ABOUT THE SIBERIAN HUSKY BREED

General Description

 

The Siberian Husky is of medium size and medium bone, light on his feet and graceful in action. Although the Siberian is the only breed to actually bear the word "Husky" in its name, this does not fit his true description.  The word "Husky" comes from "Esky", short for Eskimo.   Dogs (male) range from 21" to 23-1/2" at the shoulders, and bitches (female) from 20" to 22".

 

The Siberian is one of a very few breeds of dog in fact, where a dog or bitch who measures taller than recommended height must be disqualified from competition in the Conformation Ring.   A moderately compact and well-furred body, erect ears, and brush tail suggest their Northern, or Arctic heritage.   A wide variety of coat colors and markings are seen in the breed,   The eye colors are also varied, being brown, or blue, or bi-eyed (one eye of each color), or even parti-colored, meaning both blue & brown in the same eye.

 

All colors of coat and/or eyes are acceptable, and the buyer of a Siberian Husky should never be asked to pay more for a dog because of his color, markings, or eye color.   There are far more important things to consider when purchasing any dog!   Please read on.

Is the Siberian Husky for you?

 

The characteristic temperament of the Siberian Husky is friendly, alert, and outgoing.   He does not display guard dog qualities nor is he overly suspicious of strangers. Excessive nervous barking is not common in the breed, although they may vocalize in other ways, sometimes "talking" in a low rumble, which may be mistaken for a growl.

 

 

 

 

There are a number of very basic Siberian Husky characteristics which make them unsuitable for some

 

 Their warm, soft, double coat sheds heavily at least once a year, and you will find dog hair everywhere.

 

 Due to their friendly, gentle nature, they do not make good watch dogs

 

 MOST IMPORTANTLY, the Siberian must NEVER, EVER be allowed to run loose… not in the park, not in the Boundary Waters, not even on your 1,000 acre farm!   This is not a dog with herding or retrieving instincts. He is bred to RUN.   This is a breed that will not stay at home, even if they are well obedience trained and you are outside with them. If in their wanderings they get out on the highway, they will very likely be hit by a car as they do not have a good sense of danger from traffic.

 

 While extremely gentle with people, they retain excellent hunting skills.   They may visit your neighbors and break into their rabbit hutch or kill some prize chickens.   Farmers usually have loaded shotguns and will not hesitate to shoot anything that they see as a threat to their livestock. The Siberian's quickness and agility will usually enable him to catch and kill cats, so in a suburban community, he is also a detriment to friendly relations with your neighbors, if allowed to run loose.

 

Far too many Siberians (as well as all other breeds) end up in animal shelters because people do not take the necessary measures to keep them confined to their own property.   Confinement in your house, fenced yard, or kennel, is a MUST.   Least favorable of all is a dog who is left out for long periods of time on a chain.   No dog is happy under these conditions, and he is not safe from stray dogs or people who may wander into his area and cause harm to him.   Make his quarters escape-proof so he cannot dig or jump out.

 

 Digging, by the way, is a natural behavior for the Siberian, and can become a real problem with some, especially when left alone on a chain for a long periods of time.   They are very capable of digging out of a fenced yard or a kennel with a dirt floor.   If your lawn is precious to you, perhaps you should consider another breed, but also remember that a great deal can be accomplished with training when the dog is young.

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Siberian Husky can be an escape artist, so this may challenge your wits and imagination trying to keep him at home. It can be done.   Take your Siberian for a walk on his leash.   Proper exercise puts the dogs and you in good physical condition, and ensures that the dog won't be tied up and forgotten.

 

Obedience training classes will be helpful and enjoyable for you and for the dog.   He will learn quickly.   Some people find Siberians take a bit more patience when Obedience training because they are quite intelligent and somewhat more independent than other breeds.

 

They are a versatile breed that does well as a working sled dog, a show, obedience, or agility dog , and as a loving companion.

They will sometimes howl at sirens, or perhaps in loneliness if left alone. It is good to remember that Siberians, like their cousins the wolves, are typically pack animals who do not prefer to be alone.

 

There is no doubt that the Siberian is a stunning animal, extremely affectionate and very people-oriented.   He also enjoys the company of other dogs.   He is by nature almost fastidiously clean and entirely free from body odors.   Remarkable for his adaptability to all kinds of living conditions, he makes an enjoyable pet and companion in either country or city.

 

He is considered to be an "easy keeper", requiring less food for maintenance then most breeds of comparable size.   He has keen, Intelligent eyes with a rakish devil-may-care expression.   He is the dog with the "smile" on his face.   His intelligence and mischievous behavior can be a bit trying at times, however, for the unprepared owner.

Some important things to think about before buying a Siberian Husky

 

No breed is entirely free of health problems, and although the Siberian is a very healthy breed, there are two areas which a reputable breeder will pay particular attention to.

 

The first is hereditary eye disease, i.e. Cataracts, Progressive Retinal Atrophy, and Corneal Dystrophy are major concerns of any ethical Siberian breeder.   These disorders may cause loss of vision or blindness.   Animals used for breeding should have their eyes re-examined annually.

The second concern is Hip Dysplasia, a hereditary problem which causes malformation of the hip joint which can lead to painful crippling.

 

The concerned, ethical breeder will have all breeding animals checked and breed only when known to be free of genetic disorders.   The ethical breeder will verify in the following manner:

 

  •  Provide certificates signed by a registered Veterinary Ophthalmologist showing both sire and dam to be free of hereditary eye disease
  •  or, a current annual certificate from SHOR (Siberian Husky Ophthalmic Registry).

 

  • Also, the breeder should have certificates for both sire and dam from the OFA (Orthopedic Foundation for Animals) showing that they have Fair, Good, or Excellent hips.   They must be Two Years of Age before being

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rayed to be certified by the OFA.   Therefore, Siberians should not be used for breeding before they are two years old, and ethical Siberian breeders will have the current certificates readily at hand to show you.   (The breeder may not own the sire of the litter, but should have appropriate copies of these important certificates for him.)

 

Another area of importance which cannot be overlooked is the overall health and temperament of the breeding pair. Remember that the Siberian Husky's nature is alert, friendly, and outgoing.   An aggressive, ill-tempered Siberian is not to be tolerated, nor is a dog who is excessively shy.

The members of the Siberian husky club of the twin cities would like to help you find the "right dog" for you . . . and maybe that's not a Siberian Husky!

 

Please do not let the delightful experience of acquiring a new dog turn into a nightmare. you will not find a good quality dog of any breed in a pet shop.   All dog breed clubs have a code of ethics which requires that they do not sell dogs to wholesalers or to pet shops.   Buy from an ethical private breeder. they will tell you all of the pros and cons of the breed that you are considering and will help you decide if that breed is right for you.   Feel free to email the club liaison who will be pleased to answer your questions. Good luck!