Discover 8 Fascinating Facts About the Alaskan Husky

Updated on: Feb 22, 2022
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Discover 8 Fascinating Facts About the Alaskan Husky

The Alaskan Husky is the all-American cousin of the famous Siberian Husky. Yet, these dogs are much less common as family pets than their Siberian cousins. Does this mean that the Alaskan Husky is a bad family pet, however? Are there any drawbacks to bringing such a dog to your home? Or are they one of those breeds that’s actually fantastic for families but just gets ignored for no good reason? Let’s go over the following 8 interesting facts about the Alaskan Husky to find out.

What you need to know about the Alaskan Husky

The first thing most people wonder is why are Alaskan Huskies less popular as pets than Siberian Huskies? Well, the simplest answer is that Siberian Huskies have a much more distinct and unique look while Alaskan Huskies can have various coat types and a less “Husky-esque” body shape. So, they are mostly used for sled pulling while their Siberian brethren catch the eyes of family dog owners.

If you’re looking for a unique and fascinating pet, however, and you don’t like following the trends, check out the following 8 points to see if the Alaskan Husky is the right pet for you.

1. Alaskan Huskies are taller but leaner than their Siberian cousins

The standard adult Siberian Husky is usually about 20 to 24 inches tall at the shoulder (51 to 61 cm). These dogs also tend to weigh somewhere between 40 and 60 pounds (18 and 27 kg).

Alaskan Huskies, on the other hand, tend to have two or three inches on top of their Siberian cousins and average 23 to 26 inches of height at the shoulder (58.5 to 66 cm). Yet, Alaskans pull off more or less the same weight measurements – 40 to 60 pounds. That’s because the Alaskan Husky is leaner than the Siberian breed and has a much more athletic frame with longer legs and a narrower chest.

This doesn’t make the Alaskan Husky “weak” by any stretch of the imagination, however. These dogs have arguably even more endurance and strength as is evident by their popularity as sled-pulling dogs.

2. These dogs come in lots of different coat collars

Probably the biggest difference between the Alaskan and Siberian Husky is the coat. Siberian Huskies are as popular as they are not only because of their adorable personalities but also because of their unique looks.

The Alaskan Husky doesn’t have the same signature black or grey and white coloring. They also lack the wide “mane” around the head and neck that’s so typical for Siberian Huskies and other spitz breeds. Instead, Alaskan Huskies have a much more classical “dog look”. Their leaner body frame is further accentuated by the lack of “mane” which makes them look even more “normal”. This also makes their muzzles look longer.

Additionally, the Alaskan Husky can come in a wide variety of colors. That’s because these dogs were bred for work and their breeders didn’t care much about their coat color. So, you can expect to see Alaskan Huskies in any bi-color or tri-color combination of white, grey, black, blonde, orange, red, cream, or brown.

The combination of the medium coat length and varying color patterns gives the Alaskan Husky almost a wild and “non-pure breed" look, even though they are very much purebred dogs.

3. Alaskan Huskies are currently the most popular sled dog breed

Most Hollywood movies about sled dogs showcase Siberian Huskies. And it is true that, historically, these dogs were used by mushers for pulling sleds. Nowadays, however, Alaskan Huskies are by far the most common breed used by mushers. The endurance and speed of these dogs are unmatched even by their Siberian cousins who’ve been bred mostly as family pets for decades.

Yet, Alaskan Huskies just can’t get any traction as family pets. They are not even part of the standard AKC breed popularity ranking where Siberian Huskies rank around the Top 10 or Top 20 breeds. As far as we can tell, however, that’s purely based on the visual differences between the two breeds. As you’ll see below, Alaskan Huskies have all the makings of a phenomenal family pet breed. They just don’t have the “eye-catching” looks even though they are still very good-looking dogs.

4. These are calm and laid-back dogs

Siberian Huskies are typically known as very hyperactive and mischievous dogs. Alaskan Huskies, on the other hand, have a much calmer and laid-back personality. They still love to play and spend time in the dog park but they are not the uncontrollable bringers of chaos that Siberian Huskies are.

Alaskan Huskies are affectionate with their people and fellow pets, and they are very enthusiastic cuddlers. This is a dog that won’t like it if you want the bedroom only for yourself and will prefer to spend every moment of the day by your side or sleeping on your feet.

5. Alaskan Huskies are as much a prima donna breed as their Siberian counterparts

This breed isn’t big on barking but – like the Siberian Husky – loves howling. What’s more, Alaskan Huskies are also just as opinionated and can howl for a lot of different reasons:

  • Boredom
  • Attention seeking
  • Anxiety or fear
  • Discomfort
  • Registering danger
  • Enthusiasm

Or pretty much anything else. Teaching a Husky not to howl is akin to teaching another dog not to bark but it is quite harder and more time-consuming as these dogs are just that stubborn. For that reason, bringing an Alaskan Husky into an apartment building is not the brightest idea. However, it’s also one of the signature and very adorable traits of these dogs.

6. This breed is highly intelligent but can be a little stubborn

Like other working dog breeds, the Alaskan Husky is highly intelligent. And, just like Siberian Huskies, these dogs can be a little difficult to train at times. It’s believed that they are not quite as stubborn, however, as they are still bred for active sled-pulling duty. So, proper obedience training tends to be all one needs to train an Alaskan Husky.

Even when trained well, however, an Alaskan Husky won’t have the enthusiasm for complex tasks some other breeds share. These dogs just don’t have the instinct for hard labor unless it involves pulling something or running frantically from point A to point B.

7. This is quite a friendly pet breed but proper socialization is still a must

As with all dogs, an Alaskan Husky will need good socialization. With it, however, an Alaskan Husky is a very well-behaved dog around strangers and other dogs. This breed has no intuitive aggression toward other dogs and isn’t at all suitable for guard duty. Instead, a well-socialized Alaskan Husky will happily interact with any human or dog, be it outside or even at home.

Other non-canine pets can trigger the Husky’s prey drive but extensive and early socialization can largely nullify that instinct too. Especially where cats are concerned, it’s fairly easy to get these two animals to get along.

That social nature obviously extends to kids too, although you’d do well to keep the dog under supervision while the child is still young. Once your child is old enough to learn that pulling a large canine’s ears and tail is not a good idea, however, supervision likely won’t be necessary anymore.

8. Alaskan Huskies have a moderate health potential with some issues to watch out for

This breed is relatively healthy and has a standard expected lifespan for its size of 10 to 12 years. Still, there are some health issues you might want to watch out for such as

Watch out for those, feed your Husky well, give the dog at least an hour and a half of exercise a day, and don’t skip the routine vet visits, and you should avoid most such issues.

As you can see, the Alaskan Husky is not just a good pet dog breed – it’s a great one. This is yet another one of the many dog breeds that deserve to be much more popular with pet owners but aren’t because most people focus on the 20-odd widely bred types of dogs with distinct looks. Even if the Alaskan Husky looks a bit plain, however, this is a smart, social, loyal, playful, and very affectionate and adorable dog. If you’re looking for a great and unique pet breed, definitely don’t ignore the Alaskan Husky.

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