Having a Husky means checking your locks to make sure they can’t escape. Their desire to explore and roam the outside world can be a challenge to keep in a box, and they’ll discover all sorts of ways to break out of your house or yard. (Is the trash can far enough way from the fence?) You’ll just have to give in and hit the trails with them. This delightfully smart dog loves adventure, and they prefer to have them with you. So, lace up those hiking boots and make sure your phone’s GPS is working—who knows where you’re headed to next.
The Siberian Husky dog is best for confident and experienced pet parents who love adventure and are ready to include their pup in everything they do.
Siberian Husky Traits
Siberian Husky Temperament
Siberian Huskies are friendly, intelligent and strong-willed dogs. They are pack animals who need to be around people and other pups. In fact, many will “talk” to you with unique howls, growls and whimpers—it’s an endearing part of their personality. This friendly nature—even with strangers—means they don’t make good guard dogs.
These energetic dogs do not enjoy long periods for contemplation—they may contemplate destroying things if left to their own devices for too long. And if left alone in the backyard, they are known to escape, eager to explore the world beyond their borders. So, secure fencing is a must.
Husky dogs are independent, which may make training a bit of a challenge. However, an experienced and confident pup parent will provide the consistent training they need to become a well-behaved member of the family.
How to Care for a Siberian Husky
This gorgeous pup comes with a time commitment. Because they are so independent and have high energy levels, you will spend lots of time training them and wearing them out. They don’t have an extensive grooming routine, but they are shedders, and you will feel like you’re getting a second dog from all the fur they shed twice a year (fall and spring).
Siberian Husky Health
Siberian Huskies have a life span of 12 to 14 years and are a generally healthy breed. Being aware of any health issues can help your pup live the happiest and healthiest life possible. If you’re getting a Siberian Husky from a breeder, make sure to do your research and chose a reputable breeder who will provide the family medical history. If you’re adopting your Husky, be sure to get a copy of the vet wellness exam.
- Ocular Issues: Huskies can have a few eye health problems, such as cataracts, corneal dystrophy and progressive retinal atrophy (PRA). Cataracts can cause blindness but may be corrected with surgery. Corneal dystrophy is a condition where the cornea is clouded, and many times, that cloudiness doesn’t impede vision, and no treatment is needed. PRA is a degenerative disease that causes blindness. Reputable breeders screen for this inherited disease to prevent it from occurring in future generations. While there is no treatment for PRA, a dog can adjust to blindness and still live a happy life.
- Von Willebrand’s Disease (vWD): This is a bleeding disorder caused by a deficiency in the protein needed for blood to clot. Signs don’t always show up until they experience prolonged bleeding (for example, after birth, injury or surgery). Your pup can be screened for this disorder, and if your Husky has it, make sure your vet knows so they don’t prescribe drugs that interfere with clotting.
- Hip Dysplasia: Siberian Huskies may suffer from hip dysplasia due to a genetic deformity of the hip socket. Signs include limping, inability or desire to jump, getting up more slowly than usual or losing thigh muscle mass. Depending on the severity, treatments include weight management, supplements, prescription medication or surgery.
- Zinc Deficiency: A Siberian Husky might develop a skin infection called zinc-responsive dermatosis, which happens because they either don’t have enough zinc in their diet or they aren’t absorbing it properly. Your vet can prescribe the right amount of zinc that should be added to your Husky’s diet to remedy this condition.
- Autoimmune Skin Disease: This skin disease is called emphigus foliaceus and is common in Siberian Huskies, beginning at around 4 years old. It may lead to hair loss on the ears, top of the nose and on the footpads. Some dogs have crusts form, and if your dog scratches at it, bacteria can get into the open skin and cause an infection. Some treatments involve applying zinc-free sunscreen to affected areas before heading out into the sun, as sunlight can worsen the condition.
- Epilepsy: Epilepsy is often an inherited condition and tends to show up when the Husky is between 3 months and 3 years old. If your Husky is prone to epilepsy, they will probably be prescribed medications to manage their seizures. If your Husky is having a seizure, call an emergency vet and make sure they can’t injure themselves.
Siberian Husky History
Siberian Huskies were originally bred as working dogs in Siberia (and are still to this day!). The Chukchi people bred these dogs to be companion dogs and to work as sled dogs in the long, frigid winters of Siberia. The dogs hauled loads over miles of frozen tundra, which enabled the Chukchi people to expand their hunting and gathering territories.
They were originally brought to Alaska to pull sleds during the Gold Rush years of the late 1800s to early 1900s. At this time, they also participated in sled-dog races alongside other sled dogs like Alaskan Malamutes and Samoyeds.
Huskies are also known heroes. In 1925, Leonhard Seppala led a relay of more than 100 Siberian Huskies sled dogs over 600 miles in less than six days to rush a lifesaving serum to Nome, Alaska, where a diphtheria epidemic broke out. It was referred to as the “serum run,” and global newspapers showed photos of these beautiful, strong dogs as heroes. Balto was the lead dog on the final stages of the journey and is one of the most famous hero dogs out there. There’s a statue of him in New York City’s Central Park, and he’s also the star of a movie (“Balto”) loosely based on the sled dog’s story. Siberian Huskies also served in the US Army’s Search and Rescue Unit in the Arctic during World War II.
Siberian Huskies were recognized in 1930 by the American Kennel Club, and the Siberian Husky Club of America was formed in 1938. Today, the Husky is the 14th most popular dog breed in America.
Are you looking to add a Husky as a pet? Siberian Husky puppies cost between $700 to $1,200. You can find a breeder at the AKC’s website. But for that price, you’re likely getting a puppy who’s been screened for health and temperament issues and may come with pedigree papers. You can also contact Siberian Husky rescues to adopt a pup or look for the breed at your local shelter.
Are Huskies hypoallergenic?
Huskies are not hypoallergenic dogs. They shed year round and copious amounts twice a year (spring and fall) as they prepare for the changing seasons.
Are Huskies wolves?
Huskies are not wolves, even though they may look like wolves.
Are Huskies dangerous?
Huskies are not considered dangerous. They are very friendly dogs, so they don’t make good guard dogs. However, if your pup doesn’t get the exercise they need, you may find they’re dangerous to your furniture.
Are Huskies smart?
Yes, Huskies are very smart and clever dogs. They are known for their intelligence, and they’ll judge you if they think your teaching isn’t up to par and will stop listening to you.
What are the most common Husky mixes?
- Husky-German Shepherd mix (Gerberian Shepsky)
- Husky-Pitbull mix (Pitsky)
- Husky-Corgi mix (Siborgi or Corgsky)
- Husky-Golden Retriever mix (Goberian)
- Husky-Labrador mix (Labsky)
- Husky-Pomeranian mix (Pomsky)
Siberian Huskies are friendly, happy dogs who need an experienced pup parent to guide them—bonus points if you have another dog in the home. Huskies love to explore and are quick learners, so they’re always ready for a new adventure. This working dog breed needs a lot of training to become a well-mannered member of the family, and they need someone who is good with a brush, because you’ll spend a lot of time keeping fly-away hairs at bay.
Expert input provided by veterinarian Dr. Rachel Barrack, DVM, CVA, CVCH of Animal Acupuncture in NYC, and head trainer, Sparky Serka and master trainer, Bethany Wilson at The Puppy Academy in Hermosa Beach, Calif.
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