There are a lot of things to know before getting a Siberian Husky, as this breed is a huge commitment for even the most active of people.
They need a lot of exercise, are difficult to train, and are prone to suffering from separation anxiety. Things aren’t all bad, however, as huskies are one of the most affectionate and loyal dogs you can find.
In this guide, I’ll cover 16 of the most important things to know before you get a Siberian Husky to help you make the right decision.
Let’s get straight into the list.
- 1. Exercise Requirements
- 2. Grooming Schedule
- 3. Shedding
- 4. Stubborn
- 5. Great With Children
- 6. Great With Other Dogs
- 7. High Prey Drive
- 8. Escape Artists
- 9. Can’t Go Off Leash Often
- 10. Very Affectionate
- 11. Vocal
- 12. They Love To Dig
- 13. They Prefer Cooler Environments
- 14. Pack Mentality
- 15. They Can Suffer From Separation Anxiety
- 16. Not Great Guard Dogs
- In Summary
1. Exercise Requirements
Siberian Huskies are a highly active breed with substantial exercise needs – ideally 2 hours or more every day.
This is due to their history as sled dogs and working dogs, capable of pulling sleds for hundreds of miles when trained properly.
Activities like hiking or running are great additions to a husky’s weekly routine, so you really need to have an active lifestyle to take on this breed.
Besides walks, incorporating playtime or dog sports like agility can help satisfy their activity cravings and supplement their exercise. If their exercise needs aren’t met, huskies will develop behavioral issues.
2. Grooming Schedule
Huskies require regular grooming to maintain their coats. Huskies will self-groom much like a cat, but due to the thickness of their coat, it’s important to help them out.
Due to their double coat, they experience shedding throughout the year. The heaviest shedding occurs twice a year, during the spring and fall seasons when they blow their coat.
In an ideal world, you should brush their coat once per day quickly to remove any loose or dead hairs. As well as this, you should fully groom them once or twice each week to properly target both layers of their coat (find full details of this process here).
Huskies also need to be bathed, but over-bathing can strip the natural oils from their skin and lead to irritation. Generally, bathing them every two to three months is sufficient.
Some additional grooming tasks include:
- Trimming nails regularly (every 3 to 4 weeks)
- Cleaning ears to prevent infections
- Brushing their teeth to maintain good dental health
Siberian Huskies are known for their heavy shedding, so expect your house to get covered in hair pretty quickly, even if you maintain a good grooming routine.
They will shed all year long and even more when they are blowing coat
Siberian Huskies are known for their stubborn nature.
They are intelligent dogs, but they have the characteristic independent trait found in many Spitz-type dogs.
This can make training a challenge. Obedience training is essential for these dogs, as they require consistent guidance to keep them on the right track, but it needs a lot of patience from the owner.
Remember, consistency is key when training a Siberian Husky, and understanding their stubborn nature will help in addressing their needs and ensuring a strong bond between pet and owner.
5. Great With Children
Siberian Huskies are known for being great with children. Their gentle and friendly nature makes them excellent companions for kids of all ages.
They tend to be patient and tolerant, which is ideal for families with young children who love to play and interact with their pets.
However, it is important to remember that children should always be supervised when interacting with a husky. Due to their energetic nature, huskies can easily knock small children over accidentally.
6. Great With Other Dogs
Siberian Huskies are known for being great with other dogs. As descendants of pack animals, they have a natural ability to socialize and bond with their canine companions.
However, this doesn’t mean they will always be friendly with every dog they meet. Early socialization is required here to make sure that a husky gets along well with other dogs.
7. High Prey Drive
Siberian Huskies have a naturally high prey drive, which means they have a strong instinct to chase and catch small animals.
This is completely natural, and it isn’t something that can be trained out of them.
Owners should be aware of this instinct and take precautions when letting their husky off-leash or near other small pets. If your husky is off-leash and decides to chase after something, there is little to no chance of recall.
8. Escape Artists
Huskies are very curious, and will happily wander off if you let them. They love to explore new places, as well as find new ways to get to these places, which is why they have earnt the reputation of being escape artists.
When owning a husky, you’ll need to take precautions to stop them from escaping:
- Install taller fences (at least 6 ft in height)
- Place concrete blocks or chicken wire under the fence to stop them from digging underneath
- Use secure latches on gates & keep doors locked
Preventing escapes is an ongoing challenge, but with patience and persistence, you can help keep your Siberian Husky safe and happy.
9. Can’t Go Off Leash Often
I, like many other dog owners, love to see my dogs go off-leash.
Unfortunately for huskies, this is a big risk for a few reasons. Firstly, if they spot a small animal their prey drive will take over and you won’t be able to recall them.
Secondly, huskies are incredibly hard to train as it is, and there is very little chance of training a perfect recall, to begin with.
If you have a husky you won’t be able to let them go off-leash without a big risk of them running away, so you’ll need to find a secure area or have a large yard for them to play in.
10. Very Affectionate
Huskies thrive on attention and love to play with everyone, especially children. Their playful demeanor and loyalty make them excellent companions for active families.
They love to spend with people and are generally friendly toward everybody, including strangers, which is why they aren’t the best guard dogs.
If you want an affectionate dog, a husky is a great option.
Huskies are known for their vocal nature. They rarely bark, but they do have a wide range of vocal expressions, including howling, whining, and even ‘talking’.
Huskies may howl to communicate with other dogs, their owners, or simply because they enjoy the sound.
This breed is famous for its howling, which can be endearing to some people but overwhelming to others.
If you live in an area with noise restrictions or close neighbors, a vocal Husky could be an issue.
12. They Love To Dig
Huskies are natural diggers, like many other dogs.
This behavior is ingrained in their instincts, and they will dig wherever they get the chance. They use digging as a way to bury their food, as well as a way to try to escape from yards or simply because they are bored.
To prevent destructive digging, one option is providing designated digging areas for your husky, such as a sandbox. This allows them to safely engage in this behavior without causing damage to the rest of the property.
Regular exercise and mental stimulation can also help reduce the desire to dig, as a well-exercised and satisfied husky is less likely to engage in destructive behavior.
13. They Prefer Cooler Environments
Siberian Huskies, as their name suggests, originate from the cold regions of Siberia.
As a result, they have developed a preference for cooler environments as their thick double coats enable them to withstand extremely cold temperatures.
During the summer, they may face discomfort in hot climates. In terms of numbers, when the temperature reaches 70°F (21°C) it’s time to take precautions to cool them down:
- Keep them inside with the air conditioning turned on
- Provide access to lots of cool, fresh water
- If they go outside make sure there is a lot of shade
- Avoid exercising them when it is hot, and instead take them out in the early morning where possible
Their double coat is actually quite efficient at keeping them cool when it gets hot, but this only works so much.
14. Pack Mentality
Siberian Huskies have a strong pack mentality due to their history as sled dogs.
They enjoy the company of other dogs and thrive in social environments. It is important for owners to establish themselves as the pack leader to ensure proper training and obedience.
While socialization is essential, Siberian Huskies can display stubbornness, making training a challenge.
To overcome their inherent dominance, consistent and positive reinforcement is crucial.
As pack dogs, it is beneficial to have multiple Huskies, providing an outlet for their energy and satisfying their need for companionship.
15. They Can Suffer From Separation Anxiety
Huskies are prone to separation anxiety, a condition where they can develop destructive behaviors and become stressed when left alone for periods of time.
This doesn’t affect every single husky, but they are prone to it due to their pack mentality and how much they like to be around people.
Separation anxiety can be dealt with but it requires a lot of patience, and even then it is still not recommended to leave your husky alone for long periods of time regularly.
16. Not Great Guard Dogs
Huskies may look like wolves and be intimidating to some people, but they are actually one of the friendliest dog breeds out there.
This does mean that they are not very good guard dogs, as they are more likely to befriend a stranger than be wary of them.
Huskies are not for everyone, but they are incredibly rewarding dogs for the right owners.
Their popularity makes them a very sought-after dog, but unfortunately, a lot of people don’t realize just how much work they are.
Hopefully this article has cleared things up for you!