Learning how to choose a husky breeder is crucial if you want to jump into owning this challenging breed.
The points below outline the main things you need to consider before you purchase a husky from a breeder:
- Accreditation – Is the breeder registered with the AKC?
- Health Testing – Are they doing eye and hip tests as a minimum, and ideally, an Embark genetic COI test as well? Are they providing OFA registry papers of the sire and dam?
- Communication – Are the breeders open in communication and allowing you to meet the huskies (puppies and parents) in person before purchasing one? Are they asking you questions about where you live to assess whether you are suitable for their puppies?
- Expertize – Are the breeders giving you a full rundown of everything there is to know about Siberian Huskies, good and bad?
- Paperwork– Are they providing the necessary paperwork? (Health record, vaccinations, microchipping details, worming and flea treatments, bloodline history, etc.)
The whole point of this guide is to ensure you are fully informed on choosing a reputable husky breeder to save you lots of potential problems further down the line.
We’ll take a deeper look at each of the points above and the red flags you should watch out for.
What Makes A Good Husky Breeder?
Several things make an excellent husky breeder.
The first thing to check is whether the breeder is accredited and registered with the appropriate body.
In the US, you may be exempt from USDA licensing for a few reasons, such as having four or fewer breeding females on site or if you require a full face-to-face transaction when selling a dog.
USDA licensing is more of a formality, though; it doesn’t actually indicate much about the breeder apart from the scale at which they are breeding.
I recommend looking out for AKC registration.
AKC breeders are held to much higher standards, as they are required to meet the breed standards (see the husky breed standard here). They also recommend health tests, specifically hip and ophthalmologist evaluations (hip and eye tests).
It’s also beneficial if they are registered with the Siberian Husky Club of America (SHCA) as well and follow their breeding guidelines.
The next thing to check is for any health screening that is being done.
In an ideal world, the breeder should be testing for eye and hip issues at a minimum. These are outlined in the Siberian Husky Club of America’s website; you can find full details here.
Here is a summary of these tests:
- Eye Examination – Eye examinations done yearly by a board-certified ACVO Ophthalmologist. These can identify a range of inherited issues that huskies are prone to.
- Hip Evaluation – Hip dysplasia evaluations are important for huskies as they can be prone to this condition.
Many reputable husky breeders will also do the Embark genetic COI, which assesses over 230,000 markers for inbreeding.
Before you purchase a husky, always ask them about the health testing that is being done, as this can prevent many future issues.
The OFA is the Orthopedic Foundation for Animals and is the world’s largest all-breed hip registry.
Dogs are submitted to this registry if they receive an x-ray of their hips, and the OFA then evaluates them and gives their hips a grade based on the opinion of three board-certified veterinary radiologists.
Only dogs that receive an excellent, fair, or good rating are given an OFA registry number, so this is something that you should ask for when considering a husky puppy, as it is a strong indication of their hip health and genetics.
I’m a big advocate of breeders who are open and responsive with their communication.
A good breeder should have nothing to hide, and they should be willing to answer any questions you might have with no hesitation.
They should also be very informative about the pros and cons of the breed, as well as asking you lots of questions about where you live, who will be at home most of the time, and other questions regarding the place where their puppies will be living.
Breeders who are elusive and not communicating properly should be avoided.
The breeder should also maintain contact with you for at least a year to make sure there aren’t any problems.
This is advised in the SHCA’s guidelines and a sign of a reputable breeder.
Another great indication of the quality of the breeder is how long they have been breeding.
You can usually find this information on their website, and while it doesn’t guarantee that they are a good breeder, it is a very good indication.
Warning Signs To Look Out For
There are a lot of red flags to watch out for in the world of dog breeders, especially with a breed like the Siberian Husky.
Here are the most common ones to keep an eye out for.
If the breeder you are dealing with tries to rush you into purchasing one of their puppies, this is a big red flag.
This is a clear sign that they are desperate to sell their puppies, which we can only assume is bad.
Not Allowed To Meet The Parents Or Siblings
If you aren’t allowed to meet any of the other husky puppies or the parents, this is a major red flag and a sign that the husky could have been found on the side of the road or even stolen.
These breeders should be avoided at all costs.
Emphasizing Rare Qualities
You do not want to work with any breeder that emphasizes so-called ‘rare’ qualities.
The AKC breed standard is the ideal for husky health, and this should be the focus of all breeding programs.
Before You Purchase A Husky
Before you purchase a husky, it’s important that you are fully aware of the challenges that come with this breed.
Use our site as a starting point for your research; you’ll find everything you need to know about huskies that Veterinarians have fact-checked. I’ve included a few articles below that are a good starting point, but you can search for anything, and you’ll likely find it.
- Are Huskies Hard To Take Care Of? (What You NEED To Know)
- 16 Things To Know Before Getting A Siberian Husky
Also, keep in mind that choosing the right breeder comes down to your final choice, so it’s your responsibility to make the right choice. This guide is only an outline of things to remember when making that decision.
Side Note: Consider Adopting
Adopting isn’t for everyone, but it’s important to be aware of the widespread issue of huskies in shelters.
Their popularity has also increased in recent years due to TV shows like Game of Thrones, and all of this has led to a drastic increase in the number of huskies that are in shelters.
If you have the time and energy to commit to a husky properly, consider visiting your local shelter first.
If you choose to get a husky from a breeder, take the time to research the breeder to make sure they are reputable and follow the best practices.
AKC registered breeders are held to the highest standards, so look out for this. Also, make sure that the breeder asks you questions about your living situation and has a genuine interest in the wellbeing of their dogs.
Check the breeder’s website and ensure they are following the right standard and doing the correct health checks with proof of these. If you have any doubts, ask them to clear it up.