The wooly husky is a variation of the regular husky with a longer, thicker top coat.
In this guide we’ll break down everything there is to know about this variation, including what similarities and differences there are between woollies and Siberian huskies and what you need to know if you want to keep one.
- What Is A Wooly Husky?
- Wooly Husky VS Husky: A Quick Breakdown
- How To Identify A Wooly Husky
- How Are Wooly Huskies Bred?
- Is The Wooly Coat Practical?
- Are Wooly Huskies Healthy?
- How Much Do Wooly Huskies Cost?
- What Is The Difference Between A Wooly Husky And An Alaskan Malamute?
- What About Huskies Bred With Alaskan Malamutes (Huskamutes/Alusky)?
- Summing It Up
What Is A Wooly Husky?
A wooly husky is simply a husky that has been bred specifically to develop a longer coat than a ‘normal’ husky, or one that is recognised under the ACK standards.
Wooly huskies are a relatively new variation and breeders loyal to this type of husky are producing more and more each year.
Is A Wooly Husky A Separate Breed?
Woollies are not a separate breed and are much like miniature huskies, which are bred instead with the intention of being smaller in size.
How A Wooly Huskies Coat Is Different To A ‘Regular’ Husky
Huskies have a double coat of two layers – one is a short and dense undercoat and the other is a top coat of long guard hairs.
Wooly huskies also have a double coat, but their outer guard layer is longer and typically thicker or more full in appearance. Wooly huskies are often confused for Alaskan malamutes (which also have a wooly variation) due to their longer and thicker coats, but we’ll go into more depth on this later.
Wooly Husky VS Husky: A Quick Breakdown
Aside from coat length, wooly huskies are exactly the same as normal huskies.
This includes size, temperament and pretty much anything else you can think of. Wooly huskies can give the illusion of being bigger due to their fur, but they are actually the same weight and height.
How To Identify A Wooly Husky
Aside from the longer and fuller coat, there are several other things you can look for to identify a wooly husky:
- Long and flowing tails (plumed)
- Extra feathering around the ears, face and legs.
As there isn’t a standard set for the wooly husky (yet), any husky that has longer fur than usual is usually categorised under this name. There is a lot of variation as well, with some wooly huskies have much thicker fur than others.
How Are Wooly Huskies Bred?
To understand the breeding behind wooly huskies we need to take a look at genetics.
Wooly huskies carry a recessive gene called the long coat gene that is responsible for their wooly coat. Since the gene is recessive there are combinations of parents that can be bred together for specific litters containing wooly huskies:
- Two woollies bred together will produce a litter of woollies.
- Two huskies carrying the recessive gene bred together will be a mixture of standard huskies that carry the gene as well as woollies.
- A wooly bred with a husky carrying the gene will result in a 50% wooly litter and 50% huskies that carry the gene.
I highly recommend checking out this resource for more wooly litter combinations.
Is The Wooly Coat Practical?
You may think that breeders in places like Alaska would try to make their huskies as wooly as possible to help them cope with the harsh climate, but this is not the case.
A wooly coat is actually not very practical in these environments because it can become matted more easily and takes longer to dry out. Both of these issues can lead to frozen fur which can cause frostbite, so owners prefer to keep their huskie’s coats shorter where possible.
Are Wooly Huskies Healthy?
Breeding for longer fur has not had any health impacts on the breed, so wooly huskies are just as healthy as regular huskies with an average lifespan of 12 to 15 years.
Are Wooly Huskies More Work?
Wooly huskies require even more grooming than regular huskies due to their longer and thicker coat. Once or twice per day should be sufficient, with ‘complete grooming sessions weekly following the steps below:
- Start with a slicker brush to comb through the undercoat. This will remove loose hairs and stops mats and tangles from forming.
- Use a dematter comb to work any remaining mats or tangles out of the fur.
- Follow up with an undercoat rake to target hairs that are about to be shed in the undercoat.
- Do a quick once-over with a simply grooming comb.
- Finish off with a rounded pin brush to comb everywhere, leaving the fur laying flat and in the direction of natural growth.
Aside from grooming, wooly huskies are also more susceptible to getting dirt or debris stuck in their fur which they may find difficult to clean themselves. This means you might have to bathe a wooly husky more often.
How Much Do Wooly Huskies Cost?
Wooly huskies are becoming more popular these days, but it can still be very difficult to find a reputable breeder.
You can expect to pay around $1,000 to $3,000 for a wooly husky, but it depends on where you purchase them from. If you decide to go down this route you need to visit the breeders to check that they are legitimate.
How To Check Your Husky Is Actually Wooly
If you are going to purchase a wooly husky from a breeder you need to see the parents. When huskies are puppies it can be very difficult to tell if they are wooly or not, so you’ll need to examine the parents to make sure.
If one or both of the parents are wooly then this is a good indication that the breeder is legitimate.
If both parents are not wooly then they will both be required to carry the recessive gene in order for some of the litter to be wooly. In this case you will need to be provided with a family tree and perhaps photos for reference to be certain.
What Is The Difference Between A Wooly Husky And An Alaskan Malamute?
Wooly huskies can sometimes be confused for Alaskan malamutes as their long fur can give an illusion that they are larger than they really are. There are a lot of differences between the two, however.
Here are a few of the most important differences between Alaskan Malamute and wooly huskies:
- Alaskan malamutes are much heavier and weigh 75-85lbs on average according to ack standards but can be over 100bs easily, whereas wooly huskies weigh 35-60lbs on average.
- Alaskan malamutes cannot have blue eyes (when purebred), whereas wooly huskies can have blue eyes as well as other combinations.
- Alaskan malamutes have a different facial structure with a bully nuzzle.
There are, of course, lots of other differences such as different temperaments but these are harder to notice if you aren’t familiar with the breed.
What About Huskies Bred With Alaskan Malamutes (Huskamutes/Alusky)?
Huskies are often bred with Alaskan malamutes to create a crossbreed known as the Huskamute or Alusky. Huskamutes/Aluskies are not yet recognised by the ALC, but they are a popular crossbreed given the origins and similarities between the two breeds.
Huskamutes/Aluskies can often be mistaken for wooly huskies as they often adopt the longer coat of the Alaskan Malamute, but there are some key differences between the two that make it easy to tell them apart:
- Size: Huskamutes/Aluskies are much larger than wooly huskies as they take on some of the size of the Alaskan malamute. Huskamutes/Aluskies weigh an average of 50-100lbs depending on gender and genetics whereas wooly huskies weigh 35-60lbs (the same as regular huskies).
- Appearance: Huskamutes/Aluskies look very similar to wooly huskies but oftentimes take on some of the characteristic features of the Alaskan malamute, such as a bulkier nuzzle that is the same width from the face to the tip of the nose. It can be tricky to tell them apart if you don’t have experience with the breed, but the image below shows a Huskamute/Alusky for reference so you can get an idea.
Summing It Up
The wooly husky is simply a variation of the regular husky that has a certain gene.
Breeders can breed specifically for this gene to produce more wooly huskies, but aside from their coat length they are identical to regular huskies in every other aspect, including temperament and general behavior.
Wooly huskies are often confused for Aluskies/Huskamutes or simply Alaskan Malamutes due to their long fur, so you need to be careful if you decide to buy one and choose a reputable breeder.