Huskies are beautiful dogs. You can’t help but look at a husky and admire its coat and its beautiful ice blue eyes. The puppies are even more precious because their baby fur is so utterly luxurious and their eyes are even bluer than those of the adults. If you are thinking about buying one of these dogs or getting one as a puppy, there is a lot you should know about these puppies and the adult dogs they become.
High Energy With a Need to Run
These dogs were brought from Siberia, Russia to Nome, Alaska during the Alaskan Gold Rush of 1896-99. When they were introduced to Native Alaskans (who already had the Malamute to pull their sleds) and the gold rushers, they were immediately turned into a sled dog. This type of work definitely suited the dog breed well, as a Siberian Husky is an extremely high-energy dog. This is a working dog breed, if you are not actively running and walking them several times a day, they will get bored and then get destructive.
That destructiveness presents itself in the form of chewing things to pieces. Most people will lose pillows, shoes, bags, solid wood furniture legs, etc.. If you cannot be at home to keep these dogs very busy and help them burn off their energy, be prepared to lose a lot of belongings. Additionally, if you are the couch potato type rather than the “morning jog every morning at five a.m.” type of person, Huskies are definitely not the dog for you. A Husky pup may spend a few minutes snuggling on the couch, but then they are immediately ready to go again.
Persistence in Training
These dogs will still run and pull sleds or carts behind them, and they learn relatively quickly. Some people even train Huskies to be herding dogs, and that works well for their active natures too. Potty training a Husky puppy might take a little longer because they don’t quite understand what you are asking. So long as you are consistent in the timing and using rewards to reinforce correct toileting behavior, it should get better. Huskies are extremely intelligent, agile, and willing to please their humans, which is why they are such popular pets. A Husky owner and/or dog trainer should use a leash and training collar for training both husky puppies and an adult dog. This will help with all the other training.
Can You Say, “SHED”?
Huskies have a double coat. This is the direct result of coming from one of the coldest territories on Earth, and needing to adapt to such frigid temperatures. They will have very thick fur, with a silky undercoat that repels water, snow, and ice, and an even thicker upper coat for insulating the dog against the cold. Many animals that come from frozen places in northernmost regions have double layers to keep them warm and dry, and Huskies are no exception.
Your Husky puppy will have a double coat from a few months after birth until the end of its life. That said, you should not be surprised when the fur sheds everywhere and your puppy proceeds to shake and send tons of shed fur into the air and all over your carpets, furniture, etc.. The puppy, and eventually the adult dog, will need DAILY brushing to keep shedding to a minimum. Even then you will need to vacuum as often as you brush your dog.
These dogs are definitely a pack animal/pack dog. They look to one human to lead, and they are extremely loyal to that one human. They may also recognize a second-in-command, a “beta” if you will. It may not be the other adult in the house at all, so do not be surprised if you are the alpha but your teenage son is the beta instead of your husband or partner.
They are also extremely affectionate. They are the type of breed that will lick faces, hands, and even feet to show their affection for you. If you want your husky puppy to tone down the affection, it will have to be part of his/her training going forward.
Huskies absolutely LOVE to play. They are not happy unless they can chase something, catch something, retrieve or fetch something, and/or roll around on the ground with their favorite humans. This makes them a great family pet, especially if you have a few kids that are as high-energy as the dog! The puppies are even more playful than the adults, so be ready with all the toys, a favorite toy and at least an hour of playtime every day to keep your new puppy happy.
Despite the fact that these dogs can be very loyal, don’t count on them being great guard dogs. They might howl when someone new comes near or comes into the house, but they are not likely to attack. This is both a disadvantage and advantage from the standpoint that you can count on your dog not to harm other people on the street, but you also can’t count on him/her to protect your home and family against invaders.
Physical Features of the Breed
Huskies are most easily recognized by their startling blue eyes and their very furry and curled up tails carried high when they run. Many of these dogs have white legs and bellies with a sort of “mask” over and around their heads, ears, eyes, and bases of their snouts. They are a medium-sized dog, with females tipping scales at about fifty pounds, and males tipping the scales at or around twenty pounds more.
As for coloring and markings, they can be black and white, all white, white and gray, white and muted cream, copper-red and white, piebald, and even “agouti,” which means that every strand of fur has two or more bands of color, giving the dog a sort of dappled look. The most common, of course, is the black and white. The face masks these dogs sport are as individual to each dog as fingerprints are to humans.
No Fence Can Hold Them
If you think you can put Huskies in a pen and then go to work in the morning, you are going to be proved quite wrong. These dogs are so clever that they have been called “the Houdinis of the dog world.” They are master escape artists, looking for ways to get free and run loose. Even a fence buried three feet below ground and extending eight feet above ground is not going to contain these dogs when they get it into their heads to get out.
Metal dog crates are about your only hope. Even then, you do not want to crate your puppy for very long, nor would you crate an adult for long either. They get “kennel-shy” when you keep them cooped up for too long, and then they might exhibit some aggression from being cooped up.
Boarding, Daycare, and Traveling
If you are going away for more than a few hours, board your dog instead of trying to keep him/her at home. If you can manage the cost, send your Huskies to doggy daycare where they can be kept busy and out of trouble while you are at work all day. If you are going to be going on a trip where dogs are allowed, consider taking your Siberian pooch friend with you. He/she will be a lot happier in the car and going places with you instead of being cooped up or boarded and missing you something fierce. They do miss their humans when separated for long periods. Lastly, be sure to go through a reputable breeder if you adopt.