The Husky is not the breed for everyone and before deciding to welcome one (or more!) into your family, there are a few points to be made aware of.
Your Husky might try to escape
Huskies are expert escape artists, there’s no denying it. This is something many husky owners are experienced with, and something that many breeders warn new husky owners about. But the myth that all huskies will try to escape is something that is mostly untrue.
Worried about your Husky trying to escape? Check out this article to put your mind at ease!
While Huskies are great at finding ways out of a yard, it’s important to note that they will usually only try to do this if they are bored or under-stimulated. Huskies don’t have an insatiable need to get over that fence. Don’t take it personally if you’re in all other ways a great Husky parent.
Life of Pi puts it in a much more poignant way. “I was surprised to read at the Toronto Zoo—a very fine zoo, I might add—that leopards can jump eighteen feet straight up. Our leopard enclosure in Pondicherry had a wall sixteen feet high at the back; I surmise that Rosie and Copycat never jumped out not because of constitutional weakness but simply because they had no reason to.” – Life of Pi, Yann Martel
Keep your Siberian Husky well exercised and mentally stimulated – then you’ll find they likely won’t even try to escape. It can be very challenging, especially if you’re used to quieter, more sedentary dog breeds. Husky owners around the world can attest how much fitter they got once they got that busy guy or girl into their homes. So that’s a bonus for the dog owner as well.
Having said that; cats, other dogs and possibly even friendly passers-by are great incentives for your Husky to try to get out of the yard. They are very curious and can have a strong prey drive – the instinct which makes them chase other animals. If you are getting a new Husky soon, or have got one recently, then it’s important to make sure your yard is nice and secure.
The generally accepted height for fences is 1.8 meters (about 6 feet). If possible try to avoid having anything on the fence that can be used as paw holds, as anything that they can get their paw onto will help give them a leg up. The fence needs to be low to the ground as well, as they WILL dig underneath it if not. In fact, if you’re able to, building your fence a ways underground will stop those Huskies burrowing out of the yard, and you can keep your peace of mind.
When not in an enclosed area, your Husky should never be let off the leash. If you are the type of person who wants a dog to go running with, play frisbee with, etc., this is fine as long as the area is properly fenced off, you’re your backyard. some parks are also fenced – but otherwise, forget it. This breed loves to run, and once off the lead, they’re off! No amount of calling, whistling etc, will stop them if that’s not what they want to do. This is an independent breed and if they want to do something, they’ll do it, whether you want them to or not!
Here’s some great info on training your naughty Husky to listen to you.
Chewing & Digging
All dogs love to chew things and dig holes in your garden, especially when puppies – and the Husky is no exception. And being an energetic breed, they do tend to leave a trail of destruction behind them if not kept amused. Chew toys, cow hooves and other similar products can usually help to reduce the problem, but always be aware of what you leave lying around. (Especially the washing basket – underwear and socks are a favourite – as are used tissues or hankies!)
We’ve put together a FREE comprehensive guide on Husky puppies, including whether to choose a boy or girl dog, choosing the right breeder, Husky-proofing your home, and much more. Check it out here!
So much HAIR!
Huskies have a double coat, and shed hair twice a year naturally (in warm climates, this can increase to year-round!). This means that the vacuum cleaner and you will develop a special relationship. The hair is fine and blows easily in the wind, and even if you keep your dog outside and/or brush them regularly, hair will find its way inside. If you like a spotless lounge suite and hair-free clothes, you might want to consider getting a short-hair breed.
The Husky and Your Other Pets
Like any other dog and probably more so than other breeds, the Siberian Husky is a pack animal. You will usually see a marked difference in personality when going from one Husky to two. However, do beware with other pets such as birds, cats, mice, rabbits (ESPECIALLY rabbits!) etc., your Husky may mistake these smaller animals for food. There is no reason for all your pets not to get along though, as long as the animals are properly socialized – the younger, the better. Also, it is recommended that the animals are supervised when together.
Huskies are not guard dogs!
THE HUSKY IS NOT A GUARD DOG.
Their resemblance to the wolf may intimidate some people, but just like the wolf, the Husky is a timid creature, wary of strangers and more likely to run away and hide from an intruder than attack them. And when you have more than one Husky, their attitude towards strangers tends to be more welcoming, showing excitement about a possible new playmate rather than any aggressiveness. You’ll need a different dog as well as your Husky, if you want home security.
This may be a positive or a negative characteristic, depending on the owner’s outlook. Some breeds, such as fox or Jack Russell terriers or beagles, were bred with the specific trait of barking in mind – to let their owners know where they were and what they had found/caught. Other breeds, such as the Doberman, were bred to bark to warn their owners of impending danger. Huskies never had a use for barking and therefore usually don’t. This is not to say that they can’t. Barking can still be useful for getting your attention sometimes! They do love to howl however, which some enthusiasts like to refer to as “talking”, and can be hilarious.