WHAT EXACTLY IS A SIBERIAN HUSKY?
Have you seen the Disney movies SNOW DOGS or EIGHT BELOW, filled with beautiful Siberian Huskies? Like all Disney movies, these are loads of fun! When you leave the theatre, you may decide you want your very own snow dog. Siberian Huskies are terrific dogs. If this is the right dog for you, welcome to our pack! However, we want you to know about the breed first so you are armed with the correct information before making the decision since not everything about a Siberian Husky can be portrayed in a Disney movie.
Do you REALLY want a Siberian husky?
So… you’ve fallen for those beautiful blue eyes and that gorgeous luxurious coat, the friendly temperament. You want one! But… please stop to consider all of the characteristics! This is indeed a wonderful dog…for the right person. Are you the right person?
Please consider the following points:
- First, the Siberian Husky is a high-energy, gregarious dog that must have an occupation. Where is my paycheck? This is a working dog, bred for extremely strenuous work hauling sleds in very difficult terrain and weather conditions. If you have time to exercise this dog or to keep him or her adequately occupied, if you have time to be a companion, to form a pack bond with this dog, this may be the breed for you. He/she will demand attention and will get it, one way or another. This dog will not be content to stay outside in the yard while you have fun inside. If you do not provide your Siberian Husky with an occupation, he or she will find one, and you may not like the method chosen.
A natural accompaniment to the high energy and the purpose for which is the Siberian Husky is bred is the fact that Siberians run and roam. There just is no other dog with such a gypsy instinct. They cannot be trained NOT to run, any more than a retriever can be taught not to retrieve or a Border Collie not to herd. This makes them excellent travel companions. However, this also means that your Siberian will travel on his or her own if given the chance. Siberians are escape artists, a.k.a. hairy Houdinis. A Siberian will climb fences, leap fences, dig under fences, wriggle under gates, even eat through fences, slip through doors and windows, slip out of collars and harnesses…all in the name of an opportunity to explore the world — and get into whatever trouble he or she can find: hit by moving traffic as the Siberian Husky has no street sense or homing instinct whatsoever, free to chase and kill cats and other small pets, get into dogfights, chase horses and cattle (thus being at risk for injury by kicking or being shot by livestock owners), find poisoned or spoiled meat, pick up ticks and other parasites. The Siberian is also an easy target for dog-nappers and dog-abusers as it is a very gentle and friendly breed. More than any other breed, the Siberian Husky must be either on leash or in a well-fenced area — and supervised — at all times. Your call to “come” will fall on deaf ears when the motivation and instinct to run is strong enough. The Siberian Husky typically does not respect the momentary discomfort and ‘zing’ from an invisible fence system, and the size of your acreage is not a natural barrier or deterrent to a dog that is bred to run long distances at moderate speed without tiring. (Collars with snap enclosures and retractable leads are inadequate for a Siberian as well.)
Don’t be fooled by his appearance. He is NOT a watchdog. Siberians are not inclined to give even warning barks upon approach by a stranger, no matter where they are, not even in their own homes. They are far more likely to lead an intruder to the biscuit box and offer the family silver in exchange for a treat. They are also not inclined to be guard dogs. Although if a member of their pack were seriously threatened, they might come to your defense enough to knock someone off your person, ordinarily your most extreme danger from a Siberian is being licked to death.
Siberians shed their coats twice a year. The hitch is that each shed lasts six months. It waxes and it wanes, but it continues all year. There will be an intense period of shedding to get the thick winter coat out in the spring and another slightly less intense period in the fall to prepare to put on the winter coats. If you value neatness at all times, then… don’t adopt a Siberian. If you can tolerate fur all over the house and in the very air you breathe, then you are a candidate for a Siberian in your home.
Siberian Huskies dig. If your lawn and flowers are the joy of your life… consider a different breed. They dig holes to cool off in the summer, but they also dig to form nice cozy nests in the snow. It doesn’t matter to them if there isn’t any snow — instinct says, “Dig!!!” They also dig quite extensive dens if given even a little time and the proper place. If you have a Siberian and a landscaped yard at the same time, you must provide an area where the Siberian can excavate without damage to your plantings and lawn.
Siberian Huskies are strong, stubborn, independent, and rambunctious. The other way to say that is that they are powerful, persistent, smart and full of energy and stamina, desirable traits in a sled dog, but in a house pet only if you train the dog well. Training a Siberian Husky can be an exercise in patience. They do not react well to coercive means of training, but they need a strong and intelligent owner who will be alpha (leader). If you are not physically strong, you will have to be strong in character. If you cannot be the alpha of the pack, the Siberian Husky will take over and make life miserable. That doesn’t mean the Siberian Husky cannot be trained to be a polite and relatively calm house dog but only IF he or she gets adequate exercise, companionship, and training.
Siberian Huskies talk. They do not talk like the dogs in Disney’s SNOW DOGS, however. The melodic language of real Siberian Huskies is not quite the English language. They speak in “woos” and bay. If this is the right breed for you, you will love their singing and “talking.” Remember that your neighbors may not share your enthusiasm, especially when your Siberian wants to have a lengthy conversation in the middle of the night.
Siberian Huskies have a high prey instinct. If you have kitties or small dogs, be certain before bringing home a Siberian that your Siberian doesn’t want them served for a feline feast or small dog supper.
Please also remember that, just like all of the fabulous things Lassie did were not real, the Siberian Huskies you see in the Disney’s SNOW DOGS are not the dogs you will meet. If you have read all of this and truly believe you qualify to own a Siberian Husky, we ask you spend a little time to further research our wonderful breed. We also ask you to consider a rescued Siberian Husky, rather than a puppy. There are many benefits to being owned by a rescued Siberian, which we would be happy to discuss with you.
Resources abound. First, talk to those people you see at the end of a Siberian’s leash. Those of us who are owned by Siberians tend to love to talk about our hairy Houdinis, especially since they provide us with so many attention-keeping stories to tell! And that’s another thing. If you are ready, be prepared to be owned by your Siberian. You will be. Your whole life will revolve around your Siberian. Also be aware that more often than not, you can’t be owned by just one.
Thank you for reading this page. It means you did your homework, and we appreciate that very much. If you are sure the Siberian Husky is for you, welcome to a very special group of people. It’s hard to be humble when you qualify to be part of a Siberian’s pack!!!