Husky Puppies: Temperament, Care, and Tips

Husky puppies
One for all and all for one!

Table of Contents

Husky puppies represent a breed well known for its unique wolf-like appearance, deep blue eyes and outstanding personality that no other dog breed can compete with. Husky puppies have gained tremendous popularity recently that best shows itself in various movies (the “Twilight” saga, “Due North” and “Game of Thrones” TV series) and a surge on the Internet (famous husky by the name of “Mishka” who has even own channel on YouTube). Any husky puppy is an adorable personality with his or her own particularities and traits, and in this big article, we are going to reveal the genuine diversity of this breed through the prism of two most known representative of them,  – the Siberian husky puppies and the Alaskan husky puppies.

Siberian Husky Puppies

Siberian Husky puppies grow into dense-coat working dog of medium size. Their origin is the northeastern Siberia, where the breed was and is still  used as a working breed – for pulling sledges mainly. Siberian husky is known for its incredible stamina, thick double coat with dense fur, triangular ears and the characteristic muzzle mask.

The Origin

Running in the snow
I’ve seen the ghost, run away!

Siberian husky’s ancestors have much in common with wild wolves of prehistoric. The modern-day Siberians were bred into a distinguishable type of animal by the Chukchi, a northern nation currently living throughout the Siberia.

In 1979, a study was conducted on the remains of Pleistocene which are  of prehistoric dogs that were found around Fairbanks in Alaska. The remains were proclaimed as the “short-faced wolves”. Among those remains, there were skulls with wolf-like and dog-like traits that set them apart. Though all dogs derive from wolves, the presence of two different types of skulls in the same excavation dating the same period suggests that these dogs were evolving at the same time into the modern day huskies. The main reason for genetic closeness of all dogs to the gray wolf is the admixture. However, Arctic dogs are closer to the Taymyr wolf already extinct. Such breeds as the Siberian Husky and the Greenland dog are associated with the Taymyr wolf and the arctic populations. The admixture that took place centuries ago resulted in special traits and phenotype best suitable for living in a very harsh and challenging environment.

The History

All Siberian huskies derive from early sled dogs. In addition, it is worth mentioning that the name “Husky” is a corrupted alternate name of the “Esky” that once applied to the Eskimo people and the dogs that lived with them.

This is another plausible prove of connection between the Huskies in general and early pulling dogs of Arctic. In the prehistoric times, the help of Siberian Husky was vital when the entire tribes were not just surviving but eve pushing further into unknown lands and the whole continents. Dogs from Anadyr river of Russia were imported to Alaska at the very beginning of the Gold Rush and were used to pull sleds. Also, at this time new breed began winning the “All-Alaska Sweepstakes”, a 408-mile distance sled race making a lap from Nome to Candle and back. More enduring and faster huskies began dominating the Sweepstakes. The foremost breeder of Huskies of his time – Leonard Seppala participated during a decade in this race, wining several competitions from 1909 till the mid-1920s.

Playing husky puppy
Let’s the children play

In 1925, on February 3, Gunnar Kaasen reached first Nome during a serum run when delivering the medication against diphtheria from Nenana, covering 600 miles. Leonard Seppala covered the most dangerous part of the route 91 miles long. This famous delivery is commemorated by The Iditarod Trail Sled Dog Race, the 1995 “Balto” animated film (name of Gunnar Kaasen’s lead dog) and the bronze statue of dog erected in New York, the Central Park.

The exportation of dogs from Siberia ceased in 1930 – the same year when the American Kennel Club officially recognized the new breed.

In 1933, Navy admiral Richard E. Byrd took 50 Siberian Huskies on an expedition destined to journey along the 16,000-mile coast of Antarctica. This quest called “Operation High jump” was a success that proved the worth of the Siberian Husky as a compact-size, great-speed dog. In 1939, the breed was registered in Canada. The year before the United Kennel Club also recognized the breed, which was subscribed as the “Arctic Husky”. Only in 1991, the Arctic Husky was named the Siberian Husky.

The breed popularity remains high today. In 2012, for instance, the breed was ranked 16th among all American Kennel Club breeds and rose to 14th place the next year.

Description

Being an Arctic dog, all Siberian Huskies have a thick coat (thicker than what most other breeds have) with a dense undercoat and a long topcoat, which both protect the dog against most powerful snow blizzard at temperatures falling as much as -40 degrees Celsius and beyond.  Thick coat requires weekly grooming, especially when the shedding is on.

Siberian Huskies show a variety of colors. They usually have white paws and white legs, facial masks and tail tips. The most often met pattern is the black and white coat. The most rare are the copper-red and white, pure white and agouti colors. The muzzle mask also comes in a variety of patterns. According to The American Kennel Club (AKC), all coat colors (from pure white to black) are allowed as the dog show colors while any color other that the “normal” is still common and doesn’t indicate any “defect”.Licking puppy According to the AKC, Siberian’s eyes may be blue or brown or part-colored (heterochromia) – all color variations are acceptable. Heterochromia is a very rare mutation that doesn’t affect dog’s vision. Dogs presented at shows must  neither have square noses, nor pointed ones. Gray dogs have black noses, and black dogs have  have tan, copper dogs have liver and white dogs have tan noses. Sometimes, husky puppy may have a completely white nose, which can be better described as the “snow nose”. Such occurrence is the result of the absence of pigmentation in the very nose, which looks really “exquisite”. Husky tails bear heavy fur, which works as a cover for their noses. When the dog is excited, its tail gets the so-called “sickle” position (curved upwards) and when the dog is relaxed, its tail is held low.

Temperament, Personality and Behavior

All Siberian Huskies are loving and gentle family companions. They are energetic dogs, but they do not like spending the entire day dedicated to wild whirlwind games. They keep their energy for a possible run amidst the blizzards of the wild. However, Huskies nowadays are more kept indoors and this is why you must make both ends meet in terms of their occupation: never leave the dog completely alone and make sure you provide her/him with enough exercising. Speaking generally, Huskies are very intelligent dogs who are friendly towards children and strangers, which makes poor guardians of them.

Happy husky
real love,real happiness

This breed should never be left off leash as they love to run and can get lost if not kept in an enclosed area or trained properly to be by someone at all times and never undertake anything on their own. Now let’s find out whether a Siberian Husky is the right breed for you:

Siberians are sociable dogs and need constant company of someone else – whether it be another dog or a human.

Huskies show strong affection for the family and behave very friendly with strangers. This is why a Siberian is not an option for someone who needs a guardian as well as an undisputed loyalty.

At least once a year your husky puppy will shed. Having a very thick coat with an even thicker undercoat, which means that… you will have hair flying all around your place.

Siberians have the tendency to dig. If you have a fine backyard with some decent landscape, your dog may dig through it in couple of hours and completely ruin the whole beauty.

Fish and husky
Let’s be friends.

Their desire to run can be the biggest problem for you. A Siberian for his own safety must be kept in a secured and  enclosed area at all times. If you want to grant him some freedom, let him out in the backyard but make sure the fence around doesn’t have any weak points (more about Puppy training).

They require a lot of activity to maintain their mood and health. Being bred as sled dogs means that putting your Husky on a treadmill for some time is favorable for him/her. Also, after some leash training, you both may go for a walk, jog, or go hiking in the mountains.

Living in an apartment may result in constant depression unless you go out for long walks with your dog. Look for yourself: limited space, furniture and other obstacles around…

Husky owners claim that their dogs show the ultimate top of obedience. However, such statement needs proving, as huskies really cannot stand any training. We mean that they can be top-notch at their training classes but should they get back home they will show no evidence of any training that they had undergone. This is why all Huskies are not suitable for first–time owners. This breed needs to be not just taught the tricks and commands, but more shown the 100% leadership. Your dog will understand you like “Man, this guy is dead serious!” and will listen to you undisputed. But such practice comes with severe trial and error experiments in order to find what the undisputed leadership means for your dog.

Huskies are by default friendly and caring. They are so reliable that some northern people (like Russia’s Chukchi) even used them as children nurses, and still do.

Never leave your Husky alone in the home!  He will screen the premises searching for a weak spot to get away. They open doors, climb over fences – they are Houdini-like escape artists.

Siberian Husky in general is a devoted genuine member of the family who must never be left alone, or he will be tempted  to run away.

Train him no matter how hard it may be, and provide him with good company at all times.

Health

According to the American Kennel Club, Siberians’ life span is 12-14 years. They show outstanding health which,, may make them  prone to several genetic conditions such as seizures and eye defects. Such conditions may happen but their probability is relatively low.

Speaking of their health, Siberian Huskies also show orthopedic conditions: hip and elbow dysplasia, hypothyroidism, von Willebrand’s disease, thrombopathia. Speaking of the eye defects, pay attention to the following disorders:

Cataract: opacity of the eye lens that results in troubled vision. Eyes gain a cloudy appearance and occur mainly in old age. The only treatment is being surgically removed.

Corneal dystrophy: this condition affects the outer transparent part of the eye. It is an opacity caused by lipids collecting in cornea. This condition doesn’t seem to affect the dog’s vision dramatically.

Husky puppy swim
Come to me!

Progressive retinal atrophy: degeneration eye process that lead to blindness due to the lack of photoreceptors in the back of the eye. Despite being a severe problem for vision, dogs experiencing this atrophy conduct a happy life.

In order to prevent any problems with the vision or joints, make regular veterinary visits an  habit.

Alaskan Husky

Alaskan Husky puppies do not represent a separate pure breed. Alaskans are descendants of various Nordic breeds that were bred for pulling sleds. Within the same dog category, Husky family show different sub types like Malamute, Mackenzie River and Siberian Huskies. However, Alaskans have a unique genetic signature that partially distinguishes them from Siberians and Malamutes.

The Alaskan is a sled dog breed that is famous for participation in dog sled racing competitions. Having sheer speed, not any other breed can outmatch the Alaskan’s stamina and ferocity when speaking about long-mile races in the open wild. Such racing competitions as The Anchorage Fur Rendezvous and Alaska Open North American Championship are won mainly by the Alaskan huskies. Recently Alaskans have been crossbred with hounds> which are notable for their endurance. In order to understand the raw power of this breed, you should know that the average winning speed during the racing is 19 miles or 31 kilometers per hour and sleds cover up to 50 km per day. It is also worth mentioning that some high-performance sled leading dogs (those that lead the pack pulling the sled behind it) are in high demand despite the price on them topping 15,000 dollars.

The History

In 1867, the United States acquired Alaska from the Russian Empire and by 1880 gold was discovered. During consecutive 20 years, many gold miners invaded Alaska in search of gold. Fortune seekers brought dogs to the frozen state to be mobile in harsh environment. Thus, Siberian huskies came to Alaska as well as English Setters and German hounds. After the Gold rush, Alaskans continued using sled dogs for traveling, hunting and for mail delivery. Having a vast range of dog breeds available, the Siberian Husky began sporting a new look. The original village dog gained more resemblance with all the breeds that came to Alaska.

Wet husky puppy
Are you sure that’s good for me?

Alaska’s passion for racing events resulted in a specific breeding targeted of producing the ultimate running machine. This is how the Alaskan husky gradually evolved into the dog we know today. Today’s Alaskans have a dozen or even more generations behind them with every one of them crossbred with the best running dogs as well as other hunting breeds, (like hounds, for instance) so speaking about the Alaskan husky as of some separate breed is wrong. Proven racing stock behind every Alaskan makes their abilities in harness stable genetically. It means that every Alaskan husky puppy born,  by default a strong, hardy dog that can show incredible talent in competitions.

The Description

We decided to write this short passage to tell the difference between two types of huskies. It’s no big secret that the Siberian husky are among the most recognizable breeds and not many people can even describe or imagine what a typical Alaskan husky looks like. The Alaskan are moderate in size. They weigh around 40-60 pounds (males) and 35-48 (females). Some Alaskans look more like traditional Siberian husky due to special racing genetic mix. However, these are smaller and leaner than their Siberian counterpart.

Speaking of color, the Alaskans may come in any canine color possible. Their eyes may be of any color too. Other particular and notable distinguishing features are the coat density, which is less than that of northern breeds. A shorter coat density can be easily described: being a racing dog mainly, the Alaskan needs to dissipate the heat when racing. This is why mushers cover their bellies with special dog coats and cover their paws with booties that protect their feet from cracking. As any Nordic dog, the Alaskan has a denser coat than any other dog, this is why keeping an Alaskan at home somewhere in Florida or Texas is harmful unless you trim your dog and hose it regularly.

Health

We have already stated all the diseases that a Siberian husky may be prone to at the above.  Speaking of an Alaskan as some separate breed with their own troubles is incorrect for they inherit the same tendencies that their ancestors had. It means that all conditions applying to the Siberian husky are common with the Alaskans. But there is one term worth mentioning – the “wheezer” thing. A congenital larynx deformation best named as “wheezer” occurs occasionally. When an Alaskan experiences it, he/she makes wheezing noise when breathing. This defect is completely genetic. Another trait that is partially connected with the health is their eating problem – they were bred not to be picky eaters and hence, your Alaskan may feel comfortable digging in your garbage and pulling expired food out the bin.

Temperament, Personality and Behavior

Alaskan huskies bear almost the same traits as the Siberians do. They are affectionate, enjoy cuddling with humans and other dogs; they show outstanding athletic performance, high energy level and seek for demanding tasks to do. A dog originally bred for racing in harsh environment is not suitable for living in urban area, especially in humid climate. If you can provide your husky with enough daily exercising (at least 45 min daily), it can prevent heat strokes and overheating, feel free to own one. However, your dog may be experiencing discomfort constantly and such life will be a sheer torment rather than a life changing positive experience for both your dog and yourself. In addition, Alaskans do not tolerate greatly closed areas and keeping your dog within four walls only may result in constant depression, obesity and even in early death.

Kittens atack husky
High level of cuteness

If you have a spacey backyard – it will be enough to handle the dog’s energy but this breed can make you follow a healthy habit of daily jogging/long walking. Take your dog on a leash with you and go out for at least an hour – both will be happy. Alaskan’s natural love to dig may result in completely dug backyard landscape so if you have a trimmed lawn or other “manicured” landscape design you may end up having it completely excavated in a matter of couple of hours. To prevent such “excavations” take your dog out two times a day to drain his/her energy out. Also, swimming in pool is another option to help your dog manage own energy level. Despite their thick coat, Alaskans can withstand water the same as they withstand snow blizzards. Having hound genetic make-up, they learn to fetch quickly but remember that leaving your Alaskan in the open will result in his sudden disappearance in 10 opportunities out of 10. Check your backyard fence for weak spots and always keep the front door and all windows shut.

Care Tips

We are not going to beat about the bush – we’ll tell you what must be done! So the care tips that you should perform are the following:

Huskies require 30-60 minutes of exercising daily! Jogging, long walks are welcome but not in hot weather. To burn all excessive energy of theirs, Huskies need at least your backyard with some toys to get them occupied.

Relevant classes that appease obedience are necessary if you want to raise a companion, but not a member of the family who is completely independent from anyone in the house. If you fail to train your Husky appropriately you will be living like a child and behaving like a spoil teenager.

Leash training is another aspect that can combine both

Sleeping babies
I don’t want a teddy bear, I want my Husky.

necessities in physical activity – those of yours and those of your dogs. When Huskies are not in a fenced area or inside the house, they should be kept on a leash (see also Leash training a puppy).

Siberian Huskies need less food than you may think of. Feed a puppy 3 times a day, giving him one solid meal, one medium snack, and a smaller one before the night so that when he wakes up he already has a good appetite. However, you should always remember that dog should be fed according to his/her lifestyle. If you are both training in sled pulling and cover several miles per week, dog’s food must contain enough calories to cover the daily caloric expenses, but not over or below  the exact requirement.  In case of caloric surplus your dog will get obese, on contrary – when the intake volume doesn’t meet the caloric expenditures, your dog will be sluggish.

The food quality and the balance of nutrients do matter! Feeding your dog some chow containing more fats and carbs than necessary protein may affect the hormonal system irreversibly. Remember, that all living beings need good amount  of complex carbs (not sugars!) to get the energy from, protein (better if from meat) to support their muscles and stamina, and good fats (usually Omega fats – all those fats that is all vegetable oils are rich). You may feed common canned dog chow or cook special dishes yourself (they are not hard to prepare) but make sure your can read the label or count the macros that you are feeding your dog with (more about Best puppy food).

Grooming must be done every day when the shedding is once a week on any day. Take a brush and go through the coat along the hair growth direction.

Veterinary appointments may take place once every 6-8 months only as a preventive measure against possible genetic diseases.

Snowing husky
The beautiful life

Speaking about taking care of  a husky puppy, nothing in particular can be said. They may appear as extraordinary dogs with unique traits of character but eventually all dogs need the same care: proper feeding regiment, exercising, communication with the owner and other pets and proper veterinary control.

Where to Buy

Buying a husky may be very challenging not only because the price for a husky puppy is relatively high (2,000-3,000 USD average) but is because finding the best puppy may be a very hard thing to do. Luckily for you, we have made a list of websites that will provide you with helpful information on where to look for puppies (from reputable breeders and owners) and later we will share some tips on why you should be looking for a husky at breeder’s only and not in a pet shop. Here’s the list of websites:

  • Shca.org – Siberian Husky Club of America, established in 1938.
  • SiberianRescue.com – you should check the first link on this site for regional rescue contacts and listings of dogs available.
  • BayAreaSiberian.orgbayAreaSiberian.org – has a list of dogs for adoption.
  • Gsshc.com – a big site dedicated to huskies only; there is a list of breeders according to states.
  • Rmshc.org – The Rocky Mountain Siberian Husky Club.
  • AdoptaHusky.com – when buying is the last thing you want to do, an adoption may be the best option.
  • Shcnf.com – The Siberian Husky Club of the Niagara Frontier; scroll down to “Rescue” and contact the club for huskies that need adoption.
  • KarnovandaKennels.com – a reputable AKC registered breeder operating since 1959.
  • HighlanderSiberians.com – top quality CKC and AKC registered breeders from Michigan. Worth checking out as they have numerous awards for being top-notch breeders.

This is our list of breeders and sites about them. We don’t doubt that you will find the best puppy out there and will become a proud owner of a husky puppy but before it happens, please, read the “Why” for buying a husky puppy at the breeder’s only.

Hunter husky
You are not yourself when you’re hungry.

Why You Should Buy a Puppy at Breeder’s

Some people  think that all breeders are heartless moneymakers who are interested in dogs for lucrative reasons only. Unfortunately, the majority of breeders are subject to controversy due to all facts of inhuman treatment and numerous stories of life-saving from the illegal kennels. Bad breeders with awful reputation specialize in several breeds and at the same time, trying to make a genuine conveyor of puppies thus turning their business into puppy mills, notorious for their conditions that all dogs are kept in. However, when we speak about such breeds as husky, it is practically impossible to stumble upon a puppy mill where huskies are born because raising a husky puppy is not an easy thing to do and nobody will pay several grands for a puppy with uncertainty,  let us say, “quality”. When spending at least 2,000 dollars for a puppy, you want to have a healthy, resilient creature with good manners and absolutely “non-defective”. This is why a breeder specializing in Siberian/Alaskan huskies is the only option. Now let us tell you 5 reasons that will tips the scales in favor of breeders:

Breeders specializing in huskies are likely to be breeding one breed only thus ensuring the undisputed great pedigree and health of every puppy born.

Every puppy before being sold undergoes vaccinations and comes with a health certificate that may be understood as a sort of warranty stating: “this exact puppy is completely healthy”.

Husky under the rain
What’s the miracle!

You may visit the breeder’s kennel whenever you want and as many times as you may wish in order to make up your mind and pick the right puppy.
Breeder will organize for you a tour about the premises; will tell everything you want to know about the conditions where the dogs are kept, parents of every puppy, the particularities of their temper and behavior. Speaking in general, a reliable and trustworthy breeder can answer any question of yours and show you all papers proving every word of his.

Reputable breeders care for every puppy and this is why an interrogation of a buyer is not something uncommon. You will be asked several questions on your solvency, lifestyle, family content (how many people live in a house as well as other pets). Such interrogation helps the breeder to understand whether you are the right person for owning a puppy or not.

Breeders run a profitable business despite the efforts they take. It means that all their time and money expenditures dedicated to raising a puppy will pay off eventually in the future and they don’t have to run for quantity over quality. Thus, their reputation is built and they don’t need special advertising to be known (see also How to choose the right puppy breed).

We hope this big article and especially the last passage dedicated where to buy  a husky puppy, will help you make up your mind and get a lovely pet that will live with you for years to come.

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