The Siberian Husky is one of the oldest dog breeds, serving people with faith and truth for many centuries.
The Siberian Husky is an amazing sled dog bred in the Far North. It is unlikely that you will find any other breed whose representatives would have shared so many hardships and difficulties with a person, and the history of saving the city of Nome from the diphtheria epidemic will forever remain in the grateful human memory. Husky is the living embodiment of a canine mind, quick wits, devotion, and love for humans.
The Siberian Husky is a dog that has lived next to humans for many centuries. It was bred by the indigenous people of the Russian Far North. The Chukchi desperately needed a dog that could travel long distances and transport people and goods from seasonal hunting grounds to camps. The harsh climatic conditions had a decisive influence on both the formation of the structure of the animal and its character.
The spread of the breed outside its centuries-old habitat began actively in the 20th century. Husky’s endurance, ability to work well in harness for a long time, and good speed were highly appreciated on the American continent. Alaskan mushers increasingly began to acquire these dogs for participation in dog sled races. The greatest fame was gained by the team of Leonard Seppala, led by the legendary Togo, which did not give up the palm for several years in a row. But this musher with his dogs entered the history of mankind primarily because it was his Togo, leading a team, overcame a huge part of the path of the famous dog relay race of 1925, delivering anti-diphtheria serum to Nome. A small town in Alaska, cut off from the world by many miles of snowy desert, is caught in an epidemic of a deadly disease. It was not possible to get to it quickly and safely using the usual means: adverse weather and natural conditions were not suitable for air or land transportation. And then people turned to the faithful huskies for help. The team relay passed more than a thousand kilometers in a record five days, and the city’s population was saved. The best dogs, led by Togo, covered 146 kilometers – the maximum distance. Eighty kilometers of the dogs walked on the ice of Norton Bay in forty-degree frost in a blizzard. Such a feat became possible only thanks to the flair, courage, and endurance of the leader of the pack.
The last team in this relay were the dogs of Gunnar Kaasen, led by Balto, who got all the glory. In memory of these events, grateful people have erected a monument to this dog in New York. Statues of Togo and Balto greet guests at the entrance to the Cleveland MetroparksZoo, and a visit to the museum of the small Alaskan town of Vanilla, you can see the embalmed body of Togo. In memory of that incredible relay race, Alaska hosts an annual multi-day sled dog race.
In the United States, for a long time, special attention was paid to just the sports component. Crossbreeding of Siberian huskies with aboriginal sled dogs of Alaska led to the emergence of mestizo breeds, which became much more successful than huskies in racing competitions, although they did not receive recognition from international organizations – mestizos turned out to be very diverse.
A new direction in the history of the breed – exhibition – began from the moment when E. Seeley and L. Demidoff first presented to the judges a bright black and white dog with blue eyes. It was from the 70s of the last century that huskies increasingly appeared as a domestic companion dog, quite suitable even for keeping in an apartment.
The return of the breed to its historical homeland, to Russia, took place in the 90s. The first dogs were brought from Belgium and the Czech Republic in 1995, and after five years the number of purebred puppies reached one and a half-hundred.
Today huskies are divided into three groups – sledding, sports (racing), and exhibition.
The official breed standard describes the sled dog. To a greater extent, British huskies fall under these criteria.
The Siberian Husky is a medium-sized animal. The height of the dog at the withers is from 54 to 60 cm, the bitch is from 51 to 56 cm. The weight of the dogs is, respectively, 21-28 kg and 16-23 kg. Excessive growth is grounds for disqualification. The husky’s weight is proportional to the height, the body length when viewed from the side is slightly more than the height at the withers (stretch index 110-120).
The skull is small, rounded at the back of the head, and tapering evenly towards the eyes. The bridge of the nose is straight, the stop is pronounced. The muzzle is of medium length, with almost the same distance from nose to stop and from it to occiput. It tapers evenly towards the nose, which should be neither sharp nor square.
The husky is characterized by a lively and interested, even with a certain amount of mischief, expression of the muzzle.
The disadvantages include:
- sharply outlined, as well as the massive head;
- The presence of a fuzzy transition from the muzzle to the forehead;
- black nose for gray, red, and black huskies, as well as brown for brown dogs;
- muzzle too narrow or too wide.
Eyes set slightly obliquely at an average distance from each other, almond-shaped. The color of the iris is brown or blue, mosaic-colored or heterochromatic options are allowed.
Disadvantages – close and too oblique eyes.
Husky ears are located high on the head at a short distance from each other. Stand firmly, slightly rounded tips pointing straight up. The ears are of medium size, triangular in shape.
Disadvantages – ears that are too large (about the size of the head), the tips are directed not upwards, but to the sides.
A scissor bite is required, any deviation is a disadvantage.
The neck is of medium length, raised in a standing animal. When moving, it tilts so that the husky’s head is slightly in front.
Disadvantages – neck that is too thick or too long or short.
The chest is strong and deep (the husky has a rather large heart), the ribs are widely spaced. The back is strong, with a straight line from the shoulder blades to the croup. The lumbar spine is firm and tucked.
Disadvantages – too wide chest with barrel-shaped ribs, sagging back, sloping topline from the shoulder blades to the croup.
In a calm state, the husky’s tail is slightly lowered down and is located slightly below the backline. When the dog is interested or excited, it bends upward in a sickle shape, but curls up into a ring do not throw on its back, and do not fold to the side. The coat has approximately the same length, which is why the husky’s tail is so reminiscent of a round fox.
Disadvantages – too low or, conversely, too high set, tightly curled tail.
The anterior ones are straight and parallel, moderately spaced. The elbows are pressed to the body, turning neither in nor out. The bone is not heavy, but strong.
Hind legs – parallel, moderately spaced. The knee joints are flexible, hock, angulated, and close to the ground.
The vestigial toes on both the fore and hind legs should be removed.
Disadvantages – cow-hooded hind legs, elbows turned outward, heavy large bone.
Husky’s paws are medium in size, oval, but not elongated. Well pubescent between the toes. Pads are thick-skinned. The paws of the dog in a calm state do not turn out to the sides.
Disadvantages – clumsy or, conversely, too small paws, flat toes.
Husky’s coat is of medium length, which, creating the effect of good pubescence, does not interfere with seeing the lines of the body. The undercoat is soft and dense. The coat hairs are straight and smooth, but by no means coarse and erect.
Disadvantages – shaggy harsh coat, which requires special shampoos.
Color – from pure white to black. There are white mask-like markings on the head, which are characteristic only of the husky.
Friendliness, the liveliness of mind and calm disposition – these are the main properties of the Siberian husky. But, speaking about these wonderful dogs, I would not like to limit myself to such a shortlist.
The ancestors of modern animals, who devotedly served man for many centuries in the harsh conditions of the Far North, passed on to their descendants all that variety of distinctive character traits and behavior that so attract connoisseurs of this breed today.
Huskies, like true sled dogs, are very active and need good constant physical activity.
Representatives of this breed are not suitable for hunting enthusiasts, despite the presence of a rather strong instinct. For the Siberian Husky, such a trade is one of the ways of food, and it will not share the prey (the dogs were fed only in winter, the rest of the time the team was on the grazing forage).
These northern dogs are gregarious animals, which has led to almost complete leveling of the instinct to protect their own territory, therefore, such pets are completely unsuitable for the role of a watchman. The absence of aggression towards humans, even towards a stranger, also does not allow these dogs to be classified as guard dogs. Attempts to embitter the dog can only lead to permanent disturbances in the psyche of the animal. Nature has endowed these amazing dogs with a well-developed intellect and the ability to make independent and often extraordinary decisions. Hence the difficulties that arise during training, when, under certain commands, a template algorithm of actions are required from the husky. The use of representatives of the breed as service animals is not practiced.
The Siberian Husky is a companion dog. She is perfect for a large family, she will tenderly and tenderly love all household members, although she recognizes only one leader and master. The attitude of these animals to children deserves special attention. It is difficult to find a more gentle, attentive, and affectionate friend for a child. Suffice it to recall that the Eskimos used huskies even to heat newly born babies.
One of the unusual traits for dogs is the tendency of animals to run away. A door latch or a snap hook will not be an obstacle – to understand how they work for a pet is a matter of several days. Digging a hole under the fence, and, if necessary, overcoming a high obstacle is also not a problem. No one claims that your dog will systematically engage in such tricks, but you should not forget about this feature of the husky.
In matters of upbringing and training the Siberian Husky, it is important to take into account that these dogs are by nature working, but not service dogs. Experts consider the breed to be good and easy to train animals. But they will obey only the recognized leader and owner – you must become an indisputable authority for the pet.
Raising a puppy should be based on two main principles – rigor and fairness. The carrot and stick policy is unacceptable. An excessively gentle attitude will spoil the baby and he will “sit on your head”, cruelty will embitter the animal, which, on occasion, will surely take revenge on you.
You can start teaching and training a dog from the age of three months. The Siberian Husky is very smart, and if you fail to interest him, then it will be difficult to achieve the result. And not because the animal does not understand you – no, he is simply not interested. The greatest effect is given by the training process, clothed in a playful form. These dogs are very sensitive to the very manner of giving commands, so correct intonation is very important. You must speak calmly, confidently, and clearly. Although at the same time, many owners of dogs of this breed note that huskies respond better to a request than to order. In any case, each owner is looking for their own way to the heart and mind of their pet.
The education of any dog is impossible without a system of rewards and punishments. Several Husky offenses should be addressed immediately:
- aggressive behavior towards the owner;
- unreasonable hostility towards other dogs;
- actions that can harm the animal itself.
The best method of punishment for the Siberian Husky is to demonstrate their strength and advantage. To do this, simply take the animal by the withers, press it to the floor, and hold it there until the dog stops resisting and calms down. Beating as a method of education is unacceptable.
It’s easier with rewards. Always praise your dog for any corrective action. If you are working with a puppy, you can reinforce the praise with a morsel of treats. The intonation should be different from the tone with which you give commands, but do not show excessive emotions – huskies cannot stand high squealing intonations.
How to start training a puppy?
1. Recognizing your own nickname. The methods are simple enough. Call his name when you call your pet to a bowl of food, after waking up the baby, gently stroke him, saying the nickname. The results will not belong in coming.
2. Husky as a pack dog needs a leader, so from the first hours of your stay at your house let her know who is in charge here. And be careful – even when communicating with members of your family, you must behave like an indisputable authority, and the puppy must see this. Husky is very smart and will immediately feel if you give “slack” in relations with other members of the pack, and the dog perceives all household members just like that.
3. Execution of the simplest commands: “Near!” and “Come to me!” is achieved traditionally – with a delicious treat and praise.
Many owners are concerned about the question of how to act in cases when the puppy reacts violently to the arrival of strangers into the house: it behaves annoyingly, gets underfoot, begs for food. The only answer is to ignore it. Do not iron, do not admire (the husky is just waiting for this), but simply do not notice. The method works flawlessly. The dog, realizing that he is not interesting to anyone, will very soon leave for the place.
Among the general recommendations for the upbringing and training of the Siberian Husky, the following can be distinguished:
- do not forbid your pet to communicate with other dogs;
- do not take the dog in your arms, especially holding it with your belly forward;
- do not tire the husky by executing the same command many times in a row;
- respect your friend and treat him fairly.
When purchasing a husky puppy, you should remember that these Siberians simply cannot stay within a limited space for a long time. Any attempt to make a “sofa” dog out of your pet is doomed to failure in advance. Movement, active games, good physical activity, long walks – these are the elements of these magnificent animals.
For the energy of a dog, especially one living in an apartment, to be directed in the right direction, breed experts recommend loading the Siberian Husky in full. Otherwise, the livability of your home can be seriously affected. As one of the solutions, the option of keeping the dog in a cage can be considered. Accustomed to this state of affairs from an early age, the husky will react calmly enough to this. Another thing is that for a loving owner the sight of a friend sitting behind bars will not arouse positive emotions at all, so the best way out is still seen to “load” the pet in such a volume that he simply did not have the strength for domestic pranks.
Content in a country house also has its own characteristics. Remember that huskies are dogs from harsh lands, and being outdoors is not a burden for them to suck. Many owners note that even in severe frosts, animals rest and sleep in the snow, and not in a booth – the spirit of the Arctic reminds of itself.
Be sure to equip your pet with a spacious aviary. Just do not use a chain link for this: in a matter of days the Siberian Husky will turn it into hanging rags. For fencing, take a wire that is at least half a millimeter thick. It is better to lay the floor with natural stone because these dogs are great specialists in digging and will not fail to demonstrate their talent in this matter. If you think that the aviary is superfluous, make sure that the fence of your site is a reliable obstacle on the way of the husky in his quest for research and long journeys.
The best thing is to take the time to do the much-needed walks for your dog.
What should be purchased before bringing a pet into the house? First of all, this is a couple of bowls for water and food, special “chewing” toys, a rug on which your friend will rest. A little later, you will need to buy such items of equipment as a collar, leash, and muzzle. A halter can also come in handy – with its help even a child will be able to control a Siberian husky.
Up to two months of age, the puppy is fed 6 times a day, up to 4 months – five, up to six months – four, then – three times a day. From ten months, it will be enough for a Siberian husky to eat twice, and an adult animal (over one and a half years old), depending on physical activity, eats once or twice a day.
Most experts agree that it is better to feed a four-legged friend dry food and special canned foods. It must be premium and super-premium products. Cheap food contains a lot of starch, which is not very useful for these northern dogs.
Until the animals reach 10 months of age, a “puppy” type of food will be enough for normal development; for adult huskies, balanced food for breeds with high physical activity should be used.
Breeders recommend, even when using the highest quality feed mixtures, to closely monitor the condition of the dog to make adjustments to the menu if necessary.
It is a little more difficult to organize a nutritious diet for your husky with natural products. Up to 60% of the diet should be meat (raw or slightly scalded). The best choices – beef, rabbit, and turkey – are possible, it is better not to mess with chicken because of the high risk of allergic reactions, pork and lamb should be completely excluded. Eggs, or rather egg yolk in boiled and raw form, can be added to porridge a couple of times a week, vegetables are also useful, except potatoes. It is better to give dairy products only in their acidic versions. Do not forget to add a little vegetable oil and fish oil to your feed.
No matter how varied you feed the Siberian Husky, you cannot do without vitamin preparations. Your veterinarian will tell you how to use them correctly.
Pet hygiene comes down mainly to grooming the coat, especially during molting, as well as controlling the condition of the teeth. To keep them white and smooth, clean the stone and plaque promptly. This can be done both at home and in the clinic.
But the Huskies do not feel the need for bathing. Their fur is capable of self-cleaning and does not feel like a “dog spirit” from this dog. It is precisely water procedures that provoke the appearance of an unpleasant odor, which can lead to a violation of the fat balance of the skin and wool.
Proper care and maintenance are the keys to your friend’s well-being and longevity.
As a true child of the high northern latitudes, the Siberian husky is distinguished by good health. However, this does not mean that the owner should not monitor the condition of his pet. When purchasing a puppy, study the pedigree of its parents and check if there were any diseases transmitted at the genetic level in its family. For dogs of this breed, most often it can be diabetes mellitus or problems with the thyroid gland, some eye diseases (glaucoma, corneal dystrophy, cataracts), hip dysplasia. Sometimes Siberian huskies suffer from epilepsy. It will not be possible to completely cure this disease, but competent care will reduce the number of attacks.
Timely and complete vaccination, careful monitoring of the condition of the dog will avoid the occurrence of most of the health problems.
It is recommended to periodically examine the ears, eyes, and teeth of the animal, to monitor the condition of its coat. Don’t ignore your husky’s gait. Lameness can be the result of both muscle damage and incipient problems with the musculoskeletal system.
Monitor your dog’s weight. Both obesity and wasting are equally harmful.
Timely deworming is very important for the Siberian Husky, especially given the tendency of dogs of this breed to eat feces (any attempts should be strictly suppressed).
Keeping in mind your northern origins, try to choose the coolest and most shady places during summer walks.
In case of any manifestations of indisposition, you should immediately contact your veterinarian.
With good care and proper maintenance, a husky can have a lifespan of more than 15 years.
How to choose a puppy?
The main rule is that you can only buy a baby in specialized nurseries or from well-known breeders. This will give you much more assurance that the grown animal will fully comply with breed standards and be in good health. Buying a husky puppy online or in the market is completely excluded. Even if you are really offered a purebred baby, how can you check the conditions in which the dog was kept, how was the puppy, as well as its parents, fed? No one can guarantee you a correct and timely vaccination. And these are all the components of the future health of your pet.
Buying a husky puppy from a breeder or nursery has other benefits as well. First, you get the opportunity to communicate directly with all the puppies in the litter, evaluate their character, temperament, and intelligence. Secondly, to learn for yourself a lot of important information about the behavior of animals, their diet, habits. An experienced and responsible breeder will surely answer all your questions, ask why you chose the Siberian Husky, and give practical advice on care and maintenance. Thirdly, a puppy from a nursery or a recognized breeder must have all the necessary accompanying documents, from a pedigree to a veterinary book with data on vaccinations and deworming performed.
A Siberian Husky puppy can be taken to your home at about two months of age. Try to meet with your baby, walk and play with him as often as possible. Many breeders recommend taking an older animal – the dog already has some skills and is more disciplined, and the new owner will have just a few fewer educational tasks at first.
It will also be useful to know that every husky raised in the nursery has its own brand. It is usually placed on the inside of the ear or the belly of the dog.