The Siberian Husky, more commonly known as simply the Husky, is a working sled dog which originated in the Northeast of Siberia. A very popular breed, thanks to its beauty and character, the Siberian Husky has become a very popular family dog in recent times. Huskies can be suitable for all types of families, provided you learn to understand the breed.
A Brief History
The Siberian Husky is an ancient breed. It first appeared in the second millennium BC in the region of present-day Eastern Siberia. It was used by Chukchi tribes as a sled dog, but also as a guard dog. The Siberian Husky was largely unrecognised by other parts of the world until nine Huskies were brought to Alaska to participate in a sled race. Their team finished third, but a Scottish breeder was won over by the dogs' performance and decided to start breeding them himself. The Siberian Husky was first recognized as a breed in its own right in 1930 in the United States. The breed was definitively recognised by the World Canine Organisation in 1966.
Between 1945 and 1994, Huskies were used extensively as sled dogs by the British Antarctic Survey in Antarctica. However, Huskies have been banned in Antarctica since 1992, over concerns they would transmit canine diseases to the local seal population. A bronze sculpture of a Husky was erected in their honour in front of the British Antarctic Survey headquarters in Cambridge in 2009.
The Husky is famous for its distinctive features. This is an active, energetic, resilient dog with an elegant, agile build.
Body: The body is well-proportioned, fairly compact, and well-muscled. The chest is deep and strong but not too broad.
Head: The head is medium in proportion to the body and slightly rounded on top. The muzzle is medium length and width, and tapers gradually towards the nose, giving a fox-like appearance.
Ears: They are triangular in shape, strongly erect, and set quite close together. They are also slightly rounded at the tip.
Eyes: The Husky's eyes are almond-shaped and slightly slanting. They can be of different colours; any shade of blue or brown, one of each colour, or parti-colours are accepted by the breed standard.
Tail: The tail is curved, but does not form a curl. It is well furred with a fox-brush shape.
Coat: The Husky has a medium-length double coat. The undercoat is soft and dense; the outer coat is straight and smooth.
Colour: All colours and markings are accepted, including white, except for merle.
The temperament of the Siberian Husky is friendly and gentle. These are affectionate dogs, and very loyal to their masters. Huskies have a lot of energy and need to run a lot and exert themselves sufficiently each day. Nonetheless, the Husky is an adaptable breed that can live in both the city and the countryside, provided its needs are met. Huskies are intelligent but can also be quite strong-minded, which can make training them a little tricky for beginners. They have a strong protective instinct and can also be used as guard or watchdogs. Their muscular build can be quite imposing after all. Huskies also have a tendency to run off. This is an inquisitive breed that will take every opportunity for adventure.
Do Huskies Get Along Well with Others?
The Siberian Husky is a sociable dog. Traditionally used as working sled dogs and pack dogs, they are used to being around other dogs and have no problem getting along. These doggies also get along well with children, for whom they make wonderful playmates. On the other hand, cohabitation with other pets, such as cats and exotic pets, may prove a little more complicated. Although not hunting dogs, Huskies do retain a strong predatory instinct. In order for your Husky to be able to accept another pet in the house, they must be socialised properly from an early age, between 2 and 3 months old.
Is a Husky the Right Dog for Me?
Despite the popularity of the breed, Huskies are not suitable for everyone. Unfortunately, some people adopt Huskies without first researching the breed, which can lead to tragedy. The Siberian Husky is one of the most abandoned dog breeds. As such, we urge you to learn as much as you can about this breed and ensure that it's suitable for your lifestyle before proceeding with an adoption. Above all, Huskies need athletic and available owners, who know how to look after their dog. You will also need a solid understanding of canine behaviour. It is best not to adopt a Husky as your first dog.
Husky Health Problems
As a general rule, Huskies are pretty robust. The life expectancy of a Husky is between 11 and 13 years, which is more than honourable for a dog of this size. Unfortunately, large breed dogs tend to live for a shorter amount of time than small or medium-sized breeds. Giant breeds, on the other hand, often live for less than ten years. However, the Siberian Husky is affected by a few serious diseases. Almost 40% of all Huskies develop elbow dysplasia, and 20% develop hip dysplasia. They are also susceptible to eye problems, such as progressive retinal atrophy (PRA) and glaucoma. Finally, the Siberian Husky breed is prone to hypothyroidism, which can lead to obesity.
Ideal Living Conditions of a Husky
A Husky is perfectly capable of living in an apartment, provided you are aware of and can meet its daily needs. This breed of dog needs to run for at least two hours a day. The amount of living space available is therefore not the main priority. The amount of time you spend with your dog each day is more important to this dog's happiness. Of course, your Husky will also enjoy living in a big house with a garden, but said garden is useless if your pooch spends all their time alone there.
Training your Husky is essential and must begin as soon as you welcome your new puppy home, at the age of two months. Set clear boundaries right from the start and try to be consistent with them. Be patient, it can take your Husky a little while to learn commands due to their stubborn nature. Prioritise potty training your dog and teaching them to be alone for short periods, as well as coming back when you call and walking to heel. Training a Husky can prove tricky for first-time dog owners. As such, we don't recommend you adopt a Husky as your first dog. If you have any doubts, call on the services of a professional dog trainer or behaviourist. Bad habits are difficult to unlearn!
Diet: What to Feed Your Husky
Pay special attention to your Husky's diet. It plays a vital role in their health and, as such, must be able to meet all their nutritional requirements and energy needs. A poor-quality diet will inevitably have repercussions on their health in the long term. One of the golden rules of dog food is to avoid the industrial dog food found in supermarkets, as much as possible. This is because it tends to be very low in quality and made using primarily plant protein. It's better to opt for dog food that's a little more expensive but has a much higher quality composition.
Learn how to decipher product labels to understand exactly what you're feeding your dog and be sure to choose a healthy composition, without added preservatives or sweeteners. Good kibble contains at least 25 to 28% animal protein. Remember that dogs are opportunistic carnivores who need animal protein to stay healthy. Your Husky's dietary needs are likely to change over the course of their life. Dog food should be adapted to your dog's health condition, as well as their age. The same goes for the quantity: if your dog is very active, it will eat more than a less energetic animal.
If you want to make sure that your Husky's dog food is perfectly adapted to their needs, opt for a tailor-made service like Hector Kitchen. Or, if you have the time and want to control all the ingredients in your dog's food you can try feeding them homemade dog food or a BARF diet. Homemade dog food is food that you prepare yourself from cooked meat and vegetables. This type of diet gives you complete control over what your dog ingests. The BARF diet, on the other hand, consists of raw meat, raw eggs, and cooked vegetables. Always seek advice from your vet before changing your dog's food or implementing a BARF diet.
Husky Care and Maintenance
Vaccines: between £30 to £60 for the first injection series, plus annual boosters
Dog food: from around £50 per month for high-quality dog food
Monthly budget: minimum £105 per month
Grooming your Husky is quite simple. Their mid-length coat doesn't require a significant amount of care. Brushing your Husky's coat once or twice a week is more than enough normally. However, during moulting periods, you'll need to brush your dog daily to get rid of dead hair. Be sure to equip yourself with the appropriate tools for grooming your dog (brush, shampoo, etc.), as the wrong choice of products could have serious consequences on the health of your four-legged friend. Also remember to regularly clean your dog's teeth, eyes, and ears, and trim their nails when necessary. Finally, keep all your dog's vaccines up to date, as well as deworming and antiparasitic treatments to combat ticks and fleas.
Siberian Husky Price
The average price of a Husky puppy is between £1400 and £2500. This price varies according to several criteria. Some breeders ask for higher prices if the dog is intended for exhibition or reproduction, or if it comes from an exceptional line. Demand for the breed can also influence the price. As the Husky is a very popular breed, there are fewer puppies available for adoption, which allows breeders to charge more. However, if you're not set on adopting a puppy, it's also quite possible to find an adult Husky in a shelter or rescue centre. This type of adoption will cost you much less. Plus, adult dogs deserve a loving home too!
The Husky is quite capable of sleeping outside. The important thing is to buy your dog a high-quality kennel, adapted to their needs and size. Ideally, opt for a wooden kennel; these are much better insulated than plastic kennels, tend to be much sturdier, and constitute a great long-term investment. Place your Husky’s kennel in a strategic place in the garden, not too isolated, and which allows your dog to keep an eye on its whole territory. Make sure your garden is securely fenced, as Huskies can be runaways if given the opportunity. You can of course also have your dog sleep inside your home. Buy suitable accessories and create a sleeping area for your Husky in a quiet place, away from foot traffic. Avoid allowing your furry friend to sleep in your bedroom: this could lead to them developing separation anxiety.
Games and Physical Activities for Your Husky
The Husky is a lively, energetic dog, not suited to lounging at the end of the garden or on the sofa doing nothing. Huskies need to move around a lot, sniff new smells, and explore new places regularly. As such, they need active, sporty owners, who love the outdoors. Don't hesitate to take your Husky out jogging or hiking with you - they'll love it! They also excel at physical canine activities like mushing.
At home, make sure you have enough games and toys to occupy your pooch in your absence. Huskies don't like being alone, so they need to be able to occupy themselves while they wait. Brain games, such as Kongs or puzzles, are ideal. Left alone for too long, your Husky could sink into depression. Your lonely pooch might even run away if you leave it out in the garden.
Pet Insurance: Protecting Your Husky
The Siberian Husky does not need a special type of insurance. This is not considered a dangerous dog breed or hunting dog, for example. However, taking out a pet insurance policy for your dog helps to cover you in the event of accident or illness. Even if your dog is not aggressive by nature, accidents can happen quickly and you would be held responsible for any damage or harm caused to a third party by your dog. Pet insurance is a great way to make sure you're not hit with any nasty surprises. Most home insurance policies offer the option to include animal liability insurance. You can also purchase third party public liability dog insurance, which provides additional protection.
Additionally, while Huskies are generally quite robust, they are not infallible. This dog breed is prone to certain diseases and, as vet fees are not standardised in the UK, veterinary costs can be very high. Pet insurance for dogs is a great way to make sure they get the healthcare they deserve throughout their life. Health insurance for your Husky works the same way as for humans: you pay a monthly premium to an insurance company and, in return, they reimburse you for any veterinary expenses. In any case, before deciding on a particular contract, make sure to shop around for quotes and assess which best suits your circumstances. Then, take the time to read the fine print to ascertain the type of services offered, as well as the reimbursement rate, limits, and eligibility or exclusion clauses.
Some insurance companies may refuse to insure dogs that are too old, too young, or already sick. So don't wait for your pooch to get sick or old before taking out pet insurance for them, or you may risk them not being properly taken care of. Insurance companies may also refuse to reimburse costs incurred for certain diseases, genetic or hereditary diseases in particular. Read your contract carefully before signing and don't hesitate to ask your vet for advice. The higher your contribution, the greater the reimbursement will be. Some health insurance policies also offer additional services, such as covering funeral costs for your dog or providing psychological support after the death of your pet.
Siberian Husky Size and Weight
The Siberian Husky is a large dog. There is a noticeable difference in the size of males and females. An adult male Husky will measure between 53 and 60cm at the withers and weigh between 20 and 30kg. A female, on the other hand, measures between 50 and 56cm at the withers and weighs between 13 and 23kg.
The Kennel Club classifies the Siberian Husky in the Working Breed Group, which consists of dogs who were selectively bred to become guards and search and rescue dogs.