Siberian Huskies are medium-sized canine members of the Spitz genetic family. They have a characteristic thick, fluffy double-coat, wedge-shaped upright ears with distinct markings scattered over their body. Huskies are built to be resilient to freezing temperatures as they belong to the lineage of dogs that thrived in the extreme environments of the Siberian Arctic. Hence, they are working sled dogs who make excellent companions.
Huskies are endowed with a vibrant personality and are happy being engaged in work. They love to be in a pack and enjoy chasing small animals. They are well-known for their high levels of intelligence, piercingly attractive gaze, lively, alert expression, and friendly nature. Therefore, they don’t make good guard dogs.
Table of Contents
Husky Pros and Cons
|Good family companions||Poor guard dogs|
|Strong loyal tendencies||High prey drive|
|High intelligence||Escape artists|
Husky Basic Information
- Name: Siberian Husky
- Origin: Siberian Arctic
- Group: Working sled dogs
- Size: Medium
- Height: 20 – 23.5 inches
- Weight: 35 – 60 pounds
- Coat: Medium, double-coat
- Color: Red, black, white and gray
- Energy: High
- Activities: Hiking, jogging, obedience
- Barking Level: High
- Shedding Level: Medium to high
- Hypoallergenic: No
- Litter Size: 4 to 8 puppies
- Other Names: Chukcha, Husky Sibe
- Breed’s Original Pastimes: Sled-pulling
- Life Span: 12-15 years
The Siberian Husky’s prominent features like his coat and trunk signify his Northern heritage. Precisely, the semi-nomadic Northeast Asia’s Chukchi population bred the forerunners of the Husky breed existing today. They domesticated these canines for companionship and the extraordinary endurance to traverse the thick snow-capped terrain at sub-zero temperatures.
The existence of Siberian Huskies came to light in 1925 when Leonhard Seppala led a group of dogs to deliver a lifesaving serum for diphtheria to Nome, Alaska, in five and a half days. This incident spiked the popularity of this breed, as the Chukchi population remained isolated from the rest of the world.
- Huskies are known for their companionship, and they love to be a part of a pack. Consequently, they do well in multi-dog homes.
- Siberian Huskies are known for being expert escape artists. Their love to explore the world and the ability to jump off walls or dig have rendered them to break out from any containment.
- They are passionate diggers who love to dig up a yard or garden. If you cannot satisfy their instincts to dig, they might destroy the entire house.
- These dogs enjoy howling or talking rather than barking. They tend to attract your attention through whining.
- A Siberian Husky is a warm host who receives anyone visiting your home, including intruders. Hence, they fail to be good watchdogs.
- They are highly inquisitive of their surroundings which can sometimes make them get lost or injured.
- These canines have a high prey drive, making walking difficult without a leash.
- The Huskies are the most wrongly purchased breeds. This is because they have attractive personalities that persuade novice owners to buy. However, as these dogs are pretty challenging to train and raise, they are in shelter homes later.
- Siberian Huskies don’t need a lot of calories to thrive, yet their exercise needs are high, making them unsuitable for novice owners.
The sight of a Husky is a scene of striking beauty. His scintillating, almond-shaped eyes anchor your gaze and invite you to untangle his mischievousness. His compact, well-proportioned body helps him to strike a balance between power, speed, and endurance. His agile feet and smooth gait aid him in transporting light loads afar at a moderate pace. The male Huskies are not rough, while the females are not weak in structure. They have a solid and muscular body in ideal conditions without excess weight.
|Good for apartment living||Low|
|Good to new owners||Low|
|Sensitivity level||Medium to high|
|Tolerates being alone||Low|
Husky Physical Features
Head: Huskies carry a keen, curious, friendly, and mischievous expression. Their head bears almond-shaped eyes in amber, brown, and blue colors. They also exhibit heterochromia wherein an eye is brown while the other is blue. Their triangular, medium-sized ears are set high on their heads. Their moderate skull is proportionate to their body, and their muzzle is pretty elongated. Their nose is either black, gray, ebony, or liver in red dogs, black, liver, or flesh-colored in white dogs. Their well-pigmented lips curtain a set of teeth meeting at scissors bite.
Neck: They have a medium-length, arched neck that erects while the animal is standing. Hence, the extended channel carries the head slightly forward while in motion.
Topline: The animal has a leveled topline with the back extending straight and strong.
Body: The Huskies have a compact, robust, muscular body. His appearance is pretty athletic, reflecting his inner stamina.
Tail: The Huskies tail begins just below the topline and extends beyond the back, curling to a sickle shape. However, it trails when the animal reposes. The tail is well-furred, with medium-length hair appearing like a round brush.
Forequarters: Their shoulder blades are well laid back, with the upper arm not perpendicular to the ground. However, the muscles and ligaments connecting the rib cage to the shoulder blades are well developed. Their forelegs are well spaced, parallel, and straight. The shoulder blade is well laid back. The upper arm angles a little backward from the shoulder to the elbow and is not right-angled to the ground. The ligaments and muscles that carry the shoulder to the rib cage are firm and well developed.
Hindquarters: Their hind legs also appear moderately spaced and parallel. Further, their muscular upper thighs and hock joints are well defined.
Coat: Siberian Huskies are adorned with a double-layered coat protecting them from extreme cold. On the outside, they appear straight and thick, while underneath, they are short and soft. They come in various colors ranging from red, gray, black, and snow white, with red-and-white, black-and-white, and gray-and-white patterns. Further, they are populated with vibrant hues on their muscular shoulders.
Color: Huskies adopt colors ranging from black, gray, agouti, sable, red, and white. They can be solid colored or have multiple shades. Alternatively, they can also have white markings all over their body. They can adopt symmetrical or asymmetrical markings and patterns, including piebald.
Gait: The Siberian Husky’s gait is smooth and seemingly effortless with an agile movement.
Siberian Huskies are known for their gentle, outgoing, and friendly nature. They wear a keen and alert expression. They are extremely curious and take on everything that comes their way. These dogs are brilliant with a playful demeanor. He is a wonderful host to anyone who visits your home. Therefore, he is not the dog for you if you are looking for an excellent watchdog. He is a willing and agreeable companion. He is not a breed that barks much but involves a lot of howling to attract your attention or respond. He is not a dog who pleases but enjoys the company of other dogs or people and is happy to be engaged in work.
Training is the most significant aspect while domesticating a Husky. This is because these pets are pretty stubborn. Therefore, it is good to enroll them in advanced obedience training sessions. Further, these intelligent canines are gifted with the ability to differentiate between their class and home environment, making them more stubborn at home. In addition, they must be crate trained to retreat in the event of tiredness. Leash training is necessary for this breed due to their high prey drive. Further, it is difficult to divert them once they decide to chase.
|Easy to train||Low|
|Mouthiness tendencies||Medium to high|
|Barking and Howling tendencies||High|
Husky Exercise Needs
Siberian Huskies are highly energetic and active. As their ancestors were engaged in high-intensity sled hauling, they require intensive exercise. As a result, they need a minimum of one and a half hours of exercise schedule. This will also keep them from destructive behavior and mentally stimulate them. Further, these canines can be involved in sports activities like rallies, agility, and obedience. If your pup lives in an urban area, you can take him for daily walks or to the dog playground to expend his energy.
Exercise Needs Overview
It is relatively easy to meet your Husky’s grooming needs. They don’t shed much if they reside in a colder place, while those in warmer areas shed comparatively higher. However, if you wish to avoid matting, you must regularly brush your pet’s hair at least once a week. Nevertheless, this schedule varies to daily brushing during the shedding season. Generally, Huskies maintain their cleanliness and rarely require bathing. They also lack the typical dog odor. Hence, you can bathe them if they become filthy after playing. In addition, you can use high-quality dog shampoo to preserve the natural oil in their skin.
Nails: Your dog’s nails are subject to breakage if they grow too long. Since broken nails are very painful, trim your pet’s nails regularly.
Teeth: Regular brushing of your dog’s teeth with a dog-formulated toothpaste can prevent tartar buildup and periodontal diseases in dogs. Additionally, you have to schedule an annual appointment with the veterinarian.
Ears: Your dog’s ears accumulate wax that must be removed using a cotton ball dipped in pH-balanced ear cleaner. However, ensure not to damage his ear canal and check for signs of ear infection during the annual appointment with the vet.
|Easy to groom||Low|
|Amount of shedding||Medium to high|
Generally, Siberian Huskies are known to be a healthy breed. A nutritious diet and a good amount of physical exercise will free them from ailments. Nevertheless, like all species, Huskies are prone to develop certain health conditions, they include:
|Overall health||Medium to high|
|Weight gain tendencies||Low|
Hip Dysplasia: Hip Dysplasia is a heritable condition that occurs when the thigh bones don’t fit aptly into the pelvic socket of the hip joint.
Other Causes of Hip Dysplasia:
- Excessive weight gain
- Wrong exercises
Symptoms of Hip Dysplasia: This condition can exist with or without symptoms, and some notable signs may be present on one or both rear legs. They include:
Treatment: X-ray screening for hip dysplasia, medication, and hip replacement through surgeries may also be preferred. This condition, if ignored, can be life-threatening.
Ectopy: Siberian Huskies are prone to develop an anatomical defect called ectopic ureter at birth. They are caused due to abnormal development while in the womb. This condition interferes with the animal’s ability to retain bladder urine. Further, it is the most prominent among females than males.
Symptoms of Ectopy:
- Urinary incontinence, or
- Urine dribbling in a young female dog.
- Frequently lick at the genital area,
- Discolored hair around the genitals,
- Prone to repeated urinary tract infections
Corneal Dystrophy: Corneal Dystrophy affects the eye’s cornea layer. This genetic disorder
will not be painful. Corneal Dystrophy can be identified by symptoms such as the formation of an opaque layer.
Progressive Retinal Atrophy: The gradual deterioration of the eye’s retina marks the progression of this disease. Affected dogs exhibit night-blindness symptoms, slowly progressing to complete vision loss. Most of the affected dogs adapt well to their limited or lost vision if they continue to reside in the same environment when they had a vision.
Cataracts: Cataract is a white film-like layer grown on the eyes covering the eye lens. The eye will look opaque. It is genetically transmitted, which, if ignored, can lead to blindness. You can treat it through surgery.
Crystalline Corneal Opacities: Another disorder of the cornea is crystalline corneal opacities. The scarring of cornea or corneal infections leads to this condition, causing the cornea to appear white or clouded. As a result, it obstructs light from passing through to the retina.
Zinc responsive dermatitis: This skin infection occurs in Alaskan breeds like Siberian Huskies. These canines suffer from inadequate zinc absorption. It may occur due to:
- A stressful event
- Estrus (heat)
- Severe gastrointestinal disease
- Skin lesions around the eyes, mouth, scrotum, and the transition areas between skin and mucous membranes like the lips, vulva, or prepuce.
- A dry, dull haircoat and
- It may or may not be itchy.
Hypothyroidism: This disorder occurs in dogs when their thyroid glands don’t produce enough thyroid hormones. This condition slows down your dog’s metabolism leading to epilepsy, hair loss, obesity, lethargy, dark patches on the skin, and other skin conditions. Proper medication and diet will help in alleviating this deficiency.
Recommended Tests for Husky
- Hip Evaluation
- Ophthalmologist Evaluation
Husky Diet and Nutrition
Unlike other dogs, Huskies require a lesser food when compared to their sizes. This is because of the way the Chukchi people domesticated them. Therefore, you need to feed them 1.5 to 2 cups of high-quality dry food for their skin and coat health. However, in summer, they require about 20% of the protein in their diet, while in winter, they need 32%. Further, each Husky’s requirements vary depending on age, sex, and activity level. Therefore, it is best to observe your Husky and feed him an appropriate diet while taking care not to overfeed him.
Husky Living Condition
Huskies are excellent hosts; they are warm and smile with people. However, puppies must attend socialization classes to understand manners and good behavior. Although Huskies do well in multi-dog homes, they have a history of a high prey drive. Therefore, it is good to monitor them along with small animals. Alternatively, you can expose them to other animals and cope with their instincts.
Did You Know?
- Siberian Huskies’ ancestors can be traced back to more than 35,000 years old wolves.
- The Siberian Huskies created a sensation around the globe with their serum run. Among others, the lead dog Balto was the most honored with a statue in his name, standing in New York City’s Central Park.
- Disney has released many movies that starred the Siberian Huskies such as Iron Will, Snow Dogs, Eight Below.
- Some famous personalities such as Leonardo DiCaprio, Jared Leto and Ben Stiller.
Husky Club Recognition
- ACA = American Canine Association Inc.
- ACR = American Canine Registry
- AKC = American Kennel Club
- ANKC = Australian National Kennel Club
- APRI = American Pet Registry, Inc.
- CKC = Canadian Kennel Club
- CKC = Continental Kennel Club
- DRA = Dog Registry of America, Inc.
- FCI = Fédération Cynologique Internationale
- KCGB = Kennel Club of Great Britain
- NAPR = North American Purebred Registry, Inc.
- NKC = National Kennel Club
- NZKC = New Zealand Kennel Club
- UKC = United Kennel Club
Adding a Husky to Your Family
- Bay Area Siberian Husky Club
- Delaware Valley Siberian Husky Rescue
- Garden State Siberian Husky Club
- Half Moon Husky Rescue, Inc.
- MaPaw Siberian Husky Rescue & Referral Service, Inc.
- Seneca Siberian Husky Club
- Siberian Husky Assist Rescue
- Siberian Husky Club of Greater Cleveland
- Siberian Husky Rescue Site