Siberian Husky Temperament and Personality
A quick search on the internet about the most attractive dogs, and you will notice one of the most commonly mentioned breeds, the Siberian Husky. You have probably seen one in movies or on your social media feeds. Their thick double coat fur, light-colored eyes, and muscular build exude regality and mystery.
However, there is more than meets the eye for this ice-sledding dog. They are strong and smart, albeit occasionally stubborn.
The Siberian Husky at a Glance
- A friendly, intelligent, and tenacious breed that is perfect for attentive owners.
- Reliable and intelligent with a streak of mischief.
- Has pretty eyes and a muscular build that needs special attention during a routine check-up and careful observation for genetic predispositions.
- Accustomed to a cold climate with thick double coat fur that is prone to shedding but requires minimal bathing.
- A light eater and omnivore that tends to have a sensitive stomach.
- A highly trainable and hyperactive dog that thrives in exploration and companionship.
Siberian Husky History
As the name implies, the Siberian Husky traces its roots to Siberia, a province in Russia that is popular for its long winters. Historically, this breed was used by the Chukchi people—the locals residing in the northeastern part of the country—as sled dogs and companions. Given the harsh weather condition, mobility was difficult for people. Having a dog with them made tasks easier to accomplish.
As a dog supporting humans in daily tasks, they were considered to be under the working dog group. In the 20th century, the Siberian Husky crossed from Russia to Alaska. It became well-known as a competitive and capable breed in sled-dog races. Eventually, it became a household name as a consistent winner in such competitions.
Dog Classification: Working Dog
Height: 20-24 inches
Weight: 35-60 lbs.
Fur Color: Tan, White, Gray, and Black
Eye Color: Blue or Caramel
Life Expectancy: 11-14 years
Did you know that Siberian Huskies do not smell? Like other Arctic dogs, their thick fur is special since they do not easily get oily and stinky. Did you know that different-colored eyes are common among Siberian Huskies? This is a genetic condition called heterochromia.
The Huggable Siberian Husky
On the outside, the Siberian Husky appears intimidating. Perhaps it is the eye color and body size that make it a little daunting. Contrary to the perceived aloofness, though, it is one of the best pets to have. As part of the working dog group with its history as a companion to humans, the Siberian Husky is easily one of the most outgoing breeds.
They are friendly to strangers and loyal to their owners. They even get along well with kids and other dogs! Give them enough playtime and training, and you will find yourself being able to hug your fluffy and furry friend. While high-spirited, the Siberian Husky is not one to monopolize your attention. This breed thrives in a balance of play, rest, and alone time.
Your Siberian Husky’s Health
Aside from its sociability and intelligence, one of the great things about the Siberian Husky is that it is generally a healthy breed. With the right amount of food, exercise, and proper grooming, this breed is one of the most low-maintenance in terms of health.
General Health Information for your Siberian Husky
A Healthy Siberian Husky Cheat Sheet
- Odorless and shiny fur
- Regular topcoat shedding
- Effortless and quick gait
- Consistent eating and appetite
- Minimal drooling
- Occasional but controllable barking and howling
- High energy level
- Friendly demeanor
- A minimum of eight-hour sleep, longer for older dogs
- At least once a day defecating for adult dogs, and every after meals for puppies
- 3-5 times urinating each day
Genetic Predispositions for Siberian Huskies
Although relatively low-maintenance, it is important to understand that some illnesses or infections are innately common for Siberian Huskies due to genetic predispositions. Such cases usually involve their eyes and hips. These are two primary areas that dog owners should pay attention to.
Their eyes, one of their distinct physical features, are prone to cataracts, progressive retinal atrophy, and corneal dystrophy. All of these eye problems have to do with impaired vision—from blurred eyesight to vision loss. This is an urgent concern that should always be monitored since it cannot be easily corrected. Instead, these require medical treatments and even surgery.
As for the hips, Siberian Huskies are prone to hip dysplasia which is common among medium to large dogs. If you are observant, you can see this condition even on a few-weeks-old puppy. The instability in walking and abnormal gait is a sign of hip dysplasia. For some, however, this does not develop until well into adulthood.
The good news is this can be treated with a proper diet and enough physical exercise. Lowering your dog’s caloric intake and increasing its activities can aid in managing, if not entirely treating hip dysplasia. Keep in mind that Siberian Huskies are very intelligent and highly trainable dogs. They love to move around and engage with others.
If you find them having difficulty accomplishing tasks or being less active than usual, have them checked by an expert to ensure they are in tiptop condition.
Taking Care of Your Siberian Husky at Home
When it comes to taking care of a Siberian Husky, you have to ask yourself three questions foremost:
- Do I have enough space in my house for physical activities?
- Do I have enough time to train and play with my dog regularly?
- Do I have enough patience with the shedding?
Your answer to all questions should always be yes. Otherwise, it will be difficult to raise and take care of a Siberian Husky at home. Keep in mind that this is a breed that enjoys mental stimulation, physical activities, and human companionship. A Siberian Husky is not meant to be left alone in the house for long hours.
Otherwise, you will find yourself facing a noise complaint from your neighbors because your dog has been barking out its dissatisfaction. They shed regularly. To minimize this, you have to give them daily brushing. That is not an easy feat for any dog. Although blessed with a pleasing and easy temperament, a Siberian Husky, like any breed, requires time, attention, and space.
Make sure you provide more than the bare minimum with your dog, and you will see it reciprocating your efforts.
Routine Care, Diet, and Exercise
There is always a catch with trainable, sociable dogs like the Siberian Husky: they can be mischievous and stubborn. Expect them to try to get out of the house and explore what’s outside. Anticipate them to be transparent with their emotions. They will bark at you and will ignore you from time to time. That is simply how it is with smart working dogs.
You will have to sow to reap something. You will need to exert effort to gain their affection and loyalty. Whether you have a puppy or an adult Siberian Husky, try to maintain a routine during the first weeks and months. It takes time for any pet to adjust to a new home. Allow your dog to get used to you as an owner and your house as its new home.
Related: How To Socialize Your Dog
While all the fur seems majestic on a Siberian Husky, it also requires care to maintain it. Dog breeds native to cold areas such as the Siberian Husky usually have two layers of fur: a topcoat and an undercoat. The dual-layer enables them to withstand the changing weather, particularly the extreme coldness they are accustomed to.
The good news about Siberian Huskies is that they do not need frequent bathing. Otherwise, their skin can get dry and irritated. You do not need to worry about odor either since they do not smell or stink. It is important to note that these are very active dogs, so they might get dirty from grass or soil. It is best to get an organic or mild dog shampoo to avoid skin concerns from coming up.
Aside from their furry paws, you do not need to trim their fur or have them groomed. Attending to the paws is optional, but it is highly recommended. This allows them to be more comfortable, safe in movements, and to keep clean. Well-groomed paws minimize clinging of dirt and avoid possible sliding and slipping.
Although bathing is very minimal for this breed, they do need frequent brushing. If you can do it daily, then even better. The bare minimum is once a week. Brushing aids in diminishing the shedding of fur but does not eliminate it.
Siberian Huskies shed their topcoat a lot; this is considered regular or natural shedding. This is their way of getting rid of damaged fur. Then, twice a year, when the seasons and the temperature change, they also shed their undercoat. This is called seasonal shedding or blowing coat. You can easily fill a box with the amount of fur they shed during this time!
Food and Diet
When it comes to food and diet, it can be tricky with Siberian Huskies. This is an aspect that you need to pay close attention to. They can eat commercial dog food and raw food and do not exclusively eat meat. When introduced properly, they can eat fruits and vegetables too. Being accustomed to harsh weather conditions where food is scarce, they are generally not greedy with their intake.
Despite being very active, owners will notice that they do not eat as much as other breeds. However, they do tend to be picky and sensitive with what they eat. If there is an incompatibility with food, it will inevitably show, especially on their skin. They would have a dull coat or would get dandruff. They would even shed too much.
The easiest way to spot food incompatibility, though, is through their stool. Loose stool with a fishy odor is a common indicator that your Siberian Husky is not digesting his food well. Whenever they associate a particular food with such a bad experience, expect them not to eat it anymore the next time it is served to them.
The solution to such concerns is to allow your dog to try different kinds of food while establishing a fixed routine. Do not feed your dog right before and immediately after exercising. This will lead to indigestion. Try to put a two-hour and a thirty-minute allowance respectively. When introducing a new food, do not mix commercial and raw food. Also, it is best to check in with your veterinarian about what food could be mixed.
Exercise and Training
With a smart and active dog like the Siberian Husky, positive reinforcement is the key. Their affection often leads to mischief. They will try to get their way with you! That is why it is important to establish dominance through a firm approach, consistent routine, and reward system. One of the ways to help train Siberian Huskies is to get them to exercise.
Regularly take walks and play with them to release their energy. This can begin your bond with them, establishing you as a caring and attentive companion. Once you have earned their trust, it will be easier for them to follow you. Aside from aiding in obedience training, exercise also keeps Siberian Huskies healthy, minimizing the possibility of hip dysplasia and obesity.
It will also help them eat better. Remember that they eat for sustenance rather than hunger. If they have exhausted their calories during play hours, they will respond better during mealtime.
What to Watch For
Always be a responsible owner and watch out for any change in energy level, eating habits, and physical appearance. Given the very distinct characteristics of a Siberian Husky, any change should be noticeable. They are also very vocal. They will bark, howl, or whimper if they are uncomfortable.
When it comes to attending to health concerns, having a regular veterinarian is always ideal, one who knows your dog very well, including their habits and temperament. Once you have a trustworthy veterinarian, you can begin exploring teleconsultation or medical consultation through phone calls. Consider this option for minor concerns or queries.
Keep in mind that not all dogs are comfortable with traveling, especially if they are not used to driving or have a history of getting carsick.
For medical emergencies, it is best to head into your veterinarian’s clinic. Make sure to call beforehand so that they can make the necessary preparations. Injuries, excessive bleeding, difficulty in breathing, eating or defecating, and other immediate concerns require physical attention from an expert.
Best Dog Food for Siberian Huskies
For adult Siberian Huskies, you have the option to go for commercial and raw food. However, try not to mix the two. If you want to shift to raw food, gradually introduce it to them. This helps ensure that they are getting the right nutrients without upsetting their stomach.
While Siberian Huskies need protein-packed food, you can always try other food with high nutritional value. There are no special diet restrictions for a Siberian Husky aside from the usual food that dogs should not be fed, such as chips, chocolate, garlic, and the likes.
Best Dog Food for Siberian Husky Puppies
For Siberian Husky puppies, it is best to get commercial food first. Go for the ready-to-eat canned food or semi-moist food you can purchase at pet stores or supermarkets. It is advisable to choose variants that are not entirely dry. Otherwise, you will have to soften the food with water.
Keep in mind that their digestive system is still weak. Provide food and treats that are easy to ingest and digest. This will help make sure they get the nutrients they need.
7 Things You Need to Know About the Siberian Husky
Make sure you read this list before getting your Siberian Husky!
- Siberian Huskies love mental stimulation on top of physical playtime. Teaching them tricks and letting them walk or run outdoors will satisfy their curiosity.
- Expect your dog to occasionally sneak out of your house to take on solo adventures. Most of the time, it is not because they feel dissatisfied inside your home. They only have the craving to see what else is out there and sniff their surroundings.
- Siberian Huskies like to chew on things, so you have to dog-proof your house. Even before your dog arrives, try to keep your stuff out of their reach. Make sure your cables and wires are also neatly kept.
- Siberian Huskies get separation anxiety whenever they are left alone. They love companionship. If you do not want them to experience separation anxiety, begin training them by first leaving them for short periods. Then, slowly increase the time until they get accustomed to it.
- Aside from running space, you will need a cool temperature to raise your Siberian Huskies. Their origins are from the cold regions, and their coat has adapted to such conditions. If you want to raise healthy dogs of this breed, make sure that aside from enough space to play, your place is cool enough for them.
- Do not treat them as equals. Siberian Huskies might be friendly, but they can be hardheaded too. If they know they can get things their way, they will become difficult to train. Establish rules and boundaries early on. It will save you the headache and heartache later on.
- Cuddles are always appreciated. Siberian Huskies love affection. Some breeds are okay with seeing their owners around them. However, for Siberian Huskies, hugging, petting, and cuddling is always a way to show affection.
Siberian Husky Health Concerns
Aside from what has already been mentioned, other concerns might come up with Siberian Huskies. Although relatively less common, below is a list of illnesses, injuries, or infections one might encounter with a Siberian Husky.
- Zinc Deficiency
- Inflammatory Bowel Disease
- Skin Diseases
- Gastric Disease
- Degenerative Myelopathy
FAQs (Frequently Asked Questions)
Is a Husky a wolf?
This is a frequent question because of the physical appearance of a Siberian Husky. However, the answer is no. A husky is not a wolf. While genetically, the Siberian Husky resembles wolves, the similarities end there. The latter is bigger and heavier but lives a shorter life. Furthermore, they cannot be domesticated—a stark contrast to the attitude and temperament of the Siberian Husky.
What does a Husky eat?
A Husky is an omnivore, so its diet has a wide range. It can eat both commercial and raw food, as well as meat, vegetables, and fruits. This breed tends to be a fussy eater, though, so finding the right food for your dog can be tricky. It is best to establish a mealtime routine and observe eating patterns to ensure proper nutrition.
Are Huskies dangerous?
Huskies raised by responsible owners are not dangerous. They are, nevertheless, a little difficult to train if you are not able to establish leadership and dominance early on. They have the instincts of an adventurer that explains their tendency to escape and wander. Unless they have experienced trauma or abuse, Siberian Huskies are among the friendliest and most agreeable breeds.
How do Huskies show affection?
There are different ways that huskies show affection. From the rapid wagging of the tail and the easy way of maintaining eye contact to sniffing you and putting their paw on you, this is a breed that has a very upfront way of showing affection. Eventually, you may even find them paying more attention to you by being able to detect changes in your emotions.
How much is a Husky?
Depending on the breed and quality of the Siberian Husky, they will cost from $650 to $1,300. As with all dogs, expect the price to go even higher with purebreds and top-quality dogs.
The Siberian Husky, while an attractive, sociable, and trainable dog, is packed with personality. Moreover, it has its health concerns that owners should watch out for. It is fit for owners who love training and staying with their pets. It is most suitable for those willing to invest time, energy, and love for this fluffy breed.