Adrienne is a certified dog trainer, behavior consultant, former veterinarian assistant and author of Brain Training for Dogs.
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.
Siberian Husky vs. Alaskan Malamute. Can You Tell the Difference?
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.
Some Cool Facts About Huskies
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 Farricelli
Adam on August 22, 2020:
Feed your Huskies sardines half a can per day. I can put my two dogs up from fur only get 3 hairs. Also males with female in heat is nuts week 3. Good luck
Hagar on June 21, 2020:
We’ve had Neeko for just about 4 years Saved him off a farm as a puppy as he had caught and killed two of their chickens
Great dog super advice on your post here
We exercise him 4-6 miles per day plus playtime inside the home
He’s never attemped escaping seems happy enough here
Eve had golden lab, chocolate lab geman Shepard anda duck toller retriever
Neeko has been the best all around dog of all of them But we have enough free time to keep him happy wich he returns 10 fold❤️❤️❤️
Brittany Alvarado on June 02, 2020:
Hi my name is Brittany and I have two huskys and one past way of a old age and my young one sheds alot of hair and thank you
Lance Faure on May 28, 2019:
FYI 've had great success containing my Huskies on a stainless steel
zip-line with a Petzel double pulley roller to a chain to a locking carabiner then to the harness or collar. Gives them plenty of Mobility and establishes a virtual containment perimeter that they can't dig out of or jump over.
Bob Delehant on April 08, 2019:
If you pour a 6"x6" concrete ribbon at the base of your fence, they won't dig under it. Concrete confuses them. I did this on top of the ground, didn't have to bury the concrete. Stops them cold. Tried the chicken wire, shredded that. Tried cattle panel, dug it up and trashed my lawnmower. Electric fences only work on short haired dogs, electric or invisible. I think that they think the concrete goes on forever because their scratching does nothing. Looks odd, but works. Just sayin. 7 huskies, and that is the only thing that works.
Bob Delehant on April 08, 2019:
I have owned 7 huskies. They are born convicts. Wake up, eat, destroy stuff, escape. They are well known for destroying doors, sheetrock, and siding to escape. You could stuff a pillow everytime they blow their coat. And if it is not your small animal, they are killing it. Properly supervised and stimulated, one of the best breeds I have owned. Very loving when loved. Great with small children. I love the ROOOOOOOOOOO.
Adrienne Farricelli (author) on December 09, 2017:
Yes, why not? I am sure you husky will be extra happy to dig to his heart's content!
Annoynymous on December 04, 2017:
Would a good compromise for the digging be building a mini yard for the husky to dig in?
Adrienne Farricelli (author) on March 07, 2017:
Hello Susan, thanks for all the great tips! Who knows, maybe one day in the future I will be fostering some huskies!
Susan K. on March 07, 2017:
I love your article about Siberian Huskies. It's so accurate and presents all the pro's and con's. I wanted to reply to your comment below where you had considered getting huskies and were discouraged by someone telling you that you needed to build your fence higher. The irony is that a husky will easily and instinctively dig under any fence, no matter how tall it is. You have to go to absurd lengths to husky proof a fence, which usually means digging all below the length of the fence and laying down cattle wire or something, and having it lip up towards the outside and then tie it on with something strong that they can't chew through. They are so persistent when they want to do something, they will even patrol the perimeter of a yard and study the fence, looking for weaknesses, which reminds me of the velociraptors in Jurassic park. My parents had a Jindo in the past which is also a primitive dog breed (from Korea though) and she would do the same patrolling the fence line behavior. They look for anything to climb on top of, to leap over, if they can't dig out. Not all huskies are this intent on escape, but many are since they have those primitive instincts to roam and hunt. It's a fascinating and history rich breed that really deserves for the owner to research and try to simulate a working dog lifestyle for them, such as by taking them running with urban mushing (bikejoring or scootering as the dog pulls). I personally put in a kennel and I'm thinking of putting in another. Oh and by the way, another way to husky proof a fence line is to build a concrete lip all around your fence line, and to add a "lean in" on the fence, which is what you see on the industrial fences but they lean out. Not many people would want to put in the hard physical labor to do this, and it's expensive to hire someone to do it for you. Building a kennel is the obvious better choice, but only if it's really secure otherwise you wasted your time or money. I've been researching it again since I'm at a new house and think I want to build one again.
Anyhow, i find it annoying when rescue groups tell people that their fence is not high enough because that's just simply not "enough" to consider the height. Also, they will say sometimes that the husky needs to be the only dog in the home because they were aggressive towards a dog in the past, but actually the real story is probably that they hurt a very small dog. Huskies generally don't do well with small pets, whether dog or cat, which they react to as if it's a rabbit. (There are exceptions to this, but I tend to think that's a better general rule: be super cautious with a husky around small pets and keep them seperated) But huskies suffer terribly when they are left alone without another dog or 2 or 3. My dog was always having seperation anxiety when I had to leave him alone, until we happened to move in with my dad who had 2 other dogs. It was like magic for him. He integrated with them and now he sleeps on the couch with them while I am gone. Problem solved. I hate to think what would have been his life had I listened to the rescue who only let me have him because I had no other dogs. I thought they were wrong, but I was not going to risk getting another dog since my rescue husky had killed a chihuahua and was thought to be dog aggressive. They were so wrong. He's the most gentle dog with other medium to large sized dogs and will drink water or eat out of the same bowl with them at the same time. it's funny to see the husky and the two other dogs at the bowl at the same time, with never any growling or weirdness.
Kiara on December 21, 2016:
Do huskies do well in doggy daycare as a substitute for being alone while their humans are away during the 8 hr work day? My boyfriend and I are in love with the breed and have been doing research to make sure we give our pup the best life once we get one in the near future, but I want to make sure having the husky pup go to doggy daycare M-F would be a good thing for him/her. Would this affect the way the dog behaves with us at home after being with different people/being trained by different people during the day?
ocelot152 on July 14, 2016:
Cool i love huskies and i have one as a pet.
Adrienne Farricelli (author) on May 08, 2016:
That's a nice name for a Siberian Husky!
haylee on May 06, 2016:
Right now im 12 and I desperately want a husky. I am obsessed with wolves so when I get one I'm gonna name him Wolf. :)
Adrienne Farricelli (author) on February 20, 2016:
Thanks Kristen. Before getting my Rottweilers we were planning on getting two huskies from a rescue, but when we heard that our fence wasn't tall enough and had to build it all over again only to make it higher, we got discouraged! Lovely breed, but it''s important to know in advance what challenges you might encounter.
Kristen Howe from Northeast Ohio on June 18, 2015:
Great hub Alexa about Siberian huskies. This was so useful and informative on the breed. Voted up!
Adrienne Farricelli (author) on April 30, 2015:
It really depends. All dogs are prone to separation anxiety and some breeds more than others. Generally, as long as you exercise your dog before leaving him/her and giving him interactive toys during your absence you should be fine. You'll need to determine if he's prone to become destructive. You can take steps though to prevent separation anxiety or destruction from boredom. I know some owners who must crate or kennel their huskies for their brief absences as their dogs may get in trouble but I also know of some owners who can leave them no problem, so it's not a bad idea to introduce a crate from an early age. If you are getting a puppy, get him used to brief absences, gradually increasing time and getting him used to getting goodies when you leave. Sleeping on the bed, it depends as well. Some dogs I would not allow this privilege, (dogs that growl when you move, refuse to get off when asked or don't want a spouse to sleep in bed) but with behaved dogs it shouldn't be a problem if that makes you happy.
Girish on April 30, 2015:
hey ,i was wondering if a husky doesn't mind being alone for 2 maybe 3 hours ? like are they okay with that ? And is it okay if a husky is sleeping with me on my bed ?
Adrienne Farricelli (author) on March 27, 2015:
Sounds like you had quite a smart pup, gotta love this breed~!
mvaivata on March 26, 2015:
I'm pretty amused to read the "Houdini" portion of this article. I grew up with one, and she was a wonderful, shockingly smart pup... she even figured out how to unlock her crate from the inside... which, as you can imagine, made for some interesting car rides to the vet. Wonderful Hub! Thank you for this!
Adrienne Farricelli (author) on November 01, 2014:
I am happy to hear your new Siberian Husky is the perfect match, that's awesome!
amber on November 01, 2014:
My familey recently got our first husky. And oh my goodness. We found the missing piece of our family. Our Dakota's just what we needed. I thoroughly enjoyed your article and have found it dead accurate. Thank you .
dog lover on May 19, 2014:
I would love a husky,I have a family dog whos a border collie she is quite timid but what I would really want is a husky I don't have a big fence or a big house (im 13) but I was considering getting a husky puppy, I walk a husky but hes laid back and doesn't act like a husky so I don't know if I should risk it......
Adrienne Farricelli (author) on March 03, 2014:
Good luck on choosing your pup! Sounds like your childhood dream will soon come true.
Tenille on March 03, 2014:
Wow, this is an extremity helpful write up on huskies.. I always right back from being very young dreamed of owning my own husky,, and after reading this article it hasn't changed; I absolutely cannot wait to finally get my own puppy. I am a mother of two young children and my fiancé has finally said once we buy our own house next year we will then get a husky pup! They are such a unique and extremely special breed and seeing this article on pros and cons makes them that even more special! Can't wait :) thankyou for informing us on all the pros and cons ;)
Adrienne Farricelli (author) on July 25, 2012:
With all the great things you do for your dog, it sounds like your Siberian has no reason to escape! I truly believe that dogs bond tightly with their owners regardless of breed, especially when the owners are a source for great happenings and lots of love! Thanks for stopping by and sharing your experience.
JaKGuzi from Plano, TX on July 25, 2012:
I've always heard huskies are escape artist. But I don't know if it's because we got our little guy, Sabastian, at 7 weeks, or because we have 3 other dogs, and he feels we're his "pack". But ours never tries or wants to escape! He's chipped & tagged just in case. But we have let Sabastian & his "siblings" loose by a filed near our house. They run & play but when we call them back, he's racing back with his brothers. We have a backyard with an 8 ft fence, very sturdy, so that's never been a problem. We also have a doggie door and a large house, so he runs around, in and out, and he of course, gets a LOT of play time with the others in the "pack". We take him on daily walks, minimal time of 30 minutes, and on the weekends up to an hour walks. We have wonderful trails by us. He also handles the heat pretty well! We take him on runs here and there, but it's not consist. He's 1.5 yrs old now, and we still kennel him if we're not home, because then of course there will be a little destruction...but luckily never the leather couches or things of value. We take him to doggie daycare if we'll be longer than 9 hours. As a puppy he used to dig, and my husband had to fill the holes with his feces, and bury it back up (recommendation from breeder), and it did the trick slowly. This spring, he decided he wasn't into "landscaping" anymore! (Thank goodness, our flower bed can be beautiful again!) :-) We provide a kiddie hard pool for him on the wknds when it's hot (we live in Dallas area). And toys and bully sticks for him to chew. He's just a happy camper. A few wks ago, my husband by accident left the backyard door open (only time ever), and him and one of his brothers took off on a jog, I saw him running by the bedroom window! We ran outside and called him and his brother, and they came running back to us outta breath, and headed straight for the water! So don't quote me on this, but I believe the "escape artist" will be gone if he feels he has his pack and a true home. They are pack animals after all! And our big baby...LOVES his pack, and his alphas!
Adrienne Farricelli (author) on April 27, 2012:
thank you, I love this breed and I think the pros and cons of huskies is what makes them extra special to own.
H C Palting from East Coast on April 27, 2012:
Very useful article with great issues to be thought of before getting huskies. I also loved the photos.
Adrienne Farricelli (author) on April 25, 2012:
Thank you, I never had the pleasure to own a Siberian Husky, but I have trained a few!
Mile. on April 25, 2012:
Huskies are the best dogs ever!! I love them :D
Olde Cashmere on March 28, 2012:
Well written and thorough article on this fascinating breed. When I've seen these dogs in person, they were very approachable and friendly. I learned some cool new information on them while reading your hub, thank you for a great job. Voted up and awesome.
James Kenny from Birmingham, England on March 28, 2012:
Interesting hub, I've noticed that Siberian Huskies are becoming more and more popular as pets in Britain at least. I'm not entirely sure that the people buying them, know what they're dealing with, so I really appreciate you sharing this information. Voted up and shared.
Gail Louise Stevenson from Mason City on March 27, 2012:
The photos of the Huskies are really beautiful. Huskies sound like real nice dogs. Very interesting and informative. Great information for anyone considering getting a huskie or not. I voted up.