9 things you should know before getting a Siberian Husky
Siberian Huskies are the best long-distance runners in the dog world and are among the best endurance runners in all of the Animal Kingdom together with horses and humans. Do they make for good family pets, however? They ought to if they are so popular, right? Huskies are indeed great family pets but they come with a few surprises too. Read on to see what these are!
What are the key characteristics that make Siberian Huskies special?
The Siberian Husky is one of the most famous dog breeds in the world but there are a few surprising things about them that many people don’t realize. Just like everyone praises the Husky Balto for the famous 1925 “serum run” in Alaska when the real hero then was the Husky Togo, there are also many qualities of the Husky breed that people just don’t know about.
This is crucial because a lot of Huskies end up on the streets and in shelters when their owners realize that they actually weren’t prepared for what they were getting Into.
So, what do you need to know before you get a Siberian Husky?
The 9 things you should know before getting a Siberian Husky
1. Siberian Huskies are one of the most talkative dog breeds
If you want a dog you can talk with – get a Siberian Husky or a Beagle. These dogs are so talkative that you’ll start longing for the quietness of standard human communication. Huskies use all the tools of canine vocabulary - they bark, whine, growl, howl, and even sing and purr! And do all of these a lot.
Why are Huskies so talkative?
Simply put, because they are social pack animals. As sled dogs, clear communication with other pack members was even more important for them than it was for other dog breeds.
So, get ready for a lot of fun back-and-forth.
There’s a potential drawback in here too, however – if you haven’t trained your Husky well and they’ve grown into an extra spoiled dog they may become insufferable at times, especially when they decide that they want something in the middle of the night.
2. This is a very social breed, perfect for large families with kids or with other pets
Huskies are one of the easiest breeds to take care of in large families, with kids, or with other dogs and pets. They just have the natural instinct to get along with other animals. Of course, basic socialization is still required as you want to make sure that your Husky knows how to behave around strangers.
Note that many Huskies do have a certain drive to becoming the alpha or pack leader of the home so you will have to be firm with their training early on if you don’t want them to constantly compete with your other pets.
3. Siberians are a very active and easily-adaptable breed
Siberian Huskies may have grown and developed in the freezing cold tundra of Northern Asia and North America but they are actually an easily adaptable breed. Natural-born travelers and explorers, Huskies can thrive anywhere that isn’t too hot for their thick coats.
What does this mean for you?
It means that you’d better be ready for lots of visits to the dog park!
Huskies are not a yard animal and they love to spend time with you indoors – especially under the AC in the summer – but they also need lots of outdoor time every day. If you think you can get away with just two quick walks per day, you are mistaken. Huskies need lots of outdoor playtime and they also need to explore new places from time to time – a trip or hike to a different place each weekend, for example.
4. These dogs are very smart – sometimes too smart for their own good
Have you ever heard the “Curiosity killed the cat” saying? Replacing “cat” with “Husky” would be just as apt.
The Siberian Husky is an incredibly smart breed but they are also incurably curious, self-driven, and explorative. They love to investigate and learn new things and to do so on their own too.
So, you’ll have an easy time teaching them new tricks, right?
Sure, but only if what you have to teach them is more interesting than what’s currently on their mind.
This naturally high-intelligence is a great boon for dog owners who want smart pups to play and interact with. However, it can be problematic if you work away from home and your dog needs to spend a lot of time alone. The Huskies’ high intelligence means that they are very prone to separation anxiety, boredom, depression, disobedience, and even destructive tendencies.
Keep your Husky occupied. Here are a few pointers:
- There should always be someone home to keep your Husky company.
- Try hiring a dog sitter or dog walker.
- If the above isn’t an option, make sure to exhaust your Husky with playtime and attention before and after you go away.
- Get your Husky lots of new and interactive toys to keep him busy and engaged when you’re away.
- Get a second pet for your Husky to play with.
In short, Huskies are not “home alone” dogs so keep that in mind before getting one.
5. Siberian Huskies are one of the most gorgeous breeds in the world
We don’t need to say much about the Huskies’ beauty as it’s quite evident. Huskies do go over a bit of metamorphosis as they grow up but what’s more noteworthy is how the breed’s look has been standardized over the years.
A century ago Huskies didn’t have a standard for their coat and outlook as they were bred solely for their physical characteristics and temperament. When people started getting them as family pets, however, breeders quickly started breeding them for 2-3 main coat types that folks gravitated toward.
That being said, if you want a Husky that looks a bit different, there are still sub-breeds that look differently such as the Seppala Siberian and others.
6. Huskies are quite a healthy breed – just watch out for overheating in the summer
While many popular breeds suffer from lots of health issues due to overbreeding, this isn’t a problem for the Husky as it’s one of the healthiest dog breeds out there. Most Husky breeders have been very responsible over the centuries and have made sure that these dogs have as few health risks as possible.
The only two things you might want to test for are hip health evaluation and Ophthalmologist evaluation. Aside from that, if you take good care of your Husky and you keep him from overheating in the summer – everything should be fine.
1. These dogs are true escape artists
The Huskies’ high intelligence and explorative instinct have one major drawback – they love running away from home!
This isn’t because Huskies don’t like living with you, they just need to run around and explore the world – that’s what they were bred to do.
Aside from investing in a bigger and better fence, the main thing to do is give your Husky enough outdoor playtime so that he doesn’t feel the urge to run out on his own. A Husky that’s constantly trying to run out is a Husky that’s not getting enough visits to the park.
2. Huskies may have gorgeous coats but they also shed a lot!
Siberians may be gorgeous but that beauty comes at a price – lots and lots of loose hair. Huskies need lots of brushing to keep their hair from going all over the place and even then you can expect to have to vacuum every other day too.
And, it should go without saying, if you have allergies, the Husky isn’t hypoallergenic at all.
3. Siberian Huskies are not as easy to train as you might expect
Despite being highly intelligent, Huskies are not the easiest dog to train. They are more than smart enough to understand everything you want from them, they just won’t always want to obey.
Why is that, isn’t this a work dog breed?
It is, but it’s also a very playful, inquisitative, and strong-willed breed. Because they are pack dogs, Huskies also have the strong instinct of establishing themselves a the alpha of the family so you should really lean into the obedience training early on in the dog’s life.
Positive reinforcement is still the way to go, of course, but it should be coupled with lots of patience and a firm stance on positioning yourself as the leader of the pack.
Who are Siberian Huskies “right” for?
Siberian Huskies are amazing for families of any type and size, as long as there’s enough love to go around. They need lots of exercise, playtime, and mental stimulation, so they are ideal for people who are happy to go out and play with them. Huskies are especially good for households with kids and with other pets as they are the quintessential pack dog.
How to prepare for getting a Siberian Husky?
Preparing for a Husky is easy in some regards and complicated – in others. These dogs are very social and playful so you won’t have to do much to get them to get along with your kids or other dogs and pets.
You should be ready to properly train your Husky, however, especially in its early years. Huskies can be quite the Prima Donnas so obedience training is key and you need to know how to be both gentle and firm with a dog.