Most dog lovers recognize a Siberian Husky when they see one. Their wolf-like features are difficult to miss, and their piercing blue eyes will have you transfixed.
Classed as a working dog breed that originally hails from Siberia, she is now a popular family pet.
Keep reading to find out all about what it means to own a Siberian Husky.
1. She's a sociable creature
The AKC calls Siberian Huskies ´born pack dogs,´ meaning that they were bred to perform as part of a pack; thus, sociability is in their blood.
They are, first and foremost, very loving and gentle dogs, who give a lot of affection and love to receive it.
They're good with children (though, of course, they should be supervised at all times) and friendly towards strangers. For this reason, I don’t recommend them if you want a guard dog, as they are likely to greet an intruder with a wag of the tail rather than a menacing bark.
Siberian Huskies shouldn't be left alone for too long (no more than 3 or 4 hours), and they like to live with other dogs.
2. She needs tons of exercise
As adults, they need at least 1 hour of vigorous exercise a day. They make an excellent match for someone who is sporty and likes doing activities such as hiking, jogging or running.
3. She likes having a job
As I advised with the Alaskan Husky, it is worth investing in a doggie backpack to fulfill her need to have a job. In these packs, you can store bottles of water to keep you both hydrated on a hike. Carrying this weight will satisfy her instinct to exercise with a load, plus she will burn off even more energy!
4. She needs a lot of maintenance!
Ask any Siberian Husky owner, and they'll tell you all about the amount these dogs can shed.
Apart from everyday shedding (which is a pretty high amount), these dogs 'blow out' their entire undercoat twice a year - in the spring and the fall. That means - yep! - those hairs will be flying around, getting on the carpet, and testing your patience levels.
During these times, you should probably just leave the vacuum cleaner where you can see it at all times!
To avoid excessive shedding, groom your Siberian Husky daily from head to tail. Use a heavy-duty comb that can reach deep into the undercoat and pull out loose hair.
During shedding season, you should be prepared to do this for up to 30 minutes, and don't be surprised if you pull out piles of hair. Sometimes it might even seem you could make another Husky out of the amount that comes out!
5. She has a hard time in the heat
Like their Alaskan Husky and Alaskan Malamute cousins, these dogs do not do well in the heat. If you live somewhere where the temperature reaches 80 degrees (26ºC) or over, don't get a Siberian Husky.
They should not be exercised in temperatures above 68 degrees (20ºC). In the summer months, it is better to take them out in the morning and the evening when the temperature is lower.
6. She's a talented escape artist
Like the Alaskan Husky, she can run fast (at up to 28 mph, or 40 kph), and she has epic levels of endurance. Until you trust her recall, I advise you keep her on a leash, or off leash in an enclosed area, as, if she gets away from you, I can tell you now, you won't catch her!
Another warning: she can jump high. In fact, she has a reputation for it and has been known to jump fences 4 or 5 feet tall. You should make sure your garden fence is at least 6 feet tall to avoid her escaping.
If you exercise your Alaskan Husky enough and train her well, her running away from you on a walk or jumping over the garden fence is unlikely to occur. This is simply a warning that, if you don't stimulate her need for exercise, you may have a dog on the loose.
7. She needs a strong pack leader
Siberian Huskies are known to have a stubborn, independent streak, which can make them a bit tricky to train, especially if you are a first time owner.
With a Siberian Husky, you need to lay down the rules from the start, and firmly. You must establish yourself as pack leader, and be authoritative and consistent. As she has a strong pack instinct, if she does not see you as the leader, your Husky may try to establish herself at the top of the pack, which can lead to undesirable behaviors such as aggression.
If you have children, it is especially important to teach your Siberian that she is below you and your family in the hierarchy. She must respect your children and never be allowed to jump up, nip them with her mouth or growl at them. In the same way, you must teach your children to follow some rules: never pull the dog's hair, tail or ears, and don't chase her.
Siberian Husky Health Concerns
Most Siberian Huskies are healthy dogs, but there are a few health concerns you should be aware of. These include:
- Hip dysplasia
- Eye problems: cataracts, corneal dystrophy, progressive renal atrophy
So, we know the Siberian Husky is a truly beautiful breed, who:
- Is gentle, affectionate and friendly
- Needs lots of exercise
- Likes to have a job
- Is known to be an escape artist if bored or underexercised
- Sheds a lot and needs daily grooming
- Does better in cooler climates
- Needs a strong leader who is preferably an experienced dog owner
Have you got what it takes to own a Siberian Husky? Comment below!