Welcome to the BarkPost guide to dog breeds where we belly flop straight into the depths of dog breed origin, evolution, and purpose. Follow along each week as we publish new guides that highlight the strangest, most interesting, and most surprising stuff about these creatures who have been our best buds the last 30,000 years.
Intro / Overview
(All dogs are individuals, which means any single dog from any breed can be any number of ways, both good and not so good. Keep that in mind as we discuss breed generalities!)
Siberian Huskies are a popular, beautiful breed that have a friendly and outgoing personality. Though they were originally bred in the Arctic as sled dogs and do best in cold weather, they are happy companions to many families today. If you're looking for energetic and playful dog who enjoys people and other pup playmates, then a Husky would be a great fit!
Also Known As...
Husky. Chukcha. Sled Dog. Sibe. "Those dogs look like...wolves!"
Siberian Huskies were first bred by the Chukchi people of Siberia and are thought to be one of the oldest dog breeds. The Chukchi people lived inland and needed dogs to pull their sleds to and from the sea, which is where their hunting was done, so Huskies were bred. Because of this role, they are strong dogs who can go long distances and pull heavy weight in cold weather. In addition, the dogs slept with the children to provide warmth.
In the early 1900s, Siberian Huskies were taken to Alaska for long-distance races. This led to their popularity there and they became sled dogs and carried mail. Their fame grew in 1925 when there was a diphtheria outbreak in Nome, Alaska deep in the middle of winter. A sled dog team brought the antitoxin from Anchorage to Nome in 6 days, travelling 600 miles in sub-zero temperatures. Huskies were officially recognized by the AKC shortly after in 1930. Since then, Huskies have gone on Antarctic expeditions and participated in search-and-rescue efforts.
Siberian Husky males stand between 21-23.5 inches tall and females stand between 20-22 inches tall.
Male Siberian Huskies are usually between 45 and 60 pounds and the females are between 35 and 50 pounds.
Siberian Huskies are friendly dogs that have high energy levels and love to be around people. This love of people makes them a pretty bad guard dog, as they won’t feel the need to protect you or scare away strange people. They love to play and their energy can make them a bit rambunctious, but with enough exercise, they won’t get into as much trouble. They tend to be gentle with kids and they want to spend time around their family.
Intelligence / Trainability
Huskies are intelligent dogs, but they may be a bit stubborn when it comes to training. Their intelligence can make them have an independent streak, but they do like to be around people. Use this to your advantage during the training process. They have some natural tendencies, like digging and howling, that might be frustrating, so it’s important to work with your Husky from a young age so that they can live happily with their family.
Best Training Techniques For Siberian Huskies
Huskies need fun, active training in order for it to be effective. They can get bored easily and may become stubborn if training is something that they don’t want to do. They will be motivated by food and using it as positive reinforcement can make your Husky do things he might not have wanted to do otherwise. The most important part of training a Husky is remaining calm and firm throughout the process. In the end, they are an intelligent breed and training will click eventually.
Huskies love to spend time outside, so they would be happiest somewhere with a yard they can run around in. They want to be able to go on long walks and hikes with their families. Since Siberian Huskies were bred in Siberia in freezing temperatures, they are best adapted to living in cold climates; they can even handle extreme sub-zero temperatures. However, they are adaptable dogs and can also adjust to living in some warmer climates. In warmer climates, you should watch your Husky for signs of dehydration and overheating. With lots of water and not spending excessive time in the heat, your Husky should do okay not living in a cold climate.
Good For Families And Kids?
Huskies make for great family dogs and do really well with children. Though they are great for families, they do take a lot of time, exercise, and training, so they may not be the right fit for every family. With the right knowledge and time for taking care of your Husky, they will become a happy member of your family.
They are gentle with kids, but as with all dogs, it is important to supervise playtime with small children. Huskies are big, strong dogs, so they may unintentionally hurt a young child if the kid is provoking them. This breed was raised by the Chukchi people in a family setting and often slept with the children, so their instinct is to bond.
On average, Siberian Huskies live between 12 and 14 years.
Siberian Huskies are a generally healthy breed, but there are some specific health issues to look out for. They are prone to having eye issues, such as cataracts, corneal dystrophy, and progressive retinal atrophy (PRA), so ophthalmologist evaluations are recommended by the breed club. Though hip dysplasia is not common, hip evaluations are still recommended because of the breed’s size.
Huskies are energetic pups who need proper exercise in order to stay happy. Daily walks and time playing outside are necessary for their health. They will also enjoy time at dog parks or on long hikes or runs with their families. These energetic dogs may try to escape under fences, dig in the yard, or chew on furniture and shoes. You can help prevent these behaviors from occurring by keeping your Husky well-exercised so that they don’t have too much pent-up energy.
Friendly With (Dogs? Strangers? Cats/Other Pets?)
Huskies tend to love being around other dogs. They were bred as pack dogs that spent a lot of time with other dogs and worked with other dogs pulling sleds, so they don’t often show aggression towards other dogs. Having another puppy playmate for your Husky can help them get their energy out and they will happy bonding to another dog.
Huskies are excited around other dogs and also around other people. They don’t have a guard dog instinct and are instead happy to see other people, even strangers.
Though Huskies like other dogs and people, they do less well with cats and other animals. They have a strong predatory instinct, meaning they want to chase after smaller animals, including cats. If socialized early, some Huskies may grow to live alongside a pet cat, but most will not be happy with a smaller animal in their space.
Coat & Grooming
Siberian Huskies have a thick double-layer coat that requires regular brushing. Their coat is made up of a dense undercoat and an outer layer that is longer. This coat helps protect the breed from cold winters. They shed their undercoat twice a year and extra brushing during this time is necessary to remove the excess hair. Huskies were bred as working outdoor dogs, so their coat doesn’t need much maintenance outside of brushing. Baths shouldn’t be too frequent, as it can cause their skin to dry out.
Siberian Huskies don’t bark, instead they have a distinctive howl. The howl is a characteristic Husky sound that makes the breed special from other breeds. When they are upset and don’t want to howl, they may whine and moan, rather than bark.
Toys Siberian Huskies Would Like Best
Huskies have a lot of energy and playing with toys is a great way for them to get some of their energy out. They are smart and playful dogs, so Puzzle Toys are a good option for keeping them busy awhile. This will keep your Husky interested and they’ll enjoy having a task to focus on. They’re motivated by food, so hidden food and treats can help make it extra exciting.
Huskies are also strong dogs, so durable Super Chewer Toys are a great match for dogs who love to chew. Durable toys are also a great match for your Husky in a game of tug-of-war. This is a fun way to spend quality time with your pup while also helping them test their strength and get some of their energy out.
For a more extensive list, check out the following post: What Are The Best Toys For Huskies?
Recommended Diet Or Supplements
Siberian Huskies are active dogs who need quality food with adequate protein. If they are a working dog, they may need more protein in the winter to balance their hard work.
As for supplements, there are a few options that could help with your Husky. But as always, make sure to consult your vet before administering them.
These delicious, vet-formulated chews are made with all-natural ingredients including Omega 3, 6, 9, and Vitamin E. They are designed to support immune health, provide relief from itchy allergic skin, and promote a healthy coat. ($19.99)
This joint supplement is veterinarian-formulated, made with all natural ingredients (glucosamine, MSM, chondroitin, and hyaluronic acid), and comes in the form of 150 soft chews. Basically, it looks and tastes just like delicious treats, and it could really help your Malamute with their hip and joint issues. ($32.99.)
BARK’s Full Spectrum Hemp Oil is made of organically grown whole plants, grown in Colorado, and is non-psychoactive. It comes in 100mg, 250mg, and 500mg varieties, and can help with joint issues, pain relief, and ease aggression in dogs during stressful situations. ($17.99-22.99.)
Huskies are hardworking dogs who deserve to have a comfy place to go at the end of a long day. An orthopedic dog way is a great way to show your Husky that you care about them and want them to by comfy at the end of a long day. Huskies may develop joint issues as they age, so a cushy bed can help ensure that they’re comfortable.
This dog bed is great for supporting your pup's tired body. A high quality combination of ergonomic memory foam and gel foam helps ease body aches, joint pain, hip dysplasia and arthritis. This bed offers the best therapeutic support for your hardworking pal. ($27.99-64.99.)
Notable Rescues To Find The Siberian Husky Of Your Dreams
- Tails of the Tundra Siberian Husky Rescue
- Northern Exposure Siberian Husky Rescue
- Siberian Husky Club of America Regional Rescue Groups
- Adoptable Huskies on Petfinder
Notable Instagram Siberian Huskies
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Featured image via Htownhuskies/Instagram