So you think you want a Siberian Husky?
Well, those of us who love them and can't have just one AGREE but there are a few things you should know in order to make the correct decision for your family.
If you've never known a husky probably the biggest drawback is THEY CAN NOT BE LET OFF LEASH IN AN UNFENCED AREA! Repeat after me over and over!!!!
Why? They are nomadic by nature and combined with their love to explore and desire to run......taking a nature/exploration trek on their own often will override their common sense in sticking on their owner's property.
For this reason, depending on their youth, they need daily physical interaction. The younger they are, the more they require. Yes, another dog they are compatible with does help fill the gap the humans may not be able to always have time for. Amusingly, they do seem to prefer and gravitate towards other Siberians and northern type breeds. We have found in watching their interaction and play with other Siberians there is a connection not present with a non northern-type breed.
You can have one Siberian without a canine playmate if you are able to donate daily physical exercise that meets their needs. The highest demand is between the ages of 8 months up to 3 years. After 3 years, a biological clock seems to tick that turns them into or close to a "perfect" dog. Proof of this is the fact that most Siberians finding themselves homeless or in the custody of animal control
are under 3!
ABOUT OTHER DOGS: The breed is know to have a higher than average prey drive, which can prohibit safe interaction with small dogs (under 30lbs) and cats. This has to be assessed on an individual basis. In considering the proper match for your current siberian, we recommend the opposite sex and within 2 to 4 years of your current dog's age. One should be very cautious about their close proximity to farm animals, fowl, etc.
ABOUT FENCING: One of the most important considerations of ownership is the security of the fencing. When bored or driven to interact with something on the outside of their fenced yard, they may look for possible areas to escape from. The first and simplest way out is to dig under. If that does not work, then those who have perfected the art of fence jumping may try to scale the fences.
We recommend minimum 6 ft fencing, though with a few we can get away with 5 ft, but anything shorter than that is very risky. We do not recommend electronic or shock fencing.
Well with these negative attributes why in the world would anyone want one?
If you can put up with, accept and modify your environment in order to work with their unique characteristics.....They will probably be the most intriguing, engaging and intelligent dog you will ever know. They definitely will not bore you and they will always keep you on your toes as a challenge. They have a wonderful, friendly disposition and are not naturally people aggressive.
Since they were breed to be team members they are very sociable and love companionship. Siberians are usually very sweet gentle members of the family and the typical properly tempered Siberian is predictably good with children. We have learned there is a basic rule regarding determining the proper age of dogs with children. That rule is: No huskies under 3 for children under 5. Of course, this is a general guideline only, which can be altered. Why have we found this a good guideline? Due to the energetic exuberance of a young Siberian they can knock the little ones down, unintentionally of course. This activity can also be handled with proper parental supervision.
On obedience training: While Siberians are extremely intelligent, their training can be a challenge. Most Siberians have their own ideas of what they want to do, well before you give them a command to do something, and will be on their way to doing what they thought of first before hearing your command. Siberians, like most Northern breeds, are difficult to make come when they are called. Experienced obedience people have made well trained dogs out of Siberians because the breed is so smart, but the average dog lover makes too many mistakes in training this breed, such that the Siberian learns how to get his own way and teaches you to accept it. Since we have many years training all breeds and of course specializing in sibs, we can guide you and offer classes.
Teaching them to pull carts, sleds etc gives them a natural purpose they enjoy. (See our friends at pulldogs.com, and we have their carts on our premises)
That hair: Yes, they do have a full coat with layers, and some are even long haired and some have "wooly" coats. If you will not be able to live with hair in your home, on your clothes, in your car you may want to think twice. There are several times a year when some of their coats shed and there is more hair to deal with. They require daily brushing or several times weekly to keep on top of it. The best cure is to take them to professional grooming every 4 to 6 weeks and their loose hair is left behind in the store. There are specific brushes which work best for their coat type which we can tell you about. Here's the thing about their hair - If they did not have that luxurious coat, they would not be the physical beauties they are, which is one of the reasons you are attracted to them!
To sum the overall evaluation of a Siberian based on all of the above: They have the athletic ability and agility to run, walk and be formidable outdoor partners, the good-natured temperament to be a family companion and worker, and the genetic health to be a sturdy, strong member of the family.