The Siberian Husky is not a dog for the amateur owner and indeed the vast majority of people who end up owning the Husky have owned dogs previously.
There is good reason for this of course. The Siberian Husky takes a special type of person to be able to cater for all its requirements and it’s certainly not a dog for everyone.
However, one of the questions that people tend to ask about when investigating whether this is the right dog for them is what they are like with children.
Obviously, if you already have a family or maybe you’re thinking of starting one, you need to know whether the breed of dog you’re looking at is going to be okay with babies and kids.
The Siberian Husky is a fantastic dog to have around kids. Whether the children are just visiting or indeed growing old with them, the Husky makes a perfect child-friendly pet.
The Siberian Husky is not aggressive or possessive in any way and these are typically the main qualities that dictate how good a dog breed will be with children.
What Makes a Good Family Dog?
The perfect dog is one that is able to obey simple instructions (so is therefore deemed intelligent), is friendly, not aggressive in any way towards humans and not possessive of its things.
The good family dog is one that you, as an owner, should feel comfortable enough with to know that if they were left alone with your child there wouldn’t be any risk of any incidents.
The ideal family dog won’t be so big that there’s a risk that it can knock over your child or would be so strong it could injure them by pulling them over during an outside walk (yes, it does happen).
A good family dog is one that will be calm, trustworthy and will fit in with you. This is why you need to make sure you are the right type of person for the dog as well as the other way round!
What Makes a Bad Family Dog?
Any dog that doesn’t meet the above requirements will most likely not be suitable for a family that has children. It hardly needs me to say that some dogs just aren’t ideal for a family environment.
If a dog has natural tendencies to be aggressive or possessive, then this might not be the best dog for you.
There are always exceptions of course and even the most vicious breeds of dog can live happy, safe lives with a family sometimes. But, you will most likely want to stack the odds in your favor and choose a breed that is typically quite safe.
It’s not all about the dog though. We’re all different and a dog that might be good for my family might not be good for yours.
The Siberian Husky Temperament
The Husky is not a vicious dog in any way you wish to look at it. In fact, you could probably go as far as saying the Husky loves pretty much everyone. This isn’t a breed that you will be able to train as a guard dog as it doesn’t have the mentality for this.
The Husky will want to share everything they own with anyone they come into contact with. Not only that but they will also want to share anything their owner wants to share with anyone they come into contact with 🙂
The Husky is an outgoing, very gentle and friendly dog breed. They will have more energy that you can use and you will wonder where such a medium-sized dog (many people think the Husky is large but it really isn’t) can get all that energy from.
They love to be outside, in fact, no, they need to be outside for large amounts of time and unless you can provide them with several hours of activity a day then this won’t be the pet for you.
The Husky is not a Dog to be Left Alone
The Husky is at their absolute best when they have company and at their absolute worst when they are left alone. If you leave them alone for anything more than around 30 minutes they can start to develop separation anxiety and become depressed.
This can lead to a destructive personality where they will feel the need to chew on anything you have left in the house that they can get their rather large mouths around. It will be able to get its mouth round quite a lot of things, believe me.
Anything over 30 minutes and you’re going to need to either get someone in to sit and play with them or consider crating them. Even this though shouldn’t be for more than around three hours and not too often.
If this is a direction you may need to go in then do take a look at my crate recommendations (opens in a new tab).
The Siberian Husky is an escape artist and given a chance, will be off. They have a very high prey-drive and this means they probably aren’t the best breed of dog to have around cats, but more on this later.
Due to this prey-drive, they must be kept on a leash when you take them out. If they even get a sniff of a small mammal when outside they will most likely be off running after it before you know what’s happened.
It is unlikely at this point that you will be able to stop them and good luck in getting them back!
They are an intelligent dog that is also known to be somewhat stubborn. So, if you haven’t trained them (more on this later) when they were a puppy then you might have your work set out for you. This stubbornness will be with your Husky for the whole of its life, so just accept its part of its make-up and deal with it.
With hindsight it’s actually quite funny but maybe not so much at the time 🙂 You’ll be outside wanting to come in and they won’t want to. They’ll just sit there, looking at you, possibly even howling a bit.
Siberian Husky and Socialization
It may really make life easier for you and your family if you properly socialize your Husky. This can begin as soon as they set paws inside your house.
What we mean about socialization is this. You should introduce your Husky to as many different people (especially children) as you can within those first few weeks. Not only children though but adults and also other animals. The idea behind this is that you will be desensitizing them to other people and other animals.
Doing this will hopefully mean that when the pizza man comes round or it’s outside and sees another dog or animal, it won’t totally freak out.
This usually works really well, to an extent. What owners of Siberian Husky’s often have problems with is when they need to spend a large portion of their lives with a cat.
Siberian Huskies and Cats
Now the reason I need to mention this is that quite simply, a lot of families have cats. Although in cartoons, dogs and cats are worst enemies in real life many dogs get on just fine with a cat in the same home.
When it comes to the Siberian Husky though, you just need to spend a bit more time thinking about this.
I said earlier that the Husky has a high prey-drive and I meant it. Unfortunately, your Husky sees cats as prey, they have no idea that you have one as a pet. I mean, why would you do that anyway? This will be a very difficult situation for the Husky.
On one paw, they will want to chase this prey that (for whatever reason) you’re allowing to live in their house. On the other paw, it will somehow know that if it does chase it (and worse, catches it) it’s going to get told off.
Joking aside, I would not recommend having a Siberian Husky and a cat live together. Although there are numerous owners that will disagree with me. There are loads of families that share their home with both the Siberian Husky and a pet cat and they have been getting on perfectly well for years.
However, there are also reports of families who have had the two cohabit their home for years only for one day the Husky to have something ‘switch’ in their brain, they see the cat as prey and the results can be devastating.
So, it is for this reason, that you can never be totally confident that they will be okay together that I’d suggest you don’t do it.
For more information about the Husky and felines, check out the article here (opens in a new window).
Siberian Husky and Training
The training of your Siberian Husky should start straight away and will really help with discipline and potentially how they get along with all family members. I mentioned earlier that the Husky is stubborn and that’s going to make training just that little bit more difficult for you compared to other breeds of dog.
However, it will be far easier when they are a puppy than when they are younger!
The key to good training is patience, perseverance, and consistency and you’re going to need bucket loads of all three if you’re going to do a good job.
The Husky, like all dogs, is a pack animal and it needs to find its place in the family. If it’s not told what place it has it will assume it is the alpha.
You are the alpha though and to ensure you end up with a pet that will be able to live with you, your family and live its life in your home then you will need to ensure you step up to the mark.
During training sessions, you will have to be confident in your commands and make sure whenever you repeat these commands you do so in the same way each time.
You mustn’t become cross and you mustn’t sound like you’re pleading with them to do what you ask! Although, deep down, you may well actually be doing just that 🙂
A Note about Siberian Huskies and Babies
More of a general note about babies and dogs as it happens and perhaps quite an obvious one but worth noting all the same. The Husky wouldn’t hurt a fly. Actually, it would – so let me re-phrase that.
The Husky is a great dog around children but any animal should not be left alone with a baby, even one as well-behaved as the Siberian Husky.
The problem is babies are about the same size as cats and although the Husky is intelligent enough to tell the difference it’s just not worth the risk. Mind you, this isn’t a problem related to the Husky, it’s just common sense but as we were talking about children, this needed to be mentioned.
It would be difficult to find a dog better suited to children than the Siberian Husky. They are warm, loving, caring, loyal, sociable and friendly animals that will provide your children with the perfect companion as they grow up and develop.
However, it’s not the child that needs to take care of the Husky, is it? It is here that we find the reason why not many families will be found with a Husky, not because of the dog’s attitude towards them but because of the special requirements that this dog needs.
You see, I mentioned at the beginning that this is a dog not for the amateur. Only professionals may apply. Unless you truly know what you are doing and what you are getting yourself in for then you will be soon (and should be) looking at other breeds.
Just a brief reminder of what you’d be letting yourself in for if you go for a Husky:
- A commitment to exercising your Husky at least twice a day and for around an hour each time, although more if you can. You will tire a long time before they do! Also, when you do take them out you’re going to have to keep them on a leash.
- A commitment to spending potentially the next 15 years of your life with her. This is not a dog to have if you’ve got a full-time job, will be out of the house and the dog will be left alone all day. In fact, arguably, this isn’t a dog to have if you’re going to be out for a few hours!
- Your life will need to factor in the Husky in whatever you do, they will become part of your family. If you’re used to having your vacation abroad and spending two weeks on a beach you may have to re-think. Unless, of course, you’re happy to leave your Husky with someone else for two weeks? If you are, then this is probably not the breed for you!
So, make the right decision and if you think you’re the right family for the Husky then go and give them the best home possible. Your children will love them.
Finally, if you need more information about the Siberian Husky then please check out my Complete Guide here.