Zen and the Art of Dog

How to Live With Husky Dogs

I fell in love with husky dogs as a child. My family owned a pure bred Siberian, Shubad. She was a handful, to say the least, but great fun at her best. She lived a good long life and I have great memories of her. She eventually passed after suffering from cancer (I’ve been learning a lot about using CBD oil for different ailments; I wish we had access to CBD when Shubad was alive). As an adult, my wife and I adopted our husky mix, Denver, because of my love for Huskies.

Having only had Shubad we weren’t quite prepared for what life is like with huskies. Denver is a great dog but can be a lot of work and needs more care than other breeds. Huskies are awesome dogs but they really only fit certain lifestyles.

Huskies also happen to be drop dead gorgeous. Don’t believe me? See for yourself:

Denver the Husky

Many people will adopt huskies for their good looks and goofy demeanor without understanding the kind of responsibility owning a husky requires.

Where do husky dogs come from?

The history of Siberian Huskies is incredibly interesting and underlies the history of mankind.

Huskies have been used as a working breed by the Chukchi people who are native to Siberia. Bred primarily for pulling sleds in the snowy and icy tundra, Siberians have also been used for many general tasks, such as herding. Because of this breeding, huskies tend to be high drive and willing to work.

We can actually trace the origin of the Husky in North America to a very specific sled dog race in 1908 when they were first used in the All-Alaskan Sweepstakes. The breed captured the hearts of the rest of the lower 48 states in 1925 when two husky led sled dog teams brought diphtheria medication to Nome, Alaska. The famous Balto led one of these teams (interesting tidbit, his remains are on display at the Cleveland Museum of Natural History).

If you find a Husky that is not American Kennel Club certified it is most likely an “Alaskan Husky“. This moniker has become a catchall for huskies that have been interbred with other breeds- most particularly native Alaskan dog breeds. (Our Denver is almost certainly an Alaskan Husky.) Check this article out for an interesting history of the Alaskan Husky.

Are husky dogs dangerous?

The short answer is no, but with caveats.

Huskies generally have a goofy and playful disposition. They are great to have around other dogs in a pack situation. They are especially great with kids. That said, any frustrated dog that lacks socialization or exercise can have accidents.

In my experience, huskies are particularly mouthy during play. They like to use their mouth and their teeth (gently, of course). This is not really a huge problem, but it means that they need to be monitored around very little kids. Generally, however, huskies are wonderful with children and make the best dog friends you can find.

Huskies make superb exercise partners. They can run or walk for hours (and prefer to). Our Denver loses his mind when it’s time for a walk. The downside to this trait is that if a husky isn’t exercised regularly and doesn’t have some kind of job that husky will be very unhappy. Tales abound of escape artist huskies who destroy and break out of crates, dig under fences and tear apart furniture. The vast majority of dogs that exhibit this behavior are huskies. (If you adopt a husky, I highly recommend you consider a heavy duty crate to keep your dog and your furniture safe.

Your husky will run away from you. Guaranteed. Denver ran away from us at least twice before we ecollar trained him. Shubad would break out of our yard and run away all the time. In fact, if you want a husky or currently own one, I highly recommend ecollar training them specifically on recall.

You’ve probably heard that huskies are closely related to wolves- huskies and wolves have interbred throughout the generations- and the result is a dog that loves to roam AND has a high prey drive. You cannot trust them to be off-leash unless they are have an ecollar. You can check out my post here on the best ecollar.

Do Huskies Shed?

So much. More than you can imagine.

Typically huskies “blow out” their coat twice a year, once at the beginning of winter and once at the beginning of summer, with each blow out lasting approximately 4-6 weeks. The reality is that huskies shed all the time, not just during blowouts. Unless you want all your clothes, food and furniture covered with fur you will need to brush your husky regularly- particularly during blow outs.

That’s about it for now. I’ll be updating this post regularly for more info about huskies!

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