Snowdog is a versatile utility task machine specifically designed for traveling on challenging surfaces like snow, dirt, mud, or sand. This tiny tracked vehicle is powered by a single-cylinder, air-cooled engine, which offers a limited top speed of 20 mph. The key advantage of the Snowdog is its lightweight features and small dimensions, which makes it suitable for transporting in SUVs and trucks.
If you want to find out more about this versatile machine, you’ve come to the right place.
We at PowerSportsGuide have compiled all you need to know into this comprehensive Snowdog review!
The idea of utility task machines (UTM) has been around for decades. One of the first well-known UTM manufacturers was the Hus-Ski Limited which Bolens acquired in 1965. The “Hus Skis” were small “tractor-like” tracked machines that pulled a sled behind.
Although Boles Hus-Skis were discontinued in 1972, their legacy lives on in modern UTM-s like the Snowdog.
Just like its vintage predecessors, Snowdogs are also engineered to get you out on the snow, ice, grass, sand, dirt, fields, or even forest trails.
These innovative and versatile vehicles can be affordable alternatives of tracked ATVs or snowmobiles thanks to their low price tags. The manufacturer recommends Snowdog for ice fishermen, trappers, farmers, outdoor enthusiasts, but it can also be used as a trail groomer!
According to Off-Road.com, Snowdog is some of the best vehicles for grooming narrow fat bike trails.
How Does Actually a Snowdog Look?
As the name suggests, Snowdog mimics the structure of dog sleds, but instead of dogs, the vehicle utilizes a 4-stroke power source. As a rule of thumb, each Snowdog consists of two major units. The “engine” unit is a compact tracked machine that features a large handlebar on its rear. The driver can sit or even stand comfortably in a sled that is pulled by this engine unit.
The latter is built on a durable, powder-coated steel frame, providing a sturdy base for the other components.
Snowdogs borrow some proven features of snowmobiles like the rubber track, CVT transmission, or disc brake. However, not the features but their arrangement and sizes that distinguish Snowdogs from a regular snowmobile.
For instance, Snowdogs are manufactured with small engines which sit directly above the track. The reduced sizes of these features result in small overall dimensions and incredibly low weight.
To make the Snowdog portable, it comes with a foldable handlebar. Also, the attachment sled can be detached from the machine and used as a transportation base.
Thanks to these features, a Snowdog can be transported in a truck bed or inside an SUV. With a simple ramp, even a single person can load it alone into the trunk!
What’s more, unlike large snowmobiles and ATVs, it takes up very small space in the garage.
Who Makes Snowdog?
Snowdogs are manufactured by the Russian Baltmotors, but the “American” version is designed and imported by SnowDog LLC. Baltmotors also offers special off-road motorcycles, ATVs, and scooters.
Where is the Snowdog Manufactured?
Snowdogs are manufactured in Kaliningrad, Russia, near the Baltic Sea, but besides Russia, they are marketed through a large dealer network in the U.S. and Canada. You can find the list of the official Snowdog dealerships here.
Let’s get down to the nitty-gritty and take a closer look at the specifications of Snowdogs!
What Kind of Engines Does a Snowdog Have?
Snowdogs are powered by Vanguard and Briggs & Stratton XR industrial gasoline engines. These 300-420cc, 4-stroke, single-cylinder, air-cooled power sources feature both manual and electric start as standard.
How Much Horsepower Does Snowdog Have?
Snowdogs are available with three different engine options depending on the model. The 306cc and 420cc Briggs and Stratton engines deliver 10 and 13.5 HP, respectively, while the flagship Twin Track model comes with a 408cc, 14 HP, Vanguard power source.
How Fast Can a Snowdog Go?
The top speed of Snowdog machines is limited to 20 mph. On a smooth surface, you can expect an average speed of about 15 mph, while the “grooming speed” of Snowdogs is about 4-5 mph.
Due to its design, this machine would provide less stability than regular snowmobiles at higher speeds.
How Much Does a Snowdog Weigh?
Unlike heavy snowmobiles, Snowdogs weigh only 286-440 pounds, depending on the model.
Its lightweight not only makes it portable but digging out from the deep snow is also much easier if it gets stuck. In contrast, getting a regular snowmobile unstuck is often requires a lot of hard work.
How Much Weight can a Snowdog Pull?
Despite their small dimensions, Snowdogs do a really good job when it comes to pulling heavy items, and they can even pull a train of sleds if it’s necessary! How much weight can they pull?
The towing capacity of Snowdogs ranges from 330 up to 660 pounds depending on the model. However, don’t forget that the towing capacity is always dependent on the surface and the grip.
What Size Track Does the Snowdog Have?
As a rule of thumb, Snowdog tracks are 95-131” long, 20” wide, and features 3/4” deep lugs.
The entry-level models come with a 95” x 20” track, the mid-sized ones got a 112” x 20” track. The high-end Snowdog is available with both 131” x 20” single and 113” x 15” twin tracks.
How Much Fuel Does a Snowdog Use?
As reported by the manufacturer, the average fuel consumption of Snowdog machines is 0.8 – 1 gal/h, so their 0.8-1.6-gallon fuel tanks offer about 1 – 2 hours of riding.
What Size is a Snowdog Machine?
Snowdog machines are 50-69 inches long, 24-35 inches wide, and 31 inches high. These dimensions don’t include the towable sled or trailer.
How Much Does a Snowdog Cost?
The prices of Snowdog machines range from $2,600 up to $5,500, meaning that they come with 1/3 price of a regular snowmobile!
Snowdog Specs Chart
For your convenience, we’ve compiled the key numbers into this Snowdog specs chart:
|Top Speed||20 mph|
|Towing Capacity||330-660 lbs|
|Avg. Fuel Consumption||0.8-1 gal/h|
These charts are for informational purposes only! For exact specifications, please refer to the factory manual.
Snowdog Features and Accessories
Snowdog machines utilize many advanced features, but the most important ones are as follows:
- CVT clutch
- Chain drive
- Disc brake
- Electric start
- Reverse (optional)
- Durable rubber track
- Handlebar-mounted controls
- Shut-off switch
Snowdogs can be used for many different purposes, and the manufacturer offers a wide variety of accessories to support all of them.
In a nutshell, the most popular Snowdog accessories are as follows:
- Towable sleds
- Soft cushion chair for the sled
- Sled seat with a rotating device
- Sled skates for ice riding
- Handlebar warmer mitts
- Handlebar bag
- Universal semi-trailer
- Sport semi-trailer
- Cargo semi-trailer
- Ski trail groomer
- Single track groomer
- Slider suspension (for the Standard model)
- LED headlights
The key advantage of the towable sleds is that they come with a built-in tow ring on their rear side, allowing you to hook up a second sled behind them.
How to Steer a Snowdog?
Thanks to the adjustable handlebar, you can operate a Snowdog both in standing and sitting positions. Due to its design, Snowdogs can be turned by counter-steering, meaning that you have to steer in the opposite direction to where you want to turn.
This is because Snowdogs don’t feature any steering mechanism. Instead, turning the handlebar actually turns the whole vehicle.
To make steering easier, you have to move the handlebar down and horizontally at the same time. The more you move the handlebar down, the more you lift the track off the ground, making the turns easier.
With this trick, you can easily turn 180 degrees tightly, which is a game-changer on the non-reverse models. If you are familiar with push lawn mowers, you will find this movement easy and natural!
While riding a Snowdog on a smooth surface is very easy, it could be more challenging on uneven terrain or deep snow. Riding in these conditions requires much more body English and attention.
Getting the machine stuck isn’t easy, but it’s not impossible either. But even if it does happen, getting it unstuck is much easier compared to snowmobiles.
Since Snowdogs feature a regular CVT transmission, starting and stopping the machine is very simple. Engine idle doesn’t move the machine forward, as the clutch cuts the track’s power under a specific engine RPM.
Keeping safety in mind, each model is equipped with a shut-off switch, which has to be attached to your wrist or clothing with a flexible tether chord.
When it comes to stopping, you can expect the efficiency of the disc brake, but in most cases, you can stop just using the engine brake. Like the throttle, the brake is controlled with large handlebar-mounted levers, which are easy to use even if you wear large gloves.
What’s more, to keep your hands warm and safe, the manufacturer offers warmer mitts as an option. They’re nice additions for the cold winter days!
FAQs About Snowdog Machine
What snow depth can Snowdog run on?
According to the manufacturer, the Snowdog can be used in snow depth up to 20 inches.
What is the minimum outside temperature to ride a Snowdog?
The minimum operating temperature you can ride these machines is dependent on the engine. Since the engines of Snowdogs varies from a model to the next, it’s always highly recommended to read the engine’s manual, especially if you want to ride in extremely cold weather!
How much warranty do Snowdogs come with?
As a rule of thumb, each Snowdog comes with a warrant of one year.
What are the minimum age requirements to operate a Snowdog?
The manufacturer recommends the operating of a Snowdog for adults and children who are over 16 years old.
Are Snowdogs street legal?
To the regret of many fans, Snowdog is not street legal. If you want to ride a Snowdog on snowmobile trails, it also makes sense to contact the owners/managers of the trails upfront.
Can you transport a Snowdog in a car or truck?
Yes, Snowdog is engineered to be conveniently loaded and transport on a truck bed or even inside an SUV. The plastic sleds can be used as the transport container of the machine, just place it into the sled before you load it into your car.
Conclusion – What is a Snowdog Machine?
Snowdog is a utility task machine (UTM) designed for low-speed travel on various terrain. Thanks to its design and features, it can easily run on snow, ice, sand, mud, and fields. This little versatile vehicle can pull not only the operator but also heavy gears over long distances. Therefore, Snowdogs can be used for farming, ice-fishing, trapping, or just for winter outdoor fun.
As a takeaway, we’ve compiled the strong points of Snowdogs into one list:
- Portable (it can be transported even in an SUV/Truck)
- Small dimensions
- Low fuel consumption
- It can run on various terrain, even in no snow conditions
- It pulls heavy gear or even a small trail groomer
- Affordable price tags
- Easy and cheap maintenance
This is our short Snowdog machine review, we hope you find it useful!