The Siberian Husky, up to the last 15/20 years or so was not a breed of dog commonly seen outside extreme environments. The continual increase in popularity of social media has, however, made this incredibly attractive dog more popular, globally. Owners share their photos of this ‘wolf-like’, mysterious breed of dog and many people who previously didn’t even know that the breed existed, suddenly become interested.
Unfortunately, this has made a market for the breed of dog in locations where it typically wouldn’t be found and there are many accounts of owners having to return their Husky after a couple of months when they realize what they’ve got themselves into.
The Siberian Husky is a special breed of dog that needs a special type of attention. There are things that you absolutely must do with this breed (like exercise it a LOT) and things that you must not do (like leaving it alone). Which brings me nicely onto the subject of their coat. The double-coat on the Husky is something that you’re going to need to take care of for the entirety of its life. A question that is asked often in hotter climates is whether you can (or should) cut their coat…
Can I cut my Siberian Husky’s hair? No, you must never cut the hair of your Siberian Husky as this will do more damage than good. If you live in a hot location you may think you are doing them a favor by cutting it but you are not. Their undercoat is designed to blow twice a year and for the summer months, will grow back thinner. This thin layer of fur will protect their skin from harmful ultraviolet rays.
Siberian Huskies and their Coats
The coat is integral to the Husky’s look and also integral to how they survived in the harsh Siberian winters! They have a double coat actually, comprising a soft but dense undercoat which is protected by their primary coat. This consists of longer hairs (called guard hairs). These two coats work in harmony together to protect it and keep it warm in the winter and helps to keep it cool in the summer.
The primary coat, consisting of the guard hairs also help to provide a protective layer against vegetation and also helps prevent insects from coming into contact with the skin and potentially infecting it.
Their coat will shed, which is actually quite normal for any dog that has a coat of this length. However, at least once a year for males or twice a year for females, most Huskies will shed a lot more than usual (referred to as ‘blowing’). You will find that, over a few weeks, their dense undercoat will come out in clumps. The shedding can vary though. For instance, in locations that are very hot or have high humidity may make the shedding a lot worse.
Once the undercoat has blown, it will take a few months (usually around 3 or 4) to grow back.
One other positive feature about the coat of the Husky is that unlike most other dog breeds, the Husky’s coat just doesn’t smell as much. Bonus, right? The Husky is a clean dog (well, when it’s not jumping into puddles) and will try and maintain its coat as best it can by itself.
Why You Shouldn’t Cut Your Husky’s Fur
The Husky’s coat works naturally and effectively without the need for cutting. In fact, in the summer months, their thin undercoat will help to keep the sunlight off their skin and keep them cool. Well, at least cooler than they would be if they didn’t have this coat. By removing this coat you are removing their natural protection and will be exposing their skin to the sunlight, which it was never designed to receive.
Should You Groom Your Siberian Husky?
Yes, you should groom your Husky ideally every day. If you decide to leave it for a few days then you’ll start to find their fur accumulate all over the house and you will wonder quite how it got there. Don’t be surprised if you’re picking hairs out of your food for the next 15 years!
So, with regard to grooming, you’ve really got a couple of options:
- Groom them in a controlled area so you know exactly where all the fur is when it comes out, or
- Groom them wherever you choose.
Many people opt for the first option as this will ensure you can capture all (well, most) of the fur as soon as you have groomed them. It will be in a big pile on the floor in front of you so you can just suck it up with a vacuum cleaner, job done. Most people, however, eventually opt for number 2 as soon discover it’s way too much trouble to get your Husky to this ‘special grooming area’ every single day. So, they just groom them wherever they are and whenever they choose.
The problem with this option is you’ve then got to then remember to clean up the fur straight away afterward as if you don’t it’ll soon spread out all over the place. If you can afford to buy a cordless vacuum cleaner (something like the Dyson V10) then you won’t have to worry about plugging it in each time and you’re more likely to do it.
How to Properly Maintain the Coat on a Husky
When your Husky is shedding (which will take 3 to 6 weeks usually), they should be groomed daily. Actually, during this period you might find it beneficial to groom them more than once a day but you’ll be the best judge of that. This isn’t the only time you should groom though of course. When they are not shedding you should still groom them frequently. You may not have to do it daily (weekly may be sufficient) but over time you’ll work out how often you need to do it to keep on top of things.
Apart from a bonding exercise, which is great, grooming does have a purpose. It will remove the dead hairs that are stuck to the coat but haven’t as yet fallen out. The process of grooming also has the added advantage of ensuring their skin is nice and healthy.
Grooming Tools for the Husky
The good news is that the basic tools you’ll need to groom your Husky are inexpensive and easily found. You won’t need many things, however the below I’d consider essential:
- A shedding blade – this is usually a piece of metal that is u-shaped. On one side there are teeth that remove any excess hair from their coat. This is actually the tool you will use first in the process of grooming.
- A wide-toothed comb – the comb should be used after the shedding blade and you must always ensure that the very tips of the teeth on the comb are rounded and not pointed. If they are pointed then they probably haven’t been designed for the dog and may just end up scratching them or irritating their skin.
- A bristle brush – this is used after you are finished with the blade and the comb to give the coat a final going over. You should see this bristle brush the same as when you’re applying the final polish to your car when washing it.
- fine-tooth comb – this is useful for when you want to get under the chin, around the ears, and in the tail region. Basically, all those hard-to-reach areas.
Whilst you’re grooming you should be careful to untangle any knots although I will say that these are unlikely to build-up so much if you’re grooming frequently. You may notice more of these knots in their rear areas, often the guard hairs here can clump, get tangled and then form into nasty knots. You don’t want to leave it so long and they get so tangled that you end up having to take your Husky to the vets to get the knots properly removed. Over time, if you leave the knots to build up they can start pulling at their skin which can be quite painful.
It might feel odd doing this but it’s okay to brush the ‘wrong’ way during the shedding season as this will help to ensure you get all those hairs that are more reluctant to budge – your Husky won’t mind. If it was a cat, they would most likely take a few of your fingers off, but not the Husky.
Bathing Your Siberian Husky
I just want to share a few brief notes on bathing. I hear these stories of owners bathing them every week but this is really a bad thing to do and also totally unessesary. They will not need bathing more than about twice a year, once in the fall before the winter and once in the spring, before summer. In case you’re wondering, yes – this does coincide with their coats blowing.
Bathing may be more frequent with other breeds of dog due to the scent of the coat becoming somewhat stinky but as I said earlier, the Husky is a clean animal and it shouldn’t smell quite as bad as other breeds.
When it does come to that time of year that it’s time for a bath, make sure you only use very mild products that have been designed specifically for dogs. The products that we humans use will be too harsh for your Husky and may cause substantial irritation to their skin. Make sure that when you are finished bathing them, all the soap has been properly rinsed away, you don’t want any left on their coat as you dry them.
Dry your dog with a hair dryer (if the noise doesn’t totally freak them out) and then give them
The Siberian Husky is an interesting breed of dog with many fascinating attributes. As well as their ‘unique’ personality traits, most people are drawn to them due to their astonishingly good looks. Their coat plays a big part in this and those people who didn’t do the right amount of research before buying soon get a shock when they realize quite how much maintenance it actually needs.
The Husky wasn’t designed for the climates it is seen in so often these days. It almost looks out of place in hot climates and owners who think they are doing the dog a favor by cutting their coat off don’t realize how much harm they are potentially doing. The skin of the Husky was not meant to be hit with direct sunlight and when this happens it can dramatically increase the speed in which your Husky will start to overheat.
The best thing you can do with your Husky in regard to their coat is to groom them often and make sure it doesn’t get too knotted.
Finally, if you’re wondering what the best ways are that your Husky tells you that they love you – click on the link, you may be surprised!