Siberian Husky

The Siberian Husky is a medium-size, wolf-like, dense-coat working dog breed that originated in eastern Siberia. The breed belongs to the Spitz genetic family. It is recognisable by its thickly furred double coat, sickle tail, erect triangular ears, and distinctive markings.

The Siberian Husky are an active, energetic, and resilient breed whose ancestors came from the extremely cold and harsh environment of the Siberian Arctic. Siberian Huskies were bred by the Chukchi of Northeastern Asia to pull heavy loads long distances through difficult conditions. The dogs were imported into Alaska during the Nome Gold Rush and later spread into the United States and Canada. They were initially sent to Alaska and Canada as sled dogs but rapidly acquired the status of family pets and show dogs.

Siberian Husky Appearance

Siberian Huskies share many outward similarities with the Alaskan Malamute as well as many other Spitz breeds such as the Samoyed, which has a comparable history to the Huskies. They come in a variety of colors and patterns, usually with white paws and legs, facial markings, and tail tip. The most common colors are black and white, copper-red and white, gray and white, and pure white, though many individuals have blondish or piebald spotting. Striking masks, spectacles, and other facial markings occur in wide variety. They tend to have a wolf-like appearance.

Eyes of Siberian Husky

The American Kennel Club describes the Husky's eyes as "an almond shape, moderately spaced and set slightly obliquely." The eyes of a Siberian Husky are ice-blue, dark blue, amber, or brown. In some individual dogs, one eye may be brown and the other blue (complete heterochromia), or one or both eyes may be "parti-colored," that is, half brown and half blue (partial heterochromia). All of these eye color combinations are considered acceptable by the American Kennel Club.

Coat Siberian Husky

The Siberian Husky's coat is thicker than that of most breeds of dogs, comprising two layers: a dense undercoat and a longer topcoat of short, straight guard hairs. It protects the dogs effectively against harsh Arctic winters, but the coat also reflects heat in the summer. It is able to withstand temperatures as low as −50 °C to −60 °C. The undercoat is often absent during shedding.Their thick coats require weekly grooming. Long guard hair is not desirable and is considered a fault.

Nose of Siberian Husky

Show-quality dogs are preferred to have neither pointed nor square noses. The nose is black in gray dogs, tan in black dogs, liver in copper-colored dogs, and may be flesh-colored in white dogs. In some instances, Siberian Huskies can exhibit what is called "snow nose" or "winter nose." This condition is called hypopigmentation in animals. "Snow nose" is acceptable in the show ring.

Size of Siberian Husky

The breed standard indicates that the males of the breed are ideally between 21 and 23.5 inches (53 and 60 cm) tall at the withers and weighing between 45 and 60 pounds (20 and 27 kg). Females are smaller, growing to between 20 to 22 inches (51 to 56 cm) tall at the withers and weighing between 35 to 55 pounds (16 to 25 kg).

Siberian Husky Behavior

The Siberian Husky has been described as a behavioral representative of the domestic dog's forebear, the wolf, exhibiting a wide range of its ancestors' behavior. They are known to howl rather than bark. Hyperactivity, displaying as an overactive hunting drive, a characteristic of kenneled dogs, is often noticeable in dogs released from their captive environment for exercise — a behavior welcome in hunting dogs but not in the family pet. The frequency of kenneled Siberian Huskies, especially for racing purposes, is rather high, as attributed through the history of the breed in North America. They are affectionate with people, but independent. A fifteen-minute daily obedience training class will serve well for Siberian Huskies. Siberians need consistent training and do well with a positive reinforcement training program. They rank 45th in Stanley Coren's The Intelligence of Dogs, being of average working/obedience intelligence. They tend to run because they were at first bred to be sled dogs. Owners are advised to exercise caution when letting their Siberian Husky off the leash as the dog is likely to be miles away before looking around and realizing their owner is nowhere in sight. They also get bored easily, so playing with toys or throwing the ball at least once a day is essential. Failure to give them the attention or proper exercise they need can result in unwanted behavior, such as excessive howling, marking, chewing on furniture, or crying.

Siberian Husky Intelligence

Siberian Huskies are highly intelligent, which allows them to excel in obedience trials, though many clubs would like to keep the Husky's instinct by doing sled-racing. However, because of their intelligence, they can easily become bored and may stop listening to commands. Many dog trainers usually attempt to avoid this behavior by keeping them busy with new activities. Also due in part to their intelligence, Huskies tend to be very observant on the actions of people around them and have been known to mimic common household activities such as turning on lights with their paws and opening doors with their canines. Some undesirable behaviors they can exhibit include opening refrigerators (and eating the food inside), climbing fences or digging tunnels in the backyard to escape. These behaviors can be prevented if the dog is given enough activity to occupy it.

Health of Siberian Husky

Siberian Huskies, with proper care, have a typical lifespan ranging from twelve to fifteen years. Health issues in the breed are mainly genetic such as seizures and defects of the eye (juvenile cataracts, corneal dystrophy, and progressive retinal atrophy). Hip dysplasia is not often found in this breed; however, as with many medium or larger-sized canines, it can occur. The Orthopedic Foundation for Animals currently has the Siberian Husky ranked 148th out of a possible 153 breeds at risk for hip dysplasia, with only two percent of tested Siberian Huskies showing dysplasia.

Siberian Huskies used for sled racing may also be prone to other ailments, such as gastric disease, bronchitis or bronchopulmonary ailments ("ski asthma"), and gastric erosions or ulcerations.

Working Siberian Husky

Siberian Huskies are still used as sled dogs in sled dog racing. Siberians are still popular in races restricted to purebreds and are faster than other pure sled dog breeds such as the Samoyed and the slower but much stronger Alaskan Malamute. Today the breed tends to divide along lines of "racing" Siberians and "show" Siberians. Racing Siberians tend to have more leg to enable them more reach when running. Show Siberians tend to be a bit smaller.

Apart from sled racing, they are very popular for recreational mushing and are also used for skijoring (one to three dogs pulling a skier) and European ski-hi. A few owners use them for dog-packing and hiking.

In the United Kingdom and Australia, due to the lack of snow, Siberian Huskies are raced on forest tracks using specially designed scooters with two wheels for one or two dogs, or three-wheeled rigs for three or more dogs. This sledding can be a good hobby and sport for a pet Husky. There are many clubs across the world for sledding.

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