- Dogs suitable for experienced owners
- Extra training required
- Need to be aware of potential health issues
- Enjoys vigorous walks
- Enjoys more than two hours of walking a day
- Large dog
- Minimum drool
- Requires grooming daily
- Chatty and vocal dog
- Barks and alerts to visitors/anything unusual
- Could have issues with unknown dogs but gets along with known dogs
- May need additional training to live with other pets
- May need additional supervision to live with children
- Needs a large garden
- Best suited to countryside
- Cannot be left alone
|Colours:||Black and white, grey, white, black, black and tan, silver, sable and white, grey and white, red and white|
|Kennel Club group:||Working|
|Easy to train:||2/5|
|Tolerates being alone:||1/5|
|Likes other pets:||5/5|
The Siberian Husky is very much a working dog at heart - they are however friendly, gentle, and alert. They are not dogs who will ever shine in the obedience ring however - as they are independent, scorn training and are selectively bred for one purpose. They are active and agile - and as such can be difficult to keep as a companion dog. They are quiet most of the time as they don’t bark - but they do howl which is a joy for most huskies (but not their neighbours!).
History and Origins
Country of Origin: Russia
This is one of the oldest and purest of the northern sled dogs and it’s said that they have been bred in their native Siberia as long as 3000 years ago. To the natives of the area, these dogs were key to their survival and were selectively bred to be able to carry loads over long distances at great speeds. The dogs lived alongside the families and so only non-aggressive dogs that were friendly towards the children were used in this ancient breeding programme - along with only the very best sled dogs.
At the end of the 19th century, word of this ‘super dog’ reached the Americas and in 1909 a team of huskies were sent to take part in an Alaskan sled race - where they easily beat the larger but slower Malamutes who had until then dominated.
After the second world war, where the breed had been used as a search and rescue dog in the Arctic by the US military, the breed became increasingly popular and spread to Europe where it became a favourite for those with the space and ability to exercise and care for such a canine athlete.
The Siberian Husky is generally a healthy, hardy breed. However, as with many breeds, they can suffer from hereditary eye disorders and occasionally hip dysplasia (a condition that can lead to mobility problems). Eye testing and hip scoring of dogs prior to breeding is therefore important.
This breed does need a considerable amount of exercise but this must be done in a safe, enclosed area, or on a lead, as they do have a strong desire to run if free and cannot be relied upon to return when called. A very well-fenced garden is a necessity and, as they can jump anything from a standstill, height is also important. An adult Siberian needs two-plus hours of exercise daily and an appropriate opportunity to run.
A Husky needs a decent sized house (without central heating or at least not too warm) but most importantly they need space to run and so a rural setting suits them best. It also means the neighbours are less likely to be disturbed by the inevitable howling.
Your dog's diet needs to have the right balance of all the main nutrient groups including a constant supply of fresh water. It's important to conduct regular body condition scores to ensure you keep your dog in ideal shape and remember to feed them at least twice daily and in accordance with the feeding guidelines of their particular food.
Grooming is particularly easy: a brush and comb through two or three times a week normally, but daily grooming during the moulting period - which in a warm house, will be pretty much all the time. This is a clean breed with little or no 'doggie' smell.
Siberian Huskies see no point in training whatsoever - their joy is to run and their view is that they don’t need to be trained to do that! They should however be well socialised and trained to walk on a harness and lead. Walking without pulling can be a challenge for this breed given that is what they were bred to do. A good recall should also be taught but this is for emergencies and not generally to be relied upon. This is a breed who will hunt small animals and so owners should watch out for that.
The Siberian Husky is somewhat of a specialist dog who needs to run and who is probably far too high maintenance for most families.
While many dogs are traditionally thought of as being good with children, all dogs and children need to be taught to get on with and respect each other, and be safe together. Even so, dogs and young children should never be left alone together and adults should supervise all interactions between them.
Did You Know?
- The Siberian Husky was developed as a sled dog to carry light loads at high speeds over extremely long distances. During World War Two however they turned their paw to being search and rescue dogs working with the US military in the Arctic Circle.
- When they sleep, Huskies are known to wrap their tails around their faces, this allows for their breath to warm their tail and keeps their nose and face protected from the cold.
- A group of Siberian Huskies saved a small town in Nome, Alaska when they were affected by a very serious disease called diphtheria. The only antidote was hundreds of miles away in Anchorage and it was too treacherous to get there by any way other than dog and sled.
- They have super friendly personalities and so they’re not very well suited to being watchdogs.
- A Husky’s howl can be heard from 10 miles away!