So, You Think You Want a Husky?

Siberian Huskies are wonderful, fun, beautiful, loving dogs, but they are not the right breed for every household.

Welfare organisations who specialise in breeds like Siberian Huskies and Malamutes are overflowing with rescue dogs. Many of these rescue dogs were purchased as expensive puppies by owners who wanted beautiful, blue-eyed dogs, but did not adequately research or understand the needs and demands of the breed, and then as the puppies grew up, the owners found themselves overwhelmed by typical sled dog behaviour, resulting in these beautiful dogs getting lost in the streets or abandoned.

In an effort to reduce this, Husky Rescue has summarised what you need to know if you're thinking of getting a Siberian Husky.

Read all the way to the end to find out how you can help raise funds for Husky Rescue with an easy Copy-Paste-Share!

Husky Energy Levels

Siberian Huskies typically have high energy levels. They are working dogs and were bred to pull a sled for hours every day in very tough conditions. They have great stamina and are also very smart. If you want a happy husky, you will have to provide your dog with a lot of physical and mental exercise. This can be done in the form of long, on-leash walks, jogging, taking them for Dry-land Sledding (the husky pulls you on a bike or scooter), clicker training, dog dancing, agility, flyball, obedience training, etc. If you provide your husky with lots of mental and physical stimulation, it will help to keep him/her out of trouble. And WOW, a bored husky can be TROUBLE! They are proficient at digging up your garden, chewing your sprinkler system, ripping the washing into tiny pieces, or looking for a bone right in the middle of your couch.

Because they were bred to pull, some huskies might not be easy to walk on-leash. Lots of positive-reinforcement obedience training will help you to teach your dog to walk comfortably on a leash without pulling your arms off!

If you have a very busy life and can't spend a lot of time exercising your husky, then consider adopting an older husky. Huskies age very gracefully and maintain their good looks well into old age, but their need for exercise will diminish slightly as they age.

Huskies Are Escape Artists

Huskies are bred to run run run run run! And in addition to this, they are very curious dogs - they will use every opportunity to check out the neighborhood, or the doggies next door, or the cat on the other side of the road.

Huskies will run and get lost. The lucky ones will be taken in by people with good intentions, but most will be hit by a car or will become starved strays.

This is why welfare organisations who specialise in this breed will do home-inspections and will only re-home their rescues to "husky-proof" properties. For a property to be "husky-proof", it must meet the following criteria:

  • Walls or fences should be at least 1,8 meters tall, with no textures or ledges that the dogs can grip to climb over.

  • Walls or fences should be buried deep in the ground, and / or the ground near the walls / fences should be hardened with rocks and / or cement to prevent your husky from digging underneath to escape.

  • Double gates in the front garden, and/or a separate front and back garden to stop your husky from making a break for it when you open your front gate.

Remember that most huskies can't be trusted off-leash! Even if you dedicate immense time, effort and funds into training your husky to come to when you call, many huskies will not have a reliable recall and it is safest to keep them on leash at all times.

Walls should be 1,8 meters tall, with no textures to grip to climb over.

Huskies and Other Animals

Huskies are typical pack dogs and LOVE to be with their human and doggie friends. It is not recommenced to keep a husky as a single dog as they are often become lonely, depressed and resort to destructive behaviours. Nevertheless, there are some huskies who are not good with other dogs and need to be homed alone.

Huskies usually get along with all kinds of dogs but seem to have a preference for their own breed - if you have ever seen a pack of huskies play with each other, you understand this! They have a very toothy, vocal, boisterous style of play which can be confusing and scary for other breeds of dogs. It is therefore recommended that huskies are kept in pairs or in a pack of other huskies.

Some huskies might not be good with small dogs - if they have not been adequately socialised with them, they might see them as prey, or they might simply play too rough and be too boisterous for small, fragile dogs. A good welfare organisation will be able to advise you on which if their rescues will be okay to live with small doggy friends.

Huskies have a very strong prey drive - in Siberia where the breed existed for thousands of years, huskies were free to roam during the summer months and had to fend for themselves - they knew how to hunt and kill, and our modern huskies have not forgotten this part of their heritage. Huskies will hunt and kill livestock like chickens, sheep, goats, other small animals that live in your household like cats, parrots, hamsters, etc. It is not recommended to home a husky with any of the above. If you have cats or other small pets, then consider adopting a rescued husky mix. While this is no guarantee that the dog will be safe for your cat, it increases your chances significantly. Regardless of your husky's mix, training, and personality, you should never leave your husky with your cat or other animals unsupervised.

Husky play is toothy, vocal & boisterous. It can be confusing & scary for other breeds.

Huskies as Guard Dogs

Huskies are typically friendly to everybody and absolutely DON'T make good watch dogs! On the contrary, during a burglary at your home, your husky might simply run off through the open front door. Don't get a husky if you want a guard dog.

Huskies and Children

Huskies are usually good with children, even very small ones. Nevertheless, remember that huskies are high-energy, boisterous dogs and they might accidentally hurt a child while they are running and jumping around. A husky might also react to pain by biting, so if a child accidentally stands on your husky's tail, or grabs an infected ear, the consequence could be a serious bite wound. Children and dogs must be supervised at all times while they are together. Children should be taught to respect the dog's space and boundaries, to not approach the dog while it is sleeping or eating, and to allow the dog space and quiet time. A good welfare organisation will also be able to advise you on which dogs have lived with and are comfortable with children.

Blue Eyes

Blue eyes are NOT a sign that a husky is purebred. The breed standard of a Siberian Husky states that their eyes can be any colour - blue, brown, amber, green, or a mixture of all of these colours. The quality of a Siberian Husky should be judged by its ability in pulling a sled, not its eye or coat colour. Selective breeding for blue eyes must be avoided as it can result in a range of genetic health problems like glaucoma and cataracts.

Thank you for going through all this information! If you still think that a Siberian Husky is the right breed for you, please contact Husky Rescue to adopt one of their lovely rescue doggies!

Howl About This for Husky Rescue

Help us hoooooooowl this out to all South Africans and PetExpo will make a donation to Husky Rescue! Here's how...

  • Find the graphic below on our Facebook Page

  • Tag 2 friends in the comments

  • Hit the share button (make sure your privacy is set to "public")

  • Say something about this...quote your favourite part of this article, or tell us about a challenge you've had with your own Siberian Husky.

  • Click the "post" button.

  • For every public 'Share', PetExpo will donate R1 to Husky Rescue. Our goal is R500 for 500 shares!

The Fine Print: Only one "share" per FB Profile will be counted, so remember to tag your friends!

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