The Siberian Husky has some very special qualities and these aren’t just related to its physical appearance – which is obviously a reason why so many are attracted to this breed in the first place. They also have a certain set of requirements that mean they are a breed of dog that’s not suited to anyone but the most hardened and professional of owners and typically not for the first-time owner.
One of the questions that seems to keep cropping up is related to the Husky’s coat and usually, this is asked prior to actually getting one but if you have one and suddenly notice your house has a thick layer of fur all over it, it can be a bit of an annoyance!
Why is your Siberian Husky losing hair? Your Husky is losing their hair as they are genetically designed to shed their undercoat once or twice a year, depending on where you live. The Husky’s coat will shed most of the year but (usually) twice a year their coat will blow (come out in clumps) and will re-grow either thinner or thicker, depending on what time of year it is.
The main reason why your Husky is losing hair
The main reason why your Siberian Husky is losing hair is down to the fact that they’ve been designed to do just this! The Husky’s coat will ‘blow’ (more on this later) once or twice a year which will be the reason why every time you stroke them during this time you will see an explosion of fur which will get everywhere.
You will notice that this fur will come off in quite big clumps in your hands and this might initially alarm you – but it shouldn’t, it’s quite normal.
The Siberian Husky’s Coat
You see, the coat of the Siberian Husky was designed for a very specific purpose. For hundreds (or maybe even thousands) of years, the Husky lived with the Chukchi people in Northern Asia (the Chukchi Peninsula to be a little more precise). Here, temperatures are, how shall we put this – a little bit chilly. It was not unusual for things to get as low as -70°F!
You need a special type of dog (and person) to be able to survive in these kinds of conditions and the Husky (they were not known as the ‘Siberian’ Husky until they actually left Siberian) was this type of dog. The Husky had (and still has) a two-layered coat consisting of a dense primary coat (this is the undercoat) and a somewhat thicker overcoat, which consists of ‘guard-hairs’.
This outer coat serves a very important purpose, for starters it provided an extra layer of insulation for the Husky in the cold conditions but also, in the summer months it prevents harmful radiation from the Sun hitting the Husky’s skin. Not only this but the guard-hairs ‘guard’ the Husky from insects, preventing bites and subsequent infection. So, you can see that it is most useful and certainly should not be cut off!
What Is ‘Blowing’?
When we talk about ‘blowing’ in relation to a canine, we refer to the seasonal loss of their coats. Just before winter approaches, they will shed their dense undercoat. Although the Husky loses hair all year around, you will notice a significant increase to this loss during this time (and before summer).
Their fur will come out in clumps and unless you are grooming frequently (you should be) you’ll find it scattered throughout your home, including on your dinner 🙂
The reason why they shed their coats before winter is that their previous coat now needs an upgrade! The summer coat is quite thin (although it still helps to protect their skin from the sunlight) and will be replaced by a thicker winter coat.
A similar thing will occur in the Spring when their thick winter coat blows out and is eventually replaced by the thinner, summer coat. It really is quite clever.
If you’re wondering how the coat ‘knows’ when to swap to either a summer or winter coat, it’s triggered by changes in their hormones that are in-turn related to the amount of daylight they encounter.
When daylight is reducing it’s an indicator that the winter coat will soon be required and when it is lengthening then it is a cue for the summer coat.
Why Does The Siberian Husky Need Their Thick Coat?
Well, you could argue that they don’t but this is dependent on where the Husky lives. It’s unlikely that you will live with them in a climate that shares any resemblance to its Siberian origins. So, although they certainly don’t, technically, need their thick coat in most climates, you can’t do anything about it so you just need to manage it.
They are a dog that can overheat, if not properly looked after, at temperatures of around -0°F, which is still a temperature that most of us don’t experience.
So, to answer the question – the Siberian Husky doesn’t need their thick coat in most climates but then arguably, should the Husky even be owned in hot climates? Well, yes – of course, they can be owned in hotter climates than in Siberia, I mean – pretty much everywhere is hotter than Siberia, right? The point here is that you just need to be a bit more careful with them in warmer climates. Make sure that when they’re running around outside they get plenty of shade, plenty of rest and plenty of fluids!
What other reasons can cause hair loss in a dog?
So, hopefully, you should now be well aware that the dog you have chosen, the Siberian Husky, is well known for losing its fur. Particularly twice a year, when the Husky blows their coat and unless you are grooming regularly (daily during these times) – this is by far the most common reason why your Husky is losing its hair. However, it’s not the only reason and despite these being unlikely, I think it’s right that we should list a few of the most common other reasons.
- Allergies – although you have a breed of dog that loses hair often and in high volumes, if it is not related to this then the next most likely reason would be allergy related. Although, this is still quite unlikely with the Husky as these allergies are often caused by mites or other insects and the Husky’s guard coat is pretty good at protecting them from these.
- Infections – slightly less likely is an infection, which can also be caused by insect bites or a fungus such as ringworm. A symptom of ringworm can be obvious ring-shaped areas of hair loss.
- Injuries – if your Husky has an injury where a joint comes into contact with a hard surface, then the impacted area can often result in a loss of hair.
There are a few other issues that can cause this but they are so rare it is not worth mentioning here.
When Should You Contact Your Vet?
If you suspect that your Husky is in discomfort then you should contact your vet. The regular molting and blowing of their coats will not phase them one bit and they will continue to act as normal.
However, if you don’t believe the loss of hair is related to this or if you notice that your Husky is acting unusually and this change in behavior coincides with a loss of hair then you should seek professional advice.
One thing to mention which could save you time is to take photos of the affected areas. When you speak to your vet, offer to send a photo. Most of us have mobile phones these days but it’s still rare that we utilize them to their potential.
Being able to send photos to your vet could potentially save you money and stress but at the very least it will help your vet to identify the root cause a lot quicker than if they saw your dog for the first time when you brought them in!
Hopefully, this article has helped you understand why your Husky loses so much hair. It’s most likely not anything unusual as this is just what they do. My best advice would be to try and get into the habit of grooming them frequently, ideally once a day. If you don’t, then you’ll soon find fur in the most unusual of places!
Finally, if you’re wondering whether you can give a Siberian Husky a haircut – check out the link!