Siberian Husky

Bred in Northeast Asia as a sled dog, the Siberian Husky is known for its amazing endurance and willingness to work.  Widely believed to have originated from within the Chukchi tribe, off the eastern Siberian peninsula, these dogs were used in 1908 for the All Alaskan Sweepstakes, which consisted of a 408 mile long sled dog race and also served in the Army's Arctic Search and Rescue Unit during World War II.

 

The Siberian's head is medium size, and in proportion to the body, slightly rounded on top and tapering from the widest point to the eyes, with a muzzle that is equal in length to the skull, with a well-defined stop.

The eyes are almond-shaped, and can be brown, blue or amber, bi-eyed (two different coloured eyes), or parti-eyed (two colours in the one eye). The ears are medium size, triangular in shape, close fitting and set high on the head. The nose colour is dependent upon the colour of the dog's coat, with a black nose in grey, tan or black dogs, a liver coloured nose in copper dogs and flesh-coloured in pure white dogs. It can also have a pink streak, known as a 'snow nose' which can appear when the dog has had little exposure to sunlight, such as in a snowy winter, hence the name. The well-furred fox-brush shaped tail is carried over the back in a graceful sickle curve, but is not curled close to the back like that of the Alaskan Malamute. The Siberian has a double coat that is medium length, quite thick and can withstand temperatures as low as minus 50 to minus 60 degrees Celsius. This double coat acts like insulation, keeping the heat in during the colder months, but also keeping the heat out during the warmer ones. 

The coat also comes in a longer variety, referred to as a "woolly" coat.  Coat colours include all, from black to pure white, with or without markings on the head.  The face mask and underbody are usually white and the remaining coat any colour.  Some examples of common colours are black and white, red and white, grey and white, silver, wolf-grey, sable and white.  Piebald is a common coat pattern.

 

Sizes:

Bitches: Height 51-56cm (20-22")   Weight: 16-23kg (35-50 lbs)

Dogs: Height 53.5-60cm (21-23.5")   Weight 20-27kg (45-60 lbs)

 

Siberian Huskies are loving, gentle, playful, happy-go-lucky dogs that are fond of their families.  Alert and outgoing, Sibes are high energy dogs, especially when young.  Good with children, and friendly with strangers, they are not watchdogs - they bark little and love everyone. They are very intelligent and trainable, but they will only obey a command if they see the human is stronger-minded than themselves.  If a handler does not display leadership, they will not see the point in obeying.  Training takes patience, consistency and an understanding of the arctic dog character.  If you are not this dog's 100% firm, confident and consistent pack leader, he will take advantage, becoming wilful and mischievous.  Huskies may be difficult to housebreak, they bore easily and like to howl.

 

Siberians require a fair amount of exercise and love a daily walk or jog, but should not be exercised excessively in warm temperatures.  They require secure, dig-proof fencing, as their prey drive and instinct to roam is strong.  Despite their thick double-layered coats, Siberians can live happily in warmer climates with adequate shade and water.  Their coat sheds heavily twice a year and requires daily brushing/combing during that time.  These dogs don't do well left alone for extended periods, especially without being exercised beforehand.  A lonely Husky, or one that is not receiving sufficient exercise and mental stimulation will likely become destructive.  Remember, they are working dogs at heart.

 

Huskies can make wonderful companions for people who are aware of what to expect from these beautiful and intelligent animals and are willing to put in the required time and effort.

With thanks to Cameo Anderson Pet Portraits & Marnie Gray-Tuapawa for the Siberian Husky image