The Siberian Husky

Depending on your point of view, Siberian Huskies are:

IDEAL because they: NOT IDEAL because they:
Have low-maintenance grooming needs... Shed an unbelievable amount of fur
Are non-aggressive, friendly with strangers... Are not good guard dogs.
Are very affectionate... Need lots of attention/company.
Don't usually bark much... Sometimes "talk" or howl a lot.
Are good if you like a challenge... Can be difficult to obedience train.
Are active and athletic... Need daily exercise and love to dig.
Are medium-sized, can stay indoors... Can become "escape artists" outside.
Get along well with other dogs... Are not good with cats or livestock.
Love playing with children... Can be too much for young kids.
Like to go for walks - love to go for runs... Must ALWAYS be on a leash.
Are generally a very healthy, hardy breed... Can have epilepsy, cataracts.
Are very intelligent... Can be very destructive when bored.

So If You Want...
A demanding, shedding, digging, chewing, howling, hyperactive, fence-jumping, obedience-command-ignoring, crazy-about-running (away from you or while dragging you!), bouncing-off-the-walls-energetic dog,

That Is Also...
A smart, affectionate, comical, friendly, playful, fun-loving, good-natured, beautiful, graceful creature, with the greatest enthusiasm and love of life you may ever see...

You Want a Siberian Husky!

Note: The above describes the typical Siberian Husky, especially the young ones. Yes there can be exceptions, but don't count on it!

By Lisa Ignacz
Southern California Siberian Husky Rescue
(reprinted with permission)



Funny Things about the Siberian Husky

GUARD DOGS - they are not! Oh, they will guard their rawhide chew, food dish, a stick they found, a tree with a squirrel in it, the hole they dug in your garden, and maybe small children. But when it comes to guarding the house, don't get your hopes up. He will greet just about any stranger like a long-lost friend. He will show him where everything is while trying to find a ball for him to throw or the location of the dog food. The only things that might deter a burglar are his wolf-like appearance, his over-enthusiastic greeting, and, of course, his nose in the burglar's crotch.

ALLERGIC TO DOG HAIR? The Siberian Husky has not one, but two coats: The outer layer of guard hairs and a downy undercoat. They generally shed twice a year, in the spring and fall. If your husky is a housedog, you can expect to have hair in your food, on your clothes and furniture and floating in the air you breathe. Encourage your friends not to wear dark clothing or sit in his favorite chair. When he begins to shed, it will take heavy grooming for about two weeks to get the coat under control. Shedding is less of a problem if you groom your husky about twice a week, year round. On the good side, you can always have the hair spun into yarn (there will be enough for a sizeable wardrobe). Also, at the peak of his blowing coat he will have the look of a starved wolf or coyote, which might discourage intruders (see above).

BORN TO RUN! This is a serious problem with huskies; they love to run. No matter how much he may love you, he will play the "chase me" game until he is tired of it (and you will be tired long before that). They should always be on a lead unless they are in the house or in a fenced yard. If your husky should get loose, he will come back sooner if you don't chase him. Tag along to keep him out of trouble, but act like you don't really want to catch him. If he likes to go places in the car, follow him in the car and open the door; chances are he will get in. Although he may not come to you, he will probably approach a stranger. Try to get the stranger to hold the dog so you can retrieve him. Huskies seem to have no understanding of traffic hazards, so if all else fails, try to get him away from busy streets.

HERDING DOGS Yes, they love to herd things. Like their puppies, other dogs, children, chickens, ducks and even larger animals. It is not unusual for huskies to kill (and eat) small creatures like chickens and ducks. In a pack, they may even kill larger animals, although this is rare. It is especially important that they be kept away from livestock since ranchers will rightfully kill dogs found in their herds. Huskies who are strangers to cats will often chase them and are likely to injure or kill them. The reason they get put on the vicious list is because they can catch a cat. By the way, they are good mousers so you may not need a cat.

TRAINING… THE SOONER THE BETTER! The average husky will come on command, but only if he is in the mood and/or you have a treat for him. Basic obedience training (sit, stay, down, heel, etc.) is very worthwhile. It will make you a little more confident, and the husky will learn that you are the master. Some Siberians are excellent obedience dogs; others do not respond well at all. Start training early, treat him well, and use rewards rather than punishment to train him. They are very trusting, loving dogs.

INTELLIGENCE… YES! If you observe your husky closely, you will have no doubt that he has considerable reasoning power, and you may even wonder if he can read your mind. At an early age, your husky will understand about one hundred to a thousand words and will read "body language" far better than any human. Due to their independent spirit, they will often play dumb, but you can be sure he understands at least such basics as: stay, out, no, bad, good, outside, house, cookie (dog biscuit), chow, and the names of favorite toys. They are most forgetful in the obedience or conformation ring at shows, but they can remember a person they have not seen for years (plastic surgery won't fool them; they know you by scent), or an event that happened only once in the past.

They will formulate plans to catch squirrels or birds. A favorite husky game is one we call "Caribou" in which one dog will play the part of the hunted animal and the others will chase and bring him down. The game is strikingly similar to watching a wolf pack hunting in the wild. They are expert landscapers (although their idea of landscaping may not conform to yours), demolition experts, jumpers, and hunters. Descended from arctic dogs, they are able to supplement their diet with a number of things like grass, bugs, snakes, mice, and snails. (Avoid using snail bait in your yard.)

BACK YARD DOG… NEVER! If you work long hours, if there are no children or other animals for the dog to play with, if no one is home much, then a Siberian is not for you. The breed needs company. They have lots of energy and will soon get into trouble if no attention is paid to them. When gone a lot, keep confined for the dogs, yours, and your neighbor's protection.

But most of all, they are an exciting and delightful breed to own... if your nerves will let you. And by all means, you must have a sense of humor to own a Siberian Husky!

By Marilyn Lassagne
Siberian Husky Rescue/Referral of California
(reprinted with permission)


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