If you wake up one day and remember that you own a Siberian Husky then don’t forget to give yourself a little pat on the back. It takes a special type of person to give the Husky what it needs – and its needs are many and varied. Consider yourself a professional dog owner. Mind you, this information shouldn’t be new to you. Because you’re a professional owner, you may want to do things that ‘professionals’ do – like sled racing! If you’re new to this sport then you may be wondering how much weight your Husky can actually move and it’s a perfectly acceptable question.
The Husky, despite being ‘just’ a medium-sized dog is a strong dog. Anyone who has been out exercising it when it has spotted something moving and decided it will chase after it, will know all about this. If you don’t have a good hold on that leash then there’s a good chance you’re going to be pulled along for the ride 🙂
How much can a Siberian Husky pull? A Siberian Husky will be able to pull the weight of half an average-sized human. So, it will take at least two Huskies to pull one person. To pull a sled with one person you would be looking at least 4 Huskies but of course, the heavier the sled and people within it, the more Huskies will be required.
So, if you’re considering looking into sledding then you may be wondering about the strength of the Siberian husky and this is of course what this article discusses.
How Heavy is a Sled?
Typically, the maximum weight of a sled is around 300 lbs (around 136 kg) but this excludes the musher. There can be larger sleds that can accommodate up to 400 lbs (181 kg).
The Husky May Not Be as Big as You Think
It is a common misconception that the Siberian Husky is a big dog. It is also quite common for people to see the Alaskan Malamute and think its the Husky. The truth is the Malamute is far bigger than the Husky, usually about twice as heavy, although perhaps surprisingly around the same height.
The male Siberian Husky is usually around 21-24 inches (53-61 cm) in height and weighs between 45-60 lbs. The female is a little smaller at 20-22 inches (51-56 cm) and weighs about 35-50 lbs (16-23 kg).
The male Malamute is usually around 24 -26 inches (61-66 cm) in height and weighs between 79-95 lbs. The female Malamute is between around 22-24 inches (56-61 cm) in height and has a weight of 71-84 lbs.
So, you can see there is a considerable difference in masses between the two breeds and because of this, the Malamute will be able to usually pull more load than the Husky. Officially, the Husky is considered to be a ‘medium-sized’ dog.
Many Variables Involved
It would be easy to just say that a Husky will be able to pull a person of average weight for n miles at n speed. But there’s a lot of variables involved when making such a bold statement, so we do need to understand these a little bit better. How easy and how far the Husky will be able to pull the sled will depend on the following:
The Husky Itself
No two Huskies are the same and the ability and general condition of the Husky will play a big part in how much mass it is able to move. What will dictate this is the strength of the Husky itself. So, if your Husky hasn’t had much exercise in its life then it will obviously not be able to pull as much as a Husky that is used to running.
It’s like the majority of us being told to go out and run a marathon tomorrow, it’s not going to happen – right? It takes months and months of practice, building up our muscles to enable to do this and it is exactly the same with the Husky. Taking them out for a good couple of sessions a day and not just for a gentle walk around your house but up to a good speed will really help their endurance.
The next factor is practice. Pulling weight is vastly different from running outside on a leash that doesn’t provide any resistance. You will find that those Husky’s that are more accustomed to pulling loads are better at it than those who have not done it before, obvious perhaps but worth mentioning. Now, we mustn’t forget its age.
A Husky puppy reaches maturity at around 2 but it probably fully grown before then. However, that doesn’t mean they have to wait until they are 2 years old before they can start. Many Huskies will start training from the age of 9 months but can go on and on into old age.
The surface that the sled is on is also important. Assuming the surface is snow, how powdery that snow is and whether there have been recent temperature fluctuations that have partly melted that snow all impact the resistance the sled will have as it glides over the surface. Of course, going up or downhill plays a huge part and hardly needs me to say but typically it’s not a factor as the surface will be flat.
The Sled and Weight
Next, let’s think about the sled. There are numerous different types constructed of different types of material. The lighter it is the easier it will be to pull. Whilst we’re talking about lighter being easier to pull, what about us? How much do we weigh and how many people will be in the sled at the time? The more weight we add (sled+people) the more Huskies we will need.
Siberian Husky History
This is quite relevant to this breed of dog. Why? Well, I’m sure you know but relatively speaking, it was not that long ago that this is what the breed was primarily used for. For thousands of years, the Chukchi dog (the ancestor to the Siberian Husky) helped its people to survive. The dog was used to hunt and also for transport, where it worked with other dogs in a pack to pull sleds vast distances at high speeds day after day.
It is not unrealistic to say that the Chukchi dog allowed the population to thrive in conditions where without them, it would have been almost impossible to survive.
The Siberian Husky still retains the ability to be able to pull sleds now and not just as a novelty. It can move, with the help of some of its friends, large masses, long distances and for a long time. In fact, I would argue that this is what this dog was designed for and it has not been lost in any cross-breeding that may have occurred since it left its natural home over a century ago.
In fact, this desire and need to be outside running, exercising and to be among others (either other dogs or humans) is as much part of the breed as socialization is to us. I mentioned at the very start of this article that it takes a very special type of owner to look after a Husky and nothing stands out more than their requirement for exercise. Unless you can get out with them at least twice a day and for at least an hour during each session, they won’t be truly happy. In fact, the Husky would happily spend most of its life outside exercising if you were up for it!
Some people consider it cruel to force the Husky to pull us (or supplies) around all day but it’s not really like that. At least the Husky doesn’t see it this way. Assuming there are the right amount of Huskies for the load it is pulling they are perfectly happy doing it, you only have to look at their tails to see that!
Hopefully, you’ll appreciate how hard a question this has been to answer. There are many variables involved in determining the final number. In fact, every single component has an impact on the answer, whether it’s the Husky itself and its strength, the snow conditions or the sled – they all play a part in how easy it is for the Husky to move it.
If you’d like to know more about this fascinating breed, why not check out my Complete Guide to the Siberian Husky which covers just about anything you might ever want to know.