Huskies might not seem very approachable if you aren’t familiar with the breed due to their wolf-like appearance, but are huskies friendly with strangers, or should you give them space?
Huskies are usually very friendly with strangers by nature. They are one of the most sociable dog breeds and love to meet new people. This is thanks to their pack mentality.
There are still some important things to know about approaching huskies or letting your husky go up to strangers, and in this guide, I’ll share these things as well as tips for socializing your husky properly.
Let’s get into it.
- Huskies And The American Temperament Test
- Why Huskies Are Friendly With Strangers
- Why You Should Always Be Cautious With Huskies
- Are Huskies Friendly With Other Dogs?
- Can Huskies Be Defensive Or Aggressive To Strangers?
- How To Introduce Your Husky To Strangers
- How To Make Your Husky Friendlier With Other People & Dogs
- In Summary
Huskies And The American Temperament Test
The American Temperament Test is designed to measure dogs’ temperament, taking into account their aggressiveness, friendliness, stability, protectiveness and shyness.
It features a series of tests in these areas, and the percentage of passes versus fails is then listed for each breed.
Although it isn’t definitive, it’s a great way to judge and compare a breed’s temperament to others.
Huskies pass this test in 86.8% of cases, performing slightly higher than the German Shepherd and much higher than breeds like the Chihuahua, with a score of only 69%.
Labrador retrievers, widely considered one of the friendliest dog breeds, scored 92%.
So, technically speaking, huskies have a good temperament and are considered a friendly breed.
Why Huskies Are Friendly With Strangers
Studies and tests are great, but it’s also essential to understand a husky’s behavior from an owner’s point of view.
Luckily, I’ve had years of experience with the breed. Here are some key points that you need to know about huskies and strangers.
Pack Mentality & Sociable Nature
Huskies are a very social breed by nature.
They were raised in packs with other huskies and sled dogs and worked alongside humans for many years, and some working huskies still do to this day.
Low Aggression And Guarding Instinct
As I mentioned earlier, huskies have almost no guarding instinct whatsoever, mainly because they were never bred to need a guarding instinct in the first place.
This means they are very unlikely to be suspicious of strangers or view them as a threat to their families. Instead, huskies are usually very friendly and accepting of strangers.
I highly recommend our vet-reviewed article that covers the statistics of husky bites in more detail if you want to learn more about this topic.
They’re Great With Kids
They love to play with children, but you need to be careful because their size and energy make it very easy for them to knock children over by mistake.
Why You Should Always Be Cautious With Huskies
Although huskies are a very friendly and social breed, you never know the history of somebody’s husky.
Huskies that have been abused or come from a bad environment can develop unwanted behaviors and aggression, so always ask an owner before you go up to their husky to fuss them.
Huskies have powerful jaws, and although they rarely use them, they can inflict damage if you get bitten.
Huskies Can Play Rough Without Realizing It
Even if a husky is friendly, knowing how rough they can play is still important.
Huskies can easily accidentally jump into people or run into them while playing because they get carried away easily.
They get filled with so much excitement to meet new people, and it can be a recipe for accidents because of their extremely high-energy drives.
When approaching a husky, or if your husky is going up to a stranger, you should always keep this in mind, especially around children or older people.
Are Huskies Friendly With Other Dogs?
Huskies are friendly with most other similar-sized dogs, assuming they are meeting on neutral territory.
Mal huskies can sometimes display dominant behavior to other male dogs, especially if they meet on the husky’s territory.
More severe problems can arise with small dogs, however.
Be Careful With Small Dogs
Huskies have a high prey drive, which means they instinctually see small animals as prey and are prone to chasing after them.
This affects different huskies to different degrees.
Temperament and socialization play a significant role here, so you must be careful if your husky is not used to being around small animals, as there’s a good chance they might see them as prey.
Think About The Other Dog
If your husky runs up to a defensive dog and tries to play with it, it could result in your husky getting bitten or barked at aggressively.
Even if your husky only has friendly intentions, you must also assess the other dog. Owners should keep their dogs on a leash if they are known to exhibit this type of behavior, but you can never be too sure with dogs you haven’t seen before.
Can Huskies Be Defensive Or Aggressive To Strangers?
It’s very rare for huskies to show any aggression toward strangers, as they don’t have a strong protective instinct.
Huskies are not like other breeds like the German Shepherd that are suspicious of strangers and protective of their families. Instead, huskies want to befriend everybody and don’t view strangers as a potential threat.
Huskies who have been neglected can develop unwanted behaviors, though, so always be cautious and ask for permission before fussing somebody else’s husky.
Husky Bite Statistics
A study covering dog bite fatalities between 2005 and 2017 found that huskies were responsible for 3% of fatalities, the equivalent of roughly one per year.
Husky bites can occur, but they are extremely rare. It’s why you should never underestimate the power of their bite and always double-check with the owner before you fuss their husky to be on the safe side.
How To Introduce Your Husky To Strangers
Only you can know the personality of your husky properly, and you’ll get a better idea of how to introduce them to strangers over time through encounters, but there are some tips you should keep in mind.
I always recommend keeping control of your husky when they meet a stranger, at least initially.
Keep your husky on its leash until you figure out two things: how your husky reacts to the stranger (most of the time, this is very friendly!) and how the other person responds to your pup.
Many people aren’t confident around dogs, especially those that look intimidating, like huskies, so it’s important to consider their needs as well.
Don’t Force Them
You should never force your husky to be friendly with a stranger; let them take the lead in this respect.
If they get excited and happy to meet them, then go ahead and let them get closer while you keep control.
If they start to bark or hesitate, then don’t force any interactions, as it can make your husky stressed and anxious.
Watch The Other Person
If the other person seems happy to fuss with your husky at first, they could still be overwhelmed by how energetic your husky might be or how rough they start playing.
If they start to look worried, regain control to help ease the situation. Commands might not be effective here due to how stubborn some huskies can be, so take your leash and get them secured again.
How To Make Your Husky Friendlier With Other People & Dogs
In most cases, you will have no problem getting your husky to be friendly with strangers and other dogs because it is natural for them.
Early socialization is crucial to reinforce this behavior.
Ensure your husky spends lots of time with other dogs and people from a young age. Take them to the local dog park as often as possible, and bring them with you when you run errands or meet a friend.
The more time they spend with other people, the more socialized they will become and the friendlier they will be around other people and animals.
Most huskies are super friendly with strangers, but knowing how to handle these interactions is important to keep everybody safe and calm (including your husky!).
As long as your husky has been socialized from a young age, there shouldn’t be any problems from their side with meeting strangers. Keep them on a leash until you know the other person and their dog are friendly and comfortable, and you’re good to go!