Are Huskies Hard To Take Care Of? (What You NEED To Know)

Siberian Huskies have exploded in popularity over recent years, but are huskies hard to take care of, or are they an easy-going breed?

Huskies are hard to take care of and are actually one of the most challenging breeds to own. This is because they require very large amounts of exercise and mental stimulation, alongside a personality that can often be very stubborn and independent.

It’s important that you learn what makes huskies hard to take care of before you consider getting one, so keep reading to learn more.

It Isn’t All Bad

That intro might’ve sounded a tad dramatic, but it’s for a good reason.

Huskies are super hard work, but that is part of the responsibility of owning this breed. There are many reasons for owning huskies as well, and they wouldn’t be so popular amongst us husky owners if there weren’t.

Huskies are an incredible breed of dog and are super friendly to almost everybody they meet, which is why so many people adore them.

Although they can look intimidating, huskies are the opposite of dangerous and make great companions for a family home, even with children and babies.

They can also keep up with any exercise or activities you throw at them, making them well-suited for active households.

I could go on for a long time about the perks of huskies, but this article isn’t about that.

Huskies have grown in popularity thanks to TV shows like Game of Thrones, and this has led to a direct increase in the number of huskies that end up in shelters and animal rescue centers.

Let’s look at some important things you need to know about huskies that can make them very hard to take care of for a lot of people.

Things That Make Huskies Hard To Take Care Of

Here’s a list of, in my opinion, the most important things you need to know about owning huskies before you get one.

Exercise Needs

First and foremost is exercise.

Huskies love exercise, and they need a lot of it daily as part of their routine. We’re talking about two or more hours daily, ideally of varied types of exercise from walking to running to hiking.

This is one of the biggest barriers to entry for most people, as it isn’t expected for people to exercise themselves for this amount of time, never mind a dog.

A pack of huskies pulling a sled through snow
Huskies have incredible energy reserves from their sledding background

This huge exercise requirement comes from the husky’s background as a sled dog, used to pull sleds over arctic conditions for miles and miles without tiring. Properly trained sled huskies have been known to run for over 100 miles at a time.

Mental Stimulation

Huskies are very intelligent in their own way.

They might not be the best at learning new tricks or commands, but this is because of their stubbornness rather than a lack of intelligence.

This means you need to give them lots of mental stimulation in addition to their exercise routine.

This can come from obedience training, giving them puzzle toys, or playing games like fetch or tug of war. You can also take them to new places and let them explore and sniff around for a while.

Spitz-Type Personality

Huskies have a classic Spitz-type personality.

If you don’t know what this means, it’s a personality seen amongst most Spitz-type dogs like Alaskan Malamutes, German Spitz, and more, where they can sometimes act very independent and even stubborn.

This comes from these dogs not being very interested in pleasing their owners most of the time, making training very difficult. Huskies are actually one of the most challenging breeds to train because of this.

Feeding Requirement

It’s probably not surprising that huskies need to eat a lot of food to maintain their energy levels after all the exercise they will be doing.

This can be anywhere from 2 to 4 cups of food daily, depending on their weight and energy levels.

Not Suited To Be Left Alone

Huskies are not suited for being left alone for long periods of time, as they are prone to separation anxiety. This condition results in destructive behaviors like excessive chewing or howling when they are left alone.

Separation anxiety is common in dogs that need a lot of exercise and mental stimulation because they can become bored when left alone, leading to them finding outlets for their energy.

Huskies are especially prone to this because they have a strong pack mentality. Sled dogs are used to working with other dogs and people in a pack and are used to being around them most of the time.

This means that when left alone, huskies can get very anxious quickly.

A husky is not a good option if you’ll be out of the house most of the day. They are also not highly suited for apartments because of this, although there are some things you can do to make this work.

Excessive Shedding

Huskies shed a lot due to their long, thick double coats.

A double coat means that their coat is split into two layers: a short, dense wooly undercoat with a long guard layer.

Twice a year, a husky will blow their coats when they transition into and out of their summer coats. During this time, they will shed even more than usual (which is already a lot).

Expect your house to get covered in hairs very quickly.

In terms of grooming, you’re looking at daily quick grooming sessions to keep their coats in good condition, with more thorough grooming sessions a few times per week to target loose hairs and both of their layers.

You can find full details of the grooming process here.

Escape Artists

Huskies are notorious escape artists.

A combination of two things can explain this behavior: huskies are very independent but also very intelligent and curious.

This means they will take any opportunity to try and reach new places, especially if they can see somewhere but not actually get there.

A husky behind a set of bars looking at the camera

They can also be motivated to escape if they are distracted by a nearby dog in heat (they can smell them up to 3 miles away) or if they are chasing after an animal (more on that later).

Due to this, you need to make sure your yard is secured with a fence that is tall enough for them not to be able to jump over it and dug into the ground properly so they can’t dig underneath it either.

Not Suited For Hot Climates

Huskies can actually cope with warmer weather better than you would expect, as their double coat can trap coat air against the surface of their skin, but you will need to take precautions to keep them safe.

When the weather starts to exceed 70°F (21°C), you need to take measures to keep them cool, and they shouldn’t be exposed to temperatures up to 85°F (30°C) for long periods, or it can cause serious problems.

If you live somewhere hot, you need to be prepared to take your husky for exercise early in the morning as a starting point.

You’ll also need to give them access to fresh water and a cool location throughout the day and monitor them for signs of heat stroke like elevated breathing rate or dry gums.

Prey Drive

Huskies have a high prey drive, so they are prone to instinctually chasing after small animals.

If your husky decides to chase a small animal, it is almost impossible to recall them.

This can make them difficult to take care of for several reasons:

Difficulty Living With Other Small Animals

Huskies can have success living with other small animals like cats and chickens if they are raised together from a very young age.

This process can be much more difficult if you introduce a mature husky to a new cat or another small animal, especially if they have no previous experience with small animals.

Need To Keep Them On Leash In Unsecured Places

Another thing to consider with their prey drive is the risk of letting them go off-leash in unsecured locations.

My recommendation is only to let your husky go off-leash in a secure environment, as recalling a husky is virtually impossible when they are chasing after an animal, even if you have practice recall.

This is a viewpoint shared by many professional dog trainers, and it is purely for the safety of your husky.

Other Things To Know About Caring For Huskies

There are other things to know about keeping huskies that aren’t necessarily bad, but you still need to be aware of them.

Incredibly Social

Huskies are among the most social and friendly breeds and love to meet new people.

They will take any opportunity to spend time with others, so if you are on a walk at the local park, expect your husky to want to go up to every person who passes by for attention.

Not Great Guard Dogs

Although huskies can look intimidating to those unfamiliar with the breed, they are not good guard dogs.

This isn’t a bad thing – there are dogs that excel in guarding and those that don’t for a reason – but it is important to know.

A husky looking intimidating on a path

A husky is likelier to make friends with a stranger than to be suspicious of them, so there are better options if you want a dog that will protect your family.

Prefer To Be With Other Dogs

As I mentioned earlier, huskies have a pack mentality by nature, so they prefer to live with other dogs ideally.

This isn’t exactly a problem for most dog lovers, but again, it is something that you need to be aware of.

Are Huskies Puppies A Lot Of Work?

To put it simply, yes.

All puppies are hard work because they require constant attention to ensure they don’t harm themselves, but husky puppies are even more challenging because they have endless energy.

They will chew anything they can while they go through teething, and it can be hard to potty train them due to their independent personalities.

In Summary

Hopefully, you haven’t been put off huskies by reading this guide; I just wanted to clarify that they are a big commitment and not suited for everybody.

If you can meet their needs, huskies are one of the most rewarding dogs you can find that will give you endless hours of joy.

Just do your due diligence so you don’t get overwhelmed, and you will have no problems. I recommend reading our guide on 16 things to know before getting a Siberian Husky article as well for more information.

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About The Author

Caitlin is the owner and lead writer for The Malamute Mom. She has over 10 years of experience with Alaskan Malamutes and Huskies. She is currently working on getting her PhD in materials science but continues to write for The Malamute Mom in her spare time.

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