Breed Profile

Huskies – Strong, Independent, Loyal

Huskies as pets - vitalplanet.com

When one thinks of sled dogs, Huskies immediately come to mind. In Alaska, there are hundreds of dogs dressed with booties to keep their paws protected from the snow and ice during winter training in hopes of participating in the Iditarod, the ultimate endurance race. The Iditarod Race takes place in late February or early March depending on trail conditions. The actual training is a year-long career for the Musher and the dogs. The racing team usually resides outside with small dog houses for each dog.  The canine participants are fed a hearty diet formulated to promote strength and agility.

Huskies as Household Members

Huskies were originally bred as working dogs in northeast Asia.  Known for their friendly and loyal nature, they can reside indoors happily. They enjoy family life and get on well with other dogs. Properly trained, a Husky can be a great companion for both kids and adults. 

Exercise is mandatory for a Husky. After exertion, a well-exercised Husky would be content hanging out on the couch for a cuddle or playing a sweet game on the carpet. 

Although indifferent as watchdogs, they can’t resist chasing small animals.

Huskies are naturally clean, with little if any doggy odor! 

Please note that Huskies are very vocal and often sound like they are actually talking to their pet parents.

The breed is easily recognizable by its thickly furred double-coat, erect triangular ears, and distinctive facial markings. A Husky may live 12 to 15 years with an average height of 20 inches. They can weigh anywhere between 35 to 60 lbs. depending on the dogs’ gender.

A Husky’s coloring ranges from all white to a mixture of black and tan or white. Other colors could be sable, silver, brown, red, grey or copper with unique markings around the eyes.

A Husky’s almond-shaped eyes can be either brown or blue and often can be a combination of one blue and one brown that create a mischievous expression.

Huskies are known for their powerful but seemingly effortless gait which makes them great sled dogs.

Care Tips:

  • Caring for a Husky is a high maintenance job that will involve patient behavioral training.
  • These dogs ‘blow out’ their entire undercoat twice a year.
  • Properly grooming your Husky should be a 30-minute daily routine.
  • These dogs do not do well in the heat and should not be exercised in temperatures above 68 degrees.
  • If one lives in a climate of 80 degrees or higher a Husky is not recommended.
  • This breed is an expert escape artist and high jumper. Letting your Husky off leash is not a good idea unless in a well confined high fenced-in area.
  • Training can be tricky since Huskies can sometimes exhibit stubborn and independent behaviors.
  • A pet parent must be an authoritative pack leader offering consistent keywords when training.
  • Specific health issues to be aware of are hip dysplasia, progressive renal atrophy and eye problems such as cataracts and corneal dystrophy.

Unique Facts:

The indigenous Chukchi (pronounced CHookCHe) people of Siberia were the first to develop what we now know as Huskies. These even-tempered dogs were not merely pets or working dogs. The Chukchi people relied on the Huskies for survival. The dogs were taught to herd reindeer, pull sleds and work long hours in the cold.

Before the 19th century, the Chukchi people were the only breeders of these sled dogs. Then Americans in Alaska began to import Huskies for sledding competitions. Their claim to fame spread rapidly when a team of Huskies helped transport a lifesaving antitoxin to Nome, AK during a diphtheria epidemic. Read more about that extraordinary story here.

Huskies are very friendly and athletic dogs.  As previously stated, it’s of utmost importance that they exercise daily. They thrive when they have a particular job to help them feel useful such as wearing a doggie saddle bag to carry items for their pet parents.

Although Huskies can be loyal and devoted to their owners, their independent nature keeps them from being lovable, obedient lap-dogs. They’re notorious for being stubborn, and often they’d much rather do things their way than obediently abide by house rules. 

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