Huskies aren’t for everyone. They are beautiful, colorful dogs who are unlike any other breed. Often people get a Husky for their looks but without doing any research. They can be a difficult breed and MANY find themselves homeless.
There are also crazes like Twilight and Game of Thrones which glorify the breed. Make no mistake, Huskies are a lot of work! They are an ancient dog breed and have tendencies not everyone is prepared for or want to deal with. Here’s some helpful information in deciding if this breed is right for your home.
Huskies are stubborn by nature. They are intelligent and don’t need humans to think for them and they are truly independent thinkers. While they may comply with basic commands, the Husky is more of a free spirit with selective hearing.
They tend to cooperate, if you’re lucky, more than obey. If you’re looking for a dog to hang on to your every word or play fetch with, this is not the breed for you. A Husky would much rather be an extended part of your family, almost like your child. They’re certainly smart enough to compare with one!
A Husky is smart and daring. They will take chances and risks. No matter how well you think you’ve trained your Husky, they are most likely plotting behind your back. It’s the time you think you’ve taught your Husky to “stay” and when you open the front door, they dart passed you.
You always have to think one step ahead of them and take the proper precautions to keep them safe, i.e. using a crate or a double-door system before opening the door.
Most Huskies need a secure and tall fence. You should remove items from the perimeter in which they could use as catapults and make sure the fence goes securely into the ground. Huskies love to elevate themselves and are known to stand on top of tables, chairs, or anything that gives them a better view.
Experienced Husky owners can often manage their dogs in a variety of fence types. But a Husky is to NEVER be unattended outside. They are natural escape artists who will dig their way out of almost any yard. Huskies are big-time diggers and will re-landscape your yard for you to resemble moon craters!
However, not every Husky needs a fence and to adopt from us; having a fence is not a requirement. Some Huskies do fine with leash exercise and supplementing with off leash dog park time.
Do note that an invisible fence is not an adequate form of fencing for this breed. Huskies will weigh their options and will oftentimes run through the barrier to get to something on the other side. After they’ve been shocked, the adrenaline has left their body and for fear of punishment (another shock), they are not coming back to the yard.
Someone once said that 1 in 100 Huskies are cat-friendly. We find even this to be generous. The prey drive of a Husky is in their DNA. You cannot alter DNA. On rare occasions, we will get a cat-friendly Husky and we will state this in the dog’s bio.
Even then, the two should NEVER be left unattended together. We were once told a story about a Husky and cat who grew up together and one day while the owner was at work, 8 years later, the Husky killed the cat.
Never take their prey drive for granted, it’s who they are. Huskies have even been known to go through window screens to get to small prey in their yards, so be sure your windows open from the top down or into an enclosed yard.
For a Siberian Husky owner, “off lead” or “off leash” is a dirty word! These guys were born to run and given their stubborn temperaments and poor recall, they’re not coming back. A Husky can run up to 28 miles per hour, can you catch up to them?
Now every Husky owner thinks they can defy DNA at some point and some are tempted to try it. Some have even achieved being off lead. But the DNA can kick in at any time and a Husky chases prey into the road and is killed by a car. We read about this all too often. Ask yourself, is it worth the risk?
To us, it surely is not and so much so, it’s in our contract! If you’re looking for a dog to have off lead, even while hiking, this is not your breed. A Husky should be on a leash at all times. Huskies make for strong pullers on a leash, but we can help recommend a harness that will best work for your newly adopted friend.
The Siberian Husky makes it onto the renters restricted list often! They tend to be vocal and destructive when left alone, not only doing damage to the property, but annoying your neighbors. Huskies aren’t barkers, but “talkers.”
Their woo-woos and howling can be persistent when they’re not getting their way. They do sound beautiful and who wouldn’t encourage their Husky to sing? Well, your neighbors might not be very appreciative of this and if you’re a renter, you’re going to have a tough time finding a Sibe-friendly home.
Be mindful of your landlord’s guidelines. We do our best to determine if any of our dogs are quiet enough to be apartment dwellers. Most aren’t and some Huskies are so vocal that even a townhome is a no-no.
By nature, Huskies are terrific with children. They welcome new siblings into their pack easily. Though keep in mind, teaching your child proper dog etiquette is a must in any situation. If a child pulls on, sits on, steps on, or puts their hands on the dog’s food/treats/toys, they are subject to being bitten.
It’s not fair to your dog – or any breed! A dog is also entitled to their sense of space in the home. Also take note that Huskies do not make good watch dogs. They’re more inclined to offer up their belly for rubs to an intruder than they are to sound an alarm.
The Husky’s need to set pack order runs strong with their breed. Welcoming a new Sibe into the home with other dogs, especially other Huskies, can sometimes be stressful.
It’s important to set your dogs up for success. This includes introducing them on neutral territory, walking them together until they’re more interested in their surroundings than each other, and walking them in the door together.
Leashes stay on! Let your dogs drag their leashes around the house. This allows you to give them verbal commands and stand on the leash if they don’t comply. It’s a much better concept than going hands-on for redirection. The leash can also help you to separate them if need be.
Remove items from the household that can be catalysts for conflict – treats, toys, bones, food bowls, etc. These should be introduced slowly in the weeks to come once the pack order has been established.
Food bowls go down and get picked up after meals. It’s always best to feed your dogs in separate areas, even using a crate if need be. Dogs typically share water without incident though. The entire goal is to successfully socialize them.
Huskies are very social animals, but they tend to hold grudges that are hard to overcome. So we want to get it right from the beginning. If you have not experienced Husky play, it’s something that can take you by surprise the first time. Husky play tends to be rough and vocal – they often sound like they’re killing each other, but don’t worry. They’re really just playing.
Just like toddlers, Huskies need routines. When they know what to anticipate next, they’re less likely to make up their own rules and get themselves in trouble. The more your pack grows, the more you, as the owner, need routine too. Routine helps them to potty train, crate train, and establish a healthy metabolism.
While a Husky can adjust to all types of climates, they prefer to be out of the heat. They often will lay on your air conditioning vents to keep themselves cool during the summer months. A Husky should never be left out in the sun without proper shade and water.
This does not mean you should shave their coats. A Husky has a double coat for multiple purposes. It not only protects them from the cold but also the sun, and when properly groomed, serves as a natural air conditioner. Shaving their coat is a big no-no as it can damage their skin and cause hair follicle issues.
Huskies shed a ton! They tend to blow their coats twice a year. This means their undercoat falls out in clumps. However, they shed non-stop all through the year. You’ll learn to carry lint rollers and minimize the amount of black you wear.
Your Husky should be brushed at least once a week and sometimes daily when they’re blowing. The best type of brush to use is a rake – this helps to pull out the undercoat. Make no mistake, a rake is not a Furminator. Furminators can be damaging to their top coat.
Grooming a Husky is serious work, but there is one large benefit…a Husky doesn’t need to be bathed very often. In fact, once a year is usually suitable. A Husky produces a natural cleansing oil which keeps their coat clean. Overbathing your Husky can cause them to stop self-cleansing.
Huskies have a variety of eye colors. Blue is the most common. Other colors include amber, brown, and green. A Husky with two different-colored eyes is called bi-eyed. An eye that has two colors in it is a parti-eye.
Siberian Huskies often have snow noses. This is a pinky skin color that develops on their snout. A snow nose tends to be more prevalent in the colder months and sometimes fades away in the warmer months.
At HEART, we crate train most of our foster dogs. We often have multiple dogs in our home and recommend that you should never leave dogs that are just getting to know each other unattended together. Huskies, especially young Huskies, can cause a lot of trouble when they’re left alone.
Being the social creatures they are, Huskies often suffer from separation anxiety and can become destructive when left unattended. We would hate to see them destroy your home or get into something dangerous. Therefore, we encourage all new adopters to continue their crate training, at least in the beginning of the adoption.
Huskies can escape from most crates but there are certain tips and tricks you can use to keep them secure when left alone and there are certain stimulating toys and treats that will help them pass the time. We can educate you on what works best for the Sibe you adopt.
A happy Husky is a tired Husky! Huskies often need a ton of exercise, as in miles and miles. Owners can supplement by using doggy daycare, dog parks, playdates, cycling with their pup, and more. A Husky will help to keep your heart healthy too.
Keep in mind, stimulation is just as important to this breed, so allow them to stop and smell along the way. If a Husky isn’t getting the proper amount of exercise and stimulation, they will often act out in the home. Huskies do tend to mellow out as they get older and won’t require quite as much exercise. You’ll notice this as their zoomies around the house decrease.
What's a zoomie you ask? A zoomie is a random burst of energy in which the Husky will run through the house at top speeds, exhibiting their agility skills to not knock over obstacles. It’s one of the funniest experiences you’ll have as a Husky owner.
Not the world’s fastest athlete? No problem! Adopting from a foster-based rescue can help to match a Husky’s activity level to your household.
Often Huskies get bad reputations with the veterinary community. Why? Because they tend to misbehave at the vet. Even the most docile of Huskies have been known to show signs of defensiveness at the vet’s office. Finding a vet who understands the breed is the key.
The average lifespan of a Husky is 13 years old. Common medical issues in this breed include cataracts, incontinence, seizures, and allergies, to name a few. It’s important to manage a Husky’s weight as they age, as torn ACLs (anterior cruciate ligaments) are also common.
Huskies tend to be picky eaters. Their metabolism works in a way in which they can store food and hold off eating for long periods of time. They have been known to use this from time to time to get their owners to cave and give them the “good” food. Smart, huh?
Never switch your dog's food too suddenly. Huskies have notoriously sensitive stomachs and a sudden change in protein can give your dog instant diarrhea. When switching food do so gradually. Start by mixing in a small amount of the new food, wait a few days to make sure no diarrhea occurs, then mix half and half for a few day and then mostly the new food for a few days. Any time your Husky gets an upset stomach, the best thing to do is boil plain chicken breast for them until you get them back on track. The husky tummy is a tricky thing! We often recommend relying on natural foods for treats instead of a variety of proteins. Things like carrots and peeled apples work great. You can also find treats made of fruits/veggies too. Nutro is a good source for these.
It’s important to keep your Husky’s diet consistent. Try using a grain-free dry food, we’re happy to make recommendations or consult with your vet. And don’t worry, when they’re hungry enough, they will eat!
All the information provided here is based on our experiences and personal knowledge of the breed. These are breed stereotypes and do not represent every Husky. Adopting from a foster-based rescue, like HEART, adds a benefit to any Husky adopter.
We assess our dogs and can tell you all about their individual needs, quirks, and “huskyness”! The most important thing in owning a Husky is to find balance. If you try to change your Husky, you will be making the dog miserable and your home stressful. It’s when you finally embrace them for who they are, and develop their personalities, that your Husky will become an extension of your family.
You’ll learn to laugh at their antics and know when to not turn your back. But once you find that balance, you’ll realize you’ve adopted the greatest breed in the world. Keep in mind, Huskies are like potato chips – you can never have just one!
You may refer to the following sources for more information and interesting tidbits about Siberian Huskies:
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