Let's talk Siberian Huskies

Handsome as all get out and incredibly smart, the Siberian Husky is a truly amazing breed for the right owner. And one who is very active. Many recognise the Husky for their abilities in the dogsledding world but the breed has also gained popularity over the past few years in more domestic settings for its very affable spirit. Known as a pack dog, Siberian Huskies are most content when with their pals - both dog and human. Despite their strong build, a guard dog they are not:  the Siberian Husky is immensely friendly.

Official name: Siberian Husky

Other names: Siberians, Husky, Chukcha

Origins: Siberia, Russia

Black and white portrait of sitting Siberian Husky
 Drooling tendencies

 Medium

 Warm weather? Very low
 Grooming needs  Medium  Cold weather? Very high
 Shedding level  Medium  Suited to apartment living? 
 Barking tendencies  Very high  Can stay alone?* Very high
 Energy Level*  High  Family Pet?* Medium
 Compatibility with other pets      

 

* We advise against leaving pets alone for long stretches. Companionship can prevent emotional distress and destructive behaviour. Speak to your veterinarian for recommendations.

Every pet is different, even within a breed; this snapshot of this breed specifics should be taken as an indication.

For a happy healthy and well-behaved pet, we recommend educating and socializing your pet as well as covering their basic welfare needs (and their social and behavioral needs.

Pets should never be left unsupervised with a child.

Contact your breeder or veterinarian for further advice.

All domestic pets are sociable and prefer company.  However, they can be taught to cope with solitude from an early age.  Seek the advice of your veterinarian or trainer to help you do this.

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Illustration of standing Siberian Husky
Male
53 - 60 cm Height
20.5 - 28 kg Weight
Female
51 - 56 cm Height
15.5 - 23 kg Weight

 Baby age  Birth to 2 months
 Puppy age  2 to 12 months
 Adult age 1 to 7 years
 Mature age 7 to 10 years
 Senior age  From 10 years

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Get to know the Siberian Husky

All you need to know about the breed

Perhaps there is no perfect dog but Siberian Huskies might disagree with you: Athletic, highly intelligent, clean, sweet, and innately affectionate, the breed that made its reputation by sledding through cold northern climes is now a favorite with families. Classified as a hyperactive dog, the Siberian Husky temperament is docile in equal measure.

Born pack dogs, it can’t be stressed enough that the Siberian Husky needs to run, and needs a job to do. The  breed is not a dog for first-time dog owners. That said, they are hugely loyal, though, and thrive in a family as well as canine unit, not faring well when left alone for long periods of time. It is said of the Siberian that they almost choose whether their owner is worthy of them than the other way around.

A stunning dog, the Siberian Husky has become a favourite on the dog show circuit, with their sumptuous yet clean-cut coat and upbeat demeanour making them a standout. The breed is found in many colorations, from black and white, to grey, to red and white to all-white and can often have two different-colored eyes to boot. A plus not found in many dogs:  The Siberian Husky is graced with little body odour and is one to self-groom. Little-to-no bathing is necessary and waterless works to preserve the natural oils found in their fur.

Patient, calm training is best from a very early age, and respect in all commands as the breed has a rep for being hard to train. Call them over-confident, but with their amiable side, they’ll fall in line soon enough. The Siberian possesses a high prey drive, so keep the family hamster in its cage.

Close-up portrait of Siberian Husky with snowflakes on head

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2 facts about Siberian Huskies

1. Odour isn’t an issue

Dog lovers who tend toward the fastidious will delight in a breed almost absent of body odour. The Siberian Husky is blessed with the natural occurrence of minimal pungence, a factor that will please those who value the same.

2. Who’s counting calories?

A Siberian Husky’s energy is nonstop so weight gain isn’t a worry for the breed. Double-check their belly by feeling beneath their thick coat, just to make sure. Maybe you can sneak in a belly rub at the same time.

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History of the breed

A sled dog from way back, the Siberian Husky hails from Siberia, the northernmost Russian region that necessitated a robust dog tolerant of the frigid temperatures there. Siberian’s ancestors were developed by the Chukchi, indigenous people who needed dogs to pull their sleds. As temperatures changed in the region and the Chukchi shifted their hunting grounds, they needed a dog that could haul many goods over long distances in temperatures well below zero.

Their sledding heritage took its competitive turn at the beginning of the 20th Century when a Russian fur merchant involved the breed in a 653km race in Alaska. Soon, an adoring public took notice and the breed has remained highly popular ever since.

Siberian Huskies were recognised as a breed in 1966.

close-up black and white portrait of a Siberian Husky

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From head to tail

Physical characteristics of Siberian Huskies

1. Ears

Triangular, medium-sized ears, closely set and high on head, erect and covered in thick fur, curved at top

2. Head

Large rounded head in line with body, tapered muzzle

3. Body

Graceful body, strong and deep chest, well proportioned and athletic

4. Tail

Signature tail curved but not in a loop, quite brushy

5. Coat

Thick double coat, soft dense undercoat and straight smooth outer coat

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Things to look out for

From specific breed traits to a general health overview, here are some interesting facts about your Siberian Husky
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Hip dysplasia can happen

With its sledding history, the very athletic Siberian Husky is happiest when running or pulling a sled but as a result, can possibly develop hip dysplasia. Throughout puppyhood, monitor your dog’s activity to prevent the hip joint from dislocating and keep activity reasonable. You’ve got this!

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They’re not huge eaters.

Years as a sled dog traveling over very long distances has resulted in Siberian Huskies’ ability to exist on fewer calories than many active dogs of its ilk. Discuss the right feeding proportion with a breeder who knows Siberians well to reach the right caloric level. It’s smooth sailing from there.

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Siberian Husky = Houdini

Those who know the breed know them to be escape artists, with an immense curiosity that has them at times wandering off. This could lead to accidents, or worse, and getting lost. The best move? Keep your Siberian in a well-enclosed yard with a fence dug deep into the ground.

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Caring for your Siberian Husky

Grooming, training and exercise tips

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The thick double coat of the Siberian Husky needs brushing weekly and a bath only a few times a year, depending on the dirt level, of course. Does the Siberian Husky shed? The breed is considered an above-average shedder - to be noted! - and twice a year, they will shed their undercoat entirely. A pin brush and metal comb will help owners rake out the old coat. Incredibly active, the Siberian will benefit from regular mani-pedis to guard against potential cracks, chips, or splits.

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Easily trained and highly responsive, the Siberian Husky benefits from sessions being fun. This is a very social breed who thrives in the company of people and other dogs. Utilising a breed-specific trainer is vital from the dog’s young age, and obedience training will provide necessary mental stimulation. If raising your Siberian to work in harness and for sledding, consult the right trainer or breeder for advice.

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Daily exercise is a necessity for the Siberian Husky. The breed is happiest when it has a job to do - even if it’s accompanying you on a long walk. Bred for hauling loads over long, icy distances, the Siberian Husky has an innate desire to run, for as long as it can. To prevent the dog from running off though - which they may, if given the chance - keeping them on a lead when out is key unless kept in a very well-enclosed area.

All about Siberian Huskies

Playfulness is one of the Siberian Husky’s best traits, as is their affection for everyone they meet, including fellow dogs. Very athletic and highly agile, the Siberian Husky’s worst flaw is that they can do a disappearing act. A well closed-in yard with a secure fence is kind of a must-have.

Despite their wolf-like appearance, the breed is anything but combative. Reports abound from owners about the breed’s playfulness and highly social manner. The American Kennel Club ranks them as a non-aggressive breed, and notes that Siberian Huskies welcome strangers and those they know - both animal and human - into their sphere with relish.

Other breeds that might interest you.

Sources

1 - Veterinary Centers of America https://vcahospitals.com/ 

2 - Royal Canin Dog Encyclopaedia. Ed 2010 and 2020

3 - Banfield Pet Hospital https://www.banfield.com/

4 - Royal Canin BHN Product Book

5 - American Kennel Club https://www.akc.org/