Siberian Huskies never fail to delight at the very first sight. From their adorably expressive faces and fun vocalizations to flashy coats and piercing eyes, they seemingly offer the full package. And for many husky owners, that’s nothing short of the truth.
On the other side of the coin, huskies are endlessly busy, ultra-clever, and more stubborn than you could ever imagine. So, while they’re truly incredible dogs, this breed is simply not for everyone.
Not sure what side of the fence you stand on? You can avoid finding out the hard way by kicking off your search for the perfect dog with an in-depth look at this breed. To help you out, here’s all you need to know about Siberian Huskies.
The Rich History of Siberian Huskies
The lineage of Siberian Huskies began over 9,500 years ago, likely originating from Lake Baikal dogs, East Siberian dogs, and the Taimyr Wolf. Later on down the line, the Chukchi people purpose-bred these powerful dogs to pull their sleds across the snowy Siberian Arctic landscape.
Then, in the early 1900s, huskies landed in Alaska to work as sled dogs. Over time, the need for sled dogs decreased, although many people kept breeding their lines for that purpose. Instead of using them for transportation, however, they focused on sled dog racing, increasing their breed’s drive and competitive spirit even more.
Today, the vast majority of huskies have never stepped foot in a sled dog harness, but the drive to work remains an integral part of their breed. They remain highly focused, athletic, and energetic as a result, often making them hard to keep at home.
Common Husky Breed Characteristics
Before deciding to add a purebred Siberian husky to your life, it’s important to weigh their breed characteristics and see if they align with your expectations.
Since they come from Spitz lineage, huskies have pointy ears, an expressive tail, and a thick double coat. With the exception of merle, their coat can come in any color imaginable, including copper red, white, black, and grey. Oftentimes, these dogs have a light mask and belly that complements the darker tones running down their back from head to tail. They have bright almond-shaped eyes in vivid blue, brown, or black hues. Heterochromia is common, most often resulting in one blue and one brown eye.
Siberian huskies are a medium-sized breed, although their fluffy coat makes them look much bigger than they actually are. Males range from 45 to 60 pounds on average and reach up to 24 inches at the withers. Females can reach 23 inches at the withers, but they’re daintier and likely to top out at 50 pounds.
Since they were developed to do a job – and do it well – huskies are working dogs, for sure. They are wickedly smart, high-energy dogs with a drive to work every day, making them potentially destructive if they’re left to their own devices. So, you definitely have to give these dogs a job or they’ll make one up for themselves.
To make matters worse, the Chukchi people allowed this breed to run wild and free all summer long, leaving them with a bit of wanderlust in their blood. As a result, the job they may come up with is to escape the yard and explore the world, much to your chagrin.
Huskies are known to have a high prey drive as a result of their summer adventures on their own. So, they’re not to be trusted with cats, bunnies, and other small animals. They are wonderful with kids, however, due to their tendency to be patient and gentle with their humans.
Overall, Siberian huskies are a healthy breed. They do not have any major food allergies, although they do have sensitive stomachs. They tend to live to around 14 years of age with relatively few illnesses along the way. If health problems do occur, they’re usually genetic. Responsible breeders can reduce the risk of hip dysplasia and other genetic issues by health testing before creating their pairings.
If you’re ready for what huskies bring to the table, they’re a great dog to have in your life. If you have any doubts, however, it might be best to think about a different breed.
Tips for Living Happily Alongside a Siberian Husky
Want to brighten up your life with a husky? Make the most of your journey with these tips:
- Be ready for screeches, howls, and many other loud vocalizations, although not a lot of barking
- Build an eight-foot-tall fence and reinforce it all along the bottom to prevent digging
- Tire out your dog with high-intensity exercise, training, and plenty of brain games daily
- Enroll your husky in doggie daycare if you’re going to be away for hours at a time
- Make recall training a top priority and proof this skill in increasingly distracting environments
- Expect your husky to take leash training as a direct challenge and try to pull you around town
- Work to eliminate their natural mouthiness by doing bite inhibition training from the start
- Plan to put your shoes and other precious belongings well out of reach for years to come
- Brush out your dog’s coat weekly to keep them looking and feeling their best always
- Invest in a de-shedding rake and learn how to properly use it before your dog blows their coat
Beyond all that, plan to put your dog on high-quality dog food and keep them on it for life. Their sensitive bellies appreciate a highly digestible formula made using crickets or grub as the protein of choice. Want to get the right food from the very start? Set your sights on Jiminy’s for all you need.