Movies and pictures sometimes depict huskies as large, majestic dogs. While they certainly are majestic, huskies are actually considered a medium-sized breed. Standing between 20-23.5 inches tall and 35-60 lbs, huskies are the goldilocks of dogs.
If your husky happens to be more than 2 inches smaller than between 20-23.5 inches, it may be worth examining the reason why. While most reasons are benign, others like excessive exercise, parasites, and malnourishment, can lead to more severe consequences down the road.
Read on to discover the main reasons huskies can be small and what you can do about it.
What is a Husky’s Normal Size?
To know if your husky is small, you first have to know the average husky size.
Contrary to popular belief, huskies are a medium-sized breed, although their fur gives them an extra inch or two in height.
Like other medium to large-sized dogs, huskies don’t stop growing until they are around 15 months old. After this, they will continue to gain muscle mass until about three years old.
A male husky is typically between 21-23.5 inches tall, and their weight ranges between 45-60 lbs.
A female husky is typically between 20-22 inches tall, and their weight ranges between 35-50 lbs.
If your husky is outside of the height range by more than 2 inches, they are considered either small or large for the breed standards.
If their weight is 5 or more lbs outside of the typical range, they are considered either under-or overweight.
Why is my Husky so Small?
Many factors come into play with a husky’s size. The main components are genes, diet, health, anxiety, and exercise.
First, when you look at your husky, are you sure they are purebred? Huskies are commonly mixed with other breeds, including Corgis, Pomeranians, and other smaller breeds.
Because huskies are a really popular breed, inbreeding is also a possibility. Inbreeding, or mating two dogs from the same litter or closely-related litters, can have several negative health effects. One effect is dwarfism, where dogs are genetically smaller.
If your husky does have dwarfism, you will be able to tell through other signs. Generally, these signs start appearing early, even up to 2 months old. Common signs of dwarfism include broken teeth, detachable puppy fur, skin infections that worsen over time, and baldness.
Growth hormone deficiency is another genetic reason for a small husky. Just like it sounds, growth hormone deficiency is when a husky’s body doesn’t produce enough growth hormone. In return, the husky won’t grow up to standard size. Alaskan malamutes are prone to this disorder, so it’s common in husky/malamute crosses.
One last genetic reason your husky is small is that it might not be a husky at all! Alaskan Klee Kais are commonly mistaken for their larger cousins. This breed is smaller in size than the husky because of its use: companionship. Although not recognized by the AKC and many people due to its relative novelty, the Alaskan Klee Kai is becoming more and more popular.
Huskies need proper nutrition for growth and energy needs. If your husky wasn’t fed properly as a puppy, they could have been malnourished. While malnourishment leads to other health conditions, it can also make them smaller.
In addition to stunted growth, a malnourished puppy might have skeletal deformation, poor skeletal strength, and osteoarthritis.
Parasites are an additional way that diet can affect a husky’s size. If a husky puppy contracted intestinal parasites, the parasite would steal their nutritional content and cause their growth to be stunted. Common signs of parasite infestation are diarrhea, large bellies, unhealthy coat, and decreasing weight despite an increased (usually extreme) appetite.
When you get a dog, most focus is spent on making sure the dog gets enough exercise. However, running a puppy too much can actually cause stunted growth and severe joint and bone damage.
Puppies, especially larger breeds like huskies, grow a lot between 4-15 months. Because of this, running them for long periods can cause joint and bone damage – some irrevocable. While it’s essential to get your husky puppy exercised in small doses, make sure you aren’t overdoing it. Take them on small walks and small training sessions as opposed to uphill hikes, jogs, or anything very extraneous.
While anxiety doesn’t usually cause irreversible size changes in dogs, it can cause them to lose weight and appear significantly smaller.
Anxiety changes the size of your husky mainly through their decreased appetite, and this, combined with increased pacing, will cause them to quickly lose weight. Although reversible, the dramatic change in size can look very alarming.
Unfortunately, huskies are prone to anxiety due to their energetic and intelligent personalities. Some of the leading causes of dog anxiety are insufficient exercise, relocation, separation, and changes to the household (ie, adding or losing a family member). Fortunately, many causes of anxiety are easily treatable with adequate time and effort.
What Should You Do if You Think Your Husky is Small?
While a husky’s size is something you mostly shouldn’t have to worry about, there are some things to do if you believe your husky’s size is worrisome.
Look Into Their Genes
As stated previously, mixed-breeds and inbreeding are common for huskies. Luckily, there are a lot of genetic tests out there for dog parents nowadays.
These tests will not only tell you if your dog is purebred or not but can also warn you of genetic predispositions based on breed. Therefore, helping you to keep your dog happy and healthy.
Do Some Research on Breeder
Good breeders are important to find, as they will determine your future with your dog. Determine if your husky breeder is a good one or not by researching before buying. Some smart things to look into include:
- If their dog is AKC certified or not. Although this is not a dealbreaker, AKC is a trusted expert in dog breeding and training, and their registration isn’t easy to come by.
- Both parents’ vet records. This is simple: if a breeder doesn’t allow you to look at their dog’s vet records, you should not buy from them. Good breeders do extensive research into the health of their dogs to ensure their puppies will be healthy.
- Their breeding timeline. If your breeder raises more than one litter per year, their priorities are flipped. Their dogs, or your puppy’s parents, health should always remain the first priority.
- Their advertising techniques. Are they advertising “all red huskies” before the puppies are born? Red flag. Things that promote inbreeding and genetic problems should be avoided at all costs.
Reduce their Anxiety
If your husky has significantly dropped in size due to anxiety, you should spend all your energy trying to get them back to their usual selves. While there are some safe medicinal remedies, lifestyle changes and diet will usually do the trick.
First, are they being exercised enough? As one of the most intelligent dog breeds, huskies need quite a lot of mental stimulation to keep them relaxed and happy. Exercise shouldn’t remain mild or bland. Going on hikes, socializing them, or giving them interactive toys can help keep them calm and happy.
Second, analyze your environment – especially if you’ve made significant changes recently. If you’ve recently moved or made a big change in your house, calming your dog may simply take time. If something in your environment is actively giving your dog anxiety, you will need to monitor them closely until you find out what it is and immediately remove it.
Lastly, work with them. Anxious dogs are usually intelligent dogs and can be trained out of it. Working with them and continuing their training will help to calm them and to stimulate their mind at the same time.
Seek a Vet’s Help
If your dog’s small size is related to diet or disease, it may be wise to get your vet’s advice.
If you purchased or rescued a malnourished husky puppy, a vet might be able to recommend proper supplementation to help with growth and long-term health.
In addition, a vet can easily diagnose and treat worms and parasites. To prevent parasites, always make sure their food and water come from an uncontaminated source.
Sometimes you may look at your husky and think they look too small. While not common, it’s not inherently unhealthy for a husky to be smaller.
Always discuss possibilities with your vet so that you can give your husky the best possible treatment.