Do Siberian Huskies Hibernate?


The Siberian Husky is certainly a most unusual breed of dog. It is a dog not for the beginner as it has requirements that are beyond the ability of most.

Unless you are someone who is able to devote your life (and your family’s) to it for the next 15 years or so, there are plenty of other breeds of dog to look at that would suit you better.

One of the questions that seem to come up time and time again about the Husky is whether it hibernates or not! So, let’s get this question out of the way…

Do Siberian Huskies hibernate? The Siberian Husky does not hibernate. Hibernation is a state that some animals need to use to be able to survive through winter months when prey is not easy to find.

Although no dogs hibernate (they just often sleep quite a bit) it is an interesting subject and you may be surprised as to what animals actually do. Take a look below…

The Adorable Husky

There is a reason why so many families love this breed. The Siberian Husky isn’t aggressive (don’t expect it to act as a guard dog) and isn’t possessive.

These two facts alone mean that it is a marvelous dog to have in a family environment. Your kids will love them and you will feel comfortable in the knowledge that it is extremely unlikely the dog will pose any kind of threat to them.

Do Siberian Huskies hibernate?

The Siberian Husky is a dog that many people hardly know anything about. Some believe it is actually half-wolf (it has as much wolf in it as a poodle) and some were lured to the breed by seeing Husky-type dogs in Game of Thrones (those were actually a Northern Inuit dog).

Whatever the reason, in the last decade, it has become an ever increasingly popular breed and many people have many questions about it.

This is not a dog that likes to be left alone! You may see separation anxiety within it after only the shortest amount of time being left alone. It is also a dog that was originally bred to pull sleds all day.

This thirst for exercise has not been lost several generations later. Unless you can commit to at least a couple of long sessions each day, then again, this may not be the dog for you.

What Is Hibernation?

Hibernation is a process that enables many creatures to survive the long, dark, cold winters that if active, would prove to be a very difficult environment for them to find food.

They are able to dial-down their metabolism which in turn means a lot less energy is required to maintain life and therefore a lot less food is required to provide that energy.

Contrary to what many people believe, hibernation does not just mean going to sleep for a long period of time. Hibernation is more like an unconscious state although it can vary from species to species.

There are, as you’d probably expect, quite a few risks associated with hibernation. Unless they choose a spot to hibernate that is well protected, they are at risk from predators and unless they’ve taken on enough fat they may not wake up.

Also, if the elements are particularly unpleasant – they can also succumb to this too. Another danger is that they can wake up too soon and doing this when prey still isn’t readily available for them can mean they are unable to find a food source and quickly become too weak to survive.

Maybe it’s because many people know that the Siberian Husky used to live with the Chukchi people in Siberia that this question is asked in relation to them.

These people depended on them during the icy-cold winter months for transportation and hunting but during the summer months, the Huskies were set free and survived off their own backs. In fact, they only returned to their people when winter started to set in and finding food became difficult.

What Animals Hibernate?

Well, not dogs. Although it might not be as silly a question as you first think. Some bears go through a process during winter that is very similar to hibernation (this is actually known as torpor).

So, it’s feasible that wild dogs might have to adapt to something similar, right? Well, maybe – but they don’t. Here are some of the animals that do hibernate during winter:

  • Bears – probably the most well known but as I said above, it’s arguably not hibernation that they go through.
  • Some frogs – if you notice a frog that you think is asleep, maybe it’s actually hibernating. Did you know that they can actually stop their heart when it’s cold? After this point, tiny ice crystals are formed in their blood which then melts when the weather becomes warmer, and their heart starts to beat again!
  • Some snails – these can actually hibernate during cold or hot conditions.
  • Tortoises and turtles – as these creatures are unable to generate their own internal heat, hibernation can be essential if they are to survive outside.
  • Snakes – different snakes will hibernate for different lengths from literally just a few short weeks to many months.

There are, of course, many animals that hibernate and I’ve just listed a few of the more well-known ones above. What you don’t see, of course – are dogs! This is because, as you probably have gathered by now, no breed of canine actually hibernates.

Interesting Facts About Hibernation

Hibernation is actually a fascinating subject on its own and here are some things that maybe you didn’t know!

  • Animals that hibernate need hardly any oxygen to survive and in some cases, down to 2% of normal and less!
  • An animal that hibernates will actually wake up every so often to enable it to go to the toilet.
  • There are creatures that hibernate not during the winter, but during summer – this is called aestivation.
  • Bats can reduce their breathing rate to around 1 breath per hour!
  • The bear is in such a light hibernation (as I said above, it’s called torpor and not quite the same thing) that they can be easily woken from it (where they will be pretty grumpy). They can also even give birth during this process!
Do Siberian Huskies hibernate?

By the way, here’s the answer to a popular question: Can Siberian Huskies live in hot weather?Opens in a new tab.

Conclusion – so, does the Siberian Husky hibernate?

Hopefully, that has made it quite clear that the Siberian Husky most certainly does not hibernate. In fact, if there’s a breed of dog that it is the absolute opposite of an animal that hibernates, it will be the Husky. Although they may like to occasionally cuddle up to you on the sofa they would usually prefer to be outside running around chasing things!

Hopefully, this article has been of some help to you. If you’d like to know more about this incredible breed of dog then check out my Complete Guide to the Siberian HuskyOpens in a new tab., where you will not only find some fantastic and unusual facts but will also see some truly wonderful photos of them. Although, saying that – they’re such an easy dog to photograph it’s hard for them to look anything other than this!

Jane

I'm Jane Pettitt, co-owner of Pets Knowledge Base with my husband, Matt. I have a grand total of 50 years’ experience as a pet owner. It all started with a guinea pig called Percy when I was 5 years old and since then I’ve lived with two more guinea pigs, a hamster, mice, a rabbit, a tortoise, a dog, and 11 cats. I’ve learned so much about pet care during this time and many of my articles are based on my personal experiences plus those of my family and friends.

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