Howling Up North interview: Ausky, Akita and more
Akita Raikou and Ausky Judge (Photo: Howling Up North / Instagram)
helloBARK! staff
By helloBARK! staff
Updated on September 17, 2019
Exclusive This article features content exclusive to the helloBARK! website.

Howling Up North are a gorgeous Akita and Ausky dog pack.

Judge is an Ausky, which is a cross between an Australian Shepherd and a Siberian Husky. His sibling Raikou is an Akita.

Together, they love to go on weekly hikes in the New England area.

Given the Ausky mix is such a unique cross, we spoke to Judge’s Mom Lexi to learn more about Judge.

We also touched upon Raikou and the pros and cons of owning an Akita.

If you want to learn more about Judge and Raikou, you can follow this handsome pair on Instagram (@howlingupnorth).

You can follow our dogs Copper and Skye on Instagram here (@lifewithkleekai).

1) How did you end up with Judge?

Ausky Judge (Photo: Howling Up North / Instagram)
Ausky Judge (Photo: Howling Up North / Instagram)

My boyfriend and I were actively searching for another dog, mainly to get Raikou a friend. We were actually looking for a German Shepherd, but when I saw Judge, I knew he was the dog for me.

2) Did you know that Australian Shepherd Husky mixes existed before Judge?

I did not. I’d never seen the mix before, and I think that’s part of what drew me to him. He was such a unique looking puppy!

3) What is Judge’s personality like?

Ausky Judge (Photo: Howling Up North / Instagram)
Ausky Judge (Photo: Howling Up North / Instagram)

Typical Husky traits definitely shine in his personality; he is goofy, playful, vocal, energetic, friendly and intelligent.

4) Have you met any other dogs that are a similar mix to Judge? If so, did you see any similarities or differences?

I have yet to meet another dog unrelated to Judge of the same mix, however, the biggest similarity I find in other Husky mixes is, of course, the bright blue eyes!

5) How does Judge get along with your Akita, Raikou?

Akita Raikou and Ausky Judge (Photo: Howling Up North / Instagram)
Akita Raikou and Ausky Judge (Photo: Howling Up North / Instagram)

Judge and Raikou have been best friends from day one, and have bonded so much since! They are typical brothers, constantly wrestling, playing tug of war or chasing each other around the yard. When Judge was young, he was very timid in new situations but Raikou helped him gain confidence. Judge helps keep Raikou active, and Raikou helps Judge learn when to be calm.

6) Do you see a big difference in their personalities?

Akita Raikou and Ausky Judge (Photo: Howling Up North / Instagram)
Akita Raikou and Ausky Judge (Photo: Howling Up North / Instagram)

Definitely! Raikou is way more affectionate towards people and always wants to be in the same room as you. He LOVES when we have guests over because that means he gets extra attention. Judge prefers playdates with other dogs, he has more friends than most people do. Most of the time at home, Judge is playing with his toys and you’ll find Raikou laying down watching TV with us.

7) As Spitz dogs, do you see any similarities in terms of their temperaments?

Akita Raikou and Ausky Judge (Photo: Howling Up North / Instagram)
Akita Raikou and Ausky Judge (Photo: Howling Up North / Instagram)

The biggest similarity is their love for winter! With thick double coats, they thrive in the cold and absolutely love playing in the snow! Also, they both have extremely high prey drives, and are overall very stable, confident dogs.

8) What are the pros and cons of owning two dogs?

Pros: When we brought Judge home we saw an instant improvement in Raikou’s separation anxiety. They keep each other company and play with each other.

Cons: Double the training and double the cost! One of the biggest things I struggled with in the beginning was walking them both on leash. Having two crazy puppies that could pull me down made it close to impossible for me to safely walk them by myself. I recently started working harder on their leash manners and am finally able to walk them comfortably!

9) What are the common questions you get asked about your beautiful dogs?

I always get asked if Judge is part wolf. I mean, he does act like a wild animal sometimes, but Embark DNA confirmed that he is, in fact, 100% dog. When people see Raikou, especially kids, the first question is always “Is he friendly?” followed by “Can I say hi?” Having a large, fluffy dog means that everyone will want to pet him. Luckily, Raikou fully encourages getting head scratches!

10) How often do you go exploring/hiking with Judge and Raikou? Is one more energetic than the other?

Akita Raikou and Ausky Judge (Photo: Howling Up North / Instagram)
Akita Raikou and Ausky Judge (Photo: Howling Up North / Instagram)

I take the boys on a hike at least twice a week! Judge has more energy than Raikou does, so I usually bring him to dog parks or places he can run off leash throughout the week to help get all of his energy out.

11) Are Akitas difficult to train?

Akitas are highly intelligent dogs but their tendency to be independent and stubborn can make them difficult to train. They aren’t as willing to please as most dog breeds tend to be. Raikou is highly food motivated and will do just about anything as long as I’m offering him treats. I started training and socializing him immediately at 8 weeks old, and now he knows many tricks and listens well.

12) Would you recommend an Akita to a first-time dog owner?

Akita Raikou (Photo: Howling Up North / Instagram)
Akita Raikou (Photo: Howling Up North / Instagram)

Only if the person is knowledgeable about the breed and willing to put in the effort to raise one. I’d recommend working with a trustworthy dog trainer to learn how to properly use training tools such as gentle leaders and prong collars. Akitas need a confident, consistent owner who is comfortable handling such a powerful animal. With that said, Raikou was actually my first dog. I had worked with dogs prior, but I believe that actually owning a challenging breed helped me really learn and understand more about dog behavior.

13) Your photos are stunning! Who is easier or more willing to be photographed?

Thank you!! Judge is definitely the better model. He poses however I ask him to and usually looks directly at the camera. Raikou does his best to avoid looking at the camera at all costs.

14) What is your favourite place you’ve visited with Judge and Raikou?

Ausky Judge (Photo: Howling Up North / Instagram)
Ausky Judge (Photo: Howling Up North / Instagram)

We went to the White Mountains in New Hampshire and it was breathtaking! The drive up Mount Washington gave 360 degree views of the mountains, and we went on a few hikes with gorgeous waterfalls and summit views!

15) What’s your favourite thing about having an Instagram for your dogs?

I love photography and having a place to post my photos. I use Instagram as my personal blog to remember all the adventures we go on! It is a great network to connect people, I have even made a few friends! I am constantly being inspired by other photographers, dog trainers, and other adventurous people to explore more with my dogs!

16) Finally, are there any other Australian Shepherd/Husky mix or Akita accounts you’d recommend?

This is so tough, I follow so many amazing people and pups!

• @akiramyakita – Amazing photography of Akira, a beautiful, well-trained Akita!

• @akita.malamutee – Zoey is a perfect representation of the breed, she is a working dog and has also competed in dog shows!

• @rhea_the_ausky – Rhea is an adorable, adventurous Ausky from Missouri!

• @a_dog_named_ida – Ida is another adorable Ausky that lives in Canada!

• @kings.ofthe.north – One of my favorite husky/husky mix accounts, they live in Alaska and go on incredible adventures with their pack!

Australian Shepherd Husky Mix pros and cons

Pros

Ausky Judge (Photo: Howling Up North / Instagram)
Ausky Judge (Photo: Howling Up North / Instagram)

• Judge is extremely friendly! Huskies and Australian Shepherds are both very social dog breeds.

• He has a very high drive, which makes sports such as agility, dock diving and bikejoring possible and fun!

• He is very smart, he learns new tricks quickly and listens very well!

Cons

Ausky Judge (Photo: Howling Up North / Instagram)
Ausky Judge (Photo: Howling Up North / Instagram)

• Judge has a very high prey drive! He wants to chase any wildlife he sees.

• He barks a lot. If he’s bored, he isn’t afraid to let you know.

• Endless energy. I could take him for a 5 mile hike and by the time we get home, he’s already begging to go outside and play.

Akita pros and cons

Pros

• Akitas are extremely loving towards their family members! He is always ready to snuggle and give lots of love.

• Having low energy means he is always up for anything. He enjoys hiking but also loves staying home to watch TV all day!

• He’s very clean, he never rolls in mud or stinky things, and he licks himself clean if he gets his paws wet.

Cons

• He is very aloof around other dogs. Akitas are usually very dominant and don’t get along well with other dominant dogs.

• He sheds A LOT. I could brush him every day for an hour and I’ll still find fur everywhere.

• He is very independent. He likes to do his own thing and doesn’t like being told what to do, which makes it hard to get him into dog sports or other training activities.