Plowing through frigid conditions with a spring in their step, huskies can be found in a grueling sled race or in a backyard family snow fight. Huskies vary from the one recognized pure breed to a mixed-breed working snow dog. And some breeds built to haul a sled can easily be confused with huskies.
One type of husky is recognized by the American Kennel Club: the Siberian husky. This pup, who can range from snow white to jet black, is considered high energy, outgoing and loyal to its owner. Males weigh in at up to 60 pounds while females are about 10 pounds lighter. The eyes are blue or brown, and the thick coat that wards off the chill in its ancestral environment should be brushed weekly.
This high-endurance working breed eagerly interacts with his human companion, and isn't much of a guard dog as strangers or other dogs don't usually set off the Siberian husky's alarm bells.
Siberian huskies aren't just good candidates for mushing, but their excellent temperament makes them a good choice for a family household.
An Alaskan husky isn't judged by his conformation on a show table but by how well he pulls his weight. This is the standard sled dog, a tough mixed breed that weathers the trails and harsh weather conditions in sled and sprint races. It's bred by purpose rather than looks. For example, a Siberian husky and a German pointer could be bred to produce a swift, sturdy dog for sled racing.
So while the Alaskan husky isn't a recognized breed, he is carefully bred to be a sharp, energetic working dog. The personality characteristics, as well as colors and patterns, will draw from this husky's ancestral breeds, but they're generally affectionate and adventurous.
You can tell an Alaskan from a Siberian by the thinner coat, slimmer appearance, lower tolerance to cold and big appetite to keep his engine running.
As the husky gets diluted even more with the crossing of an Alaskan husky and an English or German shorthaired pointer, the fluffy coat vanishes and the speed picks up. The Eurohound isn't a hound and isn't what springs to many people's minds when they think of a sledding dog. But these powerful pups mush alongside their furrier husky relatives and are prized for their quick-footed navigation of the snow on the racing circuit.
Dogs Resembling Huskies
Many polar dogs have the traits of huskies, with a long history of living and working among indigenous communities in frigid climates.
The rare Canadian Inuit dog and Eskimo dogs were among the native breeds considered members of the family as well as hunters and sled laborers.
The Alaskan Malamute may resemble a Siberian husky but is bigger, sturdier and built for heavy loads.
The Greenland dog is a viking of the canine world, a powerful, large pup resembling a husky and making a better sledder and hunter than a pet because of their dominance and stubbornness coupled with sheer strength.
Russian Laika dogs have the thick coats and curled tails along with a husky's cold tolerance, and are natural hunters who are strong enough to pull sleds as well.
The Akita from Japan, another sturdy working dog with a double coat and high need for activity tends to be even larger than the Siberian husky. The Norwegian buhund started out as a farm and herding dog and the Norwegian elkhound was trained as a hunting dog. Both breeds have thick double coats and a tail that curves over their backs. Both breeds share the Siberian's friendly nature and high need for exercise.
The Kushga dog, also called the Amerindian malamute, has the husky build and thick coat, but the tail generally droops instead of curving over the back. These were American freight-pulling dogs and can weigh up to 106 pounds. They aren't as friendly and sociable as Siberian huskies.
Between the size of the Siberian husky and the Kushga dog, the Tamaskan dog was bred to look feral and have working dog traits. They're extremely friendly.