With their beautiful eyes, quiet manner, and athletic build, Siberian Huskies are easy to fall in love with. If you’re asking yourself the question, “Is a Husky the right dog for me?”, you have come to the right place to find answers. Today, we’ll dive into the details of what it’s like owning a Siberian Husky and why a Siberian Husky may just be the perfect dog for you.
Is a Husky the Right Dog for Me?
There are a number of considerations to ponder when asking yourself, “Is a Husky the right dog for me?” One of the most important factors to deeply consider when deciding whether to own a Husky is the energy level this breed of dog has.
Siberian Husky dogs were originally bred to pull sleds over hundreds of miles across the frozen tundra of the Arctic region. Because a Siberian Husky’s energy levels run high, it’s important to note that this particular dog breed won’t be content to spend their days lounging in front of the TV. They need vigorous exercise and may enjoy wearing a harness and pulling a cart, a bike, or even you on skates.
It’s also important to realize that Huskies are intelligent but quite independent. Because they can become bored with following commands, Siberian Huskies respond better to overcoming new challenges. Additionally, you’ll want to keep in mind that Huskies are great escape artists and may climb your backyard fence if they’re not given enough mental and physical exercise.
What Breeds are Huskies Related to?
While there are quite a few dog breeds that closely resemble the Siberian Husky, two particular dog breeds that are related to the Husky are Samoyeds and Alaskan Malamutes.
Both Saymoyeds and Malamutes are directly descended from the original sled dogs and, according to DNA analysis, are two of the oldest dog breeds closely related to their wolf ancestor.
While Samoyeds are often confused with Siberian Huskies, the Husky and Samoyed are two separate breeds with their own distinct personalities and characteristics.
Similar to the Siberian Husky, Samoyeds have thick double coats which allowed this dog breed to survive frigid temperatures in Russia from which they originate. Samoyeds also have high energy levels, although they are slightly easier to train than Siberian Huskies. Once they have their mental and physical needs met, Samoyeds make great family pets.
Bred for their strength and endurance, Alaskan Malamutes are among the oldest sled dog breeds of the Arctic and are believed to be a descendant of the wolf. Unlike the Siberian Husky, which was bred for its speed, the Alaskan Malamute is much slower but capable of pulling heavy loads over long distances.
While this dog breed is known for being affectionate and loyal, they are also extremely energetic and need plenty of exercise every day. Once their physical, as well as mental needs, are met, Alaskan Malamutes are well-behaved and incredibly gentle around kids.
The Siberian Husky is a medium-sized working dog breed with a compact body and thick double coat. They are highly admired for their seemingly effortless performance when pulling sleds and running for long distances.
A Siberian Husky’s coat comes in a variety of colors, ranging from pure white to dark black, and a number of colors in between. Another quality that makes the Siberian Husky appearance unique is the markings on its body. These markings may come in the form of black points or a piebald, depending on the Husky’s genes.
Another quality of the Siberian Husky is its gorgeous almond-shaped eyes. Husky eyes are often a distinctive blue, although they can also be brown, amber, or even mixed colors.
Where Does the Name “Husky” Come From?
The name “Husky” is a corruption of the nickname “Esky,” which was once used for “Eskimo,” a word that has largely been replaced by “Inuit.” The word “Husky” is recorded as far back as 1852 when Inuit people would keep these dogs to help them survive the unforgiving climates of the Arctic regions.
The Siberian Husky’s history began in northeastern Asia where they were kept and bred by the Chukchi people. As the conditions of the environment changed for this group of people, Siberian Huskies became the key to survival as they hauled food and supplies across the frozen tundra during sub-zero temperatures.
Huskies may be best known for pulling sleds in the famous Iditarod race, which commemorates one of the highlights of Husky history. In 1925, teams of sled dogs traveled 600 miles from Anchorage to Nome to deliver serum during a deadly outbreak of diphtheria. To this day, Siberian Huskies are kept by mushers for dog sledding sports throughout North America.
Proper Husky care includes feeding your dog a nutritional diet, grooming your dog regularly, and giving your dog plenty of vigorous exercise. There are also a few common diseases in the Husky breed that dog owners should be aware of and treat immediately if unusual symptoms suddenly appear.
What is the Lifespan of a Husky?
The typical lifespan of a Husky is 12 to 15 years of age. Although there is no known record for the longest living Husky, it is not unusual for Huskies to reach 16 years or even 18 years old when cared for properly and given a healthy lifestyle.
What are Common Diseases in Huskies?
Genetic diseases specific to the Siberian Husky breed include seizures and eye problems such as glaucoma and juvenile cataracts. It is also possible for your Siberian Husky to suffer from progressive retinal atrophy (PRA), hypothyroidism, and corneal dystrophy. To identify and treat these diseases, you’ll need to visit a veterinarian as soon as your Siberian Husky begins showing unusual symptoms.
How Do I Keep My Husky Healthy?
Your dog’s food, activity level, and grooming schedule are all important factors for keeping your Siberian Husky healthy. Fortunately, the Siberian Husky is a relatively healthy breed that develops very few health issues. That said, it’s important to give your Siberian Husky the best possible care to improve not only his physical health but also his emotional wellbeing.
Because Huskies are extremely energetic, it’s important to exercise your dog daily by walking, biking, or hiking with him. Your Husky may also have fun pulling a sled during the winter or a cart during the summer months.
Depending on your dog’s activity level, you may need to adjust how much protein you feed your Siberian Husky. Siberian Huskies that are working every day may be fed up to 32 percent protein, while Huskies with low activity levels may only need 20 percent protein in their diet. Be careful not to overfeed your Husky, as obesity in dogs can lead to a number of other health issues.
Grooming Your Husky
Huskies have a thicker coat than most dog breeds. Because Huskies were bred to survive in cold environments, their coat consists of two layers—a dense undercoat and a short topcoat. Their furry bodies allow Siberian Huskies to endure sub-zero temperatures in the winter, as well as reflect heat during the summer.
How to Groom Your Husky
Because the Siberian Husky has such a thick coat, proper Husky grooming should be done weekly. Twice a year Huskies shed their undercoat and may need additional grooming to brush out the old hair. Also, note that Huskies are self-cleaning and therefore rarely need baths unless they are being shown in conformation dog shows.
In addition to grooming your dog’s hair, you’ll want to regularly clip your dog’s toenails. This can easily be done at home using dog nail clippers or a nail grinder. Be careful to never cut the quick, which is usually pink or dark colored. Before clipping your Husky’s nails, train him to be comfortable with you touching and handling his paws. If you or your dog feels uncomfortable, you may need a vet or groomer to clip the nails for you.
We hope this article helped answer your question, “Is a Husky the right dog for me?” If you’re still unsure whether a Siberian Husky is the right dog breed for you, feel free to leave any questions you have in the comments below.