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Siberian Huskys: Characteristics of the breed and how to live with a Siberian Husky
The Siberian Husky is a big dog with a serious amount of energy! They are a working dog breed that originated in the cold climes of Russia. Both athletic and intelligent, they can be a challenge for first time owners. They possess great ability to learn, but also great ability to disrupt!
This guide gives key information you should know about the Siberian Husky breed. It includes an outline of their normal appearance, as well as the typical personality you can expect to see in a Siberian Husky. It will finish with useful tips to help make your life with a Siberian Husky easier. If you do go for it and bring one into your home, then the information contained here will be useful for getting off to a great start.
Physical characteristics of a Siberian Husky
The Siberian Husky is a medium-to-large sized dog, but unlike some more sedate large dogs, they are a bundle of energy. Being used as sled dogs, they were originally bred for their ability to run with such force that they could pull a sled for long distances. The males are larger than the females in general. The male can reach a typical maximum size of 24 inches at the shoulders, though some are larger. They typically weigh up to 60 pounds.
The coat of a Siberian Husky is one of the reasons for their popularity. These dogs will need regular grooming, but look naturally fabulous. The coat can vary in colours – the base will be white, but black and brown highlights bring great variety. They are commonly said to look like wolves, and it is easy to see why. The dark mask around the muzzle and eyes, as well as the delicate highlights that many have, can bring them a beauty in line with that of the wolf. Because they are built for cold climates, the Siberian Husky will keep its coat for most of the year and not shed much. However, the coat goes through a renewal period about twice a year. During this time it will be shed quickly and heavily to make way for new growth, so be prepared!
They have few common health problems, with most of the hereditary conditions that affect them being related to eyesight. You should always ensure that any puppy has come from parents that have been thoroughly checked for the common diseases that affect the breed.
Personality of a Siberian Husky
The biggest potential issue with Siberian Huskies is their uncanny ability to escape and wander. Though this is fine in the wild, expansive setting that they were bred in, it is not good in a built up environment. They will undoubtedly wander away from their home if they ever get the chance. A lot of Huskies end up getting lost or injured as a result of this behaviour. If you own a Siberian Husky you will need to do the ground work to ensure that they cannot escape under, over or through the fences in your yard. You will need to check and re-check on a regular basis to ensure they do not dig or force any hole in your perimeter.
Siberian Huskies are also notoriously difficult to train, so people who are inexperienced with dogs will definitely struggle. Not only are they boisterous, they are not especially motivated to please humans, as they do not depend on them as much as other breeds. This often manifests in a determined stubbornness that is hard to work around. It is necessary for an owner to be strong and immediately assume the alpha position within the home. They are pack dogs, so the close ordering of the pack they are in is a natural part of how they understand the world.
They will fit well with a family when they are properly trained. They are rated highly for their friendliness, and are usually good with children. No breed should be left alone with young children, but Huskies are not known to be aggressive. They are large though, and this can create problems of its own – they may think they are just being affectionate when they bound into a child or elderly relative and send them flying!
Despite their fearsome size, strength and alertness, they do not do well as guard dogs. They are not overly territorial and are too friendly with strangers to be of much use in this role. Leaving them alone for long periods of time is also a very bad idea as they can turn highly destructive. Their size and energy means they can destroy your house! Another domestic issue can be a very loud one – they often like to howl! They don’t bark, which is the good news, but the howling can be almost as bad or worse. Proper training and exercise are essential to keep these issues under control.
How to live with a Siberian Husky
You must be entirely prepared for the energy and wild nature of a Husky before you bring one into your family. Experienced owners should be fine, but new owners will struggle with the challenges of training and containing a Husky! Due to their beauty and initially appealing nature, these dogs are often wrongly purchased by owners who do not understand their temperament. They are then left with an unruly and difficult to train dog that takes up a huge amount of their time and energy. Unfortunately, this means that many Huskies are lost or accidentally killed in the worst cases, or given up for adoption.
To make their life safe, they should always be kept in a well fenced area. They should never be let off the lead on walks because they will have a strong desire to run off or chase after other animals. Their curiosity can often get them lost or injured if they are allowed out of sight.
Saying all that, the rewards come in spades with a Siberian Husky. They are highly intelligent and develop pleasing personalities. They are also very beautiful. If you do take a Siberian Husky on, be prepared for an adventure!