Siberian Husky's Habitat

By Nancy Lovering

Officially recognized by the American Kennel Club in 1930, the Siberian husky is friendly and loyal. This high energy breed originated in northeastern Asia and is native to Siberia. In spite of the fact that they are prolific diggers, restless wanderers and masterful escape artists, the extra vigilance required to maintain this beloved breed is a small price to pay to Siberian husky enthusiasts.

Progenerated in snowy Siberia, the Siberian husky is no shrinking violet in the face of cold and can withstand wind and subzero temperatures. The dense, double coat of the Siberian husky -- the undercoat of which is shed twice per year -- provides protection from the cold, as well as sun exposure. Because this breed has little skin pigmentation, shaving its coat is not recommended as this leaves your dog vulnerable to sun damage including skin cancer. Instead of removing the signature coat, care should be taken to ensure that your husky isn't exposed to an unsuitably warm climate. This breed needs access to ample shade and water, as well as indoor refuge away from the heat of the sun.

Descendants of the huskies who called Siberia their home still present with the cold climate characteristics that natural selection has provided for them. To reduce exposure to cold air, their eyes are almond shaped and less protruding than in other breeds. Larger ears are at risk for freezing, so the ears of a Siberian husky are medium in size and fully lined with fur, as is the rest of the dog's body. Reflecting back on the breed's heritage as a means of transportation in snowy climates, Siberian huskies have webbed feet covered in thick fur that act as snowshoes. Their muzzles are not too short, to allow for adequate space to warm inhaled air.

Siberian huskies are friendly and usually mix well with other dogs, making them a good choice for a multidog household. In fact, having another dog to romp with provides the husky with much needed exercise and relief from boredom. They are not overly territorial and make poor guard dogs, although they love to raise their heads and howl to communicate or in response to sirens and other similar sounds. The high prey drive of the husky prevents them from cohabiting well with cats and rodents.

In addition to extra grooming, proper fencing and a climate that is not too hot, the Siberian husky also needs exercise. An abundance of energy, agility, athleticism and a strong pull drive make this breed well-suited for active and outdoors-oriented owners. Daily walks will keep your pet happy if you don't have a large yard. To burn off energy while satisfying his inherent need to dig, consider providing your husky with his own sandpit. Offer your dog toys and change them frequently to counteract boredom. During the warmer seasons exercise your husky early in the morning or late at night to prevent overheating. Excessive howling is one of the behaviors that can increase in a husky who is bored and understimulated, so make exercise and play a part of your husky's routine.