The Navas family live in Southhampton, England, and have had huskies for four years, ever since getting their first husky, Sully.
How long have you had huskies for?
We got Sully from a local breeder in July 2010, just over four years ago. This was a week after losing our Weimeraner, Hugo, to a spinal problem at the young age of only 4. It was the only time in the last 20 years that we haven’t had at least one dog in the family, and it was the quietest and saddest week we have ever had.
Tell us some info about your dogs.
We have five huskies, Sully, Bella, Skye, Boo and Indi. Sully and Bella are both 4. Skye is 4 in October this year and Boo and Indi will be 3 in September this year. Boo and Indi are the pups of Bella and Sully (in case you hadn’t realised lol).
Bella and Sully are both KC registered. Sully comes from a long line of American champions, and Bella from champions of Polish descent (apparently, although we believe she was part of a puppy farm). We are told Skye is pedigree, but being a rescue, we have no papers for her. Obviously both of the pups are KC registered Siberian Huskies.
Did you do much research on huskies before getting Sully?
As far as research is concerned, I’d wanted a husky for about 5 years, and had built up quite a knowledge of the breed, but until we got Hugo we’d never bought a pedigree dog.
I think they are the best dogs in the world, but they are also very hard work, highly strung and can be very destructive if not stimulated mentally and physically. And they need someone home with them most of the time.
How do you go about exercising so many dogs?
We tend to exercise them at least 4 times a week bikejoring or scootering. They all have X back harnesses and, with then exception of Skye (who is a lazy cow sometimes!), they love putting the harnesses on and pulling me on the scooter/mountain bike
We keep saying we’re going to enter some of the local scootering/bikejoring competitions, but time and work shifts always seem to spoil our plans. One day we will do it!
As far as obedience goes, we use positive reinforcement rather than anything else – they (with the exception of Sully, who is a model husky, and Skye) they have no recall whatsoever, but then they are hardly ever off lead unless we are in enclosed areas.
We used to always take all 5 out together, but as they’ve grown older and stronger it’s become more or less impossible unless we have a dog each (or I take 2). Nowadays we tend to take two out at a time if we go out for the day; or scootering I will take 2, my son Joe takes 2 and my daughter Grace takes 1.
Five dogs. How many nicknames?
Sully is always Sully, or Sullivan (although his KC name is Nappataks Kiowa Sully).
Bella is Bella or Bella boo. Skye is just Skye. Indiana is Indi, red boy, or little buddy (his KC name is Miki Tiquana Indiana, which means Little adopted son in inuit apparently).
Boo is almost always called Scraps or Scrappy. Mainly because when she was a little pup she was very scrawny and scrappy looking.
How do you go about grooming so many dogs?
Grooming is a nightmare. They all seem to shed at different times, and in different ways. Skye is tremendously fluffy and is really difficult to groom as her undercoat doesn’t “blow” like the others. Bella and Sully both blow their coats in huge chunks, but Boo and Indi tend to only shed when we comb them.
To groom the huskies we use a combination of a metal comb, a rake and a furminator.
How about food, what do you feed your huskies?
We feed them all on fish4dogs salmon and potato kibble, as Sully has a severe allergy to chicken (it gives him hemorrhagic gastroenteritis). Feeding time is easy – they never try to eat each others’ food. Usually Sully and Indi finish first then wait patiently until one of the others finishes, then they move in and “clean” the bowl!