Meet the Siberian Husky in this Dog Breed Corner! We won’t teach you all the dog sled commands, but you’ll learn all about their health and personality. If your Husky needs a high-protein diet, Mad Paws Dinner Bowl will prepare you a top dog meal plan!
Quick Facts ✔
Height – 50 – 60cm
Weight – 16 – 27kg
Lifespan – 12 – 15 years
Country of origin – Siberia
Breed type – Working Dog
- Active, vigilant Owners
- Owners who want an independent, intelligent dog
- Large families, or households with other pets
Siberian Husky Breed History ♜
While these furry doggos may look like wolves, they’re pretty far removed, genetically speaking. Because while it’s believed that humans began domesticating dogs somewhere between 20,000 and 40,000 years ago, the Siberian Husky’s lineage is only about 4,000 years old. Don’t get us wrong—this is still a very old breed! And the history of these energetic pups is about as exciting as a dog sled ride through Siberia.
Our journey starts with an ancient hunting clan in the Arctic region of modern-day Russia, called the Chukchi. This hunting clan has lived in the region along the Chukchi Sea— those frigid waters between Russia and Alaska—for thousands of years. And all the while, they’ve called on the help of the Siberian Husky for a range of jobs, from hunting, to transportation, to cuddling with their beloved Owners during cold winter nights. These dogs have also proven themselves to be quite the agile herding dogs for the Chukchi people’s primary livelihood: reindeer!
It wasn’t until the early 1900s that the Siberian Husky became a recognised breed outside of Siberia. This began when a Russian fur trader named William Goossak took a team of Siberian Huskies to Alaska to compete in a dog-sledding competition. Initially, the small doggos attracted laughter. Compared to the much larger and stronger Alaskan Malamutes in the race, the little Siberian Huskies didn’t seem to have a chance. But after a grueling 656km, the underdogs won third place, winning instant fame for their breed.
Since then, Siberian Huskies have continued to win racing competitions and serve as the primary mode of transportation for communities across the snowy north. But, they’ve also entered the homes of families all over the world as beloved house pets.
Siberian Husky Personality Traits Trainability ★
If you’ve ever met a Siberian Husky in person, you probably gathered that they’re a wonderful and sometimes tricky breed. They love humans, they love other dogs, and above all else, they love the outdoors.
Because of their free-spirited nature, it’s important to keep an eye on your Siberian Husky. Even with proper training and exercise, they’re likely to wander. Give these pups a bit of space, and they will happily roam, whether you’re up to follow them or not. For this reason, you’ll usually see Siberian Huskies on leash or in an enclosed space.
Siberian Huskies are also very intelligent. They’ve been known to open doors and windows, just to pop out for a bit of fresh air. This, of course, can be a danger to the dog, so it’s important to take special precautions for the escape-artist Husky. If you’ve got a Siberian Husky in a backyard, make sure to read our article on How to Install a Dog-Proof Fence. You’ll need it for this crafty canine.
As we’ve gathered already, this is an independent dog breed. But, another apt word for them could be aloof. Huskies aren’t overly interested in gaining the approval of their Owners, and their unique way of showing affection can be off-putting to those who are new to the breed. That’s not to say that this is not a loyal doggo. In fact, Huskies can form strong bonds with a select few people, and their Owners will say definitively that their pupper loves them. But it’s not your traditional dog-at-your-side situation.
When it comes to strangers and other dogs, Huskies are generally an easy-going breed without aggression issues or territorial urges. As such, they get along with everyone, especially children, and don’t make the best guard dogs. And, because they’re deeply pack-oriented, they love to share their space with other canine companions.
The smaller the animal, though, the more cautious Husky Owners will need to be. Generations of hunting small game for themselves has meant that the Siberian Husky has a bit of a prey drive. They will need socialisation if they’re going to be in a household with cats or other small animals.
Trainability & Training Tips ★
Their intellect, added to their independence, can make Huskies a bit of a challenge when it comes to training. In fact, these dogs have what Owners will jokingly call “selective hearing.” Sometimes they listen, sometimes they don’t. And they will surely turn up that snout to anyone trying to give them commands other than their Owner.
That doesn’t mean, though, that training is impossible or should be overlooked by a Siberian Husky Owner. These are powerful, medium-sized dogs who need basic obedience training. And, training these puppers is a wonderful way to deepen the bond between Owner and Husky.
There are two main things that will make a training session with a Siberian Husky successful: patience and treats. It’s also essential to train this distractible doggo in a quiet, enclosed area.
Recall is a great starting point for training a Siberian Husky. If you ever hope to have them off-leash in an open area, good recall will be essential for this pup’s safety. Without this basic command, a Siberian Husky is likely to take off running without a glance back. These dogs often end up lost once they give up the chase and realise they don’t know the way back—or, aren’t too interested in finding it. We would also suggest pairing a recall command with a dog whistle or other sound that may break a dashing doggo’s concentration.
Another area of training that every Siberian Husky can benefit from is leash-training. That’s because, while having a Husky on a lead is often the safest choice, this is also a dog who was bred to pull. As such, leash training is a crucial way to teach this pup how to walk without thinking they’re in the Iditarod. Your dedicated Dog Walker will thank you for working on proper walking etiquette!
Once you’ve mastered basic commands, these dogs can progress to training sessions that will put them to work. With the right trainer, they can excel at agility training and other challenging activities.
Siberian Husky Exercise Needs & Living Conditions ⌂
At this point, you’ve probably guessed that this pooch needs space to run and sniff and explore. They are, after all, tied for first as the most energetic of the dog breeds (alongside the Border Collie, of course!).
So, if you live in a city or a small apartment, be ready to take multiple trips to the dog park per day along with plenty of around-the-block walking breaks. Otherwise, you’ll have a destructive pup on your hands.
At the same time, we’ve emphasised the need to keep a close eye on this little runner. When you’re going to be out of town, or out of the house for long periods of time, it’s best to leave them in the care of a trusty Pet Sitter. Without enough human contact, their boredom is likely to lead them to make a big escape.
When it comes to exercise, finding activities that are active enough for this energetic dog can be tough. They may not be too interested in chasing a ball or catching a frisbee. Even so, there are a few creative alternatives. If you live in a region with snow, for instance, get back to their roots by hitching them up to a sleigh or trying your hand at skijoring (a Norweigian winter sport in which a dog pulls their Owner on skis). Or, if you live in more moderate temperatures, you can recreate these activities with a wagon or roller blades. You’ll marvel at how fast these little puppers will fly!
Now, a common question that comes up for anyone thinking of having a Siberian Husky in Australia is, “How about the heat?” Can these dogs live in hot climates? Will they run up your electricity bill with all the extra air conditioning?
As it turns out, this dog is great at adapting to all climates. Like any dog, they shouldn’t be exposed to extreme heat for long periods of time. But, because their coat provides them with a cooling air flow and protects them from the sun, they don’t only flourish in tundras.
Still, whether this dog is living in a hotter region of Australia or a more temperate city, Siberian Husky Owners should know How to Spot and Treat Heat Stroke. That’s because, thanks to their working background, these dogs are liable to run themselves right into the danger zone. They don’t know when to quit.
Siberian Husky Health +
This dog breed needed to be tough to survive the harsh conditions of the Arctic. But that doesn’t mean that they’re completely free of health risks.
For starters, Huskies have a higher risk of cataracts and other eye problems, such as progressive retinal atrophy and corneal dystrophy.
And like most large breed dogs, the Siberian Husky may also suffer from hip dysplasia. Additionally, Huskies are at higher risk for hypertension, or high blood pressure, and certain forms of heart disease.
Perhaps the most prevalent health concerns for this dog, though, concern their lifestyle. Without enough exercise, they can quickly become overweight. And, thanks to their tendency to follow their internal whims through brambles and fields, they often pick up parasites like ticks and fleas. Calling in a Dog Walker who can walk this dog on leash is a great way to avoid these health concerns.
Siberian Huskies have the perfect coat for below-freezing conditions, which means lots of fur. You’ll need to brush their double coat daily, and they’ll also shed the entire undercoat twice a year.
Huskies shed constantly, so much so that you can find an entire corner of the internet dedicated to #huskyshedding. And, unless you end up with an all-white Siberian Husky, be ready for black, grey and white shedding—nothing in your house will hide this fur! Brushing them constantly can help, but making peace with the fur may also be necessary.
The good thing is these pups are naturally cleaner and less oily than other breeds. And, with a naturally water-resistant coat, they don’t need regular baths.
Fun Fact about the Siberian Husky ♥
Perhaps the world’s most famous Siberian Husky was Balto, who saved a snowed-in town in Alaska from diphtheria in 1925. He’s the star of his own Disney movie and has a statue in his honour in New York’s Central Park.
In reality, over 20 different dog sled teams were involved in this perilous 1,084km journey. Since the serum needed to arrive before it expired in a matter of days, time was of the essence. And no one dog team would have been able to cover the distance. In fact, Balto’s team was simply the last leg of the relay.
Perhaps the true hero of the 1925 Serum Run was a pupper named Togo. Another Siberian Husky, Togo led his team through blizzard conditions and over treacherously unstable ice to complete the longest stretch of the journey. Even though Togo was 12-years-old and considered to be past his prime, his team covered an amazing 274km. No other dogsled team even came close.
Of course, neither Togo nor Balto were in it for the fame. Their brave efforts helped to quell the diphtheria outbreak, and they were just happy to be part of the pack!
Final Thoughts on the Siberian Husky
The Siberian Husky is not the dog for everyone. They require a great deal of patience and an understanding of the breed. And, without proper exercise, mental stimulation, or supervision, they are likely to overwhelm even the most experienced Dog Owner.
But, if you are able to give this pup everything they need, such as proper training and regular outings with a watchful Dog Walker, you’ll see what makes this dog breed so special. These dogs have a personality unlike any other, an athleticism to admire, and a loyalty that will last a lifetime. Spend time with these fluffy pups, and you’ll lose yourself in those bright blue eyes just like the rest of us!
Are you hunting for a Pet Sitter who can keep up with your Siberian Husky? Check out all the Mad Paws Pet Sitters nearby!