Huskies are friendly and outgoing dogs – in fact, they can be quite boisterously affectionate; as anyone who has met one and been welcomed with open arms by them, will know!
Huskies are bred for two things – work, and companionship. They are generally loving and gentle, and make great pets, if they are handled with affectionate but firm discipline. The firm discipline comes in because Huskies are extremely energetic, and need a lot of exercise. Get used to the idea of going for long, brisk walks everyday with your Husky, come rain or shine!
However, if you bought or are thinking of buying a Husky because their size and intimidating appearance makes them look like they could be good guard dogs – think again. Unlike breeds such as the German Shepherd or Bull Terrier, Huskies aren’t nearly as territorial or aggressive to strangers – and they can’t be trained to be like this, as it’s not in their nature.
We’ve put together a FREE comprehensive guide on Husky puppies, including whether to choose a boy or girl dog – as well as info like choosing the right breeder, Husky-proofing your home, and much more. Check it out here!
Huskies are closest of all the breeds to the wolf – and contrary to their fierce image, wolves are actually shy, retiring animals who will attack humans only when hungry or threatened. Your Husky, as a domesticated pet, will be more likely to love an intruder to death than chase or maul him!
If you’re wise to the Husky nature, and allow them to shine in their own way, they will be your best friend and enthusiastic helpmate for their whole llives.So what exactly IS Husky behavior, and what can you expect from your pet? Here is a list of standard Husky behavioural characteristics – both good and bad!
Some positive attributes of Husky behavior:
- Friendly and gentle – your Husky is likely non-aggressive, open to meeting with people and other dogs.
- Alert and curious – they are keen to explore and find things out, and need lots of stimulation and adventure.
- utgoing – they are happy to make friends and play with almost everybody who wants to.
- Reserve and dignity – they are not typically “silly” dogs, like some of the smaller breeds. Well, maybe some are silly!
- Intelligence – Huskies are problem-solvers, and very smart. They learn quickly and are pleased when they get something right.
- Tractability – Huskies are easy-going and mild in temperament. This means they are fine to keep outdoors – in a comfortable kennel or space, obviously! – and they get along well in a pack.
- Eager disposition – they can be very co-operative, when well-disciplined, treated well and rewarded adequately. They may take some convincing when young!
- Willing worker – they are bred to pull hard in harness with other dogs. Your Husky will be your willing helpmate for life.
The not-so-great aspects of Husky behavior:
- Mischievous – because Huskies are smart and curious, they often get into things they shouldn’t be getting into!
- Stubborn – they are very good at ignoring your commands, and just doing their own thing – good discipline can overcome this tendency.
- Sensitive – Huskies can be very offended when reprimanded, and can act like real babies when startled or in pain.
- Leash puller – they are born to run and pull, and they will keep going regardless of your tennis elbow or sore knees.
- Primitive, wolf-like behavior – they like to chase cats, sheep, rabbits, birds, cows – anything that moves. They also exhibit pack behavior and can interact roughly to establish dominance.
- Digging and rolling – Huskies are born to make themselves dens and escape tunnels, and roll in some very unpleasant substances! Be prepared for lots of baths…
- Howling – they naturally call to locate other dogs and to express mood. Husky singing can be a good or a bad thing, depending on your opinion – or the time of day they choose to sing!
If your Husky is disobedient, how can you get her or him to listen to you? Check out the basics of Husky training here.
How to tell what your Husky is feeling – through their body language
Huskies are pretty close to wolves, both genetically and in their behavioral traits. Like wolves, they have strict hierarchies in a pack, and exhibit very noticeable signs of dominance or aggression.
A dominant Husky will assume a very upright, almost stiff stance. He will hold his tail curled stiffly, and his ears pointed upright.
Mounting – many people are made uncomfortable by a Husky suddenly jumping on them as if to make love – and it’s usually your Granny, or a complete stranger! Rest assured that this isn’t sexual behavior – it’s to show dominance.
Placing a paw on the shoulder of another dog is also a display of dominance, as is putting their head over the head or body of another.
An aggressive Husky will raise their hackles (shoulder hair) and rump hair. Their lips might be curled back, and sometimes their ears flatten. Their pupils will be contracted and they will stare unblinkingly at an opponent. They might also growl and have their teeth bared. These are all signs that they are ready to attack.
If a less dominant Husky wants to fight back against a more dominant animal, they pull the corners of their mouth back until all teeth are bared, and their ears go flat.
A more submissive dog stands very still. The submissive dog turns their head to one side. Submissive dogs generally assume a lower stance than the dominant dog.
Huskies spend a lot of time grooming and licking themselves, sometimes almost to a cat-like level! This is a survival trait that ensures that super-snowproof coat keeps doing its job well, and keeping out the damp and cold.
If your Husky is relaxed and well-cared-for, they will groom when lying down with you in the living room, or when you are in bed – but not all the time. Be on the alert for a Husky who excessively grooms, because it could be a sign they are nervous or physically uncomfortable.
Tail-biting is generally a sign that he or she has fleas.
A Husky lying on his or her back, with his legs splayed open in a somewhat undignified position, is a happy and relaxed Husky.
As Huskies are so athletic and active with a strong hunting instinct, they often have quite vigorous “running and chasing” dreams – to the point that they might wake you up at night.