You might find his wolfish good looks hard to resist, but if you want a pup who only has eyes for you, the Siberian husky may not fit snuggly into your plan. He’ll give you plenty of affection, but it’s in his nature to spread his doggy charm around.
The Husky Genes
Originating in northeast Asia several centuries ago, the Siberian husky arrived in America via Nome, Alaska in 1909 as a team of working sled dogs. Mistaken by some as a wolf hybrid, the husky is a purebred dog who has a dense, plush undercoat covered by a coarse outer layer of hair. Classified as part of the working group by the American Kennel Club, husky colors include solid white, black, sable or any combination of the three. His eyes come in golden brown, arctic blue, a mixture of both or even one of each. Males weigh 45 to 60 pounds and stand up to 23 1/4 inches tall. The more petite females range from 35 to 50 pounds and stand 20 to 22 inches tall. The husky has a sleek, muscular build that is well-suited for long days pulling a loaded sled over icy terrain.
The Husky Nature
The Siberian husky is a gregarious fellow who typically gets along well with other canines, possibly due to the generational impact of being harnessed with a team of dogs to a sled for hours every day. Early socialization with a puppy obedience class can help bring out those built-in team player skills. His habit of considering most humans possible friends makes him a poor guard dog, but looks alone may deter the uninformed. Like many working breeds, the husky is intelligent, trains easily and likes to earn his own way. If you don’t find a job for him to do, such as agility trials or even sledding for sport, he may resort to chewing the upholstery off your favorite chair or other destructive behaviors to fill his days.
If you prefer some independence to the clingy love a retriever or spaniel might provide, the Siberian husky will suit your tastes. The Siberian Husky Club of American notes you should never consider your husky a “one-man dog” since he tends to look upon all the individuals in his pack as equally deserving of his playful attention. He blends well with small or large families and has a special affinity for children. His luscious double coat repels dirt and water, will need brushing weekly but doesn’t require trimming, and only sheds heavily in the spring and fall. His lifespan averages 11 to 13 years and Pet MD notes relatively minor health issues, such as thyroid issues or cataracts and other eye diseases.
The husky loves to run and with his penchant for traveling somewhere, anywhere every day, he’ll often develop expert escape skills if confined to a backyard for long periods. This active breed needs a willing jogging partner or another form of daily, energy-draining exercise. Digging is another skill built into some huskies' DNA and requires early and frequent correction if you don’t want your yard looking more like a strip mine than a paradise. He also has a very strong prey drive and will need close supervision when around small animals, including squirrels, rabbits and your neighbor’s cat.
A medical writer since 1990 and successful home-based business owner for more than 14 years, Sandra King holds a Bachelor of Arts in communications. She uses her formal education, professional insight and extensive volunteer involvement to cover topics on health and fitness, pets, parenting for a lifetime, building healthy relationships, conquering business basics and developing career goals.