Husky

A complete guide to husky dogs

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Originally domesticated as sled dogs, huskies have since become popular and friendly pets. Resilient and energetic, a husky dog makes an excellent companion but is a poor guard dog due to its gentle disposition.

Appearance

Height: Both the Siberian husky and the Alaskan husky are about the same size as a Labrador retriever, reaching a height of 21 to 24 inches in adulthood. Males are usually an inch or two taller than females.

Weight: Full-grown, healthy male husky dogs weigh 45 to 60 pounds. Females are usually about 10 pounds lighter.

Coat: The fur of a husky is double-layered. Its undercoat is thick, while its topcoat is straight and fine.

Ears and Eyes: Breeder standards dictate that husky dogs' eyes should be oblique, medium-spaced and almond-shaped. Their eyes can range in color from light (blue) to dark (brown), and it's not unusual for a husky to have two different-colored eyes or single eyes of mixed color. Their ears are small and triangular in shape.

Tail: Husky dogs have bushy, sickle-shaped tails.

Disposition

Alaskan and Siberian husky puppies maintain many characteristics of their wolf ancestry, though they fortunately lack the wild and unpredictable disposition of wolf crossbreeds. Both puppies and adult dogs tend to wail and howl rather than bark and will usually protest with caterwauling cries if forced to do something against their will. However, they're excellent companions, and unlike breeds such as the papillon, they're good with children and make suitable family pets.

AKC Group: Working

Training: Husky dogs tend to fare poorly in obedience competitions because they grow bored of repetitive tasks fairly easily. They're strong-willed and intelligent, and it takes patience and commitment to train a husky puppy properly. Professional guidance is recommended.

Ideal Environment: These dogs don't like warm climates. They're happiest in the outdoors and are best suited to cooler environments given their thick fur.

Health and Care

Feeding: Considering their energetic nature, these dogs need a high-protein, high-calorie diet. Don't leave husky dogs unsupervised in the kitchen or anywhere else food is kept because they'll often steal it.

Grooming: Brush or comb the hair of a husky dog once or twice daily to remove dead strands. This breed is hairy and sheds profusely in spring. It helps to bathe the dog during shedding season to expedite removal of hair tufts.

Exercise: The husky is a tireless breed and grows bored easily if it isn't exercised enough, which can result in destructive behaviors including gnawing, scratching and digging. Vigorous daily activity is strongly recommended by husky breeders.

Health Problems: While all large canines are prone to problems like arthritis in dogs, no dog breed is without its own specific set of health concerns. Cornea problems, ulcers and thyroid deficiencies rank among the most common problems husky dogs face. They also wander by nature, which makes them prone to accidents.

Average Lifespan: The life expectancy of a husky is 10 to 12 years.

Buying a Husky Puppy

Expect husky breeders to charge roughly $450 to $800 for a healthy, dewormed husky puppy that's had its first canine vaccinations. Though it's possible to get a new pet for considerably less at a puppy mill, these businesses don't treat their dogs ethically and place little value on the health of their animals.