- Height: 20-24 inches
- Weight: 35-60 lb
- Lifespan: 11-13 years
- Group: AKC Working
- Best Suited For: Families with children, active singles, houses with yards
- Temperament: Adventurous, playful, alert, clever
- Comparable Breeds: Akita, Alaskan Malamute
Siberian Husky Basics
No one can call the Siberian Husky lazy. Boasting a working class background, the Siberian belongs to a class of dogs called a Spitz. With its strong, muscular yet compact body, this breed does more than pull its weight when it comes to dog sleds.
Perhaps the most distinguishing feature of the Siberian Husky is its eyes. These peepers grab your attention, especially when both of them are an icy blue. They can have brown eyes, as well as one brown eye and one blue (heterochromia).
Before bringing a Siberian Husky into your home, you should be aware that it is a pack animal, so it needs companionship and to feel like it is part of the family. Read on to find out more about Siberian Huskies.
With its strong, muscular yet compact body, this breed does more than pull its weight when it comes to dog sleds.
Known as an Eskimo sled dog, the Siberian Husky got its start in Siberia, a place famous for its extremely low temperatures. The Chukchi tribe in Siberia used Siberian Huskies for herding animals and pulling sleds. This breed is powerful and built for extreme cold temperatures, and it likes to work and be useful.
Making its way to Alaska in the early 20th century, with fur traders also used the Siberian Husky in races. The breed’s big break came during an outbreak of the disease diphtheria. Due to the cold weather conditions, the Siberian Huskies were used to transport the valuable medicine in Alaska. As well, Admiral Peary used Siberian Huskies for his Antarctic expeditions to pull sleds of equipment.
A true working class breed, the Siberian Husky was used during World War II rescue missions in the Arctic areas. Now, the Siberian Husky makes itself useful by participating in a variety of sled races, like the Iditarod in Alaska, and by making wonderful pets for families.
As one of the oldest breeds of dog, the Siberian Husky descends from the original Eskimo sled dog or Qimmiq. It’s interesting to note that Husky is a take on the nickname “Esky”, which was once applied to the Eskimos, and their dogs.
The AKC recognized the Siberian Husky in 1930.
Food / Diet
Fats and protein are the most important sources of energy to a Siberian Husky. You can feed your Husky a top quality dry dog food, but feel free to is critical to supplement with ground chicken, fish, liver or other meat products.
The Husky is an intuitive dog and will learn well in an obedience class, as this environment is set up for learning.
Smart and highly trainable, the Siberian Husky likes to push boundaries. This breed will try to assert itself as the leader of the pack, so you must step in right away to correct the dog. You must establish dominance as the alpha leader so the Husky knows what to expect and will respect your authority.
The Husky is an intuitive dog and will learn well in an obedience class, as this environment is set up for learning. When taking the lessons home, your dog may not obey you. Therefore, it’s important to start obedience training as a puppy and establish consistent boundaries at home. If you allow an exception just once, the Siberian Husky will take advantage of it and continue to push the issue.
When it comes to socialization, the Siberian Husky integrates well with other animals and humans. Try to keep your Siberian Husky busy with activities to keep it happy.
Male Siberian Huskies weigh in at 35 to 60 pounds, while females tip the scales at 35 to 50 pounds.
Temperament / Behavior
You’ll find the Siberian Husky to be a happy dog that will become easily attached to its family. Energetic, fun and playful, the Husky is sociable and can be quite laid back. Even though it is smart and amenable to training, the Siberian Husky has a mind of its own.
Since the Siberian Husky is active, it will need a home with a large yard. If you don’t have a yard, you must get your Husky out for vigorous exercise every day, otherwise it can become destructive in its boredom. Training is a great way to control some of this exuberance and must be started as a puppy in terms of socialization, getting along with other pets and even housebreaking.
Because the Siberian Husky can be laid back, it makes this breed a poor choice for a watchdog. You won’t really hear the Siberian Husky bark; rather, it chooses to communicate via a sound similar to that of a wolf, sort of like a howling noise.
Common Health Problems
The Siberian Husky breed is generally a healthy one. There are still a few concerns to watch out for, including hip dysplasia, cataracts and corneal dystrophy. The Siberian Husky also suffers from a skin condition called dermatitis, which is easily treated with zinc. Occasional bronchitis, asthma and gastric issues can also be a problem.
Siberian Huskies have a life expectancy of 11 to 13 years.
As the Siberian is happiest working, it needs a lot of physical activities. Take your dog for walks or hikes, or if you live in a cold climate, get your dog into sled pulling and mushing opportunities. If you live in a warmer climate, be sure not to overwork your Siberian Husky in order to avoid overheating. If you don’t live in a snowy climate, you may want to try urban or dryland mushing with your Siberian Husky. With this activity, you run on trails using specially designed scooters, with two wheels for one or two dogs, or three-wheeled rigs for three or more dogs.
Energetic, fun and playful, the Husky is sociable and can be quite laid back.
The American Kennel Club says this about the breed: “the Siberian Husky is known for its amazing endurance and willingness to work. Its agreeable and outgoing temperament makes it a great all-around dog, suitable for anything from sledding to therapy work.”
The Siberian Husky’s coat is thick with a velvety top coat and a dense, wool-like undercoat, perfect for colder temperatures. This breed comes in a variety of colors and patterns, although many of these dogs have white tips on the tail in addition to white legs, paws and facial areas. Some colorations include the black and white Siberian Huskies or even rusty red and white combinations. You will most likely see gray and white, totally blond and blending of several of the listed colors as well. Some Siberian Husky puppies will start with gorgeous mask and body coloring that changes to a slightly duller color in adulthood.
A Siberian Husky puppy needs to start training as soon as possible. Since it is known to be willful and independent, it may assume a dominant role in the pack if not trained early.
Photo credit: Eric Isselee/Shutterstock