Siberian Huskies are not a dog for everyone. You may have been drawn to the breed after hearing about how great they are with children, how intelligent they are, what terrific jogging partners they make, or their lack of ‘dog smell’. All of these things are true and are great benefits of the breed but it is important to understand the true nature and temperament of the husky before making your decision. Owning a husky is unlike owning many other breeds, huskies are a free spirited dog, we will explain what this means a bit later on.
If you are a well-adjusted, assertive, happy and active person with a good family situation you may be a perfect Siberian husky owner.
Despite their shedding Siberians are an exceptionally clean dog, they take great pride in their coat and strive to keep it clean (this doesn’t mean they won’t go splashing around in puddles of mud though). Siberians do not have the ‘doggy odor’ that is typical of many breeds – and can be considered a low allergy dog (we will explain this later on however it is important to know that this does not mean they are a ‘hypoallergenic’ dog – allergies are caused by dander and not by the fur). Huskies are clean eaters as well, rarely making a mess when they eat and keeping their feeding area clean.
Siberian Huskies appreciate cold climates, often found curled up in the yard with the wind blowing around them at full force. Climate is an important consideration, the Australian climate is quite different to their ancient origins in the snow covered Siberia.
Most people naturally associate huskies with the cold, they are built to withstand extreme cold and also extreme heat, due to their unique double coats. Both extreme hot and cold take longer to penetrate the skin so they are very adapt at surviving comfortably in both. You can certainly keep a Siberian in Australia but will need to take extra care and precautions during the hot summer.
Siberians are a very independent dog, this does not mean they like to be left alone though. Siberians crave human attention and touch, they enjoy making their own decisions and this is where their independence (and stubbornness ) comes from. The more time you spend with your Siberian the happier he/she will be, particularly as a puppy a lot of attention is needed to help develop a happy and adjusted adult dog.
Don’t consider getting a puppy if you will be away from home for long hours everyday, its not fair. This does not mean it is not possible, but means that you will need to put in some extra planning. For example the first weeks at a new home (8-12 weeks old) are extremely important in the puppy’s development – make sure a family member is able to spend plenty of time with them, perhaps take some well deserved holidays or share the responsibility around.
Another dog is a great way to keep a husky occupied, being pack animals they also enjoy the company of other dogs.
Siberians need lots of exercise everyday, they are extremely active dogs and instinctually they love to run! If you want a husky you need to be willing to provide a high level of activity to keep him/her happy and healthy. Regular jogging, walking and even swimming are all great daily activities. It is important to note that exercise for a husky is not just about the physical requirements but also their mental requirements. Huskies are extremely intelligent dogs and love to be challenged, stimulating their minds can be difficult sometimes and later we will look at some fun activities for everyone.
Siberians are curious by nature and it is important that your husky is fenced in well. Siberian Huskies develop strong muscular hind legs and can jump to extrodinary heights from a sitting position. It is generally regarded that a fence 6” high will suitably contain a husky. ‘Good neighbour’ style fences with no horizontal rails are good so there is nothing the Husky can use to climb up the panel. Digging is a favourite pastime for huskies as it is for many dogs, it is important to stop any attempts to dig below fences. Concrete retaining blocks buried slightly into the soil under the fence line can be a good way to deter an escape attempt. If you are remodelling the garden anytime soon laying some wire down approximately 20-30cm’s will also help stop any attempts.
Finding a breeder
- The goal of a quality breeder is to produce high-quality Siberians, the breeders website should reflect this.
- Quality breeders will have well socialised dogs and puppies, this should be obvious when you visit.
- Quality breeders have people waiting in line for their dogs, usually there would be a waiting list or advertisements posted well before the litter is ready to leave.
- Quality breeders will not sell puppies before 8 weeks old
- Quality breeders are actively involved in showing and or racing.
- Quality breeders will provide registration papers.
- One or both parents of your puppy should be champions or winning sled dogs/show dogs.
- Quality breeders will interview you and ask quite a lot of questions to make sure you are a good match for one of their puppies.
- Many quality breeders will ask you to sign a purchase agreement.
- Quality breeders will stay in touch long after the puppy becomes yours.
Choosing the right puppy
All puppies should be active and plump but not bloated. There should be no evidence of diarrhea or straining under the tail. Foul breath in a puppy may indicate problems, don’t confuse this with puppy breath – smells a bit like garlic.
Siberian puppies should be compact in build, there will be some differences in size – particularly between males and females.
Females generally housetrain easier, they mature sooner and are less dominant than their male counterparts. Females are not as strong as their brothers and are usually not as independent and challenging of authority.
Some people claim that males have a better temper than females. The puppy should be friendly and curious. Don’t confuse normal boisterous play with a neurotic condition called spinning, some puppies who have been confined for too long develop a compulsive behaviour where they spin around and around, avoid these traumatized pups.
Most huskies are born dark, except those destined to be pure white. The characteristic face masks will be present in puppies, however their coat colours may change as they mature. Don’t be worried if your husky has floppy ears they will stand up later – ears should have no discharge or unpleasant odor.