- AKC recognized in 1930
- Lifespan: 11-12 years
- Size: Large
- Energy: High
- Recommended Crate Size: 48" dog crate*
Return to the main Dog Crate Sizes Breed Chart.
Table of Contents
Siberian Huskies are medium-sized with a thick coat and are classified as a working dog breed.
Originating from the northeast of Siberia and bred by the Chukchi People; Huskies belong to the Spitz genetic family, inheriting its dense fur, distinctive markings, and erect triangular ears.
Although this beautiful breed is popular, there are some things to keep in mind.
The American Kennel Club formally recognized Siberian Huskies in 1930.
These high energy dogs have a smooth characteristic gait.
The husky is considered a working dog with quick and light feet. They make excellent search and rescue dogs for the US Army.
They have an incredibly strong instinct to seize and chase cats and livestock.
If the breeding, training, and socializing is important with the Siberian Husky. There are some cases of serious injury and even killing of other animals. This dog has a strong predatory instinct.
This medium-sized dog has a double coat with dense fur. Their fur is thicker than the average dog breed.
The double coat consists of a thick undercoat with a long and shorter second coat with straight hair. The double coating protects the dog against the cold, Northern Arctic winter while reflecting some of the heat in the summer.
The Husky comes in various colors and patterns but the common colors are black and white. Less common are pure white, copper-red, and so on.
Siberian Huskies do well when provided feed formulated to medium-sized breeds. It is highly recommended to discuss your dog’s feed with your veterinarian and breeder to determine the size and frequency of meals in order to ensure good health and lifespan. It is also important to provide clean and fresh water every day.
Occasional grooming is required to keep the husky’s performance at their best. Regular nail trimming can prevent overgrowth and cracking.
Also, regular ear checks are also essential to prevent debris and wax buildup which can cause infections.
It is important to consider that Huskies have a shedding season. They shed a lot, which can lead to a huge amount of their hair on your clothes, carpeting, furniture, countertops, and even in your food. Therefore, regular vacuuming is a great way to keep things in order.
The Siberian Husky has a strong natural predatory instinct; therefore, they should not be left unsupervised especially among other small animals.
They have high energy which traditionally allowed effective sled pulling and running all day long. Be warned that if you let them run loose, some may run away. This dog has an innate characteristic in its makeup that gives it a strong desire to run.
As a very active dog breed, regular exercise is a definite must. Due to its desire for freedom, there are few Siberian Husky which can be left unrestrained.
They should always be under control or supervision. Sufficient exercise is essential. Inadequate exercise can lead to destructive behavior.
Siberian Husky parents who are in training for a marathon will be pleased to know that they have the perfect workout partner.
This high energy breed benefits from lots and lots of physical exercise which can be tricky because they are not the easiest breed to walk.
They love to keep a fast pace and also love to go after small animals or at least attempt to.
Huskies need plenty of mental exercises as well. Mental stimulation is imperative and can be implemented during physical exercise times or separately.
Challenging tricks are excellent to teach and brainy toys are great vices too.
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Pet Crate Size
Pet Crates Direct recommends 48” dog crates* for most adult Siberian Huskies.
Return to the main Dog Crate Sizes Breed Chart.
* Links for crate sizes will bring you to the most appropriate Amazon page.
Warming Up to the Siberian Husky
The Siberian Husky is a fun-loving bundle of energy that can teeter a bit on the wild side.
With origins from the harsh and frigid land of Siberia, Russia, this medium size working dog once earned his keep by helping the native people hunt.
A double-coat of thick fur and resilient nature made Siberian Huskies perfect for the job.
A Little Husky History
Where genetics are concerned, the Siberian Husky breed is a member of the Spitz family. While the origin of the Spitz is not fully known, it is thought to come from the Arctic Region, most likely Siberia.
True to the characteristics of the Spitz lineage, hey have ultra-thick fur, pointy triangular-shaped ears, and distinctive markings.
They also have the innate ability to thrive in extremely cold temperatures. During the early 1900s, a Russian fur trader introduced Siberian Huskies to Nome, during the Alaskan gold rush where they were used mainly as sled dogs.
Malamutes, relatives of the Siberian Husky, had been in the area for centuries and were considerably larger so Huskies were often referred to as “Siberian Rats” because of the Siberian Huskies’ smaller size.
The Huskies were much faster than the Malamutes though, so there was a definite demand for them. Thus, the breed began to flourish in North America where they eventually made their way into the hearts of many and are now common household dogs.
Also coming out of the Arctic region, the Canada Eskimo and Greenland dogs, are similar but are actually a distinct breed.
In 1930, the Siberian Husky was formally recognized by the AKC.
On the Hunt
There are many physical attributes and personality characteristics that make the Husky a prime candidate for tracking and hunting as well as for surviving in the unforgiving frozen terrain.
First off, he has a double coat. The top coat consists of thick, long “guard” hairs that serve to protect his coat and skin.
It repels water and in the winter, holds heat in and allows the skin to breathe and blocks harmful UV rays in the warm months. The hairs are straight and tend to shed all year-round.
The Husky’s undercoat is like down, soft, fluffy, thick and full. It protects the skin in cold weather as it is slightly crimped to trap warm air in. This layer is shed twice a year, spring and fall. It is usually completely gone in the warm months.
Some Siberian Huskies are the exception to the rule and have a woolly coat. While this type of coat is still considered a double coat, it is different in that the guard hairs are longer.
It looks nice and many Husky owners feel woolly coated Siberians are more attractive, the hairs don’t protect well against elements like water, ice, and snow. The hairs also take considerably longer to dry.
It’s important for owners of woolly coated Huskies to know that these dogs are not well equipped for working in brutally cold conditions.
Siberians’ almond-shaped eyes enable them to squint in order to keep snow out of them. Furthermore, they sleep with their tails wrapped around their faces so their breath will keep their faces and noses warm.
Another feature that gives way to excellent hunting skills is that Siberian Huskies can run like the wind and they are energetic enough to do so for extended periods of time.
They have a smooth gait and are light-footed as well which makes them excellent runners.
In fact, they can run extremely long distances burning calories without ever tapping into alternative sources of energy like glycogen and fat.
The reason they can do so is due to their metabolism which mysteriously switches gears just before they begin to race.
They love to give chase which is also conducive to hunting. From small game in the wild to the neighbor’s cat, if it moves, Siberian Huskies will run after it.
Their inbuilt instinct is to kill as they are predators by nature. That is not to say that they will...but, they might.
The breed is known for being determined. They can actually be downright stubborn too. Their backcountry skills call for waiting out critters they are hunting.
Waiting relentlessly for hours for a squirrel to come down from a tree or for a burrowing animal to the surface is nothing for a Siberian Husky.
Taming the Wild-Hearted Siberian Husky
Because the Husky has such deep roots in work-related areas, like hunting and sledding, they are naturally wild at heart. The characteristics sometimes manifest at awkward times, much to their owner’s chagrin. Many an unsuspecting Siberian Husky parent has found out the hard way that they like to run...and roam.
Some dogs are best parented by knowledgeable owners who are schooled in understanding dogs in general and who have a feel for the unique temperament of the Siberian Husky.
Their need for stimulation, both physically and mentally, can be overwhelming to first-time pet parents and even to the seasoned ones. Although they are a gorgeous and lovable breed, they certainly are not a good fit for everyone.
Another thing worth mentioning is that when bred in puppy mill type situations, the Siberian Husky’s traits can be bred out of control. Such careless and constant breeding habits can exaggerate negative characteristics which can be quite dangerous.
It is never wise to walk a Husky off-leash. His bounding energy and instinct to explore often get the best of him so it’s always better to be safe than sorry.
While he might be seemingly doing quite well with his off-leash training, the minute a squirrel scampers past or a small dog scurries by, his chasing instincts are likely to overcome him. The same is true for his need to explore.
It only takes a second for a Husky to become preoccupied with his adventurous side and he can easily slip out of site for he is a natural at the art of disappearing.
Huskies possess a stubborn streak.
The fact that they are true pack dogs, however, is often his saving grace.
When presented with love and praise, he will often succumb to your wishes above his own.
This is imperative to training him. He must respect and accept the fact that his owner is the pack leader, not him. Once that is understood, he is highly intelligent and physically fit so training should be a breeze.
One last, but very interesting note, is that a Husky who is difficult, if not impossible, to train at home may do very well in class.
They are pack dogs, through and through and function well in groups.
Cute (and Not So Cute) Quirks and Facts about Siberian Huskies
- They don’t bark. Instead, they “talk”. While this is an adorable trait, it can be a problem if you lose your dog, especially in the wide open woods.
- Many have blue eyes and a good number have one blue and one brown.
- Their tails curve over their backs.
- Their big feet actually function like snowshoes.
- The hair between their toes helps keep them warm in freezing conditions.
- They love snow and if it is snowing out, owners have a tough time keeping them out of it. It’s really best to not even try. It’s best to let them roll, romp and relic in it as long as they are not able to run off.
- They are escape artists, able to skillfully and quickly climb fences and trees in order to get out of confined areas.
- Digging is a favorite thing to do and goes right along with their escape talents.
- They bore very easily.
- Their howling can get out of control.
Why So Blue?
It is a common, very sought-after trait of Siberian’s to have blue eyes although some may have a mix of blue and brown, while others just have brown. There is a genetically-based reason for the blue eye dominance.
Typically, a dog has brown eyes. This is due to a gene (called the merle gene) which actually dilutes the dog’s coat and eye pigmentation.
The merle gene is often seen in Australian shepherds and in Weimaraners as well as the Siberian Husky. Often, light or white colored hair (especially on the face) is evident of the gene too.
The interesting thing about Huskies is that they are the only breed that has the merle gene exclusively in their eyes but not on their face.
A number of Husky pups are born with blue eyes that turn brown later on, like human babies. This generally happens around the fourth or fifth week of life.
Contrary to what some believe, the eye color has nothing to do with the dog’s health. It’s just the luck of the draw, so to speak.
When Things Get Hairy
The Siberian Husky is a bit hairy to deal with in that they have tons of hair.
The hair is medium length with the top layer being straight and the undercoat being fluffy and curly.
A weekly brushing is certainly in order to keep shedding at a minimum.
During the warmer months, a daily brushing will behoove him. They shed during the fall and spring so more brushing is a good idea during those times.
Regular baths are a must although they really have very little body odor or hair odor.
Fitting into a Family
Siberian Huskies are pack dogs and love being in families.
They are very gentle, lovable and playful as well as social and relaxed. They enjoy energetic children and eat up attention.
Because they do get bored extremely easily, it is not advisable to have them in a confined space without a good outlet for physical activity.
They tend to take their boredom out on their surroundings like the flower garden outside or slippers, sofas, and carpet when left indoors.
Huskies are hot-natured. They don’t do well in areas that are extremely hot much of the year but, they can successfully survive as long as they have plenty of cool shade and lots of fresh water.
The breed is basically a healthy one. They are, however, prone to some health issues.
They are at risk of developing hip dysplasia, eye disorders like cataracts, progressive retinal atrophy, and corneal dystrophy and a skin condition commonly known as zinc responsive dermatitis.
Huskies generally live around 12-15 years.
Being On Guard
Siberian Huskies have a wolf-like appearance so they can be quite intimidating.
If you are relying on looks alone, he should be a good guard dog. But, if you are expecting him to actually guard the house...forget about it.
The breed, in general, does not bark so he will not detour anyone by his bark.
Furthermore, especially if offered a treat or a pat, Huskies are people-dogs and will most likely take up with an intruder rather than keep him at bay.
Mixing it Up
Siberian Husky mixes are said to be highly unpredictable. A good look into what he is mixed with can help tremendously.
The Siberian Husky wolf mix is sometimes referred to as a “wolfdog”. In a number of states, it is illegal to have a dog mixed with wolf but a good amount of Siberian Husky wolf mixes are in existence.
Wolves typically have ears that are smaller and larger heads which can serve as clues when questioning if a Husky is mixed with wolf. The wolf certainly does not typically have the social traits and gentle nature that a Husky does.
When Siberian Husky ownership is to be taken seriously in risks, when the wolf is also in the equation, even more caution must be exercised.
A wolf hybrid of any mix can be problematic. Crossed with a Siberian Husky, the situation may be even more so. The mix can yield a skittish dog that does not respond well to humans and that overreacts when frightened by loud or sudden noises, fast moving objects or other interference.
The Siberian Husky puppy may show only mild signs of the wild nature they possess but when he reaches maturity, he may exhibit many other characteristics of the wild wolf side of him.
Husky Heroes and Celebrities
On any given day in Central Park, New York, a noble bronze statue of a Siberian Husky can be seen standing. The canine hero represented is Balto whose bravery stood out in 1925 when he was the leader of a team of sled dogs who were driven by Gunnar Kassen.
The team was in charge of delivering medicine to the victims of a horrible diphtheria outbreak that had occurred in Nome, Alaska.
Numerous roles have been played in films by Huskies throughout the years. Balto was one such movie. It debuted in 1995 and was based on the true story of the same Balto whose bronze statue graces Central Park.
In the film, the dog’s heroic accomplishments were recreated when he saved the musher, the team of sled dogs and the people (including young children) who he delivered the diphtheria medicine too.
Snow Dogs hit the screen in 2002. The Disney production film told the story of Ted Brooks whose mother left him a fortune...in money and in sled dogs. The dogs include seven champion Siberian Huskies and a Border Collie.
The leader of the sled dogs was Demon who was as defiant and devilish as the name implies. The tale is full of ups and downs but in the end, all is well and dogs and man live happily ever after.
Eight Below was a very popular movie set in the frozen tundra of Antarctica. True to the nature of Siberians, two of the dogs got out of the chains they were on that were to help protect them against their own wild natures. Two of the dogs didn’t make it. Two did and the storyline revolves around the challenges and triumphs they faced.
In 1994, Iron Will graced the box office. The story of a boy and his dog warmed the hearts of all who saw the show. The tough demands of dog sled dogs and mushers were realistically depicted in the production.
Not only are Siberians in movies, but they are also companions to movie stars as well. Ben Stiller, the comedian, and actor, adore the breed and owns one too. Singer and songwriter, Miley Cyrus, has a Husky and so does professional Nascar racer, Danica Patrick.
All Said and Done...
The cold-loving Siberian Husky has a way of warming human hearts. As long as the owner is willing and able to tone down the wild side a bit, he has great potential to be an awesome member of the family.