Siberian Huskies are a dog that have unique traits and characteristics that set them apart from other dog breeds in many ways. They are among the most desired of the larger breeds because of their aesthetically pleasing appearance, their toughness and endurance, and for the fact that they make excellent family pets. Any Siberian Husky owner can tell you that there are things you need to know about these dogs before you sign on for the long haul and bring one into your home.
While each dog is an individual and may have a few behaviors that are different from the rest of the pack, there are some generalizations about all members of this breed that can be made with a degree of accuracy. Here are 20 things about Siberian Huskies that only owners would understand, which are also the considerations that anyone thinking about adopting one should make before bringing one of these gorgeous dogs into their lives.
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1. Your dog thinks he’s an archeologist
Siberian Huskies are known for their need to dig deep holes. Their large paws and strong legs make them great excavators but you might not appreciate this skill when they’re making short work of your garden or lawn. They come with a natural instinct for digging out a comfortable place to lie that is paired with their hunting instincts and thrill of locating underground prey. If you have a mole hill in your yard, the odds are in favor that your Husky will catch the scent and make a valiant effort to dig the rodent up. He’ll keep at it until he gets tired or bored with the pursuit and this will give him plenty of time to dig a big crater in your yard so be prepared, because you’re going to be filling in holes.
2. There is no need to build a gate on a Siberian Husky’s account
Siberian Huskies are not easily deterred by obstacles. Doggie gates don’t work for them because if they want to get somewhere badly enough, there is no gate that is going to keep them in when they want out. It isn’t difficult for them to dig underneath if they don’t have enough launch space to clear the height of the gate outdoors. It will work for a while if you put up indoor puppy gates, but only while he’s very young. He will soon figure out how to get around the gate. As soon as he learns that he can chew a hole through the material, he’ll employ this tactic if needed. When he gains control over his muscle co-ordination and is large enough, he’ll jump over any gates you have in the house.
3. You will resort to drastic measures to keep him contained
If your goal is to keep your Siberian Husky home, you’ll need to do some careful planning. Since these dogs need ample space to roam, a large chain link dog kennel with an attached ceiling is the best bet. Before erecting the structure, plan on sinking a sturdy barrier that goes down into the ground about a foot or more, or he’ll dig underneath and escape anyway. This may sound like an extreme measure, but any Siberian Husky owner will agree that it is necessary if you want to keep them from going out to explore their surroundings.
4. People will mistake your dog for a wolf
This is one of the more common misconceptions about Siberian Huskies. They have a very strong resemblance to a wolf, but genetically, they are not wolves as the two are distinct and separate breeds with their own characteristics and common behaviors. While some breeders have crossed Siberian Huskies with wolves to develop a wolf hybrid, and there is always the possibility that there is wolf DNA in the lineage, it’s important to remember that Siberian Huskies are a separate breed and species, but your friends and neighbors may not believe this when you try to explain it to them. There are few Siberian Huskies that have been crossed with wolves and possess these hybrid genes, but it it’s a big deal to you, check with the breeder to ensure that the lineage is pure. If you want to let them believe this, it could actually work to your advantage. It’s better in some cases, that people think there is a wild beast roaming your yard to deter would be intruders. They don’t need to know that your dog might lick them to death if they come in the yard.
5. Their menacing look is usually a façade
At first glance, Siberian Huskies have the size and brawn to come across as a dog that would tear you up, but this couldn’t be further from the truth. When this dog is properly socialized from puppyhood, he is not prone to becoming vicious. The temperament of a Siberian is sweet and loving. While any dog has the capability of becoming mean or inflicting damage on humans, in general, this breed is among the friendlier kinds and would rather spend his time playing with you or smothering you with kisses and affection. Siberian Huskies make good family dogs because they are intensely loyal and when raised with children and given the proper training, they adapt to people of all ages, but because of their size and playful nature, they should be supervised around small children.
6. It’s a yes and no on the guard dog question
Siberian Huskies, when fully grown, have a look that discourages strangers from entering a property that they are patrolling. They look like a dog that could eat you for breakfast and this is because they look like a wolf, which is a wild animal. The appearance of this dog is the only part of them that would deter intruders. He is more likely to invite strangers in for a cup of coffee and a visit than they are to bite them. Once a criminal learns that this dog is easily persuaded by a treat or a scratch behind the ear, it’s game over. While you can’t depend on them to discourage savvy thieves, they’ll sound the alarm and bark usually, if a stranger comes on the property. This gives you a little time to take action.
7. Your dog will take over your house
Siberian Husky owners know exactly what we’re talking about when we say that this dog will take over your house and become the new owner. There is no area of the home that is sacred because he is curious and wants to explore every nook and cranny of his domain. This beautiful dog is highly adaptable and once he feels at home, he’ll choose his favorite spots to rest or play and these will become his. If you allow, he will even join you at the foot of your bed. We don’t recommend this because of his size and thick fur. You may wake up with a fur ball or two stuck in your throat, so it’s best to give him his own bed that is set in a particular area of the house so he can stake his personal domain in this place. If you’re lucky, he’ll stick to it and you will get your couches and chairs back. If you’re not fond of having pets on your household furniture, all you need to do is start early when he is a puppy and train him to say off the furniture. Don’t wait until he’s an adult or you are in for a hard time.
8. You are going to need a very strong leash
Siberian Huskies need to get a lot of exercise. They have an amazing muscular build and to keep their muscles fully developed and strong, they need to work them. Bred to pull sleds in freezing climates, this dog is a worker at heart and he has a drive to flex his muscles, which could make your daily walk a little challenging. Don’t discount his strength and make certain that the leash you use is up to the intense tugging and pulling he’ll subject it to. In the same vein, you need to be physically prepared for sudden bursts of energy when you’re walking your Siberian Husky. If he gets the urge, he will lunge at a cat or other small creature in his line of sight. If you’re not ready, it could give you quite a jolt. It’s not unheard of for a Siberian Husky owner to sustain whiplash or other more minor muscle and tissue strains because the dog decided to take off and gave them an unexpected yank forward. As long as you go into daily walks with your dog and expect him to be the one walking you, it should work out fine. Raw power is a good way of describing an enthusiastic Siberian Husky going out for a walk. It may be a good idea to choose the strongest person in the house to take over this task.
9. Prepare your home for the mad dashes
From the time that they are puppies, until they are getting on in years, Siberians are known for having bursts of energy, especially when they get excited about something. There is little you can do to stop this from happening and when they have a buildup of energy, it’s best to let them expend it. There will be times when you’ll swear that you have a crazed animal that tears through the house at maximum speed, only to spring off the furniture, much like the silver ball in a pinball machine. This is just a part of being a Siberian Husky owner and it’s something that anyone considering bringing this dog into the family should consider. On the bright side, it can be very entertaining to watch. As long as you keep your breakables in a secure spot, away from his spring points, everything should be fine. You’re more apt to see these behaviors when your dog is happy to see you come home, or if he’s been playing with the kids or another family pet.
10. You need a powerful vacuum cleaner
Everybody knows that dogs have fur and that they shed, but with a Siberian Husky afoot, you’ll learn a new definition of the experience. While the thick and gorgeous fur coat that your dog sports is a big part of his gorgeous appearance, it’s going to be everywhere in the house. On the bright side, you’ll get more exercise and it will improve your own personal fitness because you’re going to need to vacuum daily or at a minimum every other day to stay on top of the shedding. It gets worse after a long cold winter when things begin to warm up. This is one of the worst times for shedding, but your Siberian is worth the extra work because he will bring so much joy into your life.
11. You could get lost in his eyes
Siberian Huskies are known for their large, clear blue eyes that have the power to communicate what he is feeling to you. Some of these dogs will have one blue eye and one brown, two brown or both a brilliant blue color. They’re remarkably attractive and expressive. In fact, some of your neighbors may feel a little envious because you will have the most beautiful dog in the neighborhood. It could be enough to stop any bragging that they’ve done in the past about their pooches. You will need to be prepared to deal with his eyes pragmatically though. It’s difficult to say know when he turns them on you and begs for something you wouldn’t otherwise give him. Be strong and resist because the eyes of a Siberian Husky are one of his most powerful tools for influencing a mesmerized owner.
12. Your shoes are never safe
Chewing comes naturally for dogs in general and Siberian Huskies are no exception. It’s too easy to take your shoes off to relax and forget that you have a dog that is constantly on the prowl for a new chew toy. He isn’t that discriminating and if he spies a shoe that he can get a hold of, it’s going to be history. His powerful jaws and sharp teeth will make short work of it, then he’ll be on the lookout for the next item to gnaw on. The only way that you will be able to keep your shoes safe are to either keep them on your feet, or stored behind a closed door or up high enough on a shelf, so he can’t reach them. Don’t be deceived if he goes through long periods of not targeting your shoes, because when the notion strikes, he’s going to go with his initial urge to chew.
13. He’ll eat anything you leave lying around the house
We’re moving off the topic of shoes because these are just one of the things that your dog will target as a chew toy. The reality is that anything that is within his reach is going to be considered fair game. This isn’t such a big deal after your Siberian has reached full maturity, but when he is a puppy, his gums are itching and uncomfortable. Nature encourages him to chew to help his newly emerging teeth to erupt through the gums more quickly. As they first come through, they are at their very sharpest and this is why his habit of chewing brings such swift destruction. He isn’t trying to be a bad boy on purpose, it’s just something that he cannot help. There are a few things that you can do to lessen the damage though. First, make sure that you keep prized possessions picked up and out of his reach. Next, provide him with chew toys that are sturdy in their construction, and safe for him to chew on. If he has enough of these to keep him occupied, he won’t be as inclined to chew on your furniture or other household items.
14. They are singers
Only Siberian Husky owners know that this breed makes a habit of singing. They have amazing vocal abilities and when they’re happy or feeling some other intense emotion, is when you are the most likely to be serenaded. If your dog is outside in the dark, you may think that there is a coyote or wolf out there making noise, but it’s probably just him, laying down a few tracks for his new album. This is one of the more endearing and entertaining qualities of the Siberian Husky. It’s also more likely to happen if there is a loud noise in close proximity such as a siren or freight train.
15. They’re known to sleep in bizarre positions
Don’t be alarmed to find your Siberian Husky sprawled over his bed or the arm of a chair in a weird position. He’s just trying to find the most comfortable position to rest. While it may seem a bit odd to us, dogs have different pressure points and these Huskies do like to be comfortable when they take a nap or retire for the night. You’ll soon learn that although your dog may look like he’s been mutilated and died, he’s just found the perfect position at the time and this is something that will change frequently, so don’t be surprised at the new ways he finds to display his contortionist skills.
16. They’re lovers not fighters
Your Siberian Husky isn’t predisposed to being aggressive or picking fights. He’d rather just spend time being close to you or cuddling when you sit in your chair or on the couch. They crave human companionship and physical contact so you may find that in cooler weather, your Siberian will serve as your personal footwarmer because he loves to lie at your feet so you are in physical contact with one another. But don’t expect them to just get up and protect that foot of yours in a heartbeat. They’d rather lie on that foot than save it!
17. Protect your cat from the Siberian
Although Siberian Huskies are friendly and affectionate dogs, they have a penchant for chasing smaller animals. This is something that is difficult to stop them from doing, even if you train them from small puppies. It’s possible for these dogs to get along well with other house pets, including cats, but there is a serious need to provide supervision to keep them safe. It isn’t that your Husky is a vicious animal, it’s more like a knee jerk reaction that happens because of their inborn instinct to give chase.
18. Siberian Huskies are smilers
This is another fact that will bring a nod of agreement from Siberian Husky owners. These amazing dogs are so adorable when they flash you a toothy grin. It isn’t a rare incident because they make a habit of smiling when they are happy or having an upbeat episode. The smile is generally accompanied by intense tail wagging and you know that they mean it. The smile of a Siberian Husky can be enough to melt you like butter. Is this another one of their ploys to get what they want? Probably not as it usually comes when they’re just feeling good.
19. They use their head to communicate
Siberian Huskies are great communicators and it doesn’t take long to learn what the different positions and expressions they use mean. One of the big favorites is the head tilt. This is also known as “the head tilt of understanding” among owners. When your Siberian Husky tilts his head to the side and looks at you, you know that he’s listening to what you are saying to him. In most cases, your dog will understand what you are saying to him, or at a minimum, he will get the gist of it.
20. Siberian Huskies are usually healthy but need regular checkups
The average lifespan of a Siberian Husky is between 12 and 14 years, and in some cases, a few years beyond this. Although they are generally a healthy breed, there are a few genetic health issues that you should watch for. The most common include: the development of seizures, juvenile cataracts, progressive retinal atrophy, canine glaucoma and corneal dystrophy. It’s a good idea to make sure that the breeder you purchase your pup from has screened for these conditions and that there is a low incidence within the lineage of the dog. Regular visits to the veterinary for annual or semiannual examinations can help in identifying these conditions in their early stages.
So there you have it. We’re at 20 now but we’re sure there are more that you owners out there can attest to!