When you think “sled dog,” you're probably imagining a Siberian Husky. And with good reason — Huskies have done some amazing work pulling sleds. Siberian Huskies once saved an entire town in Alaska — a team of these fearless adventurers brought diphtheria medication to Nome during an outbreak. There is a statue commemorating the lead dog's efforts in New York's Central Park (as famously featured in the film Six Degrees of Separation), and the Iditarod Trail Sled Race is run every year in memory of the team's accomplishments.
This breed was developed by the Chukchi, indigenous peoples of Siberia, to work — and survive — the harsh conditions of the Arctic region. Their extremely dense coats allow them to withstand extreme cold. Amazingly, these dogs can even change their metabolisms, allowing them to go long distances without fatigue or using up their fat stores.
Huskies are known for a few other distinctive characteristics as well. They're notorious howlers — you can hear a Husky's voice carry for miles. And these dogs often have striking blue eyes. (Don't worry; they're not “White Walkers.” They're supposed to look like that.)
Originally from Russia, this medium-sized and high-energy breed can grow to between 35-60 pounds and lives an average of 12-15 years. The breed is recognized by the American Kennel Club and classified as a member of the Working group.
|Breed's original pastime||Sled pulling|
|Average lifespan||11-13 years|
|Date of origin||Ancient times|
|Original function||Sled pulling|
|Today's function||Sled racing|
|Average size of male||Height: 20-22 Weight: 35-50|
|Average size of female||Height: 20-22 Weight: 35-50|
|Energy level||Medium energy|
|Playfullness||Not very playful|
|Affection level||Moderately affectionate|
|Friendliness toward other dogs||Friendly|
|Friendliness toward other pets||Friendly|
|Friendliness toward strangers||Friendly|
|Ease of training||Moderately easy to train|
|Protection ability||Not very protective|
|Grooming needs||Moderate maintenance|
|Cold tolerance||High tolerance|
|Heat tolerance||Low tolerance|
BEHAVIOR & TRAINING
WHAT IS A SIBERIAN HUSKY'S PERSONALITY LIKE?
Siberian Huskies are very playful and affectionate, as well as being adventurous and exuberant. These dogs definitely have a sense of humor and mischief. They love children and typically get along well with family dogs and pets when properly socialized. They can be a bit suspicious of non-family animals, but are usually happy to meet human strangers.
WHAT IS SIBERIAN HUSKY BEHAVIOR LIKE?
This is an extremely active breed. If you don't have a team for them to pull a sled with, your Siberian Husky will happily keep you company on your morning run. (So long as it's not too warm out.) Find an outlet for her energy, or your Husky might become destructive or overactive. Huskies also have a penchant for using those strong paws and nails for digging. While this can help them stay out of the cold air in subzero temperatures, you should probably keep an eye on them near your rosebushes.
HOW EASY IS IT TO TRAIN A SIBERIAN HUSKY?
These dogs are brilliant, and they're going to make you work for it. Be patient and consistent; reward good behavior.
Given that these dogs were bred to roam the Siberian wilds, it's not surprising that they'll wander for miles if given the opportunity. They don't have the most reliable recall, so it's best to let your Husky play in the largest well-fenced area you can find.
CARE & HEALTH
HOW MUCH DO SIBERIAN HUSKIES SHED AND WHAT ARE THEIR GROOMING NEEDS?
So. Much. Shedding. Officially, the Siberian Husky is a seasonal shedder, but you're going to see fur on everything you own all year 'round. Frequent brushing will help. Aside from that, though, your Husky won't need much in the way of grooming.
WHAT HEALTH PROBLEMS DO SIBERIAN HUSKIES HAVE?
As a breed, Siberian Huskies are generally healthy. Some are susceptible to eye disease or hip dysplasia.