Siberian Huskies are adored and loved by many for their affectionate, social, and playful nature. Known for being very vocal and having a larger-than-life personality, these born-to-run sled dogs boast incredible energy, adaptability, and endurance. Read on to learn more about this famous breed that has been featured in books, movies, and TV shows for years.
Siberian Husky Breed History
The Siberian Husky we know today came from ancestors who were companions and sled dogs to the Chukchi people in Northeast Asia. These dogs were loyal members of the Chukchi families, frequently interacting and spending time with their children. The Chukchi people bred Siberian Huskies for their endurance and strength. These dogs would run heavy sleds over frozen ground and snow for miles, carrying both packages and travelers.
Siberian Huskies were first introduced to the United States around 1908 for the purpose of running in a 1909 Alaskan sled race. In 1925, multiple mushers and their husky teams traveled over 650 miles from Seward to Nome, two towns in Alaska, to deliver the cure to a deadly disease outbreak. This feat, known as the Serum Run of 1925, led Huskies to be revered by many when their endurance saved numerous lives.
Siberian Huskies were recognized by the American Kennel Club in 1930 and in 1938 the Siberian Husky Club of America was formed, continuing to certify reputable Husky breeders today.
Siberian Husky Characteristics
Appearance and Coat
With an appearance similar to wolves, Siberian Huskies are notorious for their beautiful coats and markings. These dogs are medium-sized, weighing anywhere from 35 to 60 pounds, and are generally around 20 to 23 inches tall. This breed has ears that stand upright, a thick tail, and lots of dense hair. Their coats can come in multiple colors, including all black, all white, black with white markings, gray with white markings, and brown with white markings. Similarly, Siberian Huskies are known for their striking eyes which are generally blue or multi-colored.
Huskies have a medium-length double coat that is straight, dense, and soft. Their thick coats give them the ability to withstand cold temperatures so having a Husky outside in hot weather is not ideal, comfortable, or healthy for them.
The Siberian Husky is an extremely social creature with a fun personality. Affectionate with people and dogs, Huskies love making friends. Just like their ancestors in Northeast Asia, these dogs are great with kids and make an excellent addition to the family. However, potential owners should be aware that Siberian Huskies are prone to being stubborn and getting into mischief so firmness with them is needed.
Owners looking for a guard dog will want to pass on the Siberian Husky as these dogs are so loving and social that they’ll want to befriend intruders instead of standing guard. Owners can satisfy this need for socialization by taking their Huskies to doggy daycare, dog parks, and playdates.
Siberian Huskies are overall very healthy dogs and generally live around 12 to 15 years. Some health conditions Husky owners should be aware of include hip dysplasia, elbow dysplasia, hypothyroidism, and von Willebrand’s disease. Occasionally, Siberian Huskies can have problems with their eyes. These problems can include cataracts, corneal dystrophy, and progressive retinal atrophy.
Bred to survive drastic conditions, Siberian Huskies don’t require a lot of calories or big meals every day. Because they need little amounts of food to survive, overfeeding this breed is easy to do.
Reputable Siberian Husky breeders should have their dogs tested for genetic conditions and diseases. When looking to buy a Siberian Husky, be sure to ask about health clearances and problems. Breeders should have health certificates that state the stud and dam are free of disease and health conditions.
Caring for a Siberian Husky
Bursting with energy and a desire to explore, Siberian Huskies are escape artists. Because these dogs can be quick to escape, a home with a watchful and experienced owner is ideal. While they are not aggressive, Siberian Huskies do have a high prey drive and will want to chase smaller animals. Because of this, caution should be taken when having both a Husky and smaller pets like rabbits and cats in one house. In contrast, Siberian Huskies thrive in households where they live with other dogs since Huskies love being around other canines.
Huskies don’t bark often, however, they are still very vocal and howl quite a lot. Their talkative nature makes apartment living less ideal for housing as apartment walls tend to be thin. Due to their social nature, Siberian Huskies hate being left alone. The ideal Husky owner is one who is home often or takes their pup with them everywhere they go.
Additionally, Siberian Huskies need an owner who is active like them and has the ability to give them consistent exercise. While having a yard isn’t needed, having a fenced-in area will be beneficial to Husky owners as these dogs love to run. Fences should be tall enough to prevent jumping over, as well as deep enough in the ground that a Husky cannot dig under it and escape.
Training Best Practices
Siberian Huskies are not a good choice for first-time dog owners. This breed is not suitable for everyone and works best with experienced owners who are confident and firm in their approach to training and interacting. Huskies aren’t quick to want to please their owners which can make training difficult. These dogs are pack animals used to having a leader. Owners need to take the role of the leader in order for their Siberian Husky to obey. Huskies like to test the limits so owners need to be able to remain confident and in charge.
Because they are working dogs, Siberian Huskies require lots of exercise and mental stimulation. These dogs should get at least 1 hour of rigorous exercise every day. This breed is a great workout companion for hikers, runners, walkers, and others who enjoy exercising outdoors. Huskies will take any opportunity to run, so keeping them on a leash every time they are walked is vital. If bored, Siberian Huskies may turn to destroying things and digging holes. Some owners of this breed have found that establishing a “dig spot” for their dog keeps their Husky from digging up the entire yard.
Grooming and Hygiene
This breed is a fairly moderate shedder. Owners who live in hotter climates will see more shedding from their Siberian Husky than those living in colder climates. This breed sheds its entire coat around 2 times a year. When this time of year comes around, they can shed heavily for three weeks straight. During the rest of the year when the Husky is not shedding its entire coat, frequent brushing isn’t necessary. Additionally, because their coats are shed every year, Siberian Huskies do not need to have their fur trimmed.
Siberian Huskies keep themselves very clean and are not heavy droolers. In contrast to many other dog breeds, Siberian Huskies do not have that “dog smell” that many dog owners know all too well. Because this breed is so clean, they don’t need frequent bathing and, as mentioned before, brushing can be done infrequently on a weekly basis. As always, owners should follow standard grooming maintenance by clipping nails as needed (every 1-2 months) and brushing their dog’s teeth a minimum of 2 times a week.
Siberian Huskies are sure to keep their owners entertained and active. Affectionate and sweet, this breed won’t stop loving on their family.
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