AKC Working Group
Used for centuries by the Chukchi people in Siberia to pull sleds and herd reindeer, the Siberian Husky is a very lightweight sled dog with great stamina and resistance to the elements. The Siberian was brought to North America by fur traders in the 1900s for use in sled racing and handily beat all previously existing breeds. It is still a popular sled-racing breed, but should not be confused with the popular Alaskan Husky, which is usually a mix of breeds. In 1925, during a diphtheria epidemic in Nome, Alaska, many dog teams relayed the precious medicine to the stricken city. This event focused national attention on the Siberian Husky teams and lead dogs, and helped popularize the breed. The Siberian Husky also was used on Admiral Byrd’s Antarctic Expeditions. An excellent pack animal, the Siberian gets along well with his comrades. The breed has now become very popular as a companion dog.
The Siberian Husky is a beautiful medium-sized Spitz-type breed with blue or brown eyes (or one of each), and triangular, furry, prick ears. His soft, thick double coat protects him from extreme cold, down to minus 58°F (but only if acclimated and for short periods). The furry tail curls over his back when he is running or alert. The Siberian Husky is very agile and moves easily, gracefully, and effortlessly. He should not look heavy. The coat comes in many colors, including various shades of gray, black, sand, and red, usually with white legs, face, and throat. White markings often appear on the head, and some dogs are all white.
- Height: 21 to 23-1/2 in. (male); 20 to 22 in. (female)
- Size: Medium
- Weight: 45 to 60 lbs. (male); 35 to 50 lbs. (female)
- Availability: Very popular
- Talents: Sledding, carting, and sled racing
The coat doesn’t need much care except during the twice-yearly shedding season, when the shedding hair needs to be combed out. Beware of eye problems (including PRA, juvenile cataracts, corneal dystrophy, and crystalline corneal opacities) and zinc responsive dermatitis (a skin condition which improves by giving zinc supplements). Hip dysplasia is not prevalent in the breed, but OFA, PennHIP, or another national hip-dysplasia clearance and current CERF or OFA eye clearance on both parents is recommended as a precaution. Healthy Sibes do best on high-protein, high-fat dog food, especially those with fish meal. Prefers a cold climate and the outdoors. Needs a lot of exercise. Likes to roam—it’s not safe to let this breed off lead except in a thoroughly enclosed area. May chase cats or livestock. Easily bored and can become destructive if left alone for long periods of time. Has been known to dig the stuffing out of the family sofa in an attempt to build a nest! Can be difficult to housebreak. Likes to howl.
Gentle and playful but willful and mischievous—a puppy at heart. Clever, sociable, and loving. Easygoing and docile. Good with children. Friendly with strangers—not a watchdog. Patient, consistent training is needed with this willful, but highly intelligent, breed. This dog will take advantage if he can!
- Children: Good with children
- Friendliness: Loves everyone
- Trainability: Slightly difficult to train
- Independence: Fairly independent
- Dominance: Low
- Other Pets: Good with other pets if raised with them from puppyhood
- Combativeness: Friendly with other dogs
- Noise: Likes to howl
- Indoors: Very active indoors
- Owner: Not recommended for novice owners
- Grooming: A little grooming needed
- Trimming and Stripping: No trimming or stripping needed
- Coat: Fluffy coat
- Shedding: Seasonally heavy shedder
- Exercise: Vigorous daily exercise needed
- Jogging: An excellent jogging companion
- Apartments: Not recommended for apartments
- Outdoor Space: Best with a large yard
- Climate: Prefers cool climates
- Longevity: Moderately long lived (12 to 15 years)