The Siberian Husky
The Siberian Husky is a medium size working dog that is directly descended from the original sled dog, together with Samoyed and Alaskan Malamute. This breed in particular is believed to have originated from the Chukchi – a tribe of Siberian nomads that used these dogs mostly for transportation purposes. Husky was imported to Alaska in 1908 and was used as sled dog and to compete in the long-distance All-Alaska Sweepstakes races. Soon this breed was very popular in all of the North America.
FUN FACT: The term “husky” is believed to be connected with the nickname “Esky” that once was applied to the Eskimo and later to their dogs.
Huskies are between 20 and 24 inches (between 51 and 61 cm) tall and they weight between 36 and 65 pounds (16-29 kg) depending on the sex – females are smaller and lighter. Their life span is 12 to 15 years.
The Siberian Husky is a charming dog with mischievous and playful nature. It is alert and adaptable, extremely intelligent dog. Although, the Siberian Husky is one of the most beautiful and most intelligent breeds, this dog is not for everybody. They go along well with people, children and with other animals, and can make excellent family dogs, but, they are not typical family pet.
They have a mind of their own, they are independent and not too eager to please people. They are affectionate, sure, but they don’t need your constant attention. People often get a Husky because of their beautiful exterior, but, those people are often not prepared for owning a Husky. This is why this breed is prime candidates for shelters. Huskies are very smart but also very difficult to train. Huskies need firm obedience training and they need it since day one in a new family. They are pack animals and naturally their owner needs to be an alpha. When you gain your Husky’s respect, you can train it. There is one trick you can use to establish your leadership role. Make your dog wait to eat. This way the Husky will think of you as the keeper of valuable resources.
Huskies are also known to be escape artists. Their natural instinct make them roam around and explore. This is the reason why they shouldn’t be walked off leash.
They are usually very quiet dogs. Huskies bark rarely and don’t make good watchdogs. You cannot count on them to alert you if there is an intruder on your property. However, they do like to howl and can be heard up to 15 km away so your neighbors might not be the happiest.
The Siberian Husky is highly energetic dog that must be given the right outlet to burn all of its energy. Remember – a bored Husky is a troubled, destructive Husky. This dog should be with a family that is able to provide it long walks, hikes, runs and social outings. They have a natural instinct to explore and roam so you should always keep an eye on your Husky. These dogs love to dig – it is in their nature to dig holes where they would lie down and cool off. Provide your Husky a place where the dog can dig freely. This way your dog will be satisfied and won’t destroy your whole yard.
Huskies eyes are something they are known for. They can have both eyes of the same color, but can also have, for example, one brown and one blue eye. Many of them have what is called “a pinto eye” or “a split eye” when an eye is both brown and blue.
FUN FACT: Some Siberian Huskies have partially pink and partially black noses. This is called a “snow nose” and it is a common occurrence in this breed. “Snow nose" is acceptable in the show ring.
FUN FACT: Siberian Huskies often curl up when going to sleep and they put their furry tails over their faces, covering their nose in order to provide additional warmth. That is called “the Siberian Swirl”.
Their thick coat is mostly black and white. Sometimes, Husky will carry shades of brown and grey. There are also Huskies with pure white coat that are extremely rare.
Huskies shed. A lot!! Their coat is made for cold, harsh climate and they have an undercoat and a topcoat. Because of this these dogs can withstand temperatures as low as -50 to -60 C (-58 to -76 F).
Most of the hair falls off in the spring and fall. That is the time Huskies „blow“ their coats. This means that the undercoat sheds heavily and new topcoat grows in. During this period daily vacuuming and grooming is obligatory. Because of the fact that Huskies are made for cold climate, they overheat easily. When it is warm outside make sure your Husky is provided with enough water and that the dog is able to go to some colder place where it can cool off. Other than often grooming during coat-blowing season, Huskies don't require a lot of maintenance. No trimming or shaving is required, just occasional brushing to keep the coat clean and shiny. Huskies nails should be clipped periodically, when needed.
FUN FACT: Huskies need very little food to survive. This is a result of a very high metabolism and the fact that their ancestors were trained to travel long distances with heavy load on the smallest amount of food.
The Siberian Husky gained worldwide popularity with the movie “Balto”. Balto is an animated adventure movie based on a true story about the dog that helped save the children from the diphtheria epidemic in Nome, Alaska by running the final 53-mile leg. Main character in the movie is Balto – a young wolfdog who is, because of its background and the fact that he is half-wolf, shunned by people and by dogs. His only dog friend is a red Husky named Jenna. Balto often gets bullied by town’s favorite sled dog – an arrogant Siberian Husky named Steele who also likes Jenna.
As said, there was the diphtheria epidemic in Nome and winter weather conditions made impossible for the cure to be brought to the sick children by sea, air or by the rails. A dog race was held in the city to decide which dogs are the best to make the sled team and be sent to get the medicine. Balto won but Steele sabotages him so he wasn’t picked to be part of the team. The sled team was successful in picking up the medicine, but when they were going back to Nome, weather conditions gotten even worse and the sled team couldn’t make it. Balto decided to find the team and bring them home. After overcoming a lot of obstacles, Balto eventually finds the team and wants to take them home but Steele keeps attacking Balto because he doesn’t want his rival to guide them home. He leaves his team and Balto and goes home alone, leaving fake markings on the trees, hoping that Balto and the team will get lost. But, thanks to his highly developed sense of smell, Balto is able to filter out the false markings and he brings the team back home, together with that much needed medicine.
FUN FACT: There is a bronze statue of Balto displayed in Central Park (New York) since 1925.
Huskies are generally healthy, but are prone to certain health conditions. Those conditions are hip dysplasia (you can read more about hip dysplasia here), eye problems, such as cataracts (when there is an opacity on the lens of the eye which causes difficulty in seeing), or corneal dystrophy (an opacity caused by a collection of lipids in the cornea, but it doesn’t affect the vision), progressive retinal atrophy (also an eye disorder that can cause blindness from the loss of photoreceptors at the back of the eye), bloat, allergies, etc.
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