With their gorgeous coats, unique markings and icy eyes, the Siberian Huskies are known and loved the world over for their beauty. Huskies are also immensely intelligent and active dog, an aspect that, sadly, several Husky owners have either under researched or choose to ignore till it’s too late. It’s safe to say that Huskies are neither for the faint-hearted nor for the first-time dog family. The more research one puts in before deciding to spend their life with this breed, the better. The image of a Siberian Husky running miles and miles in the snow is an important one to keep in mind; they are not meant for hot climates, unless they are confined to an air-conditioned life indoors.History
The Siberian Husky was bred by the Chukchi of Northeast Asia and was used to pull heavy loads for long distances in the snow. Huskies were very much family to the Chukchi people, and often slept in their tents, providing warmth to babies. Huskies were imported to Alaska in 1908 and were used as sled dogs during the gold rush. Their agility led them to be used in the All-Alaskan Sweepstakes, where they continue to be able competitors to this day. Soon after their import into Alaska, their popularity spread wildly and uncontrollably into the United States and Canada.Unique Aspects
Siberian Huskies don’t usually do too well in apartments and hot climates. Their coat and the padding on their feet are meant to equip them for extremely cold weather, and their bodies are designed to serve athletic, agile dogs. In warmer places, they will need air-conditioned lives inside the house and loads of exercise outside. Huskies are the Houdini of the canine world. They are known to be big escape artists, notorious for wandering far from their homes. A large yard with a sunken fence is highly recommended, if you’d like to keep regular search parties at a minimum. Leash training is a must for Huskies; there is simply no question of taking them on off-leash walks or runs. Huskies rarely bark, but they more than make up for this by often throwing their heads back and howling. Further, Huskies are not quite known to be great guard dogs, so the howling will not be limited to warning you of a stranger’s presence.
You must have seen the majestic Siberian in various movies portrayed as sled dogs, saving humans in adversity. This is true on so many levels these beautiful breeds have been known in past to save the lives of many. Below we mention some of the famous movies portraying this breed.
Huskies on the silver screen Siberian Huskies have starred in several movies, in their capacity as sled dogs. Eight Below, Iron Will, Snow Dogs, Balto, Due South and the White Fang 2: Myth of the White Wolf are some of the movies that feature this majestic dog.
If you’re planning on sharing your life with a Husky, invest in a top-of-the-line vacuum cleaner and a sturdy grooming brush. Huskies shed, and shed a lot. Normally, they shed twice a year – in spring and fall – when they ‘blow’ out their coats, a term that describes excessive hair shedding over a period of two to three weeks. In warmer climates, however, Huskies are likely to shed more often and more vigorously. The Siberian Husky has a double coat of medium length hair. The top coat is straight and the undercoat is soft and dense. It is the latter that sheds all year round and more profusely twice a year especially during spring and fall. You will need brush the coat at least twice a week and, in shedding season, almost every day. This will ensure that there is no matting of the coat and will also ensure less loose hair around the house. On the plus side, Huskies need baths only sporadically and do not have any distinct canine odour.
Siberian Huskies are generally a healthy breed but, like all breeds, they may be prone to certain breed-specific conditions. Cataracts are common amongst Huskies. While they mostly occur during old age and do so gradually, some younger dogs may also develop cataracts. Sometimes, vets will advise you to get the cataracts operated, especially in the case of younger dogs. Huskies sometimes develop a condition called Corneal Dystrophy, which is opacity of the cornea caused by a collection of lipids. It is usually seen in young adults and is known to affect female Huskies more than males. This is not a dangerous condition and is not known to affect their vision. Huskies may also be prone to Progressive Retinal Atrophy (PRA), a degenerative eye disorder caused by the loss of photoreceptors at the back of the eyes. While the condition eventually leads to blindness, PRA is detectable at a very early stage and, since it is a gradual process, dogs that develop it tend to also developed heightened capabilities with regard to their other senses, which makes up for the loss of sight.
It is safe to say that this breed is not for first-time dog families. They need gentle yet firm upbringing and need to be trained early by an experienced and patient family. Siberian Huskies are pack dogs and do very well with families and especially children. However, this is not a dog that can be left alone. If their extremely intelligent minds are not kept adequately occupied at all times, they can turn very destructive and use their smarts to wreak havoc in your home. They are affectionate and warm without being needy, but can often be stubborn and test your leadership skills. It’s important to establish who’s boss quite early with a Husky. This is a high energy breed and will thrive if given ample exercise. They need experienced handlers who can understand their needs. They are charming and mischievous which can be quite a handful at times. They are not good watchdogs or guard dogs; they love strangers and are friendly towards them, to the point of inadvertently welcoming intruders into the house.Environment
The Siberian Husky can make the perfect pet for families with children, provided the adults are experienced dog people and not first-time dog families. Huskies are affectionate and even protective towards children and don’t have a tendency to be moody around them. However, as in the case of all dogs, early socialisation with young children and other animals helps them cope more easily. Huskies are essentially a pack breed, so they tend to do very well with other animals in the house as well. Smaller animals like hamsters, guinea pigs and birds might be in danger though, because Huskies were bred to hunt in snow covered mountains where food was scarce. A much smaller animal may be seen as prey rather than family! Huskies were not bred to spend hours in confined places. They need plenty of time in the outdoors and do very well in houses with large yards, provided the yard is firmly fenced off from the road. They were also bred to bear extreme cold, so they don’t tend to do well in warm climates. If you’re planning on living with a Husky in a warm place, make sure your home is adequately air-conditioned to keep the dog comfortable at all times. Wherever the Husky is expected to live, be sure to give him or her plenty of exercise in a secure space and long walks and runs on leash, to keep them from channelizing their intelligent minds towards destruction.Training & Intelligence
Siberian Huskies are high-energy working dogs, known for their intelligence. However, they can be stubborn whilst training, since they love to test your capacity for being the boss. Training a Husky will be an uphill task with a person who cannot quickly yet gently establish that he or she has to be listened to. As in the case of all dogs, positive reinforcement is the best way to get results. Expose your Husky from an early age to different sounds, sights and experiences as much as possible, to ensure a well-adjusted adult dog. Leash training is a must with this breed, since they are famous escape artists. They have a high prey drive, which can be a driving force for their escape, so keep a securely fenced yard.
Siberian Huskies are generally healthy, robust dogs with few problems during breeding. They average four to six puppies per litter. Huskies attain sexual maturity between six and nine months of age, but they are still too young to be mated. If you must mate your Husky, wait till he or she is at least two years old. Finally, as in the case of any breed, ensure that you have found responsible families to take the puppies even before you get them mated, so that they don’t fall into the wrong hands. If you’re breeding your dog for the first time, ensure that you’re consulting with a vet regularly and have adequate help during the birthing process.Puppies
Siberian Husky puppies are just like their adult counterparts when it comes to energy levels, so be prepared to be constantly on your feet with these puppies. If the energy is not channelized towards positive learning, they can quickly turn destructive. Ensure that there is early socialization for these puppies and introduce them to a variety of sights, sounds, textures and scents at an early age. The breed has its history in extremely cold temperatures where food was scarce, so Husky puppies show hunting tendencies at a very young age. If you have other smaller pets at home, make sure they are socialized early and all play is supervised. Leash training will have to begin as early as three months of age, to control the escape artist in your Husky.
The incredibly beautiful Husky has piercing eyes that will probably be the first thing that gets your attention. The almond shaped eyes are obliquely set and come in a range of different shades of brown and blue. Sometimes, Huskies can have one brown and one blue eye. They have a double coat with medium length hair. The top coat is straight, while the undercoat is soft and dense. Huskies shed a lot, especially during spring and fall, when they blow their coats, a term that depicts excessive shedding for a period of 2-3 weeks. Their coats come in a variety of colours from black to pure white, with several kinds of markings on their face and body, that adds to their overall physical allure. The chest is deep with a muscular and level back. The feet are compact and extra furry, to ensure warmth. The pads are strong with a web between the toes. The forelegs are straight and strong. The hind legs, in contrast, are strong and arched to facilitate their great running capabilities. The head is slightly rounded with a definite stop to the muzzle and the skull and muzzle are of equal length. Huskies have profusely hairy tails, much like foxes. The tail is carried hanging when the dog is at rest and curved back when attentive. The nose may be black, liver or flesh coloured, depending on the colour of the coat. The medium sized ears are triangular and are set close together. The ears are also fairly hairy. The lips are black and close fitting. The life span of a Husky is normally between 13 and 15 years. An average male Husky stands between 21 and 23.5 inches tall, while the female averages 20 to 22 inches. The male weighs between 45 and 60 pounds and the female, between 35 to 50 pounds.