With most dogs, this is not a question that is typically asked. However, anyone who knows anything about the Siberian Husky will appreciate it is far from a typical breed.
It is definitely not your average dog! It originated in the harsh northern Asian climate and was built to survive and thrive in extremely low temperatures.
So, can a Siberian Husky live outside? A Siberian Husky can live outside your house but it is not recommended you do this. The Husky is a sociable animal that thrives on interaction, ideally from humans, but if not from other dogs.
Some dogs can be housed outside without any problems, but the Husky is not one of these. This has nothing to do with their physical ability but is because of their temperament.
The Siberian Husky is a dog that is capable of adapting to many climates but it would be difficult to argue about which climate it was built for. Most people will keep their Husky inside, as they would a traditional pet dog but others tend to, for various reasons, choose to keep them outside.
This can be quite a controversial approach for many whereas others believe this is their preferred environment.
What Environment is Best for the Husky?
The best climate for the Siberian Husky is one where it doesn’t get too hot. Although their coat is thick, it is able to adapt to varying conditions so there are actually many locations where a Husky can enjoy a good life and is able to keep active.
It would be easy to say a climate that matches Siberia would be perfect for the breed but this isn’t entirely accurate. Although it would (and did for many centuries) survive in this environment, we’re not talking about a climate in which they just survive, we’re talking the best climate for them.
So, as long as you live in a location that doesn’t have desert-like conditions all year round, they should be fine. The problem with this is that although their double coat can adapt itself to a hot climate, it can only do so to an extent.
Their coat will still be thick and it will still be like playing a game of football in the middle of summer, wearing a thick coat.
Many Husky’s these days are found throughout the world in all kinds of climates but if you live in a temperate climate, such as in the United Kingdom – they are known to do rather well here.
Here, apart from the odd day, the temperatures are never too hot and never too cold and although there are, of course, seasonal changes, it’s rare to see that much variation.
Maybe then the question should be ‘What climate is bad for the Siberian Husky?’ – as this would have been easier to answer. Any environment where temperatures regularly exceed 80 °F or so, with direct sunlight beating down on the dog would really restrict the amount of exercise you could do with this dog.
Needless to say, if they are being left outside then they need shelter from the sunlight and protection from the elements. The Husky may have survived for generations in Siberian summers but that doesn’t mean they particularly enjoyed it or wanted it, it’s just the cards that they were dealt.
The Siberian Husky Kennel
If you’re thinking of keeping your Husky outside then you’ll need a kennel to keep them away from the elements. So, let’s get the basics covered first. The Husky House must be:
- Well insulated to keep the cold wind from being able to get inside.
- Large enough so the Husky has enough room to be able to move around when inside.
- People tend to use straw for bedding as it retains temperature and doesn’t freeze.
- Consider one with a door to help even further with temperature regulation.
- Depending on the outside temperature, consider a heating mechanism to keep the chill off inside.
The temperature inside needs ideally to be somewhere between 50 °F and around 70 °F. My advice would to either ensure there is a heating (or cooling) mechanism where appropriate and also a device where you can remotely monitor this temperature.
Some people suggest that also the Husky is restrained whilst outside but I would very much recommend against doing this. It can, and probably will, lead to severe anxiety-related problems and even physical injuries if they hurt themselves because of it.
Clean water must be provided to ensure the Husky can be properly hydrated.
Maybe now is the best place to talk about the Husky and hibernation. Some people (believe it or not) have asked whether the Siberian Husky hibernates. If you’re interested in this, please check out my article here (opens in a new tab).
A Very Brief (but relevant) History of the Siberian Husky
As I said in the title, this is relevant information to this breed and the conditions it is ‘used’ to. It is both fascinating and interesting that we can track the Siberian Husky’s root back quite a long way.
The Husky, with a few other breeds, descended directly from the original sled dog. The very first Huskies were owned by the Chukchi people in the Siberian peninsula and here, the climate was extreme – I’m talking temperatures as low at −70 °F.
Most of us reading this article won’t have experienced anything like these conditions but for the Husky, it was the norm during the Siberian winters.
The Chukchi people relied on this dog and they undoubtedly helped them survive. In the winter, during the day they were used to help with transport and during the summer months they were let off to fend for themselves.
This, they did with ease and were able to hunt and build crude shelters for themselves to protect them from the biting wind that they would’ve experienced.
When the summer months came to an end and finding food became difficult they returned home to the Chukchi. Rumour has it that they weren’t left outside back then, they were welcomed into the home of the people and were even used at night to help keep the population warm!
In the early part of the 20th Century, they were imported into Alaska, not exactly much of an improvement of the climate! Well, maybe a bit. Fast forward now a century and with the advent of social media, their popularity increased.
Many were/are fascinated by their wolf-like looks and photos being shared globally only helped to increase their popularity. From here, markets were formed where there was a demand with no supply and they soon started popping up all over the place.
The Temperament of the Siberian Husky
The temperament of the Husky may have an impact on whether you decide that your Husky is going to live outside or not. However, that’s not what this article is about, it’s about whether the Husky could live outside.
The answer doesn’t just lie in its physical attributes, which help to obviously keep the Husky warmer than most dogs would be outside. What we’re interested in is its temperament, which is incredibly sociable.
They are a breed that needs company. This is actually one of the reasons that make it such a poor choice of breed if you’re going to be leaving it alone all day. It will suffer from separation anxiety in no time at all and this can (and will) lead to a depressed dog that suffers from anxiety and can lead to other problems, such as a destructive behavior.
In the past, when the Husky was living with the Chukchi people, it was never alone. During the winter it was embedded with the people and it is believed they weren’t kept outside, in fact – they were often kept with the owners at night to keep each other warm!
During the summer months, it was let loose – as we said earlier. The point is here, at no time were they alone. Even during these summer months, they had other dogs to keep them company. The Siberian Husky is not a dog that likes to be alone.
The Husky’s Coat
The reason why it is possible for the Siberian Husky to spend more time than most dogs outside is primarily because of their coat. Or should I say, ‘coats‘? You see, the Husky doesn’t just have one coat, it has two.
There is a dense, furry undercoat which is protected by its primary coat that consists of guard hairs. These guard hairs do just what you think they do, they guard the Husky’s skin from superficial injuries and provide an extra layer of insulation.
The Husky’s coat sheds a lot. Actually, this is quite normal for any dog that has a coat of this length. They will also blow their coats, usually once a year for the male Husky and twice
This is to allow a new undercoat to grow back. This happens twice a year typically (depending on climate) and will take about 3 months to grow back. After it blows during the fall, it will grow back thicker to keep it warm during winter months. During spring, it will grow back thinner to keep it cooler during the hotter summer months.
Some people are tempted to cut the coat of the Husky but this is actually a very bad idea. Rather than doing any good, you could actually do a lot of harm.
Without this furry layer of protection, harmful solar radiation can reach the skin of the Husky, which was never meant to happen. The fur that grows back after the Spring blow actually helps to keep this dog cool, so it should be left this way.
So, the Husky’s coat can certainly keep it warm when outside but it will need some protection from the elements, which brings us nicely onto the next section. The Husky can get cold – check out my other article (opens in a new window) for more information.
The Siberian Husky is a stubborn breed of dog. It is also, usually, quite quiet. It talks when it needs to talk. However, when it does need to say something it does it in style. You will notice that when the Husky doesn’t get its way, it may howl. It’s letting you know it isn’t happy about something.
Now, if your Husky is used to being inside, it will usually be over the moon about being outside. But, only if you’re there with them or if they are not confined in any way. Which they will be if you’re trying to house them outside.
So, you will get a response from your Husky if they are not happy about this. And they won’t be happy about it. How that sadness manifests itself can be in a few different ways. Initially though, it may well be through howling. All they are trying to do here is get your attention.
Whether they will be thinking you’ve forgotten them or they are just telling you they are not happy (more likely), who really knows. However, howling travels a long way, in fact – 10 miles apparently on open ground. So, I hope you get on well with your neighbors!
I hope that the information provided in this article has been enough to convince you that keeping a Siberian Husky outside is not good for its welfare.
Ues, physically speaking, the Husky is perfectly capable of spending time outside in a kennel. However, this is not good for
If you’d like to know more about this rather unusual but equally magnificent breed of dog, do check out my Complete Guide (opens in a new window).
Alternatively, if you’d like to take a look at my recommendations for the best Siberian Husky related gifts, do take a look here – they are all awesome and I can personally recommend them all!