Siberian Husky Dogs
Siberian Huskies may look like wolves of the wild, but they are actually easy-going, friendly pals. These are pack dogs—they enjoy the comfort and security of the home and family.
Siberian Husky Pictures
- 35 - 60 pounds
- 20 - 23 inches
Ideal Human Companions
- Families with older children
- Active, sporty types
- Cold-weather dwellers
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- "Wolf-like" look
- Cuddly and warm
- Friendly and tame
What They Are Like to Live With
A well-exercised Siberian Husky will be content hanging out on the couch for a cuddle or playing a mellow game on the carpet. The Siberian Husky also has a mischievous side: They can become restless and destructive when left alone for too long. An easy way to combat this, aside from giving them attention, is to get them a Siberian Husky pal.
These dogs are devoted to their families, but they are also excellent hosts when guests come over, rarely barking or acting territorial; however, they do have an interesting wolf-like howl. Overall, what they say is true: Huskies are everybody’s friend. Because of this, they are not the best guard dogs.
Things You Should Know
Don’t forget: Siberian Huskies descend from a race of tough, reliable working dogs. They get bored without enough exercise and activity. However, they should not be overworked in warm weather. If you live in a warm climate, consider another breed. If you have a warm season, exercise your Siberian Husky in the early hours and turn on the air conditioning inside.
Siberian Huskies can be a little willful, but they are definitely trainable. Use a firm but friendly hand and train them consistently. These are Arctic dogs—tough, determined and self-sufficient. They love to roam and wander, dig holes and capture small animals. Make sure they have a fenced-in yard and always walk them on a leash.
Shedding can be an issue with Siberian Huskies: During normal times, their coats need only occasional grooming. But during their shedding seasons (spring and fall) they need daily brushing with a metal comb to prevent hair from getting all over everything.
A healthy Siberian husky can live as long as 15 years. Common health issues include hips dysplasia and eye problems. Siberian Huskies used for racing can often develop gastric and bronchial problems.
Siberian Husky History
For centuries, the indigenous Chukchi people of Siberia developed what we know today as the Siberian Husky. These hardy, even-tempered dogs were not simply used as pets or helpful working dogs: The Chukchi people relied on them for survival. They herded reindeer, pulled sleds and worked for long hours in the cold. Up until the 19th century, the Chukchi people were the only breeders of this particular sled dog. In the early 1900s, Americans in Alaska began to import these dogs for sledding competitions. But their fame spread even more rapidly when a team of Huskies helped transport lifesaving antitoxin to Nome, Alaska during a diphtheria epidemic.
The Look of a Siberian Husky
Siberian Huskies have compact, light and furry frames. They have medium-sized heads, sometimes having unique black & white or red & white patterns. Their medium-length muzzles end in black noses (or brown for red-coated dogs). They have triangular ears that open forward and almond-shaped eyes that create an involved and cunning expression. Their proud, erect necks and straight backs lead to bushy tails. Their well-furred coat is close enough to show off the muscular lines of the body. Siberian Huskies can come in almost any color. Overall, they are balanced, muscular and well-developed dogs.
Talk About Siberian Huskies
A breed that truly bonds with you
The Siberian Husky is a breed with a long pedigree. Ours is a rescue dog, whose owners needed to part with her. Four 2-3 months she wanted nothing more than to escape and run home, such are the pack bonds.
She is the sweetest dog I ever had had and I've had a few. I'm going on 58 years old and she's probably keeping me alive with exercise. In short, a very special animal. Knows conversational English well, learned high five and low five in less than a minute playing with my wife. She is a strong, mellow, mischievous, happy, sensitive, way too smart animal. I think she's telepathic too...LOL!
~Stan B., owner of a Siberian Husky
A dog that would rather play than fight
There is no breed that is more beautiful or that has more heart and courage. I get stopped 2 to 10 times a day with people who HAVE to meet my dog, Tzar. Living with a Husky means you like to walk, hike, or have your "child" near you at almost all times. It keeps my dog young, and keeps me young and I'm never alone as they like to talk, especially after dinner!
I tell people that if they are as smart as their dog, then that is saying something as Huskies are extremely intelligent besides being escape artists. That being a working breed, they have to have a job, and they are very strong.
While not a guard dog, my dog was attacked by a Rottweiler. (I have nothing against most Rotts.) and Tzar flipped the Rott and pinned him. Luckily I got the owner in time to avoid bloodshed. They do not start fights, but sometimes they finish them, however we all know that a Husky would rather PLAY than fight.
They are mischievous to the max. All mine have been blue-eyed babies with that incredible eyeliner, nature is never improved on.
In the end it is their amazing courage and heart, their amazing soul, and a wildness I think most of us can recognize as being the real beauty of this magnificant creature.
~Judy K., owner of a Siberian Husky
Not mellow dogs
You're really giving people the wrong impression about the Siberian husky. They are definitely not mellow dogs, as their history would suggest, and require a lot of training in order to get them to calm down. Training a husky is not easy, as they are excitable and very intelligent.
Huskies are in fact, often quite territorial, mostly with other dogs. They are the ready-made-family-friendly-pal you've made them out to be. Only with consistent training and socialization from an early age will they match this description.
If you come home one day to discover your house living room in ruins with your beloved husky chewing on the remains of your couch, getting another dog will not help to solve this problem. If anything, it will make it worse. The husky in question has run-amock because it is bored. It is a high-energy dog that always needs something to do. If you get another husky, you will then have not one, but TWO bored, high-energy dogs.
Overall the husky is a wonderful breed and can be a loving companion, but requires a patient and strong-willed trainer.
~Sarah. N., owner of a Siberian Husky
A word on housebreaking a Husky
We love our Husky. He is loving, and acts like a lap dog at 75 lbs. He's smart, almost too smart.
The reason I'm posting is because I've read that a lot of Huskies don't ask their owners to go out. Well, our Husky isn't one to really bark either. He'll go between the door, his leash and us and hope we get the message. He was really easy to break, but only because we paid attention.
As a puppy we placed puppy pads in his favorite areas to do his thing. Then we moved them to the door. This way he always goes to the door and we take him out. He was trained in about three weeks. But you have to be really aware in the beginning. They will wait until they absolutely HAVE to go.
~Jody S., owner of a Siberian Husky
A stubborn, yet very loving breed
I love this breed because they are very loyal and loving. They tend to be a bit territorial and stubborn, but they are great for the right family. In my experience, the Siberian Huskies absolutely love kids! They are great with any household, as long as they get enough exercise!
Do NOT leave your gate or fence yard open, or they will escape! They are very energetic and adventurous! Socialize them and train them at a very young age or you will regret it! If you give the love, you will get it back, no doubt. They are best in HOUSES with BIG yards! They love to hunt and be the "pack leader" so you have to stand up and show them who's boss! Over all, this breed is absolutely 110 percent an outstanding breed for the right owners! Good luck and happy doggie finding!
~Shaylie H., owner of Siberian Huskies
Imprinting is the key to success
I think the best thing we did with our Siberian Husky, Malakaj, was the imprinting process. He is one of the few Huskies that does NOT run off when he is not on a lead or fenced in. In fact, I can stand on the front porch and he will stay in the yard, do his business and come back in. If he gets out of the fenced yard he comes round to the front door and knocks to be let in.
He is a total lap dog and because he is big, people are both in awe and wary of his attendance to our side. I can't imagine daily life without our guy. With any dog, imprinting is the key to a connection and success in trust and training. But with our Husky it has been the biggest key of all.
~Doni W., owner of Siberian Huskies
Huskies dont like to be alone
We've had huskies for over 20 years. As puppies they MUST have consistent discipline and exercise. I guarantee that without it you will come home to ransacked house. With our very first husky we didn't realize that loneliness will cause them to act out. Our 12 month old destroyed our sofa because of boredom and loneliness. We had to start working him out before we went to work and the next thing was to get him a companion. It doesn't necessarily have to be another husky, but I would recommend it simply because you can give them both consistent exercise and discipline.
Huskies are probably one of the most stubborn breeds, but it you are firm and emphasize that you are the leader of the pack and that they are at the bottom of the pecking order you will have the most loving, fun dogs you could possibly want. However you must be someone who can be the boss. Huskies are not for people who are pushovers. This is one of the biggest reasons why people take huskies to the pound.
Sibes also are not the dog for people with cats, gerbils, rabbits, or bird watchers. They WILL chase them and chew them. They WILL NOT change.
It is not normal for a husky to lay around. If you have a husky that does nothing but lay around and gets fat get their thyroid checked. Hypothyroidism can be fairly common in huskies, however it can be treated with medication.
Huskies are for people who live an active life. You will never find a more loyal or loving dog. Just remember they need a lot of exercise and you need to be able to emphasize YOU are the boss.
~Paula W., owner of lots of Siberian Huskies
They make the craziest sounds you ever heard
You will not find a more loyal, loving, or hilarious dog, but they are not for everyone! Do not enter into this choice lightly. If you are not determined to be the pack leader, if you do not have a yard (large and fenced), and if you do not have the time to give this breed sufficient playtime, then forget about it.
They also may not be right for first-time dog owners. They must be kept on a leash at all times or they will run off – it is their instinct as working, energetic dogs. Good luck catching one loose, even in your yard.
They are very smart dogs but can be stubborn; they may know exactly what you are telling them but choose not to listen. While other dogs may accept you as pack leader indefinitely, Huskies will test you from time to time to try to increase their rank in the household.
Be prepared for the craziest assortment of sounds you have ever heard. While they do not often bark you will hear all kinds of wooing, singing, and, when the moment is right, howling! If you have close neighbours who will get annoyed this may not be the right breed for you.
They also have a strong prey drive for smaller animals unless they are raised with them. As a pack animal, they dislike being alone and can become destructive as well as excellent escape artists; if you can handle it, another dog would be beneficial in a Husky home.
~J.L., owner of two Siberian Huskies
Doesn't like to be smothered
Our 1-year-old loves people, especially children and strangers. She is affectionate and loving, but she doesn't like to be smothered. She'll only take so much petting and kissing atop her head before she's had enough.
Often, she'll be in another room of the house when we're all gathered together in the Family Room. She'll wander in from time to time to check on us, but she likes her independence. My husband and I often remark how she gives everyone equal time: She'll sit at my his feet for a while, then bring her toys over to me. She'll lay on my daughter's bedroom floor, then wander the house to find my son.
Sibes communicate by howling -- this took us some getting used to. The best howl is her "I-need-to-go-out!" howl. She'll take her paw and tap me on the arm or leg.
She is a wonderful, active, and energetic dog. I'll admit, there are some rainy nights when I wish she would just lie down and snuggle with me, but I know she loves me in her own way.
~Tara D., owner of a Siberian Husky
My Husky doesn't know she can jump
I have a red female Siberian husky named Gretel, who is 2 and was given to me as a gift when she was 3 months old. She is roughly 40 pounds, so on the small side.
She is slightly different than other huskies in that she does not chew very often and has never destroyed so much as a sock. She also does not jump, doesn't know she can jump, and has never tried it; we have a four-foot fence around our backyard that is plenty high enough for HER (probably not other huskies, though!).
But that is about where the dissimilarity ends. She howls at sirens. She is possessive of her toys, food, ME, her bed, etc. but not toward humans, just our other dog. She is a punk, also; she is seemingly NEVER tired, and will howl to wake us up at 3 a.m. in the dead of winter because she wants to play in the snow.
Gretel has dug up our yard in unimaginable ways (she has killed about 10 moles, though, so that's helpful). She also has found three different ways to escape our "dog-proof" chainlink fence, none of which include jumping (she has headbutted through wood, chewed through wood, bent metal, dug out).
It is a misconception that they don't really bark; she barks and screams any time she is excited, which is often. Gretel is, however, WONDERFUL with kids (we have a 7-year-old) and their friends. Every human she meets is another member of her eternal fan club.
Gretel is also extremely pack-oriented. If we go for a family hike (with her on-leash, of course), she will scream if one of us gets too far ahead, or too far behind, until we are all together again. She LOVES her pack/family, and "gives kisses" very liberally!
Gretel is kind, loving, affectionate, snuggly, energetic, boisterous, smart, clever, impatient, stubborn, and all-around PERFECT!
~Anne E., owner of a Siberian Husky
Most Intelligent Dogs I've Ever Had
My experience owning Huskies goes back more than 20 years. My current guy, Skywalker, was a rescue -- he had been surrendered to the "animal police." He was skin and bones, filthy, and did not know what a ball or toy was! But he was friendly, and in true Siberian fashion, he willingly accepted my friendship.
I would rather have a husky over any breed. They are sturdy, affectionate, and full of personality. But they DO require amusements, whether it's exercise, toys, or companions, and the shedding can be challenging to say the least!
I've also found both of my guys to be fussy eaters. My first was a slow and deliberate eater, never really getting enthusiastic about anything except cheese and turkey. My current guy is worse. I don't think he 'd eaten anything but whatever he could scrounge up for himself before I adopted him. He has yet to develop a liking for ANY dog food brands I've tried, preferring whatever his humans are having.
Other than that, my Skywalker, with his beautiful mask, particolored eyes, and LOVELY singing voice, is a very special part of my life.
~Loretta L., owner of a Siberian Husky
For people whose lives revolve around their dogs
You WILL need to change your life and environment in order to live more harmoniously with this breed! They're escape artists, runners, hunters, diggers, VERY vocal, quite demanding, and selectively deaf. In training, using a high, happy voice is so important because you'll catch more flies with honey than vinegar, so to speak. They're very sensitive, sweet, and loving dogs who could become discouraged by gruff, angry commands. Obviously, you need to be the boss but you need to be a fun and loving boss, not a blustering hardcase!
It's also much safer for their health and your sanity to realize that there are arguments you just won't ever completely win. I had a baby gate between my kitchen and the rest of the house so my Sibe wouldn't raid the garbage -- a behavior you may THINK you've conquered but will always crop back up because it's self-rewarding, and which Sibes carry out so quietly that they could ingest something deadly before you even realize that they've left the room!
You have to understand that they'll take off if they get the chance.... it doesn't mean that they don't love you deeply enough, it just means that they were bred for CENTURIES [yes, really] to run far and fast, so you'll have to go get them or they'll get themselves hit by a car because they don't pay attention, or lost because by the time they slowed down they had no idea where they were, or stolen because they'll walk away with anybody since they're so friendly to all people -- it's doubtful they'll make it home on their own.
They WILL challenge your authority, and the best bet is to respond by making sure it's gonna be fun and/or rewarding to do whatever you're trying to get them to do! If you want to take a toy from them, make sure you have an edible goody to trade for it (especially if you're just starting training). If you want them to go from one part of the house to another, make it seem like a playful and fun thing to do.
They WILL display catlike behaviours that will drive many dog people insane, like walking just out of your reach when you want to pet them, then coming back to you when THEY want your attention; like not obeying your every command as many less challenging breeds may; like climbing into places where you never, ever thought a dog could even get to. :-)
They WILL blow their coat in spring and autumn, filling your vacuum cleaner quick as a wink, and then just generally shed for the rest of the year. Get a good vacuum cleaner [ and make peace with the fact that you will now be choosing clothing, upholstery, and carpeting to camouflage fur, you will sneeze from the occasional husky hair up your nose, and nary a meal or beverage will be consumed without at least one husky hair in it.
You WILL hear a lot of husky-song since pretty much every noise they make is based on a howl, and they've very vocal and demanding of your attention. You WILL refill holes in your yard. You WILL find your Husky getting into something he's not supposed to the minute you turn your back.
My life revolves around my dogs, and that's why I love Sibes so much, but if your dogs aren't a MAJOR part of your life, please don't get a Siberian Husky.
~Shar W., owner of two Siberian Huskies
For experienced owners only
The things I love most about this breed are the "ar-roo-roo" sound they make and the kisses they give. I also love how intelligent they are.
It is a challenge to live with them as they tend to challenge authority. They are for experienced dog owners only; they will easily dominate you, so you must be strong-willed to own one of these dogs.
They will chase and kill small animals such as rabbits, hamsters, sqirrels, and birds, I should know -- mine has jumped 7 feet into the air and caught a bird flying overhead. She also has killed numerous rabbits.
~Sara Y., owner of a Siberian Husky named Caleigh
Siberian Huskies aren't typical dogs
We have had a rescue husky for over 8 years. She has been a great friend and exercise pal. We always leave her in her "clubhouse" when we leave home because the surprises when we get home; mostly of the food nature, like malted milk balls hidden all over the house, the pantry doors open, and cereal eaten from the box, etc. She was never destructive, as some owners note. She does speak in English and basically will go anywhere. That's what huskies do best -- go: go for a ride, go for a walk, go get the kids, go on vacation, etc. She was never interested in chasing balls, although she knows what to do there, too. When she's home with us she is mellow and sleeps all day.
The key here was the long walk and the very long walk. Our husky likes to be out in all kinds of weather: rain, wind, and especially snow and sleet. There is never a reason for not going on the long walk or the very long walk. In the last year she has slowed down a lot and prefers to hang near home. I miss the exercise in all weather. In her retirement years, she has taken up "cooking" and will insist when something is finished on the stove or in the oven. She hasn't been wrong yet.
We just added a Siberian puppy to our family, and he is just like our older dog. He likes to play but his favorite activity is running and going. He is reserved and respectful of other people. He hasn't been terribly destructive, either, although we do know that he needs to be in his clubhouse or with us.
If you are looking for a dog that follows every command, then a husky isn't for you. If you enjoy sassy teens, this is the dog. They are smart and trainable, but expect them to have their own opinion, which can be a great thing -- since our huskies have great judgement.
~Carolyn W., owner of two Siberian Huskies
Ears like little radars
I guess maybe I'm what everyone calls a pack leader and just don't know it. It hasn't been all that hard. Some 10-year-old told me about the water bowl where they "dig" out all the water. I told her a couple of times no and she hasn't done it since.
At first, she tried to wander off, but she just runs around the yard, even when I'm gone. There are lots and lots of holes in our fence. She likes water and I bought her a kiddie pool. I have a Great Dane and a Golden Lab, so she has buddies. The Lab isn't all that excited about her and will "correct" her.
She learned how to sit, shake, and fetch within minutes of me teaching her. She doesn't argue like others portend. I don't command; she already knows to sit when I need her to. She tells on the other dogs when they are doing big no-nos, like the Great Dane uses her tongue as a scoop from the table. The Husky, of course, wants in on the action and "tells" on her fur sister.
I'm surprised to note how no one has mentioned that Sibes communicate with their ears, like little radars. When she's being corrected her ears go one direction. When she's listening to me, they go another. Her "Mommy, I missed you" ears are the bestest.
I live in Texas, and she has no problem surviving 112 degrees. In fact, her fur is just as suited for this environment probably better than my other two. She is growing her winter coat, and it's shiny and pretty. I don't have any more problem of fur than the shorthaired dogs.
She comes when I call her and hasn't failed on that yet. I also love how she turns her head to the side and does this lope and side leap before she comes to me, like she isn't sure which side she wants to greet me with.
If Cuddles gets into trouble, she will instantly stop what she's doing and act like she's not doing it. The only conversations I have had with her are conversations I have started. She will answer, particularly when I talk to her about pooing or peeing on the floor. She doesn't argue about commands as people say. But she will "talk" to me, but she seems to be waiting on my cue (a certain tone of purposeful voice).
I have young boys (5 and 8). They are an awesome match; because of their energy, they are able to keep up with the dogs and play with them. We have some land and the boys will take Cuddles "hunting." Cuddles seems contented to go and "hunt' as she seems to know what they are purposing for her. She does dig holes, but, again, we live in the country -- dig away.
~Amber K., owner of Siberian Husky
I'll have huskies until I'm too decrepit.
If you are active and don't leave your dog alone for long periods of time, they are the most perfect dogs. My first one had an abandonment issue -- she hated being alone and howled about it. She was a lead dog, which may have been part of her issue with being "left behind." Plus we didn't get her used to it at a young age. She took a long time to stop pulling on her leash, but she was the most loyal, loving dog who was perfectly fine with our cats. She talked to us like we were fluent in "rar row row" and loved playing and wrestling with her buddies.
Our second husky has even more personality. She's a mind reader (knows if we're going in the car to go somewhere for a walk, or crossing the road, etc.). She's fabulous with our cat and absolutely loves children. She'll go belly up if she senses a child is nervous or if they are very small.
While a lot of huskies can be a bit aloof with strangers, she greets anyone who talks to her like they are long-lost friends. This one does very well alone all day (although she doesn't have to do this very often).
As someone else mentioned, they're easy to toilet train, but you have to keep your eyes open. She'll stand by the door, she won't come get you if she has to go.
My experience has also been that they're fussy eaters and don't digest kibble that well. She does great on raw chicken and a bison hard food (alternating days) with scrambled eggs and canned salmon or tripe as snacks, but it took a long time to find the right combination. She thinks she can still fit in our laps and has a great sense of humour.
The key to a happy husky is exercise and interaction. They're a medium responsive dog, though this one I can let off the leash in an protected natural area when she has a dog friend. They'll always know what you want, but if they don't see what's in it for them, or they'd rather not do it, they'll just look at you and wait for your to prove your point in a better fashion. This might be why some people have said you need to be boss and be a disciplinarian, but I say just pick your battles. They are so loyal and loving you don't need to be super alpha with them. A true companion dog.
~K. S., owner of my second Siberian Husky