Do huskies change color as they age, or do their coats stay the same throughout their lives?
Huskies will change color as they age, and most of this is done when they transition from their single puppy coat into their double adult coat. After that, other factors affect the changing color of their coats, such as grey or white hair due to old age, diet considerations, sunlight exposure, and much more.
In this guide, I’ll explain the science behind the color of your husky’s coat, why it changes, and what factors have the most significant influence.
Let’s get into it.
- The Science Behind The Changing Coat Of The Siberian Husky
- 7 Factors That Affect The Changing Color Of A Husky’s Coat
- Is It Normal For My Husky To Change Color?
- Can Husky Noses Change Color?
- How To Take Care Of Your Husky’s Coat
- In Summary
The Science Behind The Changing Coat Of The Siberian Husky
All canine coat colors and patterns are the result of two pigment molecules: eumelanin and pheomelanin.
Eumelanin is black or brown, and pheomelanin is reddish-yellow; most huskies have a mixture of both.
Genetics directly influence these two pigments, controlling the type of pigments produced and where they are produced.
Huskies And Their Double Coats
Another essential thing to know about huskies and their coats is that they have a double coat.
This means that their coat is split into two layers: a short and dense wooly undercoat and a longer guard layer made of coarse hairs.
Double-coated breeds will blow their coat twice per year on average, which is when they transition from winter to summer coats. They do this to make the warmer months more manageable.
This greatly impacts the color of their coats as they will shed excessively during this time.
7 Factors That Affect The Changing Color Of A Husky’s Coat
It’s all well and good knowing the science behind the types of fur you see on huskies, but what factors play the biggest role in how their coats change through their years?
Here are seven factors that cause your husky’s coat to change significantly as they age.
Aging is one of the biggest factors that affects how and when your husky’s coat will change color.
Husky puppies are born with long, fuzzy single coats that usually contain many black tones throughout the coat.
As they go through their first shedding season and transition into their adult double coat, the coat loses much of these dark tones and becomes lighter. Markings on the mask can also fade a lot during this time, as well as markings in the coat.
As your husky gets older, their coat will start to show more gray and white hair, particularly on the mask. Solid black markings on the coat and mask can also begin to fade during this time.
Age isn’t the only factor, however; many other things also contribute to the color changes of huskys’ coats as they age.
Diet is the most important factor that affects the condition of your husky’s coat.
A healthy diet, rich in protein, fatty acids, and other vitamins and minerals, is essentially for keeping your husky’s coat shiny and healthy rather than dull.
It can also play a big role in the color of their coat as well. For example, a lack of linoleic acid – an omega-6 fatty acid – is linked to discolored hair, increased shedding, and more.
Genetics play a big role in how your husky’s coat changes and develops as they age.
Agouti huskies, for example, are known for exhibiting the largest amount of change in their coats as they age because of how many different colors are found in their coats.
Black and white huskies, on the other hand, will not show as much noticeable change until they reach their senior years.
Genetics also plays a role in how much the production of eumelanin and pheomelanin changes through the years, directly impacting the shades of the coat.
4. Changing Seasons
As I mentioned before, huskies blow their coat twice per year usually.
When they do this, they shed excessive fur, which can significantly change how their coat looks. Most of this fur comes from the undercoat, which is wooly, short and dense.
It’s normal for their coat to look much shinier after coat blowing and darker in places due to the amount of undercoat that has been shed.
This happens because the UV rays oxidize the eumelanin and pheomelanin pigments, breaking them into smaller molecules.
This is also why your husky’s coat may turn lighter during the summer, especially if they are often outside in the sun.
Huskies should never be shaved unless it is necessary and approved by a veterinarian.
Shaving a husky is a last resort to deal with significant medical problems with their coat, skin, or as part of a medical procedure.
If your husky has been shaved, the coat will not grow back like it did before. It will likely be a different color or shade to the rest of the coat, and there isn’t anything you can do about it.
The last factor that can affect your husky’s coat color is staining.
Stains can occur from either excessive licking or tears. Tears and saliva contain porphyrin, a chemical breakdown product associated with red blood cells secreted from the eyes, saliva, and other fluids.
If your husky has an underlying medical issue causing their eyes to run or causing excessive licking on their legs or paws, these areas can be stained by the porphyrin in the saliva or tears.
Porphyrin stains are usually brown or red and are much more noticeable on lighter-colored huskies because of this.
If you notice brown or red marks around your husky’s eyes, legs, or paws, these are likely caused by staining due to porphyrin.
Consult with your veterinarian if this is the case, as underlying medical problems like dry skin are usually responsible for these spots.
Is It Normal For My Husky To Change Color?
It’s completely normal for your husky’s coat to change color, especially if they are transitioning from their puppy stage to their mature stage.
Even if you get everything right regarding coat care, like regular grooming, feeding a balanced diet, keeping them out of intense sunlight, and so on, it’s still part of the aging process for their coats to change color.
As long as there aren’t any underlying health problems, there is nothing to worry about if your husky changes color.
Can Husky Noses Change Color?
Huskies are one of the most commonly affected breeds by something known as snow nose.
Snow nose – scientifically known as hypopigmentation – is a term used to describe when your husky’s nose turns lighter in shade or pink during the colder months.
The cause of this is unknown, but it’s thought to be related to the temperature or due to enzymes.
What About Their Eyes?
All huskies are born with blue eyes, but after around 1 to 2 months, they might transition to brown or stay blue.
After that, their eye colors are pretty much set in stone unless they become affected by a health issue like cataracts that can change the color of their eyes.
How To Take Care Of Your Husky’s Coat
Knowing how to care for your husky’s coat properly is one of the parts of owning a husky that every owner should know.
Here’s a quick overview for keeping their coats in optimal condition.
Grooming & Bathing
Grooming can affect how your husky’s coat looks because it helps to remove any dead or matted fur.
You should groom your husky quickly every day to maintain their coats and follow a more in-depth procedure a few times a week to target each layer of their coat.
As I mentioned before, never shave your husky’s fur unless instructed by a veterinarian.
You should also only bathe their coats when necessary – a few times per year is usually more than enough.
Overbathing interferes with the natural oils found within the coat, which can dry out the coat and the skin, leading to several issues.
It’s absolutely crucial that your husky is fed a nutritionally balanced diet that contains all the nutrients that they need for overall health and growth.
High-quality protein, fatty acids, and other nutrients and minerals should be prioritized. Read our veterinary-reviewed husky nutrition guide here for more detail.
If you feed your husky a raw diet, I highly recommend checking the diet to ensure you meet all their nutritional needs. You would be surprised how difficult this is when you don’t use a product designed to be nutritionally balanced like regular dog food.
Optional – Avoid Intense Sunlight
Intense sunlight can bleach your husky’s fur, so it can be a good idea to avoid intense sunlight by taking them for exercise early in the morning or at night, especially if you live in a hot location.
If you notice your husky changing color, it’s usually nothing to worry about and is completely normal.
Husky puppies will change color the most as they transition into adult coats, and senior huskies tend to exhibit lots of white and gray furs as they age.
If you notice brown patches around the eyes or legs, it’s worth speaking to your veterinarian to identify any underlying problems that could be causing it.