There is only one breed of Siberian Husky, but there are several coat types that are acceptable by the American Kennel Club and Siberian Husky Breed clubs. As a result of this acceptable coat variety, Siberian Huskies are commonly mistaken as either a different breed of dog, or a relative of similar-looking breeds. There are also faults in the breed that are considered undesirable as well.
The first coat-related breed misconception is made with the black and white coat color of the Siberian Husky, which is mistaken for the Alaskan Malamute or Alaskan Husky. The Alaskan Malamute is a pure breed of dog with similar conformation and coat color but larger in height and weight. The Alaskan Husky is not a breed, but rather a type of dog defined by the purpose or job of mushing.
Other Breed/Coat Misconceptions
Light red, black and tan, and sable coat colors can be mistaken for German shepherd breeds or hybrids because of the similarities in coat color and markings as well as conformation. However, Siberian Huskies have a distinct, solid color pattern over the ears and eyes that differs from the black and brown mixed fur patten of the German shepherd. White Siberian Huskies can also be mistaken for albino German shepherd, not only because of the coat color, but also the tall, lean build and erect ears that are characteristic to both breeds.
Silvers and Grays
Silver and gray Siberian Huskies may be mistaken for wolf hybrids or other winter coated and northern breeds, such as the Keeshond or Norwegian Elkhound and those similar in coat texture, color and conformation. While this distinction can be difficult to make, a blood test or formal documentation can quickly determine the difference. Another similar trait in the winter coated breeds is the curled tail, which is also present in the Siberian Husky breed.
Faults of the Breed
An obvious break in the bloodline, such as creating hybrid Siberian Husky pups that are part of some other breed, is considered a fault. Unlike the Alaskan Husky, the Siberian Husky is a pure and recognized breed. Other faults are the recessive trait for an overly long or "woolly"coat, which can be unknowingly bred back into the breed by inexperienced breeders. The Siberian Husky's coat is integral to its survival and performance of the task it was bred for, working in cold weather conditions. Long coats collect ice and snow, which can prevent movement and interfere with the body's ability to maintain healthy internal temperature in below-freezing weather. A woolly coat is disqualified because it does not promote the ideal coat texture that is most desirable in the breed.