Frosty Meadow Husky Farm, Fletcher, Ohio

 Is a Husky For Me?

With every litter we have and rescue we come across, we will normally hear something along the lines of, “We’ve always wanted a Husky!  They are such beautiful and loving dogs!”

We always ask the question, “Have you ever OWNED a Husky?

Most of the time, honestly, the answer is either “yes”, or “no, but we did some research and know the downfalls.”  Inevitably however, we come across someone who knows nothing about them.  It is at that point we must give them the lesson in “Husky 101”! (We also go over this with anyone who “claims” to know.)

With this in mind, I thought it would be a good idea to layout the objectives of “Husky 101”, in hopes of passing along a basic understanding of what you are getting into when owning one.

First, the advantages:

  • Beauty – Huskies are a strikingly beautiful dog.  They can have an infinite number of different color combinations and markings.  They always appear to have a smile on their face, which adds to the loving demeanor they possess.  They are rarely seen as overweight, and have a poise and grace about them that is tough to match.  They are one of the most popular show dogs for these reasons.
  • Very loving companion dog – Huskies absolutely love and become loyal to their owners.  They love to be in the same room if at all possible.  Some will want to be lap dogs, and others won’t, depending on specific personalities.  Whether they want on your lap or not, they always want to be right there with you.
  • Very little odor – Many dogs come with a natural oil secretion to help them battle the elements they may have to encounter.  Dogs with very short coats are a good example.  This oil that is secreted has a pungent odor.  Even with frequent bathing, this odor remains with the dog at all times, and anything they lay on (beds, couches, etc) will contract the same odor.  Huskies have a very thick inner coat and protective outer coat to protect them from the elements.  Because of this, little or no oil is secreted.  They have a very clean scent to them, and therefore leave no odor behind.
  • Infrequent bathing – Huskies (like any other dog) will get dirty if left outside, but they will in large part, clean themselves.  Much like cats will bath themselves, a Husky is known to keep themselves as clean as they can.  Over time it can build up, and a bath will be necessary, but the need for bathing is infrequent.  In fact, frequent bathing is not recommended because their skin can be sensitive to it.
  • Smart – Huskies are a very intelligent dog.  In most cases, potty training comes with relative ease.  If worked with, they can be taught many tricks, but most importantly they can be taught the commands of pulling sleds etc.
  • Playful – Huskies are as playful as they come.  Always good natured and active, they will outlast even the most active human.  If a child wants to play, a Husky is ALL in!
  • Very friendly to other people – Many dogs are loyal to their owners, but around other humans can become very protective to the point of being aggressive.  Huskies are not that way.  They simply love the company of humans.  Their ever-friendly demeanor toward other humans is a great thing when they are out in a public setting, because many people want to come up and pet them.
  • Great homing sense – As part of their intelligent make up, a Husky has the uncanny ability to find its way home if it runs off.  While there are no guarantees they will return home if they run, we’ve noticed that several times when this has happened they return and are standing at the back door the next day.  This same homing sense is what also one of things that makes them a great dog for a sled team!
  • Great running companion on a leash – Huskies are a VERY active dog.  They love their exercise, and jump at every opportunity to get it.  If someone is a runner, they make a great running companion, but must be leashed.  They will usually go as fast and as far as you want them to without complaint, but training is necessary for the best experience. 
  • Great Pullers – Huskies, by nature, are a pulling/working breed.  They were bred for the purpose of pulling sleds through the icy wilderness.  If you are into sledding, Skijoring (Dogs pulling skis), or Bikejoring (Skijoring on a bicycle, scooter, etc), a Husky will be more than happy to pull you. 
  • They can handle the elements – Huskies are built to handle the extreme winter weather.  While it is best if they have some shelter, they can handle a cold winter day or night, with relative ease.  Many breeds MUST be inside during the coldest nights to survive.  A Husky actually prefers it cold!   

As shown, there are many great advantages of the Siberian Husky.  But while there are a lot of great things about them, there are also pitfalls.  To many, the pitfalls can far outweigh the good.  The purpose here is to educate everyone to both, and let everyone decide for themselves whether or not a Husky is right for them.

  • A Siberian Husky is a high maintenance dog.  Most Husky owners find it best to develop a routine that helps minimize the issues, and being very smart dogs, a Husky will adapt to these routines quickly.
  • First and foremost, Huskies are not dogs that will stick close a lay around when outside in a non-contained area.  If outside, they must be on a leash or in a fenced area.  They will not hesitate to run far and wide if and when the opportunity presents itself.
  • Cunning Escape artists – While outside, whether on a leash, on a chain, or in a fenced area, a Husky has one goal in life.  To get away.  It’s not that they want to get away from their owner and never return, but rather they simply want to run and play on THEIR terms.  They attempt to climb over, chew on, jump over, dig under, and outsmart whatever is containing them.  There are certainly ways to contain them, but it’s best to seek advice from an experienced owner rather than learn on your own by trial and error!
  • Need exercise – A Husky needs a lot of exercise!  The more supervised exercise they get, the less trouble they will be and the less they will try to escape.  So if you are after a dog that just wants to lay around all day, don’t bother with a Husky!
  • Bored = destruction – When not given ample exercise, a Husky will have a tendency to be destructive.  They will chew on objects, dig holes where possible, and simply misbehave to cure their boredom. 
  • Not guard dogs – As mentioned above, Huskies are incredibly loving dogs, and love a human companion.  It does not normally take long for them to warm up to total strangers.  If you are in search of a guard dog,  a Husky simply shouldn’t be your choice.
  • Over-friendly – Is this possible??  Well, it can be.  Huskies love their humans, but will love them equally regardless of the size of the human.  When out in public, care must be taken when allowing small children to pet them.  While there is little danger of biting, they love to jump up and put their legs on them.  I have seen children get knocked over or worse yet cut from the toenails of a Husky. 
  • Small Animals – By nature, a Husky is a predator of small animals.  Cats, rabbits, squirrels, etc., are in danger around a Husky.  If raised from a puppy with a small animal such as a cat, they can be fine together.  If introduced later in life, the animal is in danger.
  • Stubborn – While being very smart dogs, Huskies can be stubborn.  They can be trained to do many things, but they are very free spirited, and are always testing their boundries.  Just when you think they are fully trained, they decide to test you.  With a Husky, it’s always important to stick to your guns!
  • Shedders – And finally…The shedding!  Everyone’s favorite thing.  Huskies are notorious for shedding on a continual basis.  They have a very thick inner coat, which typically sheds year round, and also completely blows out 1-2 times per year.  A good groomer is highly recommended!  It’s also worth mentioning that a Husky's fur should NEVER be cut!  You can comb it out or brush it out, but don’t cut it!!