Play hard, love unconditionally — that might be the best way to describe a Siberian Husky. And although these dogs often do what they please, rest assured that in times of need, they’ll even run for miles in subzero temperatures to make sure you’re okay.
These athletic working dogs were bred to pull sleds in Siberia. Their striking beauty, confidence, and fantastic personality make them among the most popular breeds. That wolf-like appearance and deep almond-shaped eyes instantly win anyone over.
Read on to learn more about:
- The Husky Characteristics
- Breed History
- The Siberian Husky Temperament
- What Do They Eat?
- How to Train a Husky
- Common Health Issues
- Grooming Needs
- Where to Get One
What Is a Husky?
The AKC describes the breed as loyal, outgoing, and mischievous pooch. In short, it’s a smart and independent dog. But the core Husky traits go beyond that. They’re also graceful, energetic, friendly, and vocal. Plus, the breed is fantastic with kids and similar-sized animals.
But if you’re a Husky parent or thinking of becoming one, you have to know a lot more about the breed to look after it. Let’s get into the essential information you should learn before buying or adopting a Siberian Husky.
Breed Details and Husky Characteristics
What makes Huskies so stunning? Is it their blue eyes, wolf-like appearance, pointy ears, or that sweet face? The choice is yours, but it’s indisputable that their beauty is striking. Let’s check the basic Siberian Husky facts.
They’re medium-sized dogs with almond-shaped eyes and double-coated fur that keeps them warm in cold climates. Huskies weigh between 35 to 60 pounds and have a lifespan of 12–15 years. They’re quite healthy as long as owners feed them with high-quality food that’s appropriate for their age. But did you know they can also sprint for hours on an empty stomach? That’s how amazing their metabolism is.
The Blue Eyes
You’ll easily recognize the Siberian Husky dog by its blue eyes. But do all Huskies have blue eyes?
Although they’re among the breeds with the most chances of having blue eyes, not every Husky has them. They can also be brown. Surprisingly, Huskies often have one blue and one brown eye. It’s a condition medically known as heterochromia. Reportedly, some breed representatives can have part-colored eyes, meaning both eyes to be a mixture of blue and brown.
That Amazing Furry Coat
The breed’s double-coated fur comes in many colors and combinations. It’s usually in two colors (mostly black and white or gray and white), but you can sometimes find a while-only or black-only Husky.
According to the dog associations, these are the all Siberian Husky colors that make their fur so gorgeous:
- Black and White: The black color comes in two shades, Jet Black and Diluted Black. A tint of red is also spotted with black and white Huskies if they get frequent sun exposure.
- Gray and White: The gray color comes in three shades: Wolf Gray, Silver, and Medium/Dark Gray. The last one is the most common for Siberian Huskies.
- Pure White: It’s the rarest of all. These Huskies usually have a black tint around the nose and eyes.
- Agouti or Wolf-Like Color: Although their mask is white in most combinations, it’s fairly dark in this one, which is also called “dirty face.” Also, the white parts aren’t purely white but rather creamy.
- Red and White: Chocolate-red is very popular.
Other variations include stable and white, brown and white, black tan and white, or tan and black. Whatever mixture you get, you’ll undoubtedly have a beautiful furry pooch.
Siberian Husky History
Raised in Siberia and bred by the Chukchi people, Huskies have been around for over 4,000 years. Genetically, these dogs belong to the Spitz family, but we can trace back the history of all dogs to wolves.
Interesting Fact: Huskies’ wolf-like appearance wins them many stunts in Hollywood movies where they play a wolf.
But long before their acting career, these Siberian dogs were bred to pull sleds for miles in cold North Asia. Their popularity spurt in 1909 when they were imported to Alaska for dog race events.
Huskies are most famous for their noble mission during the diphtheria epidemics. Balto, the Siberian Husky, and his team ran 55 miles to provide the Nome town with antitoxic serum. They successfully sled the lifesaving substance, saving many lives and children.
The Siberian Husky Temperament
Breed representatives are true athletes that were born to run. Although they love to cuddle, Huskies prefer being active as much and as often as possible. Did you know they could run for up to 100 miles per day? That shows the stamina and endurance they possess.
Huskies are also escape masters. So if you don’t find the time to walk them, they’ll find their own way. They might jump off the fence or dig a hole if necessary, but they’ll definitely make their way out.
A Husky needs an active master, a leader who will love to work and play with their dog at all times. These dogs have a massive prey drive, especially for small animals, so a high-fenced yard or a leash is more than necessary. We also recommend starting obedience training early.
Regardless of its wolf-like appearance, a Siberian Husky is incredibly friendly. “I just met you, and I already love you” is the most common quote you’ll find on the breed’s friendliness. So we can scratch off “guard dogs” from the Husky list of traits.
Although they’re not watchdogs, they are barkers, or talkers, to be more precise. They howl, moan, and whine whenever you leave them alone, or they feel like it. Reportedly, you can hear them howl up to 10 miles away. That makes them very loud pets, which aren’t suitable for apartments unless your neighbors are up for late howl concerts.
Siberian Husky dogs can suffer from boredom and separation anxiety, so we don’t recommend leaving them alone for long periods. They’ll whine and possibly get very destructive. If you have to leave them, provide interactive dog toys to stimulate them mentally and keep them away from trouble.
They Will Outsmart You
Even a loyal Siberian Husky might disobey your commands. While they’re undeniably intelligent dogs, they’re also quite independent. Sometimes they’ll please you, and other times they’ll outsmart you.
Why is that? It’s not that they won’t understand you, but they might have different priorities at the time.
Their IQ isn’t very high but somewhere in the middle compared to other breeds. Stanley Coren, author of the viral book “The Intelligence of Dogs” says their brilliance is in their unique instincts and communication with humans.
What Does a Siberian Husky Eat?
Huskies were bred to require less food than similar-sized dogs. That said, they still need carefully selected high-quality organic dog food and a good feeding schedule.
Vets recommend giving them a cup of dry food two times a day. Still, every dog is different, so the best way to provide good nutrition is to discuss your pet’s diet with your veterinarian. It all depends on your Husky’s size and daily activities.
When training your Siberian Husky, treats always come in handy. But you should be careful and adjust the food dosage to avoid overfeeding your dog. Obesity is an increasingly common problem for pets. Also, we don’t recommend giving your Husky human food, no matter how your dog looks at you or wags its tail.
How to Train a Siberian Husky Puppy
Stanley Coren says your Husky needs 25–40 repetitions to learn a new command. After that, the obedience success rate for that command is 50%. As Huskies are stubborn, they need much patience and treats. Many treats.
Crate training is an excellent way to protect your home from being demolished while you’re away. We recommend starting with it as soon as you bring your Siberian Husky puppies home. The younger the pup, the easier the training will go. They should learn to see the crate as their personal spot.
The first step is making the crate a nice place for your pup. Arrange it with a soft bed, interactive toys, and put it in a place where your pet likes to rest.
Leash training these escape masters should be the owner’s top priority. But don’t forget that they were bred to pull sleds, so they might try to pull you, too.
Although stubborn at times, when introduced to the leash early in life, Huskies grow with it and accept it easier. Remember to adjust the leash and obedience training sessions.
Take time to carefully choose a good leash, and consider a training collar for dogs. Since Siberian Husky sled dogs are strong pullers, a harness might be more appropriate to avoid hurting their throat. Experiment with different options to see what fits best for you and your dog. Reportedly, it will take a few weeks of training before your pet learns how to deal with a leash.
Once outside, be sure to have treats with you for positive reinforcement when the dog obeys your commands.
Tip: The minute you feel your Husky starts to pull or go as it pleases, change the direction and start walking. That’s how you can bring your dog’s focus back to you. Whenever your Husky goes without pulling and obeys your commands, bring out the treats!
40 minutes per day is the average time of exercise for this breed to burn the energy down, not get bored, and keep that Siberian Husky weight healthy. Keep in mind that these dogs love jogging, hiking, and running. And if there’s something to pull, they’ll gladly do it.
But don’t forget to keep your dog on a leash when you’re outside. And if you have a high-fenced yard or another place where your dog can exercise without a leash, your pet would appreciate that very much.
Make the fence high but also bury the bottom of it at least one foot underground. Since the Husky behavior comes with a love for digging and escaping, that’s the only way you can stop them from running away. If building a fence isn’t an option, there are great reviews on wireless dog fences that can help you.
It’s crucial not to overdo the exercise amount when the Husky is still a puppy. You should be very careful as they can develop hip dysplasia. Their bones are still fragile when they’re young, and as with all larger dogs, adventures should be kept low during the first year of life.
Common Health Issues
With their cold Siberian origins, it’s not surprising that the Siberian Husky dog breed is very healthy. Their stamina, energy, and immune system work fantastic if you treat them with love and care.
Here are the two common problems these healthy pooches are prone to:
- Hip dysplasia: It’s a prevalent disease among large dogs, Huskies included. It means the joints are displaced and can cause lameness in your dog’s legs. Also, it can happen early on while your dog’s bones are still growing. So, it’s crucial to learn how to train your puppy best. Regardless of how active and energetic your Husky is, overexercising can be harmful.
- Eye issues: Huskies are prone to conditions such as cataracts, glaucoma, and pannus. So watch out for water discharge or redness. If something doesn’t seem right with those beautiful Husky eyes, ask your vet about it.
Health issues can develop throughout the Siberian Husky lifespan. That’s why you should regularly do vet checkups, especially if something doesn’t seem right with your dog.
How to Take Care of That Awesome Siberian Husky Coat
The best part about having Huskies is that they’re self-cleaning dogs. But that doesn’t mean that you should neglect them. Although they’re not very hard to maintain, Huskies still need occasional bathing and brushing.
These dogs have two coats, and they tend to shed all the time, with heavier seasonal shedding two times per year. So you’ll need a good metal brush to keep that coat healthy and glowing. Brushing twice per week is fine if it’s not a shedding season, in which case you should do it daily.
Bathing your Husky a few times a year is enough, unless your dog gets dirty from all that digging and playing. Professional grooming isn’t necessary. But if you prefer to leave the bathing and trimming to others, many groomers would gladly do the job for you.
Where to Get One?
You should always fo for reputable Siberian Husky breeders. The AKC or other recognized and certified organizations or clubs can provide you with a healthy Husky pup.
Don’t despair if you get on a list and can’t have a puppy right away. Respectable breeders don’t breed Huskies just for money, as it’s crucial to mix the best genes of the parents. The usual price for a Husky is from $600 to $1,300. Still, that can go up to $2,500 if you’re getting a purebred show dog.
Unfortunately, you can also find the breed in many rescue centers, shelters, or on Siberian Husky adoption sites.
Is Siberian Husky the Right Breed for You?
Now that you have all the important information about the breed, it’s up to you to decide if it fits your lifestyle. To make things easier, here are the essential facts about Huskies to keep in mind:
- Very loyal, friendly, and outgoing
- Need an active and present owner
- They can get destructive if left alone for longer hours
- Escape masters
- Very vocal, so not ideal for apartments
- Need a significant amount of exercise
- Great with kids
- They shed a lot
- Not good guard dogs
- Stubborn and somewhat hard to train
Huskies aren’t suitable for everyone, so make sure you know what you’re getting yourself into.
The Siberian Husky can be an excellent companion for an active owner. But you should be prepared to give lots of your time and love to your pet.
And if you don’t consider this breed a great fit for you, we wish you all the best in your hunt for the best furry pal. Check out our site to find more information on other popular dog breeds that might be perfect for you.