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Is a Siberian Husky Right for You?


pexels-photo-60254Siberian Huskies are currently experiencing a growth in popularity in the United States.  In 2002 this majestic breed was the 21st most popular dog, while in 2016 the American Kennel Club ranked Siberian Huskies as the 12th most popular breed, per registrations.  But, is a Siberian Husky right for you?

Siberian Huskies are energetic, mischievous, and outgoing.  These social butterflies are friendly and loyal, and do well in human or canine packs.  They are considered to be among the closest ancestors to wolves, and indeed have many wolf-like tendencies when it comes to their social interactions.  Huskies can easily become bored, and are known for their destructive and escape-artist behaviors when not properly exercised.

Size, Coloring, and Upkeep
With thick and heavy coats, Siberian Huskies often look larger than they truly are.  A male Husky tops out at 60 lbs, while females reach 50 lbs.  Their thick fur represents a double coat, which helps this breed withstand temperatures far below freezing.  Siberian Huskies shed heavily, and require frequent brushing.  The six acceptable Husky colors are white, sable and white, red and white, gray and white, black and white, and agouti and white.  Huskies are known for their light colored eyes, which can be brown, blue, one of each, or parti-colored (where one eye is half blue and half brown).

Other Pets?
Siberian Huskies do best in groups of other dogs.  However, they have high prey drives and do not coexist well with smaller animals such as cats or rabbits, unless properly socialized from a young age.

Huskies are an intelligent breed that does best with positive reinforcement training.  Due to their high energy levels and independent spirit, training is a necessity.  Even after completion of obedience training, Siberian Husky owners report that 10 – 15 minutes of daily drill sessions helps relieve boredom and provide a sense of purpose.

Siberian Huskies are unique from other dogs in that their metabolism, not their routine, drives their appetite.  When a Husky is full, it generally will not eat, and it will require more or less food based on the amount of exercise it is receiving.  For this reason, Huskies can typically be allowed to free feed if resource guarding is not an issue among the pack.

Huskies are one of the top abandoned dogs in the United States because of their exercise needs.  Siberian Huskies were developed to withstand long durations of physical labor, and have an inherent drive to exercise for this reason.  Without daily vigorous activity (sometimes up to 4 hours per day), this breed can become disobedient, destructive, and hyperactive.

Huskies are generally a healthy breed, with an average lifespan of 12 – 14 years.  Common health problems include epilepsy and ocular disorders such as juvenile cataracts, corneal dystrophy, progressive retinal atrophy, and canine glaucoma.  Recent studies have shown that epilepsy may be aggravated by a zinc deficiency in this breed, so nutrient needs should be discussed with a veterinarian.

Overall, Huskies make a wonderful addition to any family, so long as their training and exercise needs are met.

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Anna Weber

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