Some dogs really don’t need an introduction but if you were going to use the right adjective to describe this breed, “amazing,” would be the proper fit. The Siberian Husky is that dog.
Their history is full of accomplishments. From being a life saver to a decorated sled racing champ, the Husky does it all.
Don’t let that Wolf like appearance fool you, the Siberian Husky is nothing like it. They are friendly, energetic, loving, and proud.
How did the Husky reach such a dignified status as one of the more adorned canines on Earth?
Here is what you need to know about the Siberian Husky.
There is some uncertainty to the exact lineage and time, for when the Sibe was officially established. There is no debate as to where they come from.
The Siberian Husky is from a proud nomadic people in Northeastern Asia, the Chukchis. Many believe the lineage is from the Spitz family, and recent evidence suggests that the Husky has a genetic correlation with the now extinct, Taymyr Wolf, also from Northern Asia.
Some researchers believe they can tie the Husky back to 4,000 years from a pure and ancient lineage.
Similar to their fashion in the early 1900’s, the Husky was used as a service dog. The brutal cold and harsh conditions of the Siberian Arctic forced the Chukchi people to sprawl from region to region. The Chukchi relied on the Siberian Husky to do so.
They also used the breed for hunting and gathering. The Husky was everything you needed in a breed for that kind of role. They were resilient, agile, and reliable.
There a few men tied to the modern breed of Siberian Husky. These men mostly played a role in the breed’s fame in Northern America.
First, a fur trader from Russia, William Goosak, introduced the breed to Nome, Alaska. Natives of Nome knew the dog as the ‘Siberian Rat,’ because the dog was much smaller than other Spitz and Arctic breeds.
Huskies during that time took to the sledding role, where they thrived. In the early 1900’s and during the gold rush, the people Nome were using a much faster with better endurance breed.
Leonard Seppala, who was considered to be the leading breeder of the Siberian Husky during the early 20th century, is credited with putting the breed on the map. This coming after the “All Alaska and Nome Sweepstakes in 1909,” where teams used the breed for various sledding races, in which the Husky victoriously dominated.
In 1925, during a terrific diphtheria epidemic, that affected Nome, Alaska, a team of Huskies along with Gunner Kaasen, who was first to deliver the serum, and Seppala, traveled over 600 miles in frigid conditions during the rescue. The rescue effort was successful and acknowledged by people all over Canada and the United States.
This led to a surge in popularity for the breed. In 1930, the American Kennel Club officially recognized the Siberian Husky into the Working Group. The United Kennel Club recognized the breed in 1938 as well.
It was the exposure from Seppala, however, that lead to the breed’s growing popularity, chiefly in New England, where he had moved.
The Siberian Husky has been used famously for many search and rescue missions, including the World War 2 effort called, Army’s Arctic Search and Rescue Unit.
Rear Admiral, Richard E. Byrd brought 50 or so Siberians along with him during his historical Antarctica expedition, that featured the dogs trekking over 15,000 miles.
The 21st century has been just as kind for the Husky, as they are listed as the 12th most popular dog breed, according to the American Kennel Club.
Siberian Huskies are listed as a medium sized dog, and as their old nickname implies, ‘Siberian Rats,’ they are on the smaller size for a Spitz breed.
The American Kennel Club lists a male Husky standing between 21 to 23.5 inches, while a female should range from 20 to 22 inches in height.
A male Sibe can weigh anywhere between 40 to 60 pounds, and a female ranges between 35 to 50 pounds.
Dog experts generally agree that a breed of this caliber, somewhat stubborn and dignified at times, should be left to a seasoned dog owner. While they are an intelligent breed, they do tend to pick up information quick and leave it at class. This translates into a dog who loves to learn but doesn’t bring its education home with him.
As a decorated search dog, one can imagine this breed being highly alert and also active. They will want to run around and use up the space in your yard. They do have a nose for exploring and sometimes a case of the runaways, if you aren’t careful.
Great with children and other dogs as well. The Siberian Husky is an overall friendly dog, even kind to strangers. Many Husky owners joke that the breed makes a horrible guard dog, because they aren’t the most protective. Others claim the breed will defend if need be. Just as much is true when it comes to barking. They aren’t considered a loud dog.
Siberians have independent streaks, but they aren’t meant to be alone. They can become destructive if left to their own vices for too long.
They enjoy curling up on the couch with their master and being cuddly. They are a gentle breed, that loves affection and giving it.
By no means, is this a dog for apartments or cramped spaces. You should avoid having a dog of this magnitude out in the sweltering heat, as the Siberian Husky is much more acclimated to its natural colder conditions.
The Siberian Husky enjoys a average life span of 12-15 years, according to the American Kennel Club. Considered to be a relatively healthy dog, that will produce 4-6 puppies per litter.
Always buy from a credible and reputable breeder, who can provide you clearances and proper documentation. A regular visit to the veterinarian is the formula in adhering your Siberian’s health.
The good news about the Husky, is that they are unlikely to inherit or suffer from Hip Dysplasia. They are ranked 155th out of 160 breeds polled.
Most of the issues affecting this breed seem to be of the eyes , ears, and sometimes, seizure.
Progressive Retinal Atrophy, a condition of the eye that leads to blindness, is at times found in this breed. Cataracts or a crystalline lens defect, where that part of the eye is clouded, and can lead to partial opacity, is also something to look out for.
Epilepsy is another risk worth monitoring with this breed.
Other issues that may be found with the Siberian Husky include: Corneal Dystrophy, Glaucoma for dogs, and Congenital Laryngenal Paralysis.
Hinted above, you will certainly want a comfortable amount of space for your Siberian Husky to run and exercise around in. This doesn’t mean you have to purchase 100 acres, just enough to give the dog a comfortable amount without going stir crazy. Make sure you keep these areas cordoned off properly, so the dog doesn’t flee to explore.
Early socialization will help you create a very friendly dog. This will help with smaller children as well. Siberians do very well with other pets and children.
As a high energy breed, you will definitely want to get this dog out and moving. You could strive for 30-60 minutes of either running, jogging, or walking. That makes the Siberian less than idea for city life, but if you feel like picking up a ball, the Husky will definitely play fetch.
Dog parks and rides along the country are great for this breed, as they absolutely enjoy the adventure of the outdoors.
You should brush their teeth 2-3 times per week. Clip or trim nails once a month to prevent overgrowth. Bathe as needed.
Depending on the activity rate of your Siberian Husky, you may need to feed your dog one pound per day. Most owners find themselves around the 30 pound of dry food per month. Every dog is different, but the cost associated with regular dry food is around $40.
As puppies, you will aim to feed them 3 to 4 times per day up until a certain age. Typically 9 months is the right time to transition or when the dog acquires 90 percent of their adult sized body. After around 9 months to about a year, you can ween your dog to 1.5 to 2 cups per day.
Food rich with protein value around 18-22% is the recommended amount. Most top rated manufacturers will have a higher amount. 5 to 8 percent fat is also suggested. Fish, chicken, lamb, meat, and vegetables are a winner with this breed.
Most dog owners find it helpful to feed their adult dogs twice a day. This helps reduce the chances of bloat, and also creates balance for your dog.
As always, you should provide your Siberian Husky with fresh, drinking water.
The Siberian Husky has a double coat, in which the American Kennel Club describes the undercoat as a cashmere-like texture that is dense. Their top coat is described as long and coarse.
This breed is a seasonal shedder, so prepare yourself for regular brushing and grooming. Daily efforts reap the most benefits for a healthier coat, as you rid the dead skin and deplete the debris left behind. Two or three times per week should suffice a breed like the Husky.
There are no accepted markings with this breed as far as the AKC’s standard is concerned. However, you will usually find them with black points throughout their coat.
Six coat colors are accepted for this breed including, Agouti and White, Black and White, Gray and White, Red and White, Sable and White, and White. You can find the Siberian Husky in other colors such as, Copper and White, Tan, Gray and Black, Black, etc.
Fun Husky Facts
- The movie, Eight Below, stars six Siberian Huskies, which depicts the 1957 Japanese exploration to the South Pole.
- Along with Samoyed, Alaskan Malamute, the Siberian Husky is directly descended from the original sled dog.
- A 2006 Geographical magazine debunked reports, that the original Chukchi breed as extinct. Reporter, Benedict Allen confirmed their survival.
- The famous rescue mission to Nome called, ‘Great Race of Mercy,’ honored two heroic Huskies named Togo and Balto. Balto was honored by receiving a statute in Central Park, New York City, in 1925.
- Siberian Huskies can be used as service dogs.
- Huskies are a popular college sports mascot. They represent many colleges in the United States like, Northeastern, Connecticut, University of Washington and more.
The Siberian Husky is a wise, even tempered and old breed with a legendary status as hero, athlete and companion.
You can see why this breed is so popular with dog lovers all over the world. Even though they may not counted upon for as many rescue missions today, the one thing true about the Husky now, is that many dog lovers count on them for their ability to be a great family companion.