Are Huskies High-Maintenance? (9 Key Factors)

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This article has been fact-checked by Dr. Dilber Hussain, DVM, to ensure we're providing the most up-to-date guidance. READ MORE

Huskies are a super popular breed of dog with many people jumping into the breed without understanding how much work they can be; but, are huskies high-maintenance or is this just a myth?

Huskies are definitely high-maintenance. They require at least 2 hours of exercise per day alongside other mental stimulation and crave attention. They also need to be groomed daily and even more when blowing coat and can be incredibly stubborn and hard to train.

In this guide, I’ll explore what makes a dog ‘high-maintenance’ in the first place, as definitions of this can vary greatly between different people. I’ll take you through 9 reasons why huskies are high-maintenance so you can see how much work is involved with this breed.

What Makes A Dog High-Maintenance?

There are several things to consider when judging if a dog is high-maintenance or not.

These include how much exercise they need, how much other training is required and several others. It essentially becomes a question of how much effort and time you need to spend with your dog to satisfy its needs, both mentally and physically.

Is It A Bad Thing?

Whether having a high-maintenance dog is good or not depends entirely on the owner.

For some people, an active dog such as the husky fits perfectly into their lifestyle. For others who aren’t able to spend as much time with their dogs, it might be a problem.

There are also other problems which I’ll get into shortly relating to stubbornness which can be difficult to deal with if you’re inexperienced. So, it really depends on how much experience you have with difficult dog breeds and how much time you have spare to commit to determine if it’s a bad or a good thing to have a high-maintenance dog such as the husky.

Why Huskies Are High-Maintenance

Huskies are definitely a high-maintenance breed of dog.

Here are 9 reasons to explain why.

1. Exercise

A lot of people get shocked when they realise how much exercise huskies actually need – 2 hours each day of preferably intense exercise.

Most people don’t exercise for 2 hours each day themselves, so this can be a huge hurdle that can lead to a lot of unhappy huskies and frustrated owners. This is why it’s so important to consider before you get a husky.

2. Grooming

Huskies shed quite a lot and require a daily groom to keep their coats healthy.

They also have a double coat, which means that they blow coat twice each year. If you’re unfamiliar with the term, it’s used to describe the process of transitioning from a winter coat to a summer coat by losing their undercoat.

During this time your husky will shed a LOT of fur and require several grooming sessions each day.

3. Mental Stimulation

Huskies are a very intelligent breed of dog that thrives with lots of mental stimulation.

Exercise plays a big role in this, but they will require extra mental stimulation in the form of toys, games and obedience training. Puzzle toys are a great option to keep them entertained, as well as simple games of fetch (if they like it) or even different types of exercise such as running or long hikes.

4. Separation Anxiety

Huskies are prone to separation anxiety, a condition where they become stressed when left alone for periods of time. It can result in destructive behaviors and generally cause a lot of stress for your husky.

Separation anxiety can be caused by several things and it’s important to understand these factors and what you can do to make the symptoms less severe. If you’re looking for a dog that can be left alone comfortably, a husky is not a good option.

5. Diet

It isn’t so much the type of food that huskies need to eat, but more the amount of food.

With 2 hours of exercise as a minimum each day, you’ll have to provide a lot of food for your husky to keep themselves full of energy. It’s part of the reason why overweight huskies are so uncommon to see.

Here’s a list of all the different foods huskies can eat, as well as recommended foods, to give you an idea about how much food and what types are preferable.

6. Hard To Train

Huskies are notoriously hard to train. This is due to their combination of stubbornness, intelligence and independence.

They really are more like a cat than a dog, so if your husky develops bad habits it can be very tricky to correct them through training and you may need to pay a professional for help.

7. Need Lots Of Attention

Despite being quite independent, huskies are also very sociable and love attention.

They have many ways to show this, and it can become an issue in some cases (e.g following you around constantly) if you reinforce the wrong behaviors without realizing it.

8. Escape Artists

You may have heard huskies referred to as escape artists before, and this is unfortunately an adept nickname.

As huskies are highly intelligent and independent, they love to explore and often find themselves escaping areas if they can do so. You’ll need a secure yard for your husky to make sure they won’t escape, and you’ll always need to keep an extra eye on them.

This can also be a problem on walks, however, they’re more likely to run off on a walk due to their high prey drives.

9. Prey Drive

Huskies have a high prey drive naturally, which can create problems both when walking and considering what types of animals they can live with.

When walking, you should keep huskies off their leash as they will chase smaller animals instinctively without realising which can put them in danger of harm or becoming lost.

Take Personality Into Account

The personality of your husky plays a big role in how high-maintenance they are.

All huskies need a lot of exercise, grooming and mental stimulation, there’s no getting around that, but individual personality can affect things like how independent your husky is and how much attention they need.

Some huskies will suffer much less from separation anxiety (and there are ways to deal with it as well) so leaving them alone for periods of time shouldn’t be as problematic. They may be more obedient and easy to train, lazier and so on.


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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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