15 Pros and Cons of Owning Siberian Huskies
Love at First Sight
It is almost impossible to resist the alluring appeal of Siberian Huskies. Their wolf-like appearance combined with their beautiful glacial-blue eyes and joyful demeanor causes love at first sight. Add to that, the many amazing movies featuring this breed such as Snow Buddies, Eight Below and Snow Dogs, and you have the perfect concoction for an attractive breed.
However, responsible dog ownership entails much more than just watching movies and admiring the striking appearance of these dogs. Good research is a must to prevent heartaches. Siberian Huskies are not a breed for everyone; they require experience, knowledge and a deep understanding of the breed.
It is unfortunate that many Huskies end up as strays, are abandoned in shelters, or in worst cases are abandoned or mistreated. Knowledge is ultimately power before adopting one of these beautiful animals.
Pros of Owning Siberian Huskies
The following are Siberian Husky traits that draw people to this beautiful breed. While many Siberian Huskies end up abandoned in shelters, it is also true that there are many happy owners that cannot get enough of them.
1. A Good-Natured Breed
The American Kennel Club describes the breed as equipped with an agreeable and outgoing temperament. Friendly and gentle, Siberian Huskies are extremely intelligent and their easy disposition makes them agreeable companions eager to work.
Generally, Huskies are also good-natured towards strangers and sociable towards other dogs, according to Michele Welton, a dog breed adviser, obedience trainer, canine behavior specialist, and author of 17 books. The American Kennel Club claims Huskies do not typically display the territorial qualities of guard dogs, and tend to not be suspicious of strangers or aggressive with other dogs.
2. Playful and Dynamic
Huskies are also very playful and agile beings with lots of stamina. They enjoy the great outdoors which makes them excellent running, hiking, camping and biking companions. Bred to pull sleighs for very long distances, vigorous exercise especially during cold weather is much appreciated by this breed. To give this lively breed a purpose in life, it is great to put them to work by investing into carts and sleds to pull. The ideal owner is an active person who enjoys the great outdoors.
3. Independent and Free-Spirited
If you want a dog breed that is not always in your space, a Siberian Husky may be appreciated. Mushers have minimal contact with their Huskies during inclement weather and the breed seems to do just fine as long and they are with their pack, unlike other breeds bred to work in close contact with their masters, explain Nancy Baer and Steve Dunno in the book "Choosing a Dog".
The American Kennel Club defines the breed as often reserved and dignified once mature. This breed is definitely not a one-man dog that excels in loyalty, according to the Siberian Husky Club of America. They are indeed overly friendly with just about anyone.
4. Convenient and Economical
One advantage of the Siberian Husky breed is the fact that they were originally bred to perform on a minimal amount of food, according to Tails of the Tundra Siberian Husky Rescue.
Indeed, it is not unusual for this breed to occasionally pass up on eating a meal every now and then. While a Husky may require less food intake per pound when compared to another breed, it is important to recognize that they still need a balanced diet rich in protein and fat. Consult with a breeder for the most appropriate diet.
5. Clean and Odorless
Huskies are by nature very clean which is a big pro for those who want a breed that does not stink like dog. They can be quite meticulous on caring for their coats, often licking themselves as cats. The breed indeed very rarely gives off any doggy odors, further explain Nancy Baer and Steve Dunno.
6. Strikingly Appealing
And of course, this breed's looks cannot be ignored. This breed's striking coat, erect ears and brush tail cause a wolfish appearance that many people find attractive. The glacial blue eyes further add to the appeal, however, some Huskies may also have brown eyes or bi-color eyes.
This breed stands out in shelters which often makes them easy to adopt out, however, as mentioned, they are not a breed for everyone and we will see why below.
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Cons of Siberian Huskies
As mentioned, Siberian Huskies may rob your heart and soul, but are you ready to deal with the many other distinct traits this breed is predisposed to? Awareness is a must before embarking on a great Siberian adventure. Below are some cons that require some serious thoughts before committing to owning a Husky.
1. Houdini Magic
One of my clients owns a Siberian Husky and she nicknamed him "Houdini" because he has escaped numerous times. When I met her the first time, I explained to her that this is a trait of the breed. I recalled when several years ago I was considering adopting a Husky but the rescue group had very distinct requirements when it came to fencing. This was enough to discourage me from adopting Huskies and go the Rottweiler route.
Huskies have a reputation for squeezing through the smallest holes, breaking or chewing through tie-outs, escaping from doors left slightly ajar, and even running through electric fences!
Indeed, according to Tails of the Tundra Siberian Husky Rescue Inc, the Husky's thick fur may interfere with the proper functioning of electronic fences, not to mention the fact that for some Huskies the desire to explore the world may be much stronger than the temporary discomfort caused by trespassing the invisible fence! The same applies to walking your Husky off leash; never trust his recall, the risks of him escaping are very high. See how being trusting cost the life of a Husky: Trust: a Deadly Disease.
2. Strong Predatory Drive
If you Google "Siberian Husky killed cat" you will get countless stories of dog/cat stories gone bad. The American Kennel Club claims "Predatory instincts are strong, so Siberians should be supervised around small animals in and around the home". Cats, small dogs, hamsters and other small animals are at risk with this breed. Some say this predatory drive stems from the ancient habit of mushers letting the huskies run free and hunt.
However, no black and white rules can be made. There are reports of many dog owners who have raised Huskies and cats together with little problems. Once accepted, cats and other small dogs have become part of the pack. If unsure, better err on the safe side and keep small animals safe and out of reach from this breed.
3. Stamina and Bounciness
While a Husky may be a great addition in the eyes of an active person, the opposite is true if you are a couch potato or fail to provide sufficient exercise and mental stimulation. While a Husky does not need a whole lot of open space, they still require their daily dose of exercise.
A great way to accomplish this is through daily walks, romps in the yard and play dates with other dogs. Many Husky owners find that adding another Husky to their household helps keep them entertained and happy. A tired Husky is a good husky; fail to provide enough mental stimulation and exercise and idle time will be the devil's playground.
4. Stubborn Behaviors
The breed's stamina, extreme intelligence and independent nature makes the perfect recipe for a stubborn dog. This is a common trait in many Spitz-type dogs. This means that they require consistent rules and strict guidance. You may notice this breed at times staring blankly at you as if they never heard your command before.
The "come command" may be a challenge to train. This breed strives on positive reinforcement training and they may require new challenges to stay focused on training. When training is incorporated into their daily routine, they are happy to work for their owners and this helps build a rewarding bond for many years to come.
5. Strong Pack Drive
Despite being independent and free-spirited, this breed is very gregarious and has a strong pack drive. If you kennel your Husky for long periods of time it may develop "kennel fever" which may cause lack of appetite, diarrhea and a restless state of mind, according to Nancy Baer and Steve Duno. If you must leave the house for extended hours each day, this breed may not be good for you.
6. Heavy Shedding
Expect heavy shedding about twice a year when Huskies blow their coats. If the sight of hairs around the house makes you cringe, reconsider the breed or invest in lots of grooming so to capture as many stray hairs as possible.
Investing in a good Dyson vacuum is recommended as vacuuming may become a way of life. If you are creative, put the clumps of hair to use by spinning some yard and making neat garments! Learn how some volunteers spin their Husky's yarn (Siberwool) for the purpose of fundraising for their favorite breed.
7. Noise Levels
While Huskies may not bark much, their mournful howling when left alone in the yard or bored may cause your neighbors to call the cops. They are naturally very vocal engaging in all types of vocalizations. This can be fun to listen, unless you live in a tight-knit community.
8. Digging Habits
If you do not mind having a yard resembling Mars, then you may care less about your Husky's digging habits. This predisposition is innate in the breed and it is best to find a compromise rather than endless scolding.
9. Poor Guardians
If you think a Siberian Husky looks intimidating enough to make a loyal guardian; think again. This breed is very sociable and will befriend just about anybody, including the occasional burglar. While its looks and size may discourage many people, should a burglar care less, expect your Husky to greet him enthusiastically and even accompany him for a tour of the house!
If you have made it this far and don't feel overwhelmed, "congratulations," you may have what it takes to own a Husky. Keep in mind though that you may have moments of "OMG, what did I get into!" However, if you are really enamored of the breed and dedicated as many Husky owners are, you will find yourself very forgiving because this breed gives you so much back with their endearing behaviors and good-natured temperament.
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This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.
© 2012 Adrienne Janet Farricelli