Siberian Huskies can make wonderful companions for people who are aware of what to expect from these beautiful and intelligent animals. Although there are ‘exceptions to every rule’, there are a number of breed characteristics that are generally present among members of this arctic breed. This is not meant to be a comprehensive list, as even the top breeders in the country will tell you that they learn something new about their dogs every day!
Can I play frisbee in the park with my Siberian Husky? Definitely NOT!
1. Wandering Star – This breed should never be trusted off-lead. They will run and they won’t come back when you call them. Don’t be fooled into thinking that you can train them to stay in your yard. The many people who have tried and no longer have their dogs can attest to the risk associated with this impossible task.
I can’t take my Siberian for walks, so how can I ensure he gets exercise?
2. Houdini Lives – Siberians are escape artists. Siberians need a SECURELY fenced in yard if you want to let them off a leash.
OVER – They can jump or climb most fenced-in areas. Six feet is the recommended height. If your dog is a climber, you may need a roof for your ‘kennel’.
UNDER – They will also very easily dig out underneath the fence, so it is recommended that if the fence is not placed upon concrete then something should be buried along the perimeter of the fence in order to properly contain them.
THROUGH – Leaving them in a yard or kennel unattended for great lengths is not appropriate for this breed as they are highly intelligent and they WILL find a way out. If the fence is made of a weak gauge of chain link that isn’t securely attached, they can push the fence up or chew through it. This can also occur with wood.
No other alternatives – Because they are sled pullers, tying your Siberian out is not appropriate as not only will they escape, other neighborhood dogs then have open access to him/her. They are social animals and will want to be with you.
Underground or ‘invisible’ fences are also not effective for this breed. They learn very quickly that with a good running start, they can get past the range of the fence. Additionally, their thick fur interferes with the effectiveness of the collar.
Is it true that Siberians dig holes and shed?
3. Green Thumb – They instinctively dig and will leave large holes, even trenches, throughout your yard.
4. Kirby vs. Hoover – Do you own a good vacuum? Twice a year, Siberians do what is referred to as “blowing coat” where they lose their bottom layer of fur, or undercoat. It is a mess! It generally takes at least a week, sometimes more, for all of the fur to leave the coat. You could brush the dog from sun-up until sun-down and the fur would still be coming out. This is not an exaggeration. When a Siberian is not ‘blowing coat’, the amount of shedding is minimal to moderate, depending on the climate.
Are Siberians Hyperactive?
Yes and No. Each dog is an individual, but as a general rule, they do have lots of energy.
5. High Voltage – This is a high energy breed, especially for the first two years of life. They are not usually suited for people who won’t provide any exercise opportunities for the dog or leave them in a crate for long periods of time. Crate training is recommended both for the safety of your home, but also for the safety of the puppy; however, if your work schedule has you away from the house for much more than 8 hours a day, you will come home to a very anxious puppy!
Will my Siberian listen to me?
Yes, but it is usually on their terms!
6. Who’s the Boss? – Because the Siberian is a pack animal, they will establish a hierarchy, or ‘pecking order’ for dominance. Puppy kindergarten classes and general obedience classes are highly recommended for proper socialization and training. Consistency with training is extremely important or a Siberian will ‘walk all over you’. Siberians should be outgoing and friendly. Proper socialization and training should help to ensure that your puppy or dog learns manners. People who have owned a Siberian are typically familiar with the saying, “Being Owned By A Siberian”.
Will my Siberian get along with other dogs or my cat?
7. Snack Time – This breed has a high level predatory instinct and they will hunt cats, birds, and other smaller animals. Sometimes, when a Siberian is raised with a cat, owners have had success with this integration; however, in most cases when an older Siberian is introduced to a home with a cat, the Siberian cannot be trusted.
Every dog is different, so it is difficult to generalize concerning their adaptability with other dogs. Their ability to get along with other dogs, as with any breed of dog, also stems back to their level of dominance and ‘status’ within the hierarchy.
8. Where can I find other information on Siberians?
There are many infomative web pages that you can visit to find out more information on the Siberian Husky:
www.huskycolors.com; The Canadian Kennel Club; The American Kennel Club; and the OFA website. At the OFA site you can check and see if a kennel is doing OFA health checks on their dogs.