If you are seriously considering bringing a Siberian Husky into your life, here’s a comprehensive list of all the things new Husky owners should know.
1) Huskies Need a Lot of Exercise
The Siberian Husky is not your average dog. Its ancestors were working dogs, pulling sleds for hours every day in harsh climates.
The breed has evolved somewhat since those days but their exercise requirements have not changed that much!
A Husky will happily stay outside and run about pretty much all day, given the opportunity. It’s important for their health and mental well-being to have enough time every day to expend their energy.
Long walks are essential along with plenty of play sessions in between. Some owners invest in a doggy treadmill! These are actually ideal for huskies.
Anyway, if you’re not prepared to give a Siberian Husky the exercise it needs then this probably isn’t the dog for you!
2) The Siberian Husky Does Not Like to be Left Alone
It really doesn’t. If you leave a Husky alone for more than 30 minutes (this time can vary both up and down) then it could exhibit signs of separation anxiety.
This might not be the best breed to have if you are out of the house for more than a few hours each day.
Our friends left their Huskies (they have a couple of sisters) in their conservatory for just a few hours when they first had them. When they came back they noticed their conservatory windows were all steamed up, which they thought was somewhat strange.
When they got inside they discovered that their two Huskies had destroyed every plant (of which there were several) in the conservatory which had released moisture and caused condensation.
After this, they decided to use crates which can really work well if you introduce dogs to them from a young age. A crate can make
Although a crate shouldn’t be used all day, if you’re just popping out for a few hours then it can really help to reduce the anxiety these dogs feel when left alone.
The ideal solution though is just to spend as much time with them as possible!
3) The Husky Should Be Socialized at an Early Age
You need to give yourself every advantage you can if you want your Husky to occupy the same house as children and other animals.
Unless a Husky is socialized at an early age, you’re going to have your work cut out for you, but what exactly do we mean by socialization?
When the Husky is a puppy it should be introduced to as many people, children and animals (particularly other dogs and cats) as possible.
One thing that some people do is to take them to a rescue center (for both cats and dogs) to get as much interaction as possible. You want a Husky to feel comfortable with children and other pets and not perceive them as a threat.
By socializing a Husky really well from a young age, you are giving yourself the best chance that your Husky will react positively with everyone they meet. It is a lot easier to put the work in when they are younger than when they’re older!
4) They Will Always Have a Strong Prey Drive
The Husky’s ancestors used to hunt prey in the wild and this behavior is still very much part of the husky’s instinctive nature.
I mentioned earlier that to give your Husky the best chance of accepting other pets (particularly cats,) it should be socialized with them. Even then, their inbuilt prey drive still lingers.
The Siberian Husky instinctively sees small mammals as prey and will persue and destroy them in a flash. Unfortunately, cats fall into the ‘small mammal’ category.
There are many families who live in complete harmony with their Husky and their cat (or cats). However, there are also stories of them getting along famously for years and years and then tragedy occurring.
Many people will disagree with me but is that just because they’ve been lucky so far? My advice is to be extra-vigilant with a Siberian Husky and a cat in the same home.
5) The Husky Wants (and Needs) Your Attention
The Husky is a sociable animal and loves lots and lots of attention. It thrives on human company and without it, you can expect elevated anxiety levels and related problems.
In the morning, if you’re not up at the usual time, you will be woken up. One way or another. During the day you will be reminded that it’s time to go outside and in the evenings expect lots of cuddles on the sofa.
This is actually one area of the Husky’s personality that seems to surprise a lot of people. They don’t realize how affectionate this breed is. I’ve said before that the Siberian Husky shouldn’t be left alone – they will miss you.
As part of the bonding process, you should interact with a Husky as much as possible, not just when they are a puppy but throughout their life. Spending time, interacting and playing will improve the bond and the ties you have and this has other positive knock-on effects also.
Establishing a good level of trust will mean your Husky will be slightly easier to train (more on this later) and also will produce an overall more rounded dog, personality-wise.
6) The Husky is Stubborn
There are several personality traits that define the Siberian Husky and being stubborn is most definitely one of them. This can be both incredibly frustrating and sometimes funny.
Huskies are often described as stubborn because of their independent nature and strong-willed personalities. This trait is deeply rooted in their history and original purpose as sled dogs.
Huskies were originally bred as working dogs and had to make decisions on their own while pulling sleds. This independence was crucial for their survival in challenging conditions. As a result, they may not always obey commands without questioning them.
A Husky’s pack mentality means they might challenge authority to test their position in the pack or to see if they can change the rules.
When Huskies are not mentally and physically stimulated enough, they can become restless and more resistant to commands. Boredom can lead to behaviors that might seem like stubbornness, such as ignoring commands.
Huskies need to see a clear reason for obeying a command. If they don’t find the task interesting or rewarding, they might choose not to follow through.
A Husky’s unique communication style can be misunderstood. They use body language and vocalizations to express their feelings, which can sometimes be interpreted as stubbornness.
7) The Siberian Husky Sheds a LOT of Fur
You may think you’re prepared for this but you probably won’t be. It comes as quite a surprise to many new Husky owners.
You’ll be asking yourself where does all the fur come from exactly? Your routines will need to change to cope and you will most likely end up having to vacuum every single day.
I’ve actually written a separate article on this so do check this out if you’re interested in exactly how much the Siberian Husky sheds.
The Siberian Husky has two coats. It has a dense undercoat and it is this that typically blows twice a year (usually once in the Spring and once in the Fall).
The layer of fur on top (called the primary coat) is relatively short and consists of guard hairs. These give the Husky an extra layer of insulation and also serve to protect them from superficial injuries and insect bites.
Will Need to Groom Them Daily
Following on from the above, what exactly can you do about a husky shedding so much fur? Well, you can groom them. It sounds obvious because maybe it is but how often should they be groomed?
My suggestion is to make grooming part of your daily routine. It’s not difficult and will actually also help the bonding process between you and your Husky.
This not only gets you into a routine but will mean they are more likely to not freak out if you only decide to do it once a month. It has other benefits though of course.
When you groom a Husky you can immediately vacuum that hair up instead of it turning up all over your house.
9) They Have a Preferred Climate
The Siberian Husky was built for harsh Siberian climates where temperatures can plummet to −50 °C (−76 °F). This is its preferred environment and arguably the one that it was designed for.
In fact, due to the thick coat on the Husky, it is possible for it to overheat at temperatures of just 0 °F – which is still pretty nippy, right?
There is an argument as to whether the Husky should even be considered as a pet in hotter climates. The breed needs a lot of
Here is a helpful article about just this if you want a bit more information: can a Siberian Husky live in hot climates?
Although Huskies are well-suited to cold climates, they thrive well in hotter areas as long as they have access to cool areas and plenty of water.
Walks should be taken early on in the day before it gets too hot and late evening when the temperature has dropped again.
10) The Husky Should Not Be Let Off the Leash
The Siberian Husky has a very high prey drive. Despite correct socialization and proper training, you will not be able to eradicate their natural instincts.
There are countless stories from owners who have taken their Husky out for years and years with no problems until that one time when they see a small animal, be it a squirrel or something bigger like a cat.
Something flips in their brain and they will be off. They will not be able to hear your cries for them to stop.
So, despite how much confidence you have in your Husky, don’t become complacent and just assume everything will be okay because you’ve heard a few other owners tell you theirs have never had any problems.
It might not happen today or tomorrow but if you keep them off the lead then eventually, one day, it could happen. So if you want to let your husky off the lead to run, find a fully enclosed area to do this safely.
11) They Don’t Bark – They Howl
Well, it’s not entirely true I know, but a Husky very rarely barks. The Siberian Husky is often a fairly quiet breed.
What they tend to do is wait until you go out before they really start howling, much to your neighbor’s displeasure. Many owners choose to keep an eye on their Huskies whilst they are out with a dog camera.
What’s great about these things is that you can actually not only see your dog remotely but listen to them also and if required, you can talk to them!
When a Husky does howl, there’s always a reason. It might be boredom, anxiety, frustration or even illness, however, this is less likely, of course.
The key is to find out the reason and address it.
12) They Can Be Fussy Eaters
If a Husky decides they don’t like a certain food they will not eat it. This is another demonstration of their stubborness.
They will wonder how you could be so cruel as to serve them such muck (despite the fact that they ate it perfectly fine yesterday) and will wait for you to correct your mistake.
Most of the time Huskies are straightforward to feed and once you find a food they genuinely enjoy, it’s plain sailing. The odd change of appetite can be because they are having an off day.
Must Be Their Pack Leader
The Siberian Husky is a pack dog and socialization plays a big part in its life. A pack dog needs a pack leader and traditionally that would be another dog but in your home, it has to be you.
The alpha male (or female) is the one that leads. This leader will dictate when to eat and when to play. Your Husky will look to you to lead them and without this leadership, they can suffer from some serious anxiety disorders which can, in turn, lead to other health issues.
So, be the person they expect you to be and lead. Don’t feel bad about assuming this position of authority as by doing it, you will actually be giving your Husky exactly what they need.
14) They Do Not Make Good Guard Dogs
Huskies may look the part of guard dog but they are far from it. Don’t even consider utilizing a Siberian Husky as a guard dog – it’s just a bad idea.
A Husky is far too friendly, and lacking in suspicion to serve as a guard dog. Also, you would not want to train one to behave like one as this would change their temperament.
Let’s imagine what might happen if you were to use a Husky as a guard dog:
- An intruder enters your property.
- Your Husky hears a noise and goes to investigate.
- Your Husky sees the intruder who becomes nervous at the sight of the dog.
- Your Husky wags its tail.
- The intruder considers running out of the house.
- Your Husky treats the intruder as a new best friend.
- The intruder starts to back out of your house.
- Your Husky fetches his favorite toy so they can play.
- The intruder and your Husky become best friends.
- After a nice play session, the intruder leaves with your jewels and your Husky’s blessing.
So, rather than use your Husky as a guard dog, invest in a surveillance camera.
15) They love cuddles
Huskies are social animals and build strong bonds with their human companions. Cuddling allows them to be close to you and reinforces the social connection they have with you.
It’s also a way for them to express and receive affection. It can be a mutual way of showing love and care.
Despite their coat, they still seek warmth and comfort. Cuddling provides them with body heat and a sense of security, similar to how they might huddle together in a pack for warmth.
Being pack animals by nature, physical closeness is a way of bonding and reinforcing social connections. When a husky cuddles with you, it might be mirroring this instinctual behavior.
Cuddling can have a calming and soothing effect on Huskies. The physical contact and the rhythmic sound of your heartbeat can help a husky feel relaxed and content.
Dogs can tune into their human’s emotions and often offer comfort. If you’re feeling stressed, anxious, or upset, a husky might cuddle with you to provide comfort and emotional support.
16) Training them can be a challenge
Whilst they are incredibly intelligent dogs, their characteristics can make training more challenging compared to other breeds. Here are some reasons why huskies can be a challenge to train:
- They like to be independent
- They’re known for their stubbornness
- They sensitive to excessive correction
- They would rather be out using up energy
- They have a short span of attention
- They have selective hearing
- Their prey drive distracts them easily
- They need firm consistency
- They become easily bored
Huskies respond better to positive reinforcement-based training methods that involve rewards and motivation rather than punishment. Harsh training methods can lead to resistance or a shutdown in learning.
17) They love to chew things
Chewing is a natural behavior for dogs and serves several purposes, both instinctual and psychological.
Here are some reasons why huskies may engage in chewing things they shouldn’t:
- They’re teething
- To explore an item with their mouth
- They’re bored
- They’re anxious
- To clean their teeth
- For attention
- Natural instincts
To address chewing behavior in huskies:
- Provide appropriate toys
- Give adequate exercise and mental stimulation
- Train them
- Supervise them properly
- Use positive reinforcement to prevent chewing
- Speak to a vet if you suspect underlying issues are the cause
18) They’re full of curiosity
Huskies are known for their curious and adventurous nature. Their curiosity is often displayed through various behaviors and characteristics.
They love to explore their surroundings and mayy wander as they discover new sights, scents and sounds. Anything that really piques their interest will have to be fully investigated through sniffing, pawing and digging.
Huskies are known for their social nature and desire for interaction. They may approach people, animals, or objects to initiate contact and learn about them through sensory experiences.
Curiosity often drives huskies to engage in problem-solving behaviors. They might try different approaches to manipulate objects or find ways to access new areas.
Huskies are alert to environmental changes which their curiosity will drive them to investigate further.
Being intelligent dogs that require mental stimulation, their curiosity drives them to seek out activities that challenge their minds and keep them engaged.
19) They are accomplished escape artists
Huskies are nown as the Houdini’s of the dog world for good reason.
If you plan to let you Husky free roam in your garden you will need a very high, sturdy fence to contain it. Not only must fences be high, they will need to have a base that a husky can’t dig a tunnel under.
You’ll also need to ensure that it’s not possible for a husky to bolt from your house whenever a dooe is opened. They have a radar for escape routes and will not miss a trick.
20) They enjoy digging
There are several reasons why huskies like to dig. Once upon a time they would have dug to shelter but now they’ll do it for the following reasons:
- To bury a toy regarded as prey
- to alleviate boredom and expend excess energy
- Simply to explore
- To escape if they feel the urge to
- To satisfy instinctual behavior
21) You’ll find they’re independent in many ways
Huskies exhibit independence due to their ancestral heritage as working dogs. Their self-reliant nature enabled them to make decisions when pulling sleds and navigating challenging environments.
This independence can manifest as stubbornness and a desire to explore, reflecting their ability to think and act autonomously.
While this trait can make training more challenging, understanding their background and providing consistent leadership helps harness their independence effectively.
22) You need to be quite fit to cope with a Husky
Huskies are highly active, energetic dogs and require substantial exercise to maintain their physical and mental well-being.
On average, a husky should engage in around 1 to 2 hours of exercise per day, which can include both physical activities like walking, running, and playing, as well as mental stimulation through interactive games and training.
In terms of mileage, a husky might cover anywhere from 5 to 10 miles or more during a vigorous walk or run, depending on their age, fitness level, and the terrain.
However, it’s important to adjust the exercise routine based on your husky’s individual needs and preferences. Be attentive to signs of fatigue, overheating, or discomfort.
23) They have a short attention span
Huskies are renowned for their energetic and independent nature, which often contributes to their perceived short attention spans.
Their breeding as sled dogs has instilled in them a keen focus on rapid decision-making and adapting to changing conditions. This can manifest as a shorter attention span, as they are inclined to prioritize new stimuli and experiences over extended periods of concentration.
Furthermore, their ancestry as working dogs in demanding Arctic environments has led to a tendency for quick responses to environmental cues, enhancing their survival and performance abilities.
In a domestic setting, this natural predisposition towards novelty-seeking and rapid responsiveness can make huskies seem easily distracted or disinterested in repetitive tasks.
Whilst their attention span might be shorter than that of dogs bred for intense focus, it’s important for husky owners to provide engaging mental and physical stimulation to keep their intelligent and active minds satisfied.
24) They don’t always listen to you
Huskies are intelligent and observant dogs. They might “choose” to follow a command only if they perceive it as worthwhile or if it aligns with their interests.
This selective hearing can make them seem stubborn when they decide not to comply.
Persevere and make sure your Husky hears and obeys or you will find it increasingly harder to stay in charge.
25) They’re not great for allergy sufferers
Huskies are not considered hypoallergenic and may not be the best choice for people with dog allergies.
They have a thick double coat that sheds heavily, especially during shedding seasons. This shedding can release dander, which is a common allergen.
Even though huskies produce less oil on their skin compared to some other breeds, their shedding can still trigger allergies in sensitive individuals.
If someone with allergies is set on having a husky, regular grooming, vacuuming, and maintaining a clean living environment might help reduce allergen exposure.
However, it’s generally recommended for people with dog allergies to consider breeds with minimal shedding and dander, or to explore hypoallergenic dog options.
26) They like to be clean
Huskies possess a natural inclination towards cleanliness. Their survival in harsh environments depended on maintaining their coat’s insulating properties, which required them to keep themselves relatively clean.
Their low oil production helps prevent dirt and debris from sticking to their fur, allowing them to shake off dirt easily.
Additionally, huskies are known for their meticulous self-grooming behavior, which helps them maintain their coat’s health and cleanliness.
This behavior also carries over to their living spaces; huskies often exhibit a preference for keeping their sleeping areas tidy.
27) They get the zoomies
“Husky zoomies” is a colloquial term used to describe a sudden burst of high-energy, playful behavior commonly exhibited by Siberian Huskies.
During a zoomies episode, a Husky may suddenly start running around in circles, darting back and forth, leaping, and exhibiting exuberant and erratic movements. This behavior is often characterized by boundless energy and excitement.
Zoomies are a natural behavior in many dogs and are typically harmless. They can be triggered by a variety of factors, such as excess energy, a change in environment, feeling excited or playful, or even as a response to specific scents or stimuli.
Zoomies are a way for Huskies to release pent-up energy and have some fun. It’s important to provide a safe space for your dog to zoom around, as they might accidentally knock things over or bump into objects in their exuberance.
Generally, husky zoomies are a normal part of their active and playful nature and can be a delightful display of their energetic personality.
28) They are prone to separation anxiety
Siberian Huskies are prone to separation anxiety due to their deep-rooted pack mentality and the strong bonds they create with their owners.
Huskies are social animals that thrive on companionship. When left alone for extended periods, they can experience stress and anxiety, fearing separation from their human family whom they see as their pack.
Their emotional sensitivity and intelligence contribute to this susceptibility, causing them to feel isolated and vulnerable.
A Husky’s independent nature further exacerbates separation anxiety, as they are used to collaborating with others. Boredom from lack of mental and physical stimulation can also intensify anxiety.
To lessen separation anxiety in Huskies, train them gradually to tolerate short absences, use interactive toys, and consistent routines to help alleviate their distress.
29) They love to socialize with other dogs
Huskies are sociable dogs due to the pack mentality from their ancestral history. Descendants of sled dogs, they weree bred to work collaboratively in teams, necessitating strong social bonds.
This innate trait persists in domestic huskies. Socializing fulfills their need for companionship, reducing potential loneliness and anxiety.
Engaging with other dogs allows them to exhibit natural behaviors like play, communication, and cooperation, promoting mental and emotional well-being.
Through interactions, they learn valuable social cues, enhancing their communication skills. They are predisposed to be sociable, which drives them to form connections and thrive in a social environment with other dogs as well as people.
30) They have a lot of stamina
Huskies have exceptional stamina due to their evolutionary adaptation to harsh conditions. Over centuries, they were bred for tasks such as pulling sleds across long distances in freezing temperatures.
This selective breeding gave them efficient energy utilization, robust cardiovascular systems, and a high capacity for endurance. Their metabolism efficiently converts food into energy, enabling sustained physical activity.
Additionally, their double-layered coat provides insulation against extreme cold, allowing them to conserve energy during periods of intense effort.
These genetic and physiological traits, honed through generations, mean Huskies have remarkable stamina, making them well-suited for demanding tasks and prolonged activities, even in the most challenging environments.
31) They are exceptionally clever
Huskies exhibit exceptional intelligence. Early Huskies needed to make quick decisions when navigating treacherous terrains and solving challenges while pulling sleds.
This selective pressure favored dogs with cognitive adaptability and the capacity to learn from experience. Their sharp observational skills and strong memory aid in understanding and responding to complex commands.
Furthermore, their social nature promotes cooperation and communication, which are indicative of higher intelligence.
A Huskies cleverness is also evident in their ability to manipulate situations (and people), a trait that allowed them to thrive in challenging environments.
These attributes collectively contribute to their reputation as remarkably clever and versatile dogs.
32) They are so loveable
I know some of the points above may have been a little contentious and not everyone will agree with them. But I’m sure we can all agree you don’t need to spend much time with a Siberian Husky to fall in love with one.
Their stunning looks combined with their mischievous behavior and deeply affectionate nature make this a breed you can’t help but fall for.
A Husky will change your life for the better. Not only will you have a new best friend but you will also become much fitter due to the exercise they will force you to take.