Siberian Husky
Siberian Husky at the park (Photo: Gowiththeflou / Instagram)
helloBARK! staff
By helloBARK! staff
Updated on July 31, 2019
Fact Checked

Siberian Huskies are beautiful dogs that are striking in appearance.

These sled dogs originated in Russia before they were brought to Alaska at the turn of the 19th century.

With eyes that can take your breath away, and lush fluffy coats, it’s easy to see why this breed is universally popular.

However, Siberian Huskies do have a number of stigmas, which include difficult to train, excessive barking or howling and potentially aggressive.

Given the breed started as working dogs, these magnificent canines have high energy levels and need a lot of exercise.

If owners are willing to put in substantial time training these dogs, they can make successful pets and working dogs.

A brief introduction to Siberian Husky

Siberian Huskies originated in the north east Russia (Photo: Gowiththeflou / Instagram)
Siberian Huskies originated in the north east Russia (Photo: Gowiththeflou / Instagram)

As their name suggests, Siberian Huskies originate from the vast region of Siberia in Russia.

The Chukchi people of northeastern Asia are credited with developing the breed into the dogs that we know and love today.

The breed played a crucial role in the survival of the Chukchi people with their endurance levels and ability to travel great distances.

The sled dogs helped these indigenous people to expand their hunting grounds.

Siberian Huskies were brought to Alaska for the first time in 1908 for sled dog racing to rival the Alaskan Husky.

They played a big role in the gold rush in Alaska between 1908 and 1928, while competing in the All-Alaska Sweepstakes, which was a 408-mile (657-km) distance dog sled race.

The breed received notoriety (and praise) in the winter of 1925. Siberian Huskies were used to deliver diphtheria serum from Nenana to Noma, a 674-mile journey.

Thanks to 20 mushers and 150 sled dogs over a five-and-a-half day time period, an incipient epidemic was prevented. The lead dog, Balto, has a statue in New York City to honour the effort of these dogs.

The export of Siberian Huskies from Russia was halted before the American Kennel Club recognised the breed in 1930. AKC initially called the breed Artic Huskies before changing the name to Siberian Huskies in 1991.

They were thought to have become extinct in Chukchi but an expedition to the region in 2006 uncovered that the breed is still in existence among these native people.

What breeds were used to create Siberian Husky?

The Siberian Husky is a direct descendant of the original sled dogs from 4,500 years ago.

They are closely related to Alaskan Malamutes and Samoyeds, while they are genetically similar to Alaskan Huskies.

The breed are thought to have earned their name from the “corrupted” nickname for Eskimos: Esky.

Siberian Huskies have been used to create other breeds, notably Alaskan Klee Kai.

How big will my Siberian Husky get?

Siberian Huskies are a medium sized dog.

The breed standard states that male Siberian Huskies tend to reach between 21 and 24 inches (53 and 61 cm) tall. They can weigh around 45 and 60 pounds (20 and 27 kg).

Female Siberian Huskies are usually 20 to 22 inches (51 to 56 cm) tall and will weigh around 35 to 50 pounds (16 to 23 kg).

Siberian Husky colours

Siberian Husky can come in a wide variety of colours (Photo: navas_huskies / Instagram)
Siberian Husky can come in a wide variety of colours (Photo: navas_huskies / Instagram)

Siberian Huskies can come in a variety of different colours, although black and white is the most common shade.

These dogs can also be found with copper/red and white, grey and white, sage and white and all-white.

There is a rare variation of these Siberian dogs called Agouti Husky.

Siberian Husky Club of America states it is their belief that “a Siberian Husky exhibiting merle or brindle patterning is the result of impure breeding”.

They go on to add that they strongly “discourages anyone from purchasing or breeding a merle or a brindle Siberian Husky”.

Siberian Husky have almond shaped eyes that can come in a number of different colours.

According to breed standards, the eye colours that are accepted include brown, blue or black. Some Siberian Huskies will have one of each or particoloured eyes are also acceptable.

Their striking masks (usually white) only serve to further emphasis their striking eye colours.

Why do Siberian Huskies look like wolves?

Siberian Huskies are sometimes likened to wolves.

Indeed, the hit Disney film, Balto, depicted the 1925 serum run to Nome. The star dog called Balto was a male Siberian Husky that completed the final leg of the journey.

He even received a statue in his honour in New York City.

However, Disney depicted Balto as half Siberian Husky, half wolf.

But Siberian Huskies are not closely related to wolves, no more so than any
of their other sled dog relatives.

While they are often used to play the role of wolves in films, there is no notable tie between these two animals.

Siberian Husky lifespan

Siberian Huskies were brought to Alaska in 1908 (Photo: Gowiththeflou / Instagram)
Siberian Huskies were brought to Alaska in 1908 (Photo: Gowiththeflou / Instagram)

Siberian Huskies tend to have a lifespan of between 12 and 15 years.

Of course, some members of the breed can exceed 15 years and even reach the ripe old age of 20.

Are Siberian Husky dogs dangerous?

Siberian Huskies are stereotyped as aggressive or dangerous dogs.

A report published in 2012 claimed that Siberian Huskies are among the most dangerous dogs in United States.

According to US law firm Hill & Associates, Siberian huskies were responsible for 15 mauling deaths between 1979 and 1998.

Such a stat is extremely worrying for potential owners of this breed.

Given their ancestors were used as sled dogs in big packs, they can look to assert their dominance within a pecking order.

There are signs that owners can observe that suggest a Siberian Husky is trying to stamp his authority on the household.

These include making lengthy eye contact and staring or making themselves as tall as possible.

In the event of your dog looking to run the household, the services of an experienced dog trainer could help to alleviate the issue.

Other Siberian Huskies could show aggression towards other dogs. If they pick up on a nervous dog, the Siberian Husky could produce an unwelcome response as a protective mechanism.

Some members of the breed can react adversely to other dogs coming into their territory.

Having said that, as this breed are used to working in packs as sled dogs, they do enjoy the company of other canines.

Like all dog breeds, Siberian Huskies do benefit from early socialization, basic obedience training, and learning good manners.

helloBARK! recommends contacting an experienced dog trainer or your local vet should you have any concerns about the temperament of your Siberian Husky.

Are Siberian Huskies loyal to their owners?

Siberian Huskies live between 12 and 15 years (Photo: huskies_navas / Instagram)
Siberian Huskies live between 12 and 15 years (Photo: huskies_navas / Instagram)

Siberian Husky are loyal dogs and can become quite attached to their owners.

Unlike the Alaskan Klee Kai, Siberian Huskies are usually very friendly and sociable when they meet strangers.

For this reason, they don’t make great guard or watch dogs due to their amiable nature.

The American Kennel Club highlight their friendly nature on their website:

“Siberians are very social, and regularly need the company of their people or other dogs; they are not suited to being left alone all day.”

Do Siberian Husky dogs make good pets?

The pertinent question here is whether you make a good Siberian Husky owner!

This breed can be quite demanding in terms of exercise, training, socialising and maintaining.

Siberian Huskies need a lot of exercise – it shouldn’t come as a surprise that they like to run considering the heroics of Balto and co.

While a big garden or yard is ideal, Siberians require regular exercise to ensure these dogs don’t cause trouble at home.

If you have limited space outside, you will need to take these Huskies for long walks or regular trips to the dog park.

Remember, a tired dog is a happy dog!

Like Alaskan Klee Kai, Siberians are expert escape artists. You will need to ensure that your garden or yard is properly secured, otherwise these dogs will find a way to wander off.

They also have poor recall so they cannot be trusted off the leash or in open spaces.

Do Siberian Huskies shed a lot?

If you don’t like the idea of regular hoovering dog hair, Siberian Huskies aren’t the dog for you.

The breed shed a lot and their coat requires a lot of maintance (as well as the rising fur levels around the house!).

Given their roots in Siberia and Alaska, it should be no surprise to learn that these dogs have thicker than average coats.

They have double coats: a dense under coat and longer upper coat.

Siberian’s undercoat is shed twice a year and AKC recommend that owners “rake out” the old coat.

Otherwise, this breed are good at self cleaning and usually require just two or three baths a year.

Are Siberian Huskies really that hard to train?

The most famous Siberian Husky is Balto (Photo: Gowiththeflou / Instagram)
The most famous Siberian Husky is Balto (Photo: Gowiththeflou / Instagram)

Another stereotype of the breed is that Siberians are stubborn dogs and very difficult to train.

Given these are pack dogs, Siberians tend to be very strong-willed and highly intelligent.

These qualities could potentially make these dogs very difficult to train.

Siberian Huskies are known for pushing the boundaries with their dog owners, and they will often to try to assert their dominance in the household.

Like we mentioned above, these sled dogs require a lot of exercise or they could become destructive when left indoors.

They don’t do well when left alone for long periods, which is another reason why Siberians need regular and consistent exercise.

Some experts suggest there are three key elements to training a Siberian.

As a pack dog, a Siberian Husky will jostle to place themselves at the top of the pyramid, as they would during the sled dog days.

Experts say that dog owners need to established themselves as the house’s pack leader – not their husky. Given the mushers were in charge of these dogs in the early 1900s, it shouldn’t be a surprise to learn that Siberians tend to listen to commands from strong leaders.

Treats will help to move along the training process, while it is recommended that you use positive reinforcement to help correct your Siberian’s unwanted behaviours.

However, helloBARK! suggests consulting with an experienced dog trainer, especially one with knowledge of stubborn breeds, to help train your Siberian Husky.

Do Siberian Huskies bark?

Enter Siberian Huskies into YouTube and you will come across a long list of videos of these dogs howling. It’s one of the key characteristics of the breed. However, they aren’t known as excessive barkers. For this reason, they don’t make great guard or watch dogs.

Some Siberian Huskies will howl when they are bored or excited. They will also stretch their vocal chords when the sled dogs are in the company of other Siberians. However, if these dogs receive a lot of exercise, they will be happy and satisfied – and possibly less inclined to howl.

They like to talk a lot – too. This could be with other Siberians or even their human owners. These huskies like to communicate using their voice, even whining if they’re unhappy.

How much do Siberian Huskies cost?

Siberian Huskies can vary in cost depending on a number of different factors.

It can depend upon their coat colour, eye colour, lineage, gender and location.

In general, their price ranges from $600 to $1300. However, they can cost more if they are one of the rarer colours.

If you are considering a Siberian Husky as a pet, we recommend contacting reputable breeders with a list of questions.

Most breeders will require potential owners to fill out a questionnaire before placing a deposit.

Can a Husky survive in hot weather?

While Siberian Huskies originated in the Chukchi peninsula in north eastern Russia, the breed can be found all across the world.

Given their surging popularity, they can be found in warmer climes, not just the snowy conditions of Alaska and Russia.

While they have a thick double coat, these dogs are able to do well in hotter environments but dog owners should be cautious about overheating.

Siberian Huskies require plenty of shade and water during hotter temperatures. While they love to exercise, it is advisable to take precautions during hot summer days to avoid these majestic dogs overheating.

Siberian Husky health problems

Siberian Huskies are sociable dogs (Photo: Adobe Stock)
Siberian Huskies are sociable dogs (Photo: Adobe Stock)

Siberian Huskies are generally considered to be pretty healthy dogs.

However, Siberians do suffer from some problems that can affect most dogs, such as hip dysplasia and eye disease.

One of the more common conditions that can affect Siberian Huskies is cataracts. This can potentially lead to blindness. Siberian Husky owners should bring their pet to the vet on a regular basis to have their eyes checked.

Eyes can be a big problem for Siberian Huskies and Progressive Retinal Atrophy is another condition that is quite common amongst the breed. Like cataracts, this can also lead to blindness.

Finally, if you spot little white dots in your husky’s cornea, you should make an appointment with the vet as your Siberian could be suffering from corneal dystrophy, which is a hereditary disease.

Some famous Siberian Huskies

Balto is perhaps the most famous member of the breed.

The male Siberian Husky was involved in quite literally a life-or-death race to deliver desperately needed anti-toxin from Anchorage to Nome, Alaska in 1925.

Born in 1923, Balto was part of a team of 150 sled dogs and 20 mushers that travelled 674 miles to transport a vital anti-toxin to prevent the potentially fatal spread of diphtheria in Nome.

Balto led his sled dog team over the final 53 miles, which took around 20 hours, to get the medicine to the town to help save many lives.

His exploits were honoured with a life sized statue of the heroic dog in New York City’s Central Park on December 17, 1925.

Alaskan Malamutes and Siberian Huskies starred alongside Paul Walker and Bruce Greenwood in the 2006 film, Eight Below.

Hollywood actors Ben Stiller and Jared Leto have previously owned Siberian Huskies, while singer Rita Ora has been spotted with a Siberian pup in the past.

Siberian Huskies you need to follow on Instagram

1) @thathikinghusky – 3,599 followers

2) @dakota.blue – 649 followers

3) @gowiththeflou – 1609 followers

4) @lilothehusky – 504,000 followers

5) @misty_thehusky – 17,600 followers

6) @koda_siberian_husky – 21,200 followers

7) @kuma_thehuskybear – 60,300 followers

8) @navas_huskies – 52,000 followers

9) @ginn_husky – 32,700 followers

10) @charlieandkoda – 1,931 followers

Advice from Siberian Husky owners

@navashuskies: “Do your research! They have a high prey drive (which cannot be trained out of them, despite what some people say), they are NOT off lead dogs if you plan on having more than one of them, and they do not like being left alone at home for hours on end. There is nearly always someone home in our house, and has been since they were pups. Huskies left alone get bored, and bored huskies can be incredibly destructive. I’ve seen huskies that have shredded entire leather sofas in the space of half an hour, chewed through doors, eaten shoes (ours have eaten shoes and socks on several occasions actually).”

@gowiththeflou: “If you are considering a husky, you have to have time and active lifestyle. Husky is not a couch dog you watch TV with, they need a lot of activities and training, just walking isn’t enough. You need to have good nerves and systematic approach when it comes to training. I promise that you are not going to disappoint with this breed as long as you have time and a sporty lifestyle you can include your husky too.”

In conclusion

The Siberian Husky first arrived in Alaska during the Nome Gold Rush (Photo: Adobe Stock)
The Siberian Husky first arrived in Alaska during the Nome Gold Rush (Photo: Adobe Stock)

Siberian Huskies are eye catching and majestic dogs that are usually an instant hit.

However, they can require a lot of work to polish them into excellent family pets.

Given they are sled dogs, Siberian require a lot of exercise to prevent them from becoming destructive at home.

These pack dogs are very social animals and don’t do well when left alone for long periods.

Siberian Huskies can’t be trusted off the leash and have a reputation for being expert escape artists.

They can be stubborn so these dogs require a lot of training and socialisation from a young age.

While they tend to get on with other sociable dogs, Siberian Huskies do like to establish themselves as dominant forces within a pack.

helloBARK! recommend doing thorough research about Siberian Huskies before considering adding one to your home.