The Siberian Husky is a beautiful looking dog and over recent years the breed has gained popularity here in the UK. Originally bred to work in the some of the harshest conditions on the planet, they earned themselves a reputation for being pretty hardy yet good-natured. However, when it comes to keeping a Siberian Husky as a family pet, there are certain myths about the breed that need to be dispelled.
First and foremost is the myth that Siberian Huskies are related to the wolf. The breed may have evolved from the same ancestors which to date are still unknown due to the fact they are extinct, but the way the Siberian Husky and the wolf evolved sees two similar looking dogs that are in fact, quite different. A wolf is an obligate carnivore whereas a Siberian Husky is an omnivore and can digest starch whereas wolves cannot.
Siberian Huskies are often used to portray wolves in films which is probably why so many people believe the breed to be direct descendants. They are not, however, the “missing link” between dogs and wolves.
The breed is known to be quite independent by nature and they are “pack” dogs. They also boast very high prey drives which means you have to be very careful when you let them off the lead and other small animals are around. They can also be quite stubborn, but these lovely looking dogs are highly intelligent too and they need to be handled firmly but fairly which includes when they are being trained.
It's not strictly true that it's impossible to train them, but rather that their training has to be consistent throughout their lives which involves “laying down the law” all of the time. If they understant that what an owner wants them to do means they will get to “do” what they want to do as a reward, a Siberian Husky is quick to realise the benefits it brings them when they do as they are told. The thing you need to bear in mind is that these striking and loving dogs are “free spirits” which is unlike many other breeds. Positive reinforcement training gets a lot of results with Siberian Huskies and is definitely the best approach.
Although very active dogs by nature, as long as a Siberian Husky is given lots of exercise and mental stimulation there is no reason why they cannot be kept in apartments. The other thing to bear in mind is they don't like to be left on their own for long periods of time which means they are great choice for people who work from home and who enjoy spending time in the great outdoors.
However, if you have a nine to five job, then you may have to organise a dog walker or even better take your pet along to a doggy day centre so they can spend the time you're not with them in the company of other dogs and people until you pick them up in the evening.
They are not the sort of dogs that can be left to their own devices which means they will search for an adventure even when they are left in a back garden to roam around. In short, these clever dogs will escape in search of something to do or chase if they get bored - remembering the breed is known to have a very low boredom threshold.
Although they might look as fierce as wolves and have an incredible way of staring into the distance with those gorgeous and sometimes unnerving blue eyes, the Siberian Husky is in actual fact, a gentle and loving character and one that's always ready to say hello to strangers showing no fear or anxiety whatsoever. They love to be entertained and can be great fun to be around. However, as previously mentioned, they have low boredom thresholds which means if they find your boring, they will go in search of someone or something they find more entertaining and interesting to be around.
It would be unfair to say that Siberian Huskies are always aggressive towards other dogs because it is more usual for them to be very sociable toward them. However, when it comes to small animals which includes cats and other pets like rabbits, ferrets and birds the Siberian Husky will see these are prey. The thing to bear in mind is that the breed has an extremely strong prey drive and as such if anything runs, they have a tendency to chase it. Letting them off a lead can be problematic if you are out and about in the park or countryside where there's livestock and wild animals.
There are lots of myths about the Siberian Husky, some of which are partly true whereas others are not which includes the fact that many people believe they are closely related to the wolf. This belief is understandable given they do look so alike and the breed is often used to portray wolves in many films. However, they are not related although it is thought the breed and the wolf share a common ancestor, however, it's unknown what this might be due to the fact they are now extinct.