It has almost been a year since I fostered and adopted my Siberian Husky, Maya. She is the first husky I have ever owned and to be honest I wasn’t sure what to expect. When Maya first came to me, she had a broken leg that needed to be in a splint for a few weeks, with bandage changes every 4 days. I quickly realized that despite her injury she would still be quite the handful. Her energy was unlike any dog I had ever owned. She was constantly trying to bolt down the street, even with her splint on! Huskies love a challenge, their ancestors were bred to work in harsh and cold environments regularly pulling sleds in very difficult weather conditions. That being said, this may not be the best breed for a first time dog owner, or someone who is timid around dogs. Huskies are a very intelligent, strong, and tend to be a bit stubborn (if they’re anything like my Maya!). Owners need to be confident and set consistent rules for your Husky to follow.
Their beauty is normally what causes most people to purchase them, often being compared to the wolf. However, most people don’t realize how difficult the husky can be to train. Unfortunately this can lead to a lot of huskies becoming lost due to their love for running, or in shelters. So don’t let those beautiful looks fool you, if this breed interests you make sure to do your research before purchasing!
Huskies are medium-sized dogs, males weighing around 45-60 pounds and females between 35-50 pounds. If you aren’t a fan of fur or shedding I wouldn’t recommend a husky, they shed…a lot. Huskies have a double coat of fur. Underneath is a softer layer of fur acting as insulation. This coat is protected by a harsher water-proof outer coat. Typically huskies will shed their entire under-coat once or twice a year. This furry process can last up to 6 weeks from start to finish. When Maya sheds I usually find white clumps of fur all over the place. I regularly brush her taking the dead fur away allowing the new fur to grow in. As long as you keep on top of brushing your husky and get them used to being frequently groomed, keeping the shedding under control is much easier to do.
Huskies are a very energetic and vocal breed that will require lots of exercise. Maya is walked 3-5 times a day and also gets regular access to the backyard. Days when she does not get out as much she tends to be more restless and talkative than usual. Making strange sounds that could almost pass as some human words is something huskies are notorious for. This can be quite entertaining, but remember not to let your husky get to rambunctious. When I have to leave Maya at home she has to be crated, if she isn’t, she will chew everything and anything. I have come home to torn apart recycling, newspapers, her bed and even my bed. They all have unfortunately suffered the wrath of her husky boredom. When crating, I find it helpful to just leave the crate up all the time. I want her to know it is a safe place for her to be in and not a punishment. Just remember if your husky is anything like mine, putting things like toys or blankets in the crate with them is a bad idea, they will more than likely be torn apart by the time you get home.
I wouldn’t trade Maya for the world. As challenging as it has been to train her, she is by far the most rewarding dog I have ever owned. Seeing her improvement from when I first got her to now is amazing. Puppy classes can be hard for a husky, they were for Maya. She was constantly distracted by other treats, dogs, people, toys, pretty much everything. Patience is definitely the key to success with a husky. It is useful to switch their training treats every class, this will help keep your puppy interested in you, rather than other distractions. Because, let’s face it, having the same treats every class can get boring for a husky! By the end of her classes I had the instructors and other classmates telling me how amazing Maya had done throughout her classes and how she was a completely different dog from start to finish. The feeling was indescribable.
If you’re up to the task of owning a Siberian Husky, I encourage you to do lots of research. As challenging as they can be, if trained properly, this breed can make an amazing companion for you and your family. You will never be bored when you own a husky and you can always count on them to put a smile on your face!