Facts About Siberian Huskies
The appearance of the Siberian Husky in films and photographs depicting their strength and beauty has captivated the imagination of dog lovers around the world.
This outgoing, loyal, and mischevious dog can look quite serious and ready to get down to business one moment and then with a tilt of their head, they can have a curious and even sneaky expression the next moment.
The Siberian Husky has a simple yet complex personality that can require some getting used to. While they are extremely lovable, carefree, and hard-working, they also have a sly side to them that needs some extra attention.
What is The History of The Siberian Husky?
The Siberian Husky has many unique characteristics that make this breed stand out from the rest. The breed’s origins are not exactly known but there have been DNA tests that have indicated they are among one of the oldest breeds of dog.
Many believe that they may have originated among a Siberian nomad tribe called the Chukchi.
The Siberian Husky is in the working dog breed group and is commonly used as sled dogs. They were first imported to Alaska in 1908 where they were then put to work during the gold rush.
They then became popular for competitions in the annual 408-mile dogsled race called the All-Alaska Sweepstakes.
What Is The General Appearance of a Siberian Husky?
This medium-sized working dog has a moderately compact body with erect ears and a brushtail. This breed has a characteristic gait and is rather quick and light on the feet.
The body proportions of the Siberian Husky reflects its ability to balance speed, endurance, and power while pulling a sled at a moderate speed over long distances.
The Siberian Husky has a well-furred double coat. Its colors and markings can range from white, black, piebald, agouti, black, tan, copper, sable, splash, silver, gray, brown, and red. Their unique and friendly eyes can be brown, blue, a combination of both, or even one of each.
How Big Does a Siberian Husky Get?
The size of a Siberian Husky varies between the male and female. Males generally get to 21 to 23.5 inches in height and can weigh anywhere between 45 and 60 lbs while the female can average 20 to 22 inches in height with a weight around 35 to 50 lbs. Their thick and luxurious coat gives them the presence that they are actually larger than they really are.
What Kind of Personality Does the Siberian Husky Have?
The Siberian Husky is a true pack animal. As the owner, it is very important that you make it clear that you are the leader.
Asserting yourself as the leader of the pack through means of setting consistent ground rules will go a long way in a healthy and happy relationship between you and your dog.
Siberian Huskies have a tendency to be pushy and will test the limits of your role. It’s important that you not give in to their leadership testing.
Making your dog wait to eat is a good first step in showing them who the leader is. This establishes who is in charge of their food, toys, and other necessities.
This breed of dog is extremely high in energy and will need plenty of exercises and outdoor time. Without proper exercise, the Siberian Husky can become quite destructive when left alone, both indoors and outside.
While they are not barkers, the Siberian Husky is notorious for howling. This is something to take into consideration if you have neighbors close by.
The Siberian Husky is not recommended for apartment living unless they are properly trained and gets plenty of exercises.
The Siberian Husky is definitely not an efficient watchdog. They are extremely friendly and simply want to love everyone, including strangers. They are a curious and playful breed that needs a lot of attention and exercise.
They are also notorious escape artists and are known for breaking their chains, jumping fences, digging holes, and anyway they can think of to escape.
They are an extremely friendly dog and make excellent companions for families and children. They are also dog-friendly so if you have other pets or are considering getting more than one dog you will have no worries that your Siberian Husky will be dissatisfied.
How Adaptable is The Siberian Husky?
They are extremely adaptable to cold weather due to their origins and thick coats but can tolerate some warmer temperatures. You will need to take some caution while exercising them in hot climates or they will become overheated.
Siberian Huskies do not adapt well to being alone. They are a very social dog and if left alone for periods of time they will more than likely become destructive.
They are also not recommended for novice dog owners due to the fact they require special attention and strict training.
Is The Siberian Husky Easy to Train?
This particular breed of dog is extremely difficult to train. If you are a first-time dog owner or have a timid personality you may want to consider a different type of breed. Siberian Huskies are more suitable with confident owners who have had experience when it comes to training dogs.
Obedience training is a must when it comes to this breed. If you plan on taking them to classes for their training it is important to consistently enforce their training at home as well.
They have a habit of being the perfect angel while in the classroom and then turning back into the naughty dog while at home.
Leash Training a Siberian Husky Puppy
Training your Husky while it is still a puppy is a very important step and will go a long way for those daily walking exercises.
Leash training is an important tool that can be used for training a dog that becomes vocal and demanding during times of frustration. This technique can promote calm behavior when your dog is distracted by something.
How Much Exercise Does The Siberian Husky Need?
When you think about a Siberian Husky you need to think of them as the working dog that they are. If they are not working then they become unhappy. To the Husky, exercise is the same thing as working. It is important not to exercise them on hot days.
You will need to provide this breed of dog with at least 30 to 60 minutes of exercise each day. When taking them for walks you will want to remember to keep them on a strong leash. When unleashed, the Siberian Husky will undoubtedly chase after small animals and run away.
Luckily, they only need a small outdoor area for their exercise. Just remember that they are a true escape artist so you’ll need to make sure that the fenced-in area is tall enough and the fencing extends underground to prevent digging.
How Much Does a Siberian Husky Eat?
More active dogs need more food to maintain a healthy balance between calories intake and calorie burned. Smaller dogs or breeds that are happy being a couch potato need less food.
The important thing to remember is to feed your dog a high-quality food that will provide them with the proper nutrition they need for optimal health.
Every dog has its own personality and traits and the amount of food they eat can differ. This particular breed is known for being an ‘easy keeper’ which means that they consume small amounts of food in relation to their size.
Typically, a grown Siberian Husky that is exercised regularly will need approximately 1 1/2 to 2 cups of high-quality dry dog food a day, separated into two meals.
With the different varieties of dog food that is available on the market, it can be confusing trying to decide which one is the best for a dog such as the Siberian Husky. You’ll want to make sure that it has the right amount of proteins, vitamins, and minerals for their body type and size.
Another point to take into consideration is the age of your dog. Older dogs need a different type of diet then young dogs that are still growing.
A good place to start for a Husky puppy is the brand, Hill’s Science Diet Puppy Dry Dog Food, while Nutro Max Natural Adult Dry Dog Food is a good brand for the adult Husky.
Is it Difficult to Groom A Siberian Husky?
Siberian Huskies have a double coat with medium-length hair. They have a topcoat that is straight with an undercoat that is dense and soft.
They have a tendency to clean themselves more frequently than other dog breeds so they generally do not have that typical dog odor.
While this is a pretty easy dog breed to keep groomed, you’ll still want to make sure that you have a vacuum cleaning that can handle the job.
Huskies that live in cooler climates are easier to groom then ones that live in warmer climates. They do most of their shedding during the fall and spring when they blow their coats.
It is recommended that you brush your dog once a week during the year and daily during shedding season. They will rarely need baths due to their personal cat-like hygiene.
However, if they are in need of a bath, you’ll need to get a high-quality shampoo that will not dry out their coat and skin.
All dog brushes are not created equal. While one may work just fine for a small short-haired dog with a single coat, it will not work efficiently for brushing the double coat of a shedding Husky. In fact, you may need to get more than one type of brush when it comes to grooming.
Undercoat rakes are designed to get to the undercoat of a husky that can become knotted and tangled if not brushed regularly.
This style of the brush has sharper bristles so you’ll want to take extra care while brushing. A good example of this style of brush is the Octchoco Extra Large Rake Comb.
Are There Any Health Issues I Should Be Concerned About With a Siberian Husky?
Certain dog breeds are more susceptible to health issues and diseases than others. While the Siberian Husky is generally a healthy dog, there are some medical issues to keep an eye out for.
Progressive Retinal Atrophy, also known as PRA, is a degenerative eye disorder that can progress to eye blindness. Fortunately, this disorder can be detected well before the dog shows signs of blindness so it is important to take your dog to regular veterinary check-ups.
Cataracts are when the eye has developed opacity on the lens which makes it difficult to see. Dogs that suffer from cataracts will have a cloudy appearance in their eyes. This generally occurs as a dog’s age and can be surgically removed.
Corneal Dystrophy is an opacity that affects the cornea and is caused by a collection of lipids. This condition is generally seen in young adults and affects more females than males. Fortunately, it does not affect the dog’s vision.
If you are purchasing your dog from a breeder, it is important to make sure that they are reputable and can provide you with the necessary health clearances of the puppy’s parents. The health clearances will show that the parents have been tested and cleared of particular conditions.
The Many Coat Colors of a Siberian Husky
Siberian Huskies come in many different colored coats. They can be a combination of Black and White. They can also be Jet Black with an undercoat that is solid black or a dark gray color.
There is Dilute Black with a silver effect to it. The Gray and White have an undercoat that is a mixture of beige and silver. Then there is a Silver and White that has an undercoat of gray with hints of silver.
There is also the Red and Tan, Black and Tan, Mostly Copper, and Mostly Black varieties. The list goes on. There are so many different varieties of coat color combinations that it is hard to name them all.
Tips For Training A Siberian Husky
Establish your leadership
The first step to take while training your new puppy is to make sure that they know who the leader is. It is your job to make and enforce the rules and be consistent. You don’t need to be aggressive but rather remain calm and firm with your commands.
‘There is always a potty training duty with any new puppy. This takes a lot of practice and patience so be prepared for accidents. It’s important to watch for any signs your new pup may make when they need to go to the bathroom.
Each time you take them outside to do their business make sure to say something such as “Go potty.” Don’t forget to praise and reward them for a job well done.
Leash training is an important lesson for a new dog. You don’t want to be playing tug of war with a dog that will eventually weigh up to 50 lbs.
Allowing them to pull on the leash also lessens your role as leader of the pack. It is important that they maintain slack on the leash during walks.
Crate train your new puppy
You’ll want to get your new puppy a crate for use when you are out of the home. This is not only for the safety of your furniture but theirs as well. Dogs are natural den animals and the act of putting them into a crate for short periods is not considered cruel.
Picking the right collar
Make sure to get your dog the right collar. A buckle collar is not a sufficient collar for training. On the other hand, you do not need something as extreme as a pinch, choke, or shock collar.
Consider getting a Martingale Collar. This one is ideal for those quick tugs when your pup needs correction.
Reward good behavior
Providing your puppy with positive reinforcement is a very important tool when training them. It shows them that listening to you and following your rules will reward them with a treat.
Make sure to reward their good behavior promptly so they understand exactly what the reward is for. You can also redirect their bad behavior towards good behavior by focusing their attention.
Be firm without violence
Corrective measures should be taken immediately when there is bad behavior. There is no need for abusive discipline when it comes to training.
Use strong and firm words such as ‘no’ and ‘stop’ without using anger. The important thing to remember is to give commands with authority.
Facts You May Not Know About The Siberian Husky
They are designed for cold weather
They have a double-layered, thick coat designed to keep them warm in the frigid northern temperatures.
This makes them ideal for the cold climates of Siberia where they originated and areas such as Alaska where they are commonly used as sled dogs. Their coats can keep them warm in temperatures that drop as low as negative fifty or sixty degrees.
The fur on their toes helps to keep their paws insulated during long durations in the frigid outdoors. Their claws are perfectly designed to help them maintain their grip on the icy ground while running.
They are also great diggers and can scoop out the snow on the ground to create a warm burrow for shelter from the cold.
Huskies are quite vocal
Siberian Huskies do not bark like most other dog breeds. They prefer to howl and can actually be heard up to ten miles away.
While a howling dog may be a nuisance to neighbors in an urban setting, Husky owners claim that the milder form of this howl sounds like their dog is being ‘talkative’. There is no clear explanation as to why the Siberian Husky howls.
They can control their metabolism
They can sprint for miles and miles while pulling a sled through a terrain of ice and snow while storing away fat reserves and energy.
Scientists have no real answer as to how they are able to do this. They also eat smaller portions of food then one would expect when compared to their size.
They have startling and unexpected eyes
Unlike other dog breeds, Siberian Huskies can have striking pale blue eyes. There are some that even have what is called Heterochromia, which is when both eyes are a different color.
Siberian Huskies saved an entire town
In 1925, teams of huskies urgently raced through a snowstorm during an outbreak of diphtheria. Their task was to deliver medicinal serum to Nome, Alaska to prevent the disease from causing further devastation. The leader of one of the teams was the well known, Balto.
Now that you know all about the positive and negative aspects of the Siberian Husky’s personality, traits, and caring needs, you can make an educated decision on whether you would be a good match to provide a Husky with the perfect home.
It’s important not to forget to take into consideration the amount of time you have in your life to provide them with the care and attention they need, the amount of space needed to give them adequate space for exercise, and the proper discipline for their training.
Keeping all of this in mind, you can now look forward to adopting your new furry-faced friend into your home.
There are many reputable Siberian Husky adoption agencies and breeders out there. You may also want to consider going through a rescue group where there are many Siberian Huskies waiting for a new home.