills.

Potential adopters must either own their own home or provide a letter from their landlord stating a dog is allowed in the rental home. The home must be large enough for a large-sized dog. Small apartments and condos are not ideal. We prefer it if the home also has a yard or other outdoor space. Our husky heroes love to be outside so being allowed to go out as often as they would like is ideal.

We’re looking for people who have time. Adding a new member to your family is a big decision and the transition period will require extra time and care. We’re ideally looking for homes in which the dog will rarely be left home alone, if at all. Bringing a dog into their family is a commitment. We’re seeking one adoptive home where the dog will be a part of the family for the rest of their life. Those who think it would be suitable to return the dog because their family is moving, or they’re having a baby for example shouldn’t inquire.

How Our Adoption Program Works

The number one goal of our adoption program is to find the best match for our dogs. The right fit is based on experience with dogs, the home environment, and lifestyle, both for the dog and the person adopting.

Our adoptions are free! We don’t charge any adoption processing fees. We are very careful about whom we adopt our dogs. Our Adoptions Coordinator spends a lot of time ensuring the person adopting our retired sled dogs has the knowledge and handling capabilities.

The person interested in adopting must commit to visiting the Snowy Owl Kennel outside of Canmore, Alberta. The Adoptions Coordination will go through transport safety, proper handling on leashed walks, proper handling in dog parks, and the do’s and don’ts of owning a retired sled dog. This process is lengthy, but it’s also very important for successful adoption.

“It’s always bittersweet sending our retirees off to new homes, but my favourite part of this role is seeing all the updates from families and hearing about all their new adventures! These dogs deserve the best in their retirement years and it’s great to see them out experiencing new activities like hiking, camping, canoeing, etc.” Snowy Owl Tours Adoption Coordinator

Interested in Adopting a Retired Sled Dog from our Adoption Program?

If you’re considering adopting a retired sled dog in Alberta, Canada this is how it works:

  • View our husky heroes currently available for adoption.
  • Review our adoption program process.
  • Fill in an adoption request questionnaire.
  • We then send a detailed questionnaire.
  • Adoption Coordinator contacts the family for a phone interview to get to know the applicants better, talk about their application, and the dogs they feel will be a good potential match.
  • Once matched, we set up an initial meeting and kennel visit.
  • During the kennel visit the applicants get to meet some dogs and we talk about each dog in more detail, we also watch how the dogs interact with the family and vice versa.
  • Further visits to the kennel include spending more time with the available dogs, doing some leash walks at our facility, learning how to safely transport the dogs, etc. Once we’ve narrowed things down to one or two dogs as the top contenders, the family will then start taking the dog on day hikes.
  • The remaining visits are to take the dog out for walks which are done with our supervision. We also assess handling skills and ability.
  • One of the final steps is a trial sleepover and then a week-long extended sleepover. This ensures that adopting families get to know our dogs before signing any contracts. Usually, within a few days of the sleepovers, the family contacts us to say they already want to make it official and have our dogs be the newest members of their family!
  • Once we feel that the adoption is okay to move forward, meaning the individual can handle the dog comfortably, and there’s an unmistakable mutual connection with the dog of choice, we plan a timeline accordingly to finalize the adoption.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) about our Adoption Program

Why do you have an adoption program?

We don’t force our dogs to participate in our sled dog tours. They have the freedom to choose when to hang up their harness. Each dog in our pack is unique and individual. No matter how old, if they don’t want to be sled dogs anymore, we re-home them. If for some reason we cannot find a certain dog a new home, they stay with us for the duration of their lives. Retirees often become resident cabin dogs, moving around staff homes for sleepovers or heading out on day trip adventures. We believe that our dogs earn a wonderful retirement.

How old are the dogs when they retire?

We retire our beloved husky heroes between ages 8-9 years of age. Although this is considered young within the sled dog sport, we believe it’s the best choice for our pack. Many of our sled dogs live between 14-16 years of age. On average, our dogs work for 8 years and enjoy retirement for approximately 6 years. This life plan provides our sled dogs with a nice balance of working (which they love) but also the opportunity to enjoy other new activities (like sleeping all day) after their working career.

Do retired sled dogs make good pets?

Absolutely! Our husky heroes are working pets. This means they can easily transition from working pet life to house pet life. This does not mean that welcoming a retired sled dog into your family is always easy. Sled dogs, even at ages 8-13 years of age, are incredibly active and require a lot of physical and mental stimulation. They love hiking, adventuring, and most of all, running.

Do your sled dogs require any medical care before being adopted?

No, we take care of everything you need. Our sled dogs are all neutered or spayed, vetted, vaccinated, and dewormed. The only medical care you may want to consider is a microchip, preventive care, and any ongoing medications that apply.

Is there any cost associated with your adoption program?

The adoption is free!

What are your expectations for the adopter?

We’re seeking friendly, mature, and experienced dog people who have the TIME, PATIENCE, and IDEAL LIFESTYLE needed to own a former sled dog. Our adoption process is a lengthy one since our dogs are adored members of our family. We don’t take this important part of providing a happy retirement for each of our husky heroes lightly.

View our husky heroes that are currently available for adoption.

For more information about our adoption program, please email

Curious about what it’s like to adopt a retired sled dog? Click here to read one of our many adoption updates!