Huskies are often thought to be much larger than they actually are – no doubt thanks to TV shows like Game of Thrones – but how big is a husky in real life, and what factors affect it?
According to the breed standard, huskies reach 20 to 23.5 inches in height at the shoulder and weigh anywhere from 35 to 60 lbs. There are variations to this, though; some huskies can exceed this easily, while others can fall under these guidelines.
Want to learn more about husky size and other much larger breeds that huskies are often confused for? Stay tuned.
Are Huskies A Large Dog Breed?
Huskies are classified as a medium dog breed as per the American Kennel Club, like other popular dogs such as the Australian Shepherd, Labrador Retriever, and Boxer.
Whether you think huskies are large depends on your experience with dogs. If you’re used to small or toy dog breeds, you’ll probably see a husky as pretty large.
On the other hand, if you have experience with truly large dogs like Great Danes or Mastiffs, you probably won’t think huskies are very big at all.
In terms of build, huskies are compact with a well-developed frame and firm muscles. They have a lot of fur, which makes them seem larger than they actually are.
You can read more about the ideal husky build on the official standard here.
4 Factors That Affect How Big A Husky Is
Quite a few factors determine just how big a husky will be, so let’s look at them.
Gender has a significant impact on how big a husky is:
- Male huskies grow much larger, reaching 21 to 23.5 inches in height at the shoulder and 45 to 60 lbs in weight.
- Female huskies reach 20 to 22 inches at the shoulder and just 35 to 50 lbs in weight.
This means that males are anywhere from 20 to 25% larger than their female counterparts. They also tend to be more dominant and independent as well.
The genetics that a husky inherits from its parents play a significant role in determining its size.
In a 2007 issue of the journal Science, researchers found that variations in the IGF-1 gene, which codes for a protein hormone, are strongly associated with small stature across all dog breeds studied.
If a husky’s parents are both quite large, then there’s a good chance that the husky will also be large when fully grown.
Although overall size is predetermined mainly by gender and genetics, a husky must receive a high-quality, nutritious diet that meets all their needs to help them reach their potential.
Ideal husky dog food should meet the Association of America Feed Control Official minimum requirements, which state that dog food should contain at least 22% protein for canine growth and reproduction (puppies and lactating females) and 18% minimum for adults.
The figures for fat are 8% and 5%, so it’s clearly important for husky puppies specifically to have a more nutritious diet to help them grow to their maximum potential size.
Some breeders will breed their huskies for size, which we do not endorse. This means that their huskies are likely to be bigger than usual as they do not conform to the standard.
When selecting a husky breeder, I always advise choosing a registered breeder who breeds for health over anything else. This means conforming to the standard and doing the necessary health checks before and after breeding – you can find more details of this here.
How Big Do Huskies Grow In One Year?
Huskies grow quite quickly in their first year.
Males reach anywhere from 43 to 57 lbs in weight and 18 to 21 inches in height on average.
Females obviously don’t grow to the same size, reaching 32 to 46 lbs in weight and 17 to 19 inches in height. After the first year, most husky growth is already done, as you can see from the charts above.
Are There Giant Huskies?
There aren’t giant huskies, and any breeder that lists their huskies as such should not be trusted.
We do sometimes see breeders who breed their huskies for size over anything else, and this practice is not recommended or encouraged by anybody.
Breeding for size is unhealthy – there is a reason why registered breeders follow the AKC/SHCA standard, and that is because it promotes health.
So-called giant huskies are very likely to be overweight, which can stress the joints and lead to many health issues like hip dysplasia.
What About Wooly Huskies?
Just as some breeders specifically breed for size, others focus on breeding so-called ‘wooly’ huskies.
Wooly huskies are not any larger than normal huskies; they have longer coats than normal due to breeding selection.
Huskies, Aluskies And Alaskan Malamutes
Huskies are often mistaken for Alaskan Malamutes or a cross between this breed and the husky known as an Alusky or Huskamute.
Aluskies and Alaskan Malamutes are both bigger than regular huskies, which Malamutes obviously being the largest.
Aluskies can weigh anywhere from 60 to 90 lbs with an average height of 21 to 24 inches. They are very similar in appearance to normal huskies due to being a cross between them and Malamutes, and people often mistake the two.
Alaskan Malamutes can reach 75 to 85 lbs in weight and 23 to 25 inches in height as per the breed standard, but it isn’t uncommon to see them reach over 100 lbs easily, much larger than the husky.
Alaskan Malamutes (pictured above) can be mistaken for huskies if you aren’t familiar with the breed, and this is why some people think that huskies are also very large.
If you see what you think is a husky, it could well be a mix like an Alusky or a similar breed like the Alaskan Malamute that is much larger in size.
Huskies are medium-sized dogs rather than large ones, and many factors affect how big they will grow, including genetics and their diet.
Their thick, fluffy double coat helps to make them look bigger than they actually are, and they are often mistaken for similar breeds or crossbreeds that are much larger, like the Alaskan Malamute or Alusky.
Hopefully, this article has cleared any questions you have about huskies and their size; if you have any more, don’t hesitate to get in touch!