Along with soulful eyes and an irresistibly playful nature, your husky has brought one serious coat into your home -- a coat that can mean trash bags full of shed hair. You may be running your fingers through your furbaby's luxurious locks and wondering when the grooming marathon will begin.
Most huskies shed their coats twice per year, once in the spring and again in the fall, but a few huskies shed only once annually, usually in the spring. In extremely warm climates (think desert or tropics) some huskies may shed continually.
Continual shedding is rare but, as the name implies, Siberian huskies originated on the frozen tundras of central Asia. These dogs were bred over hundreds of years by indigenous Arctic peoples to work hard in frigid conditions, and their entire biology is suited to a rugged outdoor life. Members of this breed occasionally have trouble acclimating to a climate-controlled lifestyle.
That Layered Look
Your soft and silky husky is actually wearing two coats. The topcoat is made up of long, water-repellent guard hairs that insulate the dog from heat, cold, damp and sunburn. The undercoat is the super fluffy, thick fur that keeps these sled dogs toasty at temperatures as cold as 80 degrees below zero Fahrenheit.
Your husky's serious seasonal sheds are called "blowing coat." It will look like all of your dog's undercoat is falling out at once, but the blow is actually caused by a new topcoat coming in and pushing the fluffy underfur out. It should take your husky about three weeks to finish blowing coat each shed.
Husky Hair Care
To keep your husky's fur neat (and save your furniture), groom daily during coat blows and at least weekly in between. A grooming rake is invaluable for getting the shed undercoat tufts off of your dog during blows -- a procedure best performed outside.
Huskies only need to be bathed about once per year, if that. In their native environment, a wet coat usually means a quick demise and many huskies can go their entire lives without a bath. In return for this convenient situation, your doggy does need thorough and frequent brush grooming. Your canine cosmetic collection should include a rake, curry brush, spray detangler and pin brush.
Even in hot climates, huskies should never be shaved. Their long guard hairs insulate them from heat and protect against sunburn. A nude husky is at risk for heat stroke and skin cancer.
Angela Libal began writing professionally in 2005. She has published several books, specializing in zoology and animal husbandry. Libal holds a degree in behavioral science: animal science from Moorpark College, a Bachelor of Arts from Sarah Lawrence College and is a graduate student in cryptozoology.