The Siberian Husky: All You Need to Know
Siberian Huskies are a fantastic breed; they're one of the most friendly dog breeds on the planet and have an amazing personality to match.
They are a challenge, though, and it's important that you're aware of their needs so you can have a fulfilling relationship and meet their needs.
Let's take a look at the key things you need to know about your new husky.
1. What The Husky Origin Tells Us
Siberian Huskies originate from Siberia (hence the name), where the Chukchi people domesticated them. They were initially used to pull light sled loads over long distances and for aid during hunting.
Since then, huskies have been used increasingly for their sledding capability, eventually arriving in Alaska and competing in sledding competitions.
Thanks to their origin, huskies are well-adapted to cold weather and are capable of immense feats of endurance. Almost everything you need to know about huskies stems from this origin – so let's explore what else you need to know about your new husky!
2. Exercise & Mental Stimulation Needs
Probably the most important thing that new husky owners need to know for daily life is how much exercise huskies need.
Huskies are an incredibly active breed thanks to their origin as sled dogs, and they need at least 2 hours of exercise each day.
This can be difficult for even the most active of families, so it's crucial that you're up to the task.
Alongside exercise, huskies also need a lot of mental stimulation as they are prone to easily becoming bored. This can be addressed by providing puzzle toys, obedience training, or playing games like fetch.
3. Lots of Grooming
Another essential thing to know about husky ownership is how often they need grooming.
Huskies have a thick double coat, which means their fur is split into two distinct layers: a dense, wooly undercoat that provides insulation and a longer guard layer that protects the coat and skin.
This means that huskies need to be groomed a few times per week year-round to remove dead hairs and debris and prevent matting. You'll need quite a few tools to do this properly in order to target both layers of their coat.
On average, huskies also blow their coats twice per year, which is when they shed lots of their undercoat to prepare for the warmer months. During this time, they'll need grooming up to several times daily to help them blow their undercoat.
Huskies do try to keep their coats clean themselves, much like cats, but they will still need a helping hand.
4. Intelligent But Stubborn
This one might sound a bit odd, but hear us out!
Huskies are a Spitz-type dog breed like many others including the Alaskan Malamute and Pomeranian. Thanks to this, they have the classic stubborn nature that is common across this breed category.
This makes training hard (more on this shortly), as well as getting your husky to do something they don't want to do. Huskies are not people pleasers either and are often described as being independent, which is a very fitting word.
This stubborn nature means they aren't often considered intelligent, as dog intelligence is evaluated mainly on the ability to perform tricks or follow commands, which huskies do not excel at.
Despite this, they are very intelligent – but they just choose when to listen. This is very different from other dog breeds and can be quite a shock if you don't have experience with Spitz-type dog breeds.
5. (Lack Of) Trainability
Huskies are very difficult to train, thanks to their stubborn nature.
In fact, they're one of the most difficult dog breeds to train, so don't expect them to learn any tricks quickly. This breed requires patience, something that new owners will quickly realize.
6. Bathing Needs
New owners commonly want to look after their new pup in any way possible, including bathing.
Huskies don't actually need bathing often, though, as it interferes with the natural oils found within their coat. A few times per year is necessary, and only when your husky is having issues cleaning their coat themselves.
When it is time to bathe them, make sure to use pH-neutral, soap-free shampoo and conditioner.
7. Great Escape Artists
Huskies are known as escape artists – and for good reason. And it's something that new owners need to learn quickly.
Thanks to their intelligence and curious nature, huskies love to find ways to get to new places. They'll dig underneath fences or jump over them and happily wander out the door if you leave it open.
Having a secure home and yard for your husky is crucial, especially if you have a Husky puppy that is growing up to learn its way and habits.
8. High Prey Drive
The last thing to know about Huskies is that they have a very high prey drive.
This means they will instinctually chase after small prey with little to no chance of recall during that time.
This has a lot of real-world implications. For example, huskies can be very difficult to raise with cats, and you'll need to keep them together from a young age for the best chance of success. It also means that you need to keep a close eye on your Husky, especially in new environments and outdoors.
And you should keep your Husky on a leash most of the time to keep them safe.
Don't let this article put you off Huskies; we’ve focused on the care requirements mainly to ensure that new owners are prepared for the challenge.
Huskies are worth so much more than the effort. They're incredibly friendly and love to be around people; they're also amazing with children and make an ideal family pet for active families.
If you keep the points from this guide in mind, you'll have endless fun with your pup.
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