Huskies have built up a reputation for being excellent runners thanks to their participation in dog sled races. Having been bred to pull sleds in harsh conditions, it’s no wonder that their abilities were soon pushed to the limit through sporting events.
But just how fast can Huskies run? And how can they be trained to run along with us during our everyday exercise? Keep reading for everything you need to know about Huskies and running!
HOW FAST CAN HUSKIES RUN?
Let’s get straight into it and see how fast Huskies can run.
Huskies can run up to 28-30 miles per hour (45-48 kilometres per hour) which is the average for most large dog breeds. During long-distance running, Huskies can sustain speeds of up to 11 miles per hour (18 kilometres per hour) for hours on end.
You may be thinking that this is not so fast, particularly when compared to dogs such as Greyhounds who have top running speeds of 45 miles per hour (72 kilometres per hour). This is because Huskies are built for endurance, rather than speed.
If you’re looking for a companion on your long runs, Huskies are an ideal breed. They can easily match the speeds of most people on their runs and will appreciate the extra exercise. They may not be the fastest dog breed out there, but they are certainly one of the best running breeds.
HOW LONG CAN HUSKIES RUN FOR?
How long a Husky can run for depends on their endurance level. Even though Huskies are a naturally energetic and athletic breed, they still need to train to run long distances. They shouldn’t be forced to run a long distance without any prior experience. That being said, even inexperienced Huskies can quickly build up to running for hours on end.
One of the most famous sled dog races, the Iditarod Trail, is 938 miles (1510 km) long and has a course record of just over 8 days. A team of 12-16 sled dogs (most commonly Huskies and Alaskan Malamutes) relay to run between 60-120 miles per day to complete this amazing feat of endurance. The dogs who compete in this trial are the best of the best and represent the extraordinary capabilities of sled dogs.
For the average owner, a Husky will enjoy being trained to run for pretty much any distance. Make sure to support them with the appropriate nutrition to keep them healthy – long-distance running burns a lot of calories!
6 TIPS FOR RUNNING WITH A HUSKY
If you are interested in running with your Husky, take a look at our tips below on how to get started.
1. Don’t run in temperatures over 70°F (21°C)
The number 1 rule to remember when running with your Husky is to avoid running in warm weather. Huskies are undeniably a winter breed – their origins as arctic dogs have led to them being perfectly suited to cold weather.
When taking them on a run, remember that they will essentially be running with a big wooly jacket on. If it’s too warm for you to run with a jacket on, then it is definitely too warm for your Husky. Huskies love to run and will most likely follow you, even if they feel ill. This will make their dehydration even worse in warm weather, so try to consider how they will be feeling.
Not only that, but warm weather can lead to road surfaces such as concrete and tarmac becoming hot. You won’t feel it thanks to your running shoes, but your Husky certainly will! Avoid any harm coming to your Husky by only taking them for a run when the weather is cool enough.
2. Don’t run immediately after mealtime
Just like with humans, Huskies can get an upset stomach if they exercise too soon after eating. We know that we wouldn’t want to go for a run immediately after eating!
We recommend waiting for at least an hour after your Husky has eaten before taking them for a run. Doing so will give them time to digest their food and settle their stomachs. Keep in mind that your Husky’s mealtime may be different than your own, so try to plan a running time that suits you both.
If you are taking your Husky for a run before their mealtime, you should wait 30 minutes to an hour before feeding them. Running is an intensive exercise and feeding them too soon after their run could increase the risk of bloat occurring.
3. Work up to longer distances together
Regardless of your running level, we recommend going back to basics when running with your Husky. Running with a Husky is a completely different experience from running alone or with another person. Remember that your Husky will be relying on you to ensure they come to no harm, meaning you will have to work harder to concentrate on your surroundings.
Also, your Husky won’t be able to easily communicate any issues they are having. This means you will have to look for small signs that indicate there may be a problem (for example if they are in pain or they are stressed).
Start with shorter distances to get used to the responsibilities involved with running with a Husky. You will soon find that both your endurance and your trust grows, allowing you to run longer distances together.
4. Get a secure harness
Before you run with your Husky, you will need to invest in a secure harness. It is not appropriate to run with your Husky using only a leash that is attached to their collar, even if this is how you would usually walk them. This is because suddenly stopping from a running pace puts more strain on the leash than stopping from a walking pace. If this strain is being directed to your Husky’s neck, it can easily cause injury.
Harnesses allow forces to be directed over a much larger surface area – your Husky’s chest. This will reduce the risk of injury for your Husky. Harnesses are also ideal for Huskies who tend to pull when on a run as they give you more control. It is much easier (and safer!) to pull them back to your side when they are wearing a harness.
Make sure the harness is a good fit for your Husky. If it is too tight, it might restrict their breathing and lead to them becoming tired much quicker. If it is too loose, it could lead to uncomfortable chafing or your Husky getting out of it. Always follow the manufacturer’s size guide to find the best fit for your Husky.
5. Make sure they are walk-trained first
Before you decide to run with your Husky, it is a good idea to make sure they are adequately walk trained. Ideally, your Husky should stay at your side whilst running to ensure their safety. If they don’t yet do this whilst walking, it might be time to go back to basics.
Don’t believe the myths that Huskies are natural pullers – they are simply untrained! Even the most stubborn Huskies can be trained to walk by their owner’s side when using the correct technique.
There are two methods to walk-train a Husky that have shown to be effective time and time again:
- Using food as a motivator – Take some small training treats out on your walk and reward your Husky for every few steps they complete by your side. Over time, increase the number of steps it takes to earn a treat. Before you know it, they will remain with you for the entire walk!
- Remind them who is in charge – This method may have you looking a little silly at first, but it’s very effective. Every time your Husky starts to pull away from you, simply start walking in the opposite direction. There’s no need to be forceful, just calmly change directions and they will follow. This will remind them that you are in control of where you are going, not them. By changing directions it will reinforce that they need to keep an eye on you and encourage them to stay by your side.
Once your Husky has learnt to stay by your side during walks, they should maintain this training in their runs. If not, follow the same training steps that worked for you previously but this time whilst running.
6. Bring water to avoid dehydration
Finally, bringing water on your run is recommended – particularly when running in temperatures that are on the warmer side.
As we’ve already said, you should never run with your Husky in temperatures over 70°F. To prevent dehydration in your Husky in temperatures approaching that limit, bring water and regularly offer it to them to help them cool down.
There are many dog water bottles on the market, our personal favourite is the CJMJ Portable Dog Water Bottle. Water is dispensed into a little cup attached to the bottle with the press of a button, making it easy for a Husky to drink from. It also has a sturdy wrist handle and isn’t too large making it ideal for carrying whilst running.
So, Huskies are not the fastest dog breed but they are one of the best at running long distances. Their athletic build allows them to run for hours on end, but they will enjoy short runs with you just as much.
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