The American Kennel Club describes the Siberian husky as "loyal, mischievous and outgoing." Caring for this high energy but friendly canine is a bit more work than the average dog. Expect to give your Siberian husky plenty of exercise, but never let him off the leash. Remember, these working sled dogs were born to run. While he's fine with other dogs, the husky has strong prey instincts, so living with smaller animals -- including felines -- probably isn't a good idea. While a husky is an excellent family dog, he's no watchdog. Friends, strangers, he welcomes one and all.
A backyard fence adequate enough to keep most dogs within might not be sufficient for a Siberian husky. These dogs are canine Houdinis. You must ensure that the lower end of the fence is sunk and fastened well into the ground so your pet can't dig his way out. The fence must stand high enough so your athletic Siberian husky can't jump or climb it. Figure on at least a 6-foot fence to keep your husky contained.
Feed your Siberian husky a healthy diet and avoid treats. Too much food and too little exercise can lead to obesity.
Grooming Your Husky
While your husky sports a lot of hair, he's not a terrible shedder. Of course, that doesn't include the semi-annual ritual known as "blowing the coat," when husky hair will overtake your home. Most of the time, brushing him a couple of times a week suffices to get rid of old hair. During shedding season, you may need to use a coat rake to keep up with the hair loss and brush him once or twice daily. Siberian huskies rarely need bathing as they are among the cleanest of canines, and don't have a doggy odor.
- Resist the urge to shave your husky in hot weather.
- He's a northern breed, so hot weather is tough for him, but his coat protects him from the sun.
- The best alternative is keeping him in an air-conditioned home during hot and humid spells.
- If you live in a really hot climate, think twice about bringing a husky home.
Siberian huskies aren't the easiest dogs to train, so they aren't a good choice for those who have never before had a dog. If you do have dog experience, patience and persistence will get you through the husky training experience. Huskies are smart, but they require an owner who can assume an alpha role, so the dog knows that you are the leader in your household pack, not him. Socializing your dog as much as possible and taking him to obedience classes starting in puppyhood makes training easier.
Siberian huskies are a relatively healthy breed, but do suffer from some genetic issues. These primarily concern eye and orthopedic problems, although epilepsy also occurs in the huskies. Eye issues include:
- Progressive retinal atrophy, which renders the dog blind.
- Corneal dystrophy, which generally affects both eyes.