Siberian husky ownership brings much more than car seats full of fur and serious thoughts about investing in stock from a lint roller company. Many people fall in love with this breed's wolf-like appearance and glacial eyes, but not everybody is ready to deal with this breed's not-so-endearing behaviors.
Be warned -- the desire to escape and go on an exhilarating adventure beyond your property lines is very strong in this breed. There is a very good reason why many husky owners call their fur ball "Houdini." These specimens make Houdini look like a dime store magician, according to the Siberian Husky Rescue of Florida. Expect your husky magically to squeeze through the smallest hole, chew his way out of a crate and even run through an electric fence as if it was not even on. Bear in mind your husky will be a repeat offender -- a husky may lose his hair in chunks but not his nature.
Type the keywords "husky killed cat" and your search engine will yield many stories of this breed eating the neighbor's cat for dessert. However, no generalizations can be made, as countless owners have been able to raise huskies and kitties together with no major problems. Predatory instincts in this breed are strong; therefore, Siberians should be supervised around small animals, according to the American Kennel Club. When in doubt, it is best to err on the side of caution, and keep small animals safe and out of reach.
If you are planning to use this breed to guard your property, think again. While this breed is defined as being reserved and dignified, it is not very loyal and will have no problems in befriending the occasional thief. While he is at it, he may even invite him over for dinner and a movie. While he is alert, he does not display the prized territorial qualities of the guard dog, nor is he overly suspicious of strangers, according to the breed standard.
Siberian huskies are independent, free-spirited dogs blessed with a high level of intelligence. This creates the perfect concoction for a stubborn dog, which overall is a common trait of spitz-type dogs. Expect your husky to have some days where he stares blankly at you as if he never heard the "sit" command before. The "come" command also may be a bit challenging to teach. Consider that this is a breed that thrives on positive reinforcement training and looks forward to new challenges to keep him interested and motivated. Fail to train him and keep him mentally stimulated, and you may end up with a massively destructive being, according to trainer and author Michele Welton.
You may be wondering at this point what makes husky ownership so rewarding that many owners would never want to own any other breed. Looks aside, this breed is good-natured with everyone, loves the great outdoors, and is very playful, agile and light on his feet. These dogs are very frugal, clean and relatively easy keepers. If you are able to meet this breed's rigorous exercise requirements and can survive the bouts of exuberant jumping during puppy hood, you will fall in love with this breed and eventually recover from those "OMG, what did I get into" moments.
Adrienne Farricelli has been writing for magazines, books and online publications since 2005. She specializes in canine topics, previously working for the American Animal Hospital Association and receiving certification from the Certification Council for Professional Dog Trainers. Her articles have appeared in "USA Today," "The APDT Chronicle of the Dog" and "Every Dog Magazine." She also contributed a chapter in the book " Puppy Socialization - An Insider's Guide to Dog Behavioral Fitness" by Caryl Wolff.