Siberian Huskies are beautiful dogs. They look like wolves, and have thick, soft coats, that make them infinitely cuddly. They have piercing eyes, and wonderful masks, that give them a roguish and unique look.
Siberians can make very good family pets. If properly trained, they can be very good with people, children, and other dogs. Indeed, Sibes are commonly known for their friendliness toward people.
Although they may look like fierce wolves, they have the heart of Casanova. All my Huskies want to do, is greet everyone and give them licks.
However, many people have trouble with this breed, and many Sibes get surrendered every year.
Consider these Siberian Husky facts, before going out and getting a puppy. The Siberian Husky is a very special and lovable breed, but they may not be the right breed for everyone.
1. Siberian Huskies Shed a Lot!
Be ready to have dog hair all over the house – floors, carpets, clothing, furniture, everywhere.
If we are allergic to dog hair, or like our home to be very clean, then the Siberian Husky is not for us.
When I was looking for a Sibe, I talked to a few breeders in my area. The first thing they all said was, “Siberians shed a lot”. I mentioned that my other dog, a Shiba Inu, also has a double coat, and also sheds a fair amount. However, they all said, “Siberians shed a lot more”.
And they do! A whole lot more.
Therefore, it is very important to train our Husky puppy to enjoy the grooming experience.
- I start with a soft brush, and lightly comb my dog’s body for a short period of time.
- I do this often, and pair it with food rewards.
- Once my puppy is comfortable with the brushing process, I very slowly extend the length of our grooming session.
- Finally, I repeat the process with a more solid brush, such as the Furminator.
Frequent brushing is a good idea to keep our Husky clean, and clear out loose hair. The more hair on the Furminator, the less hair on the floor.
About twice a year, my Sibes blow their coat. During this time, there will be more fur than ever. To keep things under control, I try to brush every day. Remember to always keep brushing sessions fun, rewarding, and not overly long.
2. Siberian Huskies Make Awful Watch Dogs
Because Huskies look like wolves, many people assume that they are fierce dogs. Some people may even think that they are wolf hybrids.
However, a Sibe is more of a lover and less of a fighter.
When confronted with a stranger, my Husky will usually run up to him, give licks, and beg for food. As a result, Sibes do not make very good watch dogs. They will not only welcome everyone into your house, but will also give them the royal lick treatment.
If we want a dog that is only loyal to us and our family, then the Siberian Husky is not for us.
My Huskies are naturally happy and trusting dogs, who like to be with everyone. That is one of the things that I love most about them.
The Siberian Husky is not a watch dog, although those ignorant of his true nature may be frightened by his appearance. If you want a dog with aggressive guard-dog instincts . . . don’t buy a Siberian.
Leave your home in the care of a “guard” Siberian and he will most likely welcome an intruder with open arms, fetch (for the first time in his life) your valuables and show him the best route of escape–after all, Siberians are great escape artists.
~~[Siberian Rescue Site]
Note – This does not mean that Huskies will never be aggressive toward people. A dog’s behavior is determined both by genetics (breeding), as well as by training, socialization, context, and past experiences. A dog may become aggressive as a result of improper training, bad social experiences, insufficient socialization, and more.
For reasons of safety, it is important to ensure that our companion dogs are not people aggressive. Most companion dogs today guard us, by sounding an alert when unknown or strange people come close to our house. These dogs are not people aggressive. They do not bark, lunge, or growl at passers-by during walks. They are not aggressive toward guests and unknown visitors, who may need to work in or around our house. Their job is simply to alert us, when unusual events occur close to home. Anything more would quickly become dangerous and risky.
Highly trained guard dogs, such as those employed by law-enforcement, may be trained to attack or restrain an intruder. However, they are always under the control of their handler, are extremely well managed, and will only attack on-command or when they think their handler is in clear danger (as defined during training). They also do not bark or growl at pedestrians.
3. Siberian Huskies Have High Energy
They are intelligent, athletic, and were bred to pull sleds for extremely long distances, in the freezing cold. Therefore, be prepared to provide a Husky with a lot of mental and physical exercise.
A young Husky needs activity almost all day round. At around one-year old, my Sibe puppy sleeps for perhaps 3-4 hours during the day, and about 10 hours during the night. That leaves about 10 hours during the day where she is on the go.
She drains her energy most by playing with my other dog, a Shiba Inu. However, even my Shiba cannot fully keep up with her.
In addition to the playing, she works for all of her food, has long walks in the park several times a week, has structured dog play sessions, dog obedience training sessions, and still has energy left over to explore and dig in our backyard.
If bored, a Husky can become unhappy. He will likely escape, or use our house and belongings as chew toys. Unless our backyard is extremely secure, he can easily jump over or dig under a fence, in order to find adventure elsewhere.
If we are away at work for most of the day, then the Siberian Husky is probably not for us.
Siberians like having company and activity all day long. It is possible that a Husky can keep himself occupied if we have other dogs, but he may also lead our entire pack into mischief!
Sibes do best when there is frequent human supervision, throughout the day.
Siberians are a gregarious lot and need the company of other dogs or of people at all times.
The Husky needs lots of exercise and entertainment. They love to run and play, but must be allowed to do so safely.
4. Siberian Huskies Are Independent Thinkers
They have a very independent mind and spirit, and will only perform, if we make it worth their while.
If we want an obedient dog that only lives to please us, then the Siberian Husky is not for us.
A Sibe is not a “yes sir, no sir“, kind of dog. To live well with him, we need to be fair, but firm. We need to consistently enforce our house rules, or he will take over the house.
The best way to train a Husky, is through the control of resources. Teach him that the best way to get what he wants, is to first do what we want. I use reward obedience training, and follow the Nothing in Life is Free program. Harsher techniques can make a Siberian distrustful, and ruin the natural free spirit of the breed.
Huskies are independent hunters. Their original breeders, the Chukchi of Northeastern Asia, would let their dogs free during the summer months to hunt for food on their own.
This has two very important consequences for living with a Husky today –
- A Siberian is not to be trusted with cats or other small animals. He can be trained to live with cats, but his instinct is to hunt them;
- A Siberian is not to be trusted off-leash. If he sees a small animal, he will likely bolt after it, and forget about cars, commands, and everything else. By the time he comes to his senses, he may be lost and far from home.
I have gotten a few comments about cats lately, so let me be clear …
Sibes can be trained to live with household cats. However, they usually have high prey drive, and will likely want to hunt and chase small animals, including squirrels, mice, and cats. Just because a Siberian gets along with our house cats, does not mean he will treat other neighborhood cats in the same way.
Huskies are bred to run and pull. This makes them more difficult to leash train than many other breeds. To train a Husky to walk on a leash, we need to have an immense amount of patience. Always be firm and consistent with the no-pulling rule, and reward good behavior.
If we do not have a large backyard, bring our Sibe to an enclosed park or soccer field, so that he can have some nice off-leash time to run, run, run.
5. Siberian Huskies Are Not the Easiest Dogs to Potty Train
Certain dogs, like the Shiba Inu, are naturally clean and absolutely do not like soiling their living space. Because of their natural cleanliness, they are extremely easy to house train.
Sibes do not have that natural sense of cleanliness. In fact, they do not mind playing, and running around in their own waste products. Therefore, we must make it worth their while to potty outside.
Supervise our Husky puppy at all times, until he is fully house trained. Reward him well for pottying outside with high priority dog treats, play, and praise. If we are consistent with our puppy potty training, he will learn quickly, and be happy to go outside after a few weeks.
In addition, as Gigi points out, potty training difficulty is very dependent on what the dog or puppy is used to, in his previous environment. Puppy mill and pet store puppies are caged, most of the time. As a result, they will be harder to house train, because they are accustomed to going in their crates.
Where to Get a Siberian Husky Puppy
If we still want a Husky, then visit the Siberian Husky Club of America for a breeder list. Also consider adopting one from a local Husky rescue.
It really makes a BIG difference to get a puppy from an accredited breeder.
Please do not buy a puppy from online puppy sites or pet stores. Most of their puppies come from backyard breeders or puppy mills. Buying from them, will only help support and continue the dog cruelty of these unscrupulous puppy breeders.
If we are concerned about the initial cost of a puppy, consider that backyard breeders and puppy mills frequently produce unhealthy and unbalanced puppies. They will end up costing us a lot more, in terms of vet bills, dog training bills, and property destruction.
Siberian Huskies Are Wonderful Dogs
I love my Sibes. However, just because I think Huskies are wonderful dogs, does not mean that everyone else will think so as well; nor does it mean that they will fit into someone else’s lifestyle.
Clearly, each dog is an individual and will differ in terms of prey drive, energy level, obedience, and more. However, general breed characteristics and information from reputable sources, will give us a better idea of what to expect.
Often, there is conflicting information on the web. Therefore, one good place to start is with the AKC-recognized national breed club – The Siberian Husky Club of America.
Captivating in their beauty, grace and childlike demeanor, Siberians catch the eye of adults and children alike. They can be wonderful dogs for the well-informed or experienced Husky owner. However, they are NOT the breed for everyone and definitely not for first time dog owners. Too many wind up lost, in shelters, killed on the highway, abandoned or abused because the owner didn’t understand the breed and it’s challenging traits.
Hi , we have a 6 months male Siberian husky , my brother is the alpha , as for me when he see me he lay on his back and as i start to cuddle him he stays calm and then he tries to bite me in a jumpy way , is there any explanation for his behavior
April Jane Sanchez says
Hi! I just got my 2 month Sibe puppy yesterday and I am having a hard time dealing with him. He seemed unpredictable. He will start howling then stop when I come close to him, when I call him to come he wont come to me. He will move his head and look at me but wont come close to me. When I touch his head he will move his head away as if he doesnt want me to touch him. Is this normal? I’m getting worried that we might not get close to each other.
this healped me out thank you
Jon Pal says
So quite a few discrepancies here. My Siberian Husky was potty trained within 2 days after I got her at 8 weeks. We lived with a cat too for awhile. She also doesn’t chew on anything. She also goes off leash a lot without any issue. That took time, patience, and resilience, but she learned! I think it’s unfair to pin them as not being able to learn to break certain habits and instincts. If you have a good enough relationship with any dog you can teach them anything. I will say, however, I did not anticipate the amount of shedding. At all. haha I knew that Siberian Huskies shed, but I had no idea what I was getting into. I am a neat and clean freak so it took some acclimation to assimilate to both her and my needs. I now know how to mitigate her shedding, especially when her coat blows out.
I am a kid doing a project for school got any wowing facts that you forgot to tell
Hi, I have a 7 almost 8 month old red Siberian Husky (Alpha) and I was wondering how do I stop him from trying to run out the door. We had Alpha since he was able to leave his mom so about 2-3 months old and he never did this. It just started happening out of nowhere. We would try to leave and he would sneak out and run up the street at 180 miles per hour. And also another question, what brand of food do you recommend for a Husky? We just switched him to blue buffalo wilderness puppy food from beneful puppy.
Thank you so much for your time
I just brought home a husky puppy (Misha) two weeks ago and she has been great so far. She is already going potty outside consistently, though she never really bothers to ask so if we don’t pay constant enough attention to her signs–she will just pee in front of the back door without so much as a noise of indication that she needs to go. I’m hoping that her walking herself to the backdoor means that she’s at least headed in the right direction as far as potty training goes, rather than it being a coincidence for the very few times she’s had accidentals (usually we take her outside the moment she starts sniffing about). She’s also been surprisingly low energy. She’ll want to play like any puppy, but it’s usually very short lived and she’ll just sleep all the rest of the day. Took her to the park today and after maybe an hour of running around and grabbing all the pine cones and sticks she could get her mouth on, she was so out of it she fell asleep mid-drink with her nose in her water dish. I’m assuming that’s a puppy thing and she’ll be running me ragged when she gets a little older, though, right?
Hi. This is a very helpful article you published. I have a three-month old husky and I admit he is a gorgeous dog but he’s too playful, energetic; it’s a given and I am aware of that. Suddenly, I am worried if we can raise my dog due to his behavior and attitudes.
I just want to ask if the behavior of the husky changes as they grow old? I mean, their activities lower down.
Hope you read this. Thanks and have a good day!
Sharmila Green says
Nice to find some info on huskies.
Our Bloo is adorable we live in the city in london and have to say he is a crowd stopper! God bless this incredible breed they are like babies wanting attention, love and company I would say if you’re not home for most of the day its not the dog for you. Huskies love company..being pack dogs.
great help thanks