The Siberian husky is a large, wolf-like looking dog breed from the Kennel Club’s working dog group, and one that most of us find very memorable and distinctive looking and as such, that appeals to a wide range of different people as a potential pet.
Siberian huskies are undeniably handsome and they also tend to have open, engaging and outgoing temperaments, but this is quite a challenging dog breed to own and care for, which not all owners of a dog of the breed fully understand before they make a purchase.
Siberian huskies are one of the large dog breeds that are most likely to be surrendered to rehoming shelters by owners who find that they were unprepared to manage life with a dog of this type, and in order to ensure that you don’t make the same mistake, plenty of research is required before you buy a dog of the breed.
In this article we will share ten things you need to know about the Siberian husky dog breed – before you buy one yourself. Read on to learn more.
The first, most important and yet also most commonly overlooked facet of Siberian husky ownership that you need to understand is that this is one of the most energetic dog breeds of them all, and however much exercise you think they need, you’re probably still underestimating things!
Siberian huskies were bred to run for long periods of time over long distances, and they’re not only fast but have bags of stamina, and a fit Siberian husky will happily run around and play for a full day without tiring out.
Unless you have at least two hours a day and ideally more to dedicate to walking and exercising your dog, the Siberian husky is probably going to be a poor fit for you, and will soon become unruly and begin to display behavioural problems.
Siberian huskies are pack dogs at heart, and they thrive in a multi-dog household. They also tend to be highly social in the dog park too, actively looking for new friends to play with.
Because they are large, strong dogs that do everything with 100% enthusiasm, larger playmates are a better choice than small or delicate dogs, and huskies can sometimes be a little dominant. But as a general rule they’re great dogs to keep with an existing dog, or if you want to spend lots of time at the dog park or socialising with other dog owners.
Huskies have a very strong prey drive that can be a challenge to curb or manage, and training the breed for totally reliable recall is not always possible. If you buy a Siberian husky, you need to account for this and keep other pets and wildlife safe, which means walking on the lead at all times when outside of enclosed areas, and potentially muzzling the dog when they run off the lead too.
Siberian huskies are smart dogs that are continually looking for things to do for entertainment, and if they’re not getting enough exercise or mental stimulation, they often think nothing of wandering off and looking for it on their own!
Huskies tend to be very good at escaping their gardens and often roam a long way from home if they do, and so they need to be contained with appropriate fencing and properly supervised in the garden at all times.
Siberian huskies have very thick coats, to keep them warm in the harsh climate of their native Siberia. They are also one of the heaviest shedding dog breeds of all, and keeping on top of their shedding within the home can be very time consuming.
In spring and autumn the shedding goes into overdrive, and you will probably be able to pluck large handfuls of loose fur out of your dog’s coat during this time. Bear this in mind if you’re not a fan of grooming your dog and clearing up after them around the home!
Siberian huskies tend to be confident, personable and outgoing dogs that will often deliberately approach other people to say hello. They can also be prone to wandering off with people who give them a treat or some attention!
They are very loving with their owners and do know who their caregivers are and who provides for their needs, but some husky owners feel that this is not the most loyal of breeds due to the dogs’ tendency to like everyone they meet!
Few things will strike fear into the heart of the average husky owner faster than the realisation that the dog seems to have suddenly gone quiet or disappeared somewhere, as this is often an indication that the dog has found something to entertain themselves with that you might not want them to do!
A bored husky can get into all manner of hot water, and they can be quite destructive as well as potentially wandering off to find something to do when bored.
Like all pedigree dog breeds, there are some hereditary health issues that occur more commonly in the Siberian husky than in most other breeds, and all husky breeders are strongly advised to have their parent stock tested for such conditions prior to breeding.
However, this is optional – other than for Kennel Club Assured Breeder scheme members, for which pre-breeding health screening for the three most concerning hereditary health conditions found within the breed is mandatory.
This does not mean that many other breeders don’t also undertake health testing of course, and regardless of the breeder, you should double-check on this and ask to see proof of the results.
Siberian huskies aren’t one of the dog breeds that are particularly quick to bark, although a group of them together will often be quite talkative!
However, Siberian huskies are one of the breeds that most commonly include howling within their repertoire of vocalisations, and many of them are quick to start howling and can be hard to stop!
Theoretically, any conscientious dog lover who is committed to doing plenty of research and taking their time over a decision can be an appropriate owner for a Siberian husky, but as a general rule the breed is not considered to be a very good choice for the first-time dog owner.
Huskies can be hugely rewarding to own and there is a lot of good about them, but they are a complex breed that can fairly be described as high maintenance, and they’re certainly not a good fit for everyone.