Since the Siberian husky is a northern breed, you might think you're doing your dog a favor by cutting or shaving his hair if you live in a warmer climate. Think again. Groom your dog regularly, but forgo the clippers altogether and take it easy on the scissors.
Siberian Husky Coat
Your Siberian husky's thick double coat protects him from the elements in his native cold climate. According to the American Kennel Club breed standard, while the dog should appear "well-furred," the coat shouldn't grow so long as to obscure the husky's clean-cut outline. The husky's dense undercoat is quite soft, while his outer coat has straight guard hairs. These top hairs should lie smooth, not straight off the body. Don't cut hair other than on the whiskers and around the feet for neatening. The AKC makes no bones about it: "Trimming the fur on any other part of the dog is not to be condoned and should be severely penalized."
Most of the year, keeping your husky in presentable shape isn't difficult. Use a slicker brush a couple of times a week for dead hair removal. Unlike many canines, you'll rarely, if ever, have to bathe him. The only exception might be if he manages to get himself into something nasty, where washing is required. Huskies don't have a doggy odor, and they naturally trend toward cleanliness. According to the Siberian Husky Club of Victoria, huskies clean themselves like cats. Your husky does shed year-round, but that's not a problem if you brush him regularly. However, every year he blows his coat, and that's a different story.
Blowing the Coat
Huskies blow their undercoat at least once a year, and possibly two times. For that process of approximately six weeks, you are basically living in Dog Hair City. Hair falls out in small and large clumps everywhere your dog goes. During coat-blowing season, in spring and fall, you get an accurate idea of the sheer density of your dog's coat. For best results, buy yourself a good vacuum cleaner and dress in a silver, white or gray color scheme so those errant hairs aren't as obvious.
No matter how hot it gets in your neck of the woods, resist the urge to shave your husky. Keep him indoors in the air-conditioning during the heat of the day, but don't do anything to his coat other than brush it. Shaved huskies can suffer from heat stroke or sunburn without their top coats to protect them from the sun's harmful effects. It's also possible that a shaved dog's coat won't grow back in properly.
Jane Meggitt has been a writer for more than 20 years. In addition to reporting for a major newspaper chain, she has been published in "Horse News," "Suburban Classic," "Hoof Beats," "Equine Journal" and other publications. She has a Bachelor of Arts in English from New York University and an Associate of Arts from the American Academy of Dramatics Arts, New York City.