Last Updated: July 28, 2017
The Siberian Husky is an absolutely gorgeous dog with a thick coat and a multitude of colors and markings. Their blue or multi-colored eyes and striking facial masks really lend to the appeal of this dog breed which originated somewhere in Siberia. Many people are drawn to this dog because of its wolf-like looks. This is a very intelligent dog that can be very independent and challenging to the first-time dog owner. Because of their intelligence they often escape their enclosures so it is absolutely important to have a well-fenced in yard that has a fence that also goes below the ground surface.
Highlights of the Siberian Husky
Before getting a Siberian Husky it is important to take these points into consideration:
- The Siberian Husky is a low shedder except during their two annual shedding periods when they shed their fur quite heavily. This period of shedding usually lasts for three weeks. However, if you live in a warmer climate than they are used to they may shed more often or shed continuously throughout the year.
- The Siberian Husky is not recommended as an apartment dog but that does not mean that they cannot adapt to living in an apartment. It is the owner's responsibility to make sure that they get plenty of exercise and stimulation to offset the stagnation of apartment life. (See List of Dogs Not Well Suited to Apartment Living.)
- Siberian Huskies are great at escaping from their yards as they have a natural instinct to wander and explore their environments. These dogs can jump fences, break their tie-out chains, slip out of their collars and find all sorts of ways to get free. To them, escaping from their confined environment is a game and they are quite good at it. For this reason make sure that your fence is high enough to prevent them from jumping over it and that is also goes below ground several feet to prevent them from digging under it.
- Siberian Huskies can be very destructive. These dogs have been known to completely destroy a house within a couple of hours. Therefore, when leaving the animal alone it is probably best to crate the animal to prevent property damage.
- Siberian Huskies do not make great alert dogs as they rarely bark. They do, however, enjoy howling which you neighbors may not like.
- Siberian Huskies are strong-willed animals. For this reason they are not recommended as a good pet for new or timid animal owners. When they are very young they need obedience training because as they get older they become more stubborn and hard to train.
- Siberian Huskies need to be constantly watched as their curiosity will often get them into some sort of trouble when they discover something new and start exploring it.
- Siberian Huskies are very gentle-natured animals. They get along great with children as well as other dogs. However, young children should never be left alone with any type of dog because they love to poke and pull at animals and even the most docile animal has a breaking point and can bite.
- Siberian Huskies need very little food to survive which is a characteristic that was actually bred into them because of the type of work they were developed to do and their cold environments. Please follow the advice of your veterinarian as to the amount of food that you should feed your Siberian Husky.
- Do not ever walk your Siberian Husky off its leash. They are natural chasers and will chase any small animal as well as car tires.
- Many people purchase a Siberian Husky for the wrong reason. They fall in love with the animal's beauty and do not take into consideration the temperament of the animal. These dogs are basically selfies. They like to be by themselves and do what they want. The more you try to get your Siberian Husky to perform to your commands the more they will fight you.
- If you do decide to purchase a Siberian Husky get them from a reputable breeder who can give you the history of the animal and inform you on the proper care as well as its behavioral characteristics.
Siberian Husky FAQs
- How well do they adapt?
- The Siberian Husky is not a dog recommended for apartment living. These dogs do well on private property with fairly large yards for them to run around in.
- Siberian Huskies are not recommended for the novice owner as a battle of the wills will result. These dogs are quite independent in both their behavior and thinking and would rather do what they want than what their humans want them to do. (See List of Dogs Not Well Suited to Apartment Living.)
- Siberian Huskies have a moderate sensitivity level. This is probably where they get their stubborn streak from. They do not like to be disciplined and will become more bull-headed the more you try to discipline them. (See List of Dogs That Have A Low Sensitivity Level.)
- Siberian Huskies love to be around people. When left alone for an extended period of time they will become destructive or find a way to escape their enclosures to find someone that will give them the attention they crave. If you need to leave them alone for an extended period of time you may want to find a dog sitter to stay with the dog or crate them to keep them from causing damage or escaping. (See List of Dogs That Are Poorly Suited To Being Alone.)
- One advantage of having a Siberian Husky is that they tolerate cold weather very well. After all, that is what they were developed for as they are common areas far up north where it gets very cold. (See List of Dogs That Are Poorly Suited To Cold Weather.)
- Even though Siberian Huskies can tolerate hot weather they may become distressed if the weather is very hot. It is best that during periods of hot weather that you can provide air-conditioned shelter for the dog or perhaps a pool for the animal to play in water.
- Are Siberian Huskies Friendly?
- These dogs are one of the most affectionate breeds you will ever find. They absolutely love to be around people and crave the attention they get from humans. They especially live it when they live in an environment that has children.
- Are Siberian Huskies friendly with children?
- Siberian Huskies are quite friendly with children and just as with other kid-friendly dog they will go and do something else if they don't want to be bothered by a child. Eventually they will come back to the child for more attention until they've had enough again. (See List of Kid Friendly Dogs.)
- Are Siberian Huskies friendly with other dogs?
- Siberian Huskies get along quite well with other dogs. These dogs are basic pack animals and living with other dogs will allow them to have a structure of leadership amongst themselves.
- Are Siberian Huskies friendly with strangers?
- The nature of the Siberian Husky is to be a friendly dog. That is why these dogs do not make good security or watch dogs. They would rather kiss and make friends with a stranger than protect their home.
- How much do Siberian Huskies shed?
- The Siberian Husky is a moderate shedder. These dogs usually go through a heavy shedding period twice a year which lasts for about three weeks each. During these periods of heavy shedding they will shed about 80% of their coat in preparation for the next season.
- Do Siberian Huskies drool a lot?
- The simple answer here is yes. The Siberian Husky is a definite slobber dog. If this behavior doesn't appeal to you then you should not get a Siberian Husky.
- Are Siberian Huskies easy to groom?
- These dogs require constant brushing to help minimize the amount of fur that they will shed throughout the year. Their coat is quite easy to groom, however, the problem usually lies in trying to keep them still long enough to give them a good brushing.
- What are the health characteristics of the Siberian Husky?
- All breeds of dogs come with certain health risks. The Siberian Husky is no exception. This is a really good reason as to why you should only purchase dogs of this breed from a reputable breeder. The breeder will be able to provide you with a complete history of the pup's parents health. And the really good breeders will have the pups tested against any of the possible hereditary disorders which may come with the breed you are interested in. (See List of Dogs That Are Prone To Health Problems.)
- Do Siberian Huskies gain excessive weight?
- All dogs are capable of becoming overweight. The Siberian Husky is graded as moderate in this area. However, if you provide adequate exercise and other activities throughout the day this is usually not a problem.
- Are Siberian Huskies considered to be large dogs?
- These dogs are considered to be large medium-sized dogs. This does not mean that you may not get one that is bigger, or smaller, than the normal Siberian Husky.
- Are Siberian Huskies easy to train?
- Some dogs are really easy to train. The Siberian Husky, on the other hand, is considered to be below average in respect to trainability. Basically with these dogs you want to stay with training just the basic commands so that you have a good sociable animal.
- What is the intelligence level of a Siberian Husky?
- Siberian Huskies are working dogs and they possess the ability to think independently in order to complete their job. For the most part these dogs are quite intelligent. The level of intelligence displayed will ultimately depend on the animal's environment.
- Are Siberian Huskies noisy animals?
- If you are looking for an animal that is more quiet than vocal the Siberian Husky is an excellent choice. Although they are not constant barkers they do have a tendency to howl. Some say that this howling tendency is a result of their wolf ancestry.
- Are Siberian Huskies mouthy?
- Mouthiness in an animal means a tendency for the animal to nip, chew, and play-bite. For the Siberian Husky this tendency is considered to be low. However, whenever any animal plays with another animal or their human companions it is always a good idea to keep a close eye on the animal so that they don't become over-excited and accidently nip harshly. And you should always keep an eye on any animal whenever they are playing with young children.
- Do Siberian Huskies have a tendency to wander off?
- Siberian Huskies are very curious animals and will follow a sent until they find what they are looking for. Because of this tendency you should never have your dog off its leash.
- What is the energy level of the Siberian Husky?
- Siberian Huskies are very active dogs and require a human handler to also be a high energy person. If you are not an active person then this breed of dog is not recommended for you.
- What is the intensity level of the Siberian Husky?
- When we talk about the intensity level of a dog we are referring to how vigorous they are when they do something. The Siberian Husky is a moderately vigorous dog in all of its activities. They tend to take their time and put a moderate amount of effort into everything they do.
- Do Siberian Huskies require a lot of exercise?
- The Siberian Husky is a dog that needs to be as active as possible throughout the day. For this reason they require at least two twenty minute sessions of vigorous activity to help keep them in the best shape possible and to prevent them from becoming bored and destructive to the house.
- Is the Siberian Husky a playful dog?
- The Siberian Husky is a very playful dog that is full of energy and spirit. For this reason they need a human companion that is of the same level of activity and playfulness as they are themselves.
Siberian Husky Vital Statistics
The Siberian Husky belongs to the group of dogs classified as working dogs and has a height of 1 foot 8 inches to 1 foot 11 inches at the shoulder. They weigh between 35 to 60 pounds and generally live between 12 to 15 years.
These dogs have captured the imagination of all. They are depicted in paintings, stories, and film. This is probably due to their wolf-like appearance and their awe-inspiring talents. This medium-sized working dog was originally developed as a sled dog. The first thing that is noticed about these dogs is their ability to learn anything.
Unfortunately, many people fall in love with these dogs because of their looks unaware of the kinds of difficulties they will face as the owner of one of these dogs. Because of this lack of research on the pet owners part many of these dogs end up in shelters or left to fend for themselves on the street.
The downfall of this animal's appearance is that many puppy mills have sprung up which do not properly raise these dogs which in turn results in a dog with a poor temperament and a heightened stubbornness. This results in a negative impact on these dogs as the bad traits have begun to take a strong hold which results in a dog that has abnormal traits that are not normally found in this breed.
A properly raised Siberian Husky has very positive points to their temperament which shows how truly amazing this breed really is. They are extremely intelligent and very independent animals. They are extremely affectionate with everyone that does not need constant attention from you except to just be around you. They are not aggressive and do really well in multi-dog homes because of their pack animal tendencies. They also do well around children and strangers. They will also welcome intruders into your home with a wag of the tail and a big kiss.
These dogs have a very remarkable mind and tend to use it to do less savory things at home. They are also not overly eager to please people with good behavior.
Siberian huskies are extremely difficult to train. So if you are a first-time dog owner or you are timid around animals you would do best to consider another breed of dog. Because of their independent nature Siberian Huskies do great with people who are very confident and have a good deal of experience in handling dogs. And, like all breeds, Huskies need to go through obedience training. However, they are able to distinguish the difference between home and class---behaving beautifully while in class and disregarding all commands when at home.
The biggest issue with this breed of dog is their ability to discover a means of escape. For this reason owners of these dogs must constantly check their yards for any means of escape. It is also recommended that the yard have a fence that is at least six feet high and sunk into the ground by at least three feet.
Siberian Huskies do make wonderful pets. Even with all of the qualities that can make them a difficult breed to handle a properly trained and cared for Siberian Husky does make a really great family companion.
History of the Siberian Husky
Not much is known about the Siberian Husky except that they probably originated among a Siberian tribe of nomads known as the Chukchies. DNA tests of this dog has confirmed that they are among the oldest of the dog breeds. It is also known that the Chukchi used the dogs as a means of fast transportation and that the Chukchi also used the dog as a family dog and as a warm bed for the children of their families.
In 1908 the Siberian Husky was imported to Alaska and used as a sled dog during the gold rush. They were also used in the All-Alaska Sweepstakes, which is a 408-mile dogsled race, and continue to be an active competitor in the Sweepstakes even today.
Historical records indicate that the last Siberian Husky was exported from Siberia in 1930 when the Soviet government closed the border of the Soviet Union. The North American dogs continued to thrive although they changed slightly from the Siberian foundation dogs, the Chukchi Sled Dog. They have maintained their base qualities which have made them a popular breed.
The Siberian Club of America was founded in 1938 and the Siberian Husky was recognized by the American Kennel Club in 1930 and the Canadian Kennel Club in 1939.
An average male Siberian Husky stands between 21 and 23.5 inches (53.34 to 59.69 centimeters) high at the shoulder while the female averages between 20 to 22 inches (50.8 to 55.88 centimeters) tall at the shoulder. The males of this breed of dog weighs between 45 and 60 pounds (20.41 to 27.22 kilograms) and the females weigh between 35 to 50 pounds (15.88 to 22.68 kilograms).
Personality of the Siberian Husky
Siberian Huskies are definite pack dogs and they absolutely need an owner who is the clear leader of the pack. This makes training easier because you will find that your dog respects you, but don't be surprised if he tests the limits of your position in the pack and tries to take control from time to time.
If you find that your Siberian Husky is trying to take control it is important not to give into their pushiness. You have to assert yourself as the leader by making sure that they understand the ground rules and you must be consistent with the rules that you establish. One of the best ways to achieve this is to take absolute control of its food, treats, toys, and any other assets that the dog has. By doing so your dog will view you as the keeper of all of his valuable assets and resources. Much the way that a pack leader does with the other dogs in the pack.
Another problem with these dogs is that they can be very destructive both indoors and out. To help counter this you should provide as much exercise for the dog as possible. They must be doing all kinds of activities that will keep them busy and not bored. If they do not have constant activity they can certainly destroy a whole house in a matter of hours. They also like to dig in the yard and it is wise to train your dog that they can only dig in one area. If not, your flower beds will become prime targets for your Siberian Husky to dig in.
Even with these behavioral disadvantages the Siberian Husky is an absolute charming dog just because of their mischievous and playful nature. They are also extremely social and just love to show off their talents.
These dogs rarely bark which is a good quality to have. However, they can be extreme howlers which can be extremely annoying. Especially with your neighbors. But the good news here is that they can be trained not to howl. This, combined with proper exercise, makes them ideal pets for apartments.
If you are looking for a watchdog this is not it. The Siberian Husky would rather help the burglar steel your stuff just for the attention from the burglar. So if that doesn't show just how social and friendly they are then nothing will.
The temperament of these animals is different in each dog. If a puppy has a good temperament they will be curious and playful. They will also actively seek out the attention of people and want to be held. When choosing a puppy Siberian Husky you should look for one that is a little cautious of people but not a bully with its siblings. It is a good idea to meet at least one parent of the pup (both parents if possible) to help you in determining the temperament of the pup when it grows up. Also look for a pup that has good socialization skills.
Just as with any other type of dog, the Siberian Husky needs early exposure to many different people, sights, sounds, and experiences from an early age. Proper socialization will help to ensure that your pup will grow up to be a well-rounded dog.
These dogs do great when they are enrolled in a puppy kindergarten class. Also, you should try to take your dog out with you whenever you go out. The more these dogs, or any dog, are around people and crowds the better. This type of activity will help to ensure that the pup grows up to be well-rounded.
General Health of the Siberian Husky
Huskies are generally healthy, but like all breeds, they're prone to certain health conditions. Not all Huskies will get any or all of these diseases, but it's important to be aware of them if you're considering this breed.
If you're buying a puppy find a good breeder who will show you all of the health clearances for both your puppy's parents. Health clearances prove that a dog has been tested for and cleared of a particular condition.
In Huskies, you should expect to see health clearances from the Orthopedic Foundation for Animals (OFA) for hip dysplasia (with a score of fair or better), elbow dysplasia, hypothyroidism, and von Willebrand's disease; from Auburn University for thrombopathia; and from the Canine Eye Registry Foundation (CERF) certifying that eyes are normal. You can confirm health clearances by checking the OFA web site (offa.org).
- Cataracts: A cataract is an opacity on the lens of the eye that causes difficulty in seeing. The eye(s) of the dog will have a cloudy appearance. Cataracts usually occur in old age and sometimes can be surgically removed to improve the dog's vision.
- Corneal Dystrophy: This condition affects the cornea or outer transparent portion of the eyeball. It is an opacity that is caused by a collection of lipids in the cornea. It is usually seen in young adults and it generally affects more females. There is no therapy for this condition, but it does not seem to affect the vision.
- Progressive Retinal Atrophy (PRA): This is a degenerative eye disorder that eventually causes blindness from the loss of photoreceptors at the back of the eye. PRA is detectable years before the dog shows any signs of blindness. Fortunately, dogs can use their other senses to compensate for blindness, and a blind dog can live a full and happy life. Just don't make it a habit to move the furniture around. Reputable breeders have their dogs' eyes certified annually by a veterinary ophthalmologist and do not breed dogs with this disease.
Caring for Your Siberian Husky
Siberian Huskies need to be exercised regularly for 30 to 60 minutes daily to keep them from becoming bored. These dogs make excellent jogging companions. However, they should not be exercised in hot weather because of their this coats. And, surprisingly, they only require a small backyard that is well-secured to expend their energy.
The bottom line here is that Siberian Huskies need to be constantly working to stay happy. Usually just maintaining your own active lifestyle through hiking and other outdoor sports will keep both you and your Siberian Husky healthy, happy and, hopefully, out of trouble.
As mentioned earlier, training is a must with this breed and you may want to invest in more advanced obedience classes. This can be difficult for many owners and trainers as the breed is very intelligent and will determine the difference between classes and home.
They will behave wonderfully at class, following all instructions and commands, but at home they may revert back to the stubborn dog that stole your heart. This can be frustrating, but you will find that patience, time, and a little of your own stubbornness will pay off.
Crate training is an important tool that is often recommended by breeders. It keeps you dog and puppy safe and also gives them their own safe haven to retreat to when they are feeling overwhelmed or tired. A crate should never be used as a punishment.
Leash training is also a must as Siberian Huskies should never be left off leash when they are not in a fenced-in area. They love to run and will do so without any thought of how far away you are. You can easily lose your Siberian Husky if he decides to chase something or simply enjoy a heartfelt run. Siberian Huskies do have a high prey drive and that is another reason why they should be leashed during walks.
Feeding Your Siberian Husky
Recommended daily amount: 1.5 to 2 cups of high-quality dry food a day, divided into two meals.
When it comes to meal times, Siberian Huskies are known for being "easy keepers" — requiring a relatively small amount of food for their size. This trait may be traced to the origins of the breed, as the Chukchis developed these dogs to pull a light load at a fast pace over great distances in low temperatures on the smallest possible intake of food.
Note: How much your adult dog eats depends on his size, age, build, metabolism, and activity level. Dogs are individuals, just like people, and they don't all need the same amount of food. It almost goes without saying that a highly active dog will need more than a couch potato dog. The quality of dog food you buy also makes a difference — the better the dog food, the further it will go toward nourishing your dog and the less of it you'll need to shake into your dog's bowl.
Coat Color and Grooming for the Siberian Husky
Make sure your vacuum cleaner is in top working order and you book time regularly to groom if you adopt a Siberian Husky. His double coat features medium-length hair. The top coat is straight and the undercoat feels soft and dense.
Expect lots of hair and lots of shedding, especially during spring and fall when they blow their coats. With that said, this is a fairly easy breed to care for. Siberian Huskies living in cooler temperatures tend to shed less than those who live in warmer climates. You can avoid matting, and excess hair on your furniture, if you commit to brushing your dog's coat at least once a week during the year. During the shedding season you will have to brush your Siberian Husky on a daily basis for about three weeks.
Siberian Huskies are clean dogs and will take the time to clean themselves, much like a cat will. They don't typically emit "doggy" odor and rarely need baths. Unless, of course, they wiggle in something disgusting in the backyard or find a stinky body of water to jump in. When it is bath time, select a high-quality dog shampoo designed to keep the natural oils in your dog's skin and coat.
Huskies come in a variety of colors and markings, from black to pure white with colored markings on the body that include reds and coppers. Their eyes can be brown, blue, or a combination of these. Their faces sport masks that enhance their eyes and add to their eye appeal.
Brush your Husky's teeth at least two or three times a week to remove tartar buildup and the bacteria that lurk inside it. Daily brushing is even better if you want to prevent gum disease and bad breath.
Trim his or her nails once or twice a month if your dog doesn't wear them down naturally to prevent painful tears and other problems. If you can hear them clicking on the floor, they're too long. Dog toenails have blood vessels in them, and if you cut too far you can cause bleeding — and your dog may not cooperate the next time he sees the nail clippers come out. So, if you're not experienced at trimming a dog's nails, ask a vet or groomer for pointers or to do the job for you.
The ears should be checked weekly for redness or a bad odor, which can indicate an infection. When you check your dog's ears, wipe them out with a cotton ball dampened with gentle, pH-balanced ear cleaner to help prevent infections. Don't insert anything into the ear canal; just clean the outer ear.
Also, begin accustoming your Husky to being brushed and examined when he's a puppy. Handle his paws frequently (dogs are touchy about their feet) and look inside his mouth. Make grooming a positive experience filled with praise and rewards, and you'll lay the groundwork for easy veterinary exams and other handling when he's an adult.
As you groom, check for sores, rashes, or signs of infection such as redness, tenderness, or inflammation on the skin, in the nose, mouth, and eyes, and on the feet. Eyes should be clear, with no redness or discharge. Your careful weekly exam will help you spot potential health problems early.
Children and Other Pets
Huskies make great pets for households with children. They can be very tolerant of children, but like all other dogs, should be supervised when around young children.
Always teach children how to approach and touch dogs, and always supervise any interactions between dogs and young children to prevent any biting or ear or tail pulling on the part of either party. Teach your child never to approach any dog while he's eating or to try to take the dog's food away. No dog should ever be left unsupervised with a child.
Siberian Huskies do get along with other dogs but it is still important to take your puppy to socialization classes. This gets them used to other dogs and also to people, although they are also very affectionate to strangers. Socialization teaches puppies how to behave and greet other dogs and their owners.
Keep in mind the history of this breed. The harsh conditions in Siberia created a strong prey drive in this breed because food was often hard to find. As a result, many Huskies today maintain that prey drive toward small animals such as squirrels, rabbits, and cats. Some Huskies, however, thrive in multi-pet households, especially when they are raised with other pets from puppyhood.
Siberian Husky Rescue Groups
Siberian Huskies are often purchased without any clear understanding of what goes into owning one. There are many Huskies in need of adoption and or fostering. There are a number of rescues that we have not listed. If you don't see a rescue listed for your area, contact the national breed club or a local breed club and they can point you toward a Husky rescue.
- 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
Last Updated: July 28, 2017
Siberian Husky Puppy Pics
Siberian Husky Puppy Pics