Husky Breed Bio
The husky is a double-coated breed, with a thick undercoat that is thickest in cold weather. These dogs are created for outdoor activity, with an enormous capacity for hard work and stamina. Huskies and mixes thereof tend to be very adept at sled-pulling and are most comfortable in cooler climates. They are able to curl into a ball, cover their faces with their tail and keep warm in the harshest of environments.
Huskies are said to be most closely related to wolves and many people breed them with wolves to create hybrids. These wolf-hybrids are illegal in many states and considered to be very volatile genetically speaking. The behavior of the pups could change dramatically at the age of 2 to 3 years old when they reach puberty. Wolves mature more slowly than the average dog, who matures by age 2 in most cases. A wolf may take a year to 2 years longer. When owners of these dogs think they are out of the woods with the behavior concerns, suddenly the dog changes. Caution is advised with any wolf mix.
That said, a true husky is a great breed and extremely intelligent. With bright eyes and inquisitive nature, they are hard to keep locked in a any yard, kennel or enclosure. They are quite adept at unlocking things and also known for not just freeing themselves but letting all of the animals out to ‘party’ with them.
Huskies howl and if you don’t love a dog that sings with you, don’t get a husky. Their antics will keep you laughing if find that you are compatible with this breed. They will sass back, howl at your singing and guitar playing, open the front door for themselves and help themselves to the cupboards when they are hungry. Ask an owner of a husky and they will tell you that this is the best dog in the world. No matter their shortcomings, these dogs are an amazing, intelligent, highly trainable breed of dog.
For service work, huskies are sometimes used but due to the thick coat that requires much grooming and the fact that they do shed a great deal, they aren’t often practical for such work. Their intelligence makes them highly trainable for the work, however. If you are able to do the daily grooming that is required for the husky coat and live in a part of the country that is not overly hot, a husky could be a good service animal for you.
Huskies are sometimes mixed with Labrador retrievers to attempt to breed a dog without the thicker undercoat. These mixes are a genetic crap shoot as far as coat, looks and color. Their personalities are wonderful and their work ethic is incredible.
Caring for a Husky
Huskies need a lot of grooming as mentioned before but they also have physical requirements that not all owners can accommodate. I recall meeting a husky breeder who took 6 huskies to the park in her jeep, lined them all up in pulling harnesses and attached them to the front of her jeep and let them tow her in circles around the local lake. She stated that they were just getting started at 4 miles and that if she didn’t do this with them each day they drove her crazy at home.
This breed is the top sled-pulling dog of the Alaskan Iditarod. They are bred specifically for incredible stamina. These dogs can pull a sled for a hundred miles over the course of a few days, in weather conditions that would kill most animals and other species of dog. Huskies can just simply keep going.
They need a good quality food for this type of work but your husky will likely never have to pull a sled, or sleep outside in the midst of a blizzard – we certainly hope. They still need a good quality food, plenty of water, proper daily brushing and a trip to a groomer to have their coat blown out once per year is also a great idea. This will save your home from having fur blowing like tumbleweeds that will hide under the sofa until you find the equivalent of another dog lurking underneath.
Size and Breed Specifics
Technically known as the “Siberian Husky” this dog is from Siberian origins. It has standards set by the breeding organizations around the world, such as the American Kennel Club. Here are the statistics.
Weight – Females 35-51 pounds, males 44 to 60 pounds
Temperament – Intelligent, alert, friendly, gentle, very outgoing
Colors – White, black, agouti, piebald, black and tan, sable, copper, splash, black and white, silver, brown, gray, red
Height – Female 20 to 22 inches at the shoulder (wither) Male – 21 to 24 inches
Life expectancy is 12 to 15 years
The Siberian Husky May Not Be a Good Choice For You
This breed, it cannot be overstated, is not a good choice for a person who lives in the warmer places of the world. This breed is also not for the person who is sedentary or lives in a small apartment. They crave attention and they need to get a lot of exercise.
A bored husky is a naughty husky. The destruction that a large dog can do is beyond your wildest imagination, if you have never seen it before. They can uncarpet your house in short order. A husky can climb bookshelves and knock everything breakable that you own to the floor. A husky can be a huge challenge if you are not fully committed to making sure that they get adequate exercise.
This is stressed to you because far too many of these majestic dogs are given to rescues and local animal control due to the owners being at their wits end with the dogs. If you do not intend to fully commit to their training and exercise needs, please, do not adopt or buy a Siberian Husky.
If you are a family that is active, loves to hike and do other outdoor activities, you may be a perfect home for a husky. If the dog is included in family activities, they are likely to be very well-behaved and feel that they have a job to do. Huskies do better when they have a very specific job to do. Being with your family is their favorite job.
Huskies are not known for being good with other small animals, such as guinea pigs and cats, but if they are raised with them from pups, they will likely learn to accept them. It’s not recommended that they be left unsupervised with smaller animals like these, however. They are generally very good with other dogs.
Huskies were bred to be a part of a team of dogs and therefore were chosen and bred from stock of other dogs that worked best as a team. They are typically very friendly. In fact, huskies are often accused of being the clown of the family. These dogs actually seem to have a sense of humor. If you aren’t careful, the joke absolutely can be on you!
Being very intelligent, they’ll get bored with normal activities. Try using puzzle games made for dogs to keep them happy, run with them, take them swimming (with a life preserver for them, of course) and get them hiking with you. If you have them wear a backpack to carry their own snacks and kibble it will help wear them out even more. Careful not to overload their pack. The average dog can carry around six pounds and it should be balanced over their shoulder area, not the middle of their back.
Huskies rarely get fat because they like to be on the move. They also prefer to be with you. This dog is a companion animal as much as they are a working dog. They will happily dive into the bed with you and snuggle on the sofa with you. They are wonderful with children and generally extremely gentle, despite their size. Huskies don’t get as big as some dogs but they are not small. They’re rugged and close to the size of the average Labrador retriever. They tend to be great companions with children and will happily play with children in the yard. You should always supervise children with dogs, especially very small children. That said, huskies are rarely aggressive in any way, particularly with children.
If you have read everything and you feel that you can love a husky, remember that they tend to live 12 to 15 years and that is a very long commitment. You’ll be raising a child for 15 years that can be trying at times but very loyal. They will sing with you and steal your slippers with a glee that few breeds can match.
The Siberian Husky is typically a very healthy breed. Some issues to be aware of are progressive retinal atrophy (PRA), hypothyroidism, cataract, and corneal dystrophy. These are genetic disorders that breeders should be aware of and test for accordingly. Make sure that no dogs in your puppy’s lineage have had any of these disorders and that your breeder is aware and you should be fine.
Dawn Greer is a passionate blogger and animal rights activist. She is a pet lover, certified dog trainer, behavior consultant, pet nutritionist, and former veterinary technician. She continues her work while writing blogs for pet lovers around the globe.