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Breed Profile: Siberian Husky

Siberian Huskies, with their thick, luxurious coats that come in a wide range of colours and markings, are absolutely beautiful. Their facial masks, and either blue or multi-coloured eyes, add greatly to the appeal of the breed, and it is easy to understand why so many people are attracted to their wolf-like looks.

History of the Siberian Husky

Believed by many to have originated among the Chukchi tribe of Siberia, little is known about the history of the Siberian Husky. However, DNA tests conducted have established that it is one of the oldest dog breeds around. The dogs were used for fast transportations by the Chukchi tribe, and were treated as an actual part of the family, with the huskies frequently sleeping with the children, in order to keep them warm.

They were imported to Alaska in 1908 to be used during the gold rush as sled dogs, and records show that the last of this breed was exported in 1930 from Siberia, when the then Soviet government closed the borders. Despite slight changes from their Siberian ancestors – the Chukchi Sled Dog, the Siberian Husky as we know it today, has still managed to maintain many of the wonderful characteristics of the breed.

General Physical Characteristics of the Siberian Husky

The Siberian Husky, classed as a working dog, stands 1’8” to 1’11” in height at the shoulder, and can weigh anything between 35 and 60 pounds. They have distinctive facial masks and spectacular eyes, in colours that can be an intense ice-blue, to multi-coloured. In short, they are stunning, independent, intelligent dogs, with absolutely beautiful coats, which makes them an extremely popular breed with many people.

Character and Temperament of the Siberian Husky

Being pack dogs, Siberian Huskies need owners who let them know in no uncertain terms, who is the leader of the pack at home. Dogs respect owners who do this, which makes training a lot simpler. Even so, the Siberian Husky is the type of dog that will test your position from time to time, and try to take over as leader of the family pack – if you let him.  The best way to establish yourself as the leader of the pack at home, is to make your dog wait for his food. This will make him see you as the keeper of all his valuable resources such as food, toys, treats, and any other dog-related assets.

The Siberian Husky is extremely energetic, and needs plenty of daily exercise to prevent him from getting bored. Should he become bored when he is left alone, he will quite easily demolish everything in the home. They also find great pleasure in digging in the garden, which they will destroy completely in a short time. Rather than try to break this habit, keep everyone happy by training your dog to understand which section of the garden he is allowed to dig in.

Known for their howling, the Siberian Husky is no good as a watchdog, because he very rarely barks, not even at intruders. In fact, they are so gentle and friendly, that they will more than likely welcome burglars into your home with plenty of playful tail wagging!

Huskies make great family pets, and are very tolerant with children. However, as with all other types of dogs, there should be supervision when they are around small children. They get on very well with other pets too, but it is important to get them to socialize with other people and pets, from puppyhood. It must always be remembered too, that Huskies have an in-built prey drive due to the extreme conditions in Siberia, and might instinctively chase after other small animals such as rabbits, cats, and squirrels. This will not be a problem at all though, if the Husky is raised from puppyhood, with any type of other animal.

Life Span of the Siberian Husky

The Siberian Husky can live for anything from 12 to 15 years.

Common Health and Personality Issues in Huskies

It is important that anyone considering acquiring a Siberian Husky as a pet, understands that they, like most other breeds are prone to certain illnesses. This does not mean however, that your pet will get any or all of the following illnesses:

  1. Progressive Retinal Atrophy (PRA) – a degenerative eye disorder that eventually leads to blindness. As long as the furniture is not moved around at home, a blind Huskie can live a long and happy life, by using his other senses.
  2. Corneal Dystrophy – when the cornea or outer transparent part of the eyeball is affected when lipids collect in the cornea, causing it to become opaque. Affects more young adult females than males, and although there is no treatment for the condition, does not appear to affect the eyesight in any way.
  3. Cataracts - an opacity on the eye lens, causing a deterioration in the eyesight. Eyes with cataracts appear cloudy, and usually occur when dogs become old. They can be removed sometimes, to improve the dog’s eyesight.

Despite Siberian Huskies having several qualities that can make them difficult, they are still a fantastic breed, with wonderful temperaments, and if correctly trained, make ideal family pets.

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