The Siberian Husky is described as mischievous, loyal, and outgoing by those who have owned and loved them. Learn all about this beautiful breed and whether a husky might make the perfect new addition to your family.
About the Siberian Husky
Huskies are medium-sized dogs coming in just under two feet and 60 pounds. Like most breeds, female huskies are on the smaller side of the breed average and males are slightly larger. This size range puts them just outside of the weight limit for a lot of apartment buildings, but that’s okay. A husky might need more room to run around than apartment living can provide.
Aesthetically, the husky is a striking dog. They have thick double coats that are ideal for keeping them warm when it’s cold outside. These coats come in nine different colors and their eyes can be either brown or blue leaving a wide variety in the look of these dogs.
Historically, the breed’s roots can be traced back to Asia. The Chukchi people bred huskies as both companions and sled dogs. This semi-nomadic group of people needed a dog that could pull light to moderate sleds across frozen tundra as they made their way to better grounds for hunting.
In the early 1900s the Siberian Husky began to gain more attention as they racked up wins in multiple sled races. One of the most famous stories about the breed however came about in 1925. A legendary musher, Leonhard Seppala led a relay of Siberian Huskies 658 miles in only five and a half days to rush a lifesaving serum to Nome, Alaska, where an epidemic of diphtheria had broken out.
Seppala’s lead dog on the last leg of this relay, Balto is possibly still one of the most famous huskies that ever lived. If you’ve ever been to Central Park in New York City you may have seen a statue of Balto in the park.
Today many huskies still compete in sled races but some have branched out to compete in other sports like agility, conformation shows, and even work as search and rescue dogs.
The Siberian Husky Club of America was founded in 1938 and continues to serve as the official club for this breed. They say that: "We protect and advance the interests of the Siberian Husky through a code of ethics which encourages sportsmanlike competition at dog shows, companion events, sled dog races, and other performance events. We educate our members and urge breeders to adhere to the standard of the Siberian Husky as approved by the American Kennel Club."
3 Pros of Huskies
1. Moderately sized
Huskies are a great size - not too small and not too large. Weighing in at around 60 pounds they are a great size for a working dog or even a pet.
The husky is a friendly and approachable breed. This weighs heavily in the pro column if you are looking for a pet and/or competition partner. A dog who makes friends easily and is comfortable in crowds at shows or races is exactly what you want. However, if you want a guard dog or personal protection pup - you should probably not expect the husky to thrive in these roles.
While some dogs need to be on very strict schedules or hate going to new places, that is simply not true of the husky. Feel free to bring them with you on family vacations or move mealtimes around a little if necessary (okay, maybe don’t serve dinner too late)!
3 Cons of Huskies
1. Very vocal
If you live in a city or close proximity to neighbors - the husky’s need to be vocal may be offputting to some. Others may find this quality charming as there are many videos all over the internet of these pups appearing to talk or sing along.
2. Needs a lot of exercise and mental stimulation
Since the husky has roots as a sledding dog and endurance athlete it should come as no surprise that they require more exercise than a walk around the block a few times a day. If a husky does not get the proper physical and mental stimulation they may begin to develop problematic behaviors like excessive barking, chewing, or destroying things. While this is true of most breeds it is important to remember that the husky needs more exercise than many other breeds.
3. Can be more challenging to train
These dogs can be more independent than some and may require a bit more effort to train. By starting early and using positive reinforcement techniques you can teach your husky everything from good manners to tricks and even how to navigate pulling a sled or an agility course!
What is the Difference Between a Husky and a Malamute?
The husky is smaller and sleeker than another similar-looking breed, the Alaskan Malamute. This is not the only difference between these dogs. While the husky may prefer the company of other dogs, the malamute is more likely to enjoy the company of humans.
Since malautes are bigger, their life expectancy is shorter than the husky’s - the average malamute lives 10-12 years while a husky may live up to 14 years.
Like the husky, the malamute is also a sled dog but it is bred to pull differently. Huskies are used to pull lighter sleds at a fast pace while malamutes can pull much heavier sleds more slowly.
Are Huskies Good Family Dogs?
Yes! If your family is high-energy and very active, a husky might fit right into your pack. Many huskies enjoy children and other dogs so with proper introduction they can live easily and comfortably with both.
If you are looking for a good family pet and don’t mind some shedding (huskies shed their thick double coat twice a year) the husky might be the perfect addition to your family.
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