The Siberian Husky is a remarkable breed. They have many endearing qualities. This breed is far from ideal for someone who is unfamiliar with their characteristics. They are also not recommended for first time dog owners. If you are thinking about adopting one, here are 10 facts about Siberian Huskies you should know.
Siberian Huskies are beautiful sentient beings. They are revered for their striking features, intelligence, playful spirit and their sublime ancestral songs. There is more depth to huskies than most people realize. They are a breed unto their own. Siberian Huskies are not your every dog and aren’t for every person. These gregarious animals need a companion who understands them.
I implore you to be diligent by researching the breed before adding one to your life. This is an important step in determining if you are the right fit for a Siberian Husky. Otherwise you’ll be in for a few unwanted surprises and difficult challenges.
1. Guard Dogs They Are Not
If you are looking for a dog to protect your home, you might consider adopting a Chihuahua instead. Siberian Huskies are very social animals who adore meeting and playing with everybody. Some huskies will alert you to an impending invasion. Most Huskies would rather jump up, lick an intruder in the face and invite the perpetrator for dinner.
2. Being A Strong Pack Leader
Huskies are strong-willed, intelligent and independent thinkers. They are pack animals who require you to be an assertive pack leader. If you aren’t up to this challenge a husky is likely to take over your home, disrespect your authority and crown themselves emperor of all the land.
How can you be a strong pack leader? Setting boundaries, training, consistency and patience are key elements to a well-adjusted and happy husky.
3. Prowess of Houdini
Huskies are high energy adventure seekers. They are inclined to roam and explore the world beyond their home. A small fence will not be enough to confine this breed. They are infamous for scaling 6-foot fences, squeezing through windows, escaping their crates and digging their way to freedom. They will be gone in the blink of an eye. If you think chasing after your Siberian with a treat will bring them back, you’re in for a naughty surprise. They will look at you as if to say, “catch me if you can”.
4. Marathon Runners
Huskies were bred to pull sleds for about 50 miles a day. It’s no surprise that Siberians have a strong desire to run and explore new places.
According to the American Kennel Club, the husky’s body is designed with well-developed muscles that allow for an effortless gait. This gives them the speed and endurance to travel long distances. Their paws are thickly cushioned granting them a powerful and swift pace. Huskies can easily reach 20 miles per hour.
5. Vigorous Prey Drive
Huskies are hunters at heart. They will chase and kill small critters such as cats or squirrels. Sadly, their high predatory drive is often misconstrued as aggression. It’s important to understand this does not make them “bad” dogs. The hunter is driven by pure instinct. Huskies do not understand that killing the neighbor’s cat or chicken is socially unacceptable in modern society.
This behavior has been embedded into their DNA throughout hundreds of generations. They were bred for the harsh Artic climate. Huskies were kept on a lean winter diet. During the warm months the husky packs would usually be turned loose to forage & hunt for themselves. This behavior is instinctive and cannot be unlearned. But it can be managed with necessary precautions.
Siberian Huskies can be amazing companions in the right environment. Limit their interactions with small animals by keeping them leashed on walks. Always supervise your husky in the backyard.
If you already have a small pet and want to adopt a husky, think about a puppy instead of an adult. Husky puppies can be trained to accept your cat as part of the pack. This does take a lot of time, special training and patience. Do not expect them to get along right away, so once again strong supervision is required.
6. Play Time
Siberian Huskies are high energy dogs. Think about it, they were bred to run. They need an outlet for their wild spirit. Be prepared to harness that energy in a positive way. Otherwise they will be happy to tear up your rule book and cross every boundary you can imagine.
This breed is going to be both relentless and independent. They will test you mentally and physically. You need to possess the vitality and loving patience to keep up with them.
If your husky isn’t getting enough mental and physical stimulation, they will turn their frustration into mass destruction. Huskies will chew holes in your walls, couch and anything else they can sink their teeth into.
Taking them for a walk around the block or letting them play in the backyard is not nearly enough exercise for a husky. These dogs require an active lifestyle. If you are more of a couch potato, this is not the breed for you.
Have you ever heard the saying “A happy husky is a tired husky”?
To keep your husky happy and healthy take your dog hiking, running or bjorking. Play tug of war and fetch with them. There are many fun possibilities to stay active with your dog.
Consider hiring a pet sitter or taking your husky to a reputable doggy day care if you work away from home. Your husky and your house will thank you.
7. Social Creatures
Siberian huskies are good natured, loyal and friendly with everyone. They enjoy meeting new people and seeking out exciting adventures, even if they escape your home to do so.
Since they have worked alongside people and dogs for centuries, huskies do not like being left alone. They are prone to anxiety when they are by themselves. If you leave them in a crate while you’re at work, they can hurt themselves trying to escape. Siberian huskies are pack animals and need to be surrounded by good company.
8. Diggers at Heart
Huskies have a strong desire to dig and they can dig crater sized holes. If you own a husky, be sure to frequently fill in those holes.
This trait is embedded into their genetic makeup. Using the snow as an insulator, huskies would dig a hole or “den” to survive the brutal winter conditions. During the warmer months they curl up in their hole allowing the brisk soil to keep them cool.
Huskies would also dig holes to unearth small prey and to forage for plant roots. This is part of their ancestral diet. Like most dogs they also bury food or toys.
They will also try to dig holes in your couch, mattress…well any soft surface is fair game. To reduce the destruction of your backyard or home designate a spot in your yard as their digging utopia.
9. The Fur Fairy
Winter brings us dreams of cozy fires and a glass of hot toddy. Whereas this is a husky’s favorite season, they are ready to jump and play in this winter wonderland. Huskies were bred for the snow; their double coat keeps them insulated.
This coat layer is made up of long guard hairs. The topcoat is water repellent, holds in heat as well as allowing the skin to breathe. It also protects them from harmful UV rays. The top layer gradually sheds year-round.
The undercoat is a thick, soft, downy layer that protects them from cold weather. Huskies shed or “blow” this layer twice a year, during Spring and Autumn. Each blowing season lasts for approximately 3 weeks, leaving chunks of fur everywhere.
Be prepared to find fur glitter in your coffee, on your clothes, in the very air you breathe. You may be tempted to shave your husky, but you will be doing them more harm than good. They need their double coat to keep them healthy.
10. Training & Socialization
It is very important to enroll your husky in obedience classes and patiently reinforce the training at home. You are the pack leader, your dog’s alpha. Show them patience, respect, love and boundaries.
Dogs needs to be socialized and huskies are no exception. Training classes are a great way to begin. Let them experience new places, scents, people and other animals in a controlled environment. Social outings are paramount for a well-adjusted and almost well-behaved husky.
Siberian huskies are loving, loyal, silly and challenging. If you have the love, patience, and an active lifestyle a husky can enrich your life in ways you never imagined.
If you decide to get a husky, please consider adopting one instead of buying. There are many wonderful huskies in shelters waiting for a good home.
Those are 10 facts about Siberian Huskies you should know. What husky fact surprised you the most? If you already have a Siberian Husky, what has been your most challenging and rewarding moments?
With Light & Love,