Are Siberian Huskies Really That Hard to Raise?

JefferyBeall, CC BY 2.0, via flicker
I've been asked this question a few times and honestly, it is not a question that has a yes or no answer.  The answer will vary from person to person and from dog to dog.

Huskies have general personality traits that are very common in the breed but I have yet to meet a sibe that has read a Siberian Husky handbook and knows how they are expected to act.

In order to help you make the decision of whether or not a Siberian Husky is right for you, let me ask you a few questions.

Question 1:  Are you the type of person that does not like dog hair?

Question 2:  Are you an inactive person that does not like to get outside and walk or play with a dog for at least two hours a day?

Question 3:  Do you have any issues with putting a dog into a kennel or crate when you aren't home?

Question 4:  Do you have a problem with the time and motivation to train a dog, stick to the training and treat the dog as if you are the pack leader?

If you answered yes to at least 2 of those three questions, my advice would be to search for a different breed and here's why:

Dog hair is a given with a Siberian Husky.

These dogs shed a lot of hair and it is year round.  They require regular brushing and a lot of time getting up close and personal with the vacuum cleaner to keep the hair off of carpets and furniture.  Sibes go through a massive shedding twice a year that is generally referred to as "blowing" their coat, once in the spring and once in the fall.  That is when dog hair can be particularly become a nuisance.  Shaving is not an option for this breed because when you remove the hair, you can cause the dog to be exposed to extreme sunlight or cold.

Sibes are VERY active dogs. 

If you have never spent any time with a Siberian Husky then no, you have no idea what an active, high energy dog looks like.  These dogs NEED exercise and a lot of it.  A few hours of walking or at least an hour of running is required to keep these dogs happy.  When a sibe is not getting enough exercise they can become bored and along with boredom comes destruction.  Sophie tore down and destroyed the blinds that were over my patio door when I was sick and she didn't get her daily exercise for a few days.

Which leads me to...

The majority of Siberian Huskies will need to be kenneled or crated when you are not home.

I was not a big fan of crates either until Sophie came into my life.  These dogs are high energy and will destroy things if they are left unattended.

IrisDragon, CC BY 2.0, via flicker
Training is not an option when it comes to the Sibe, it is a requirement for harmony in the relationship.

Huskies are extremely close to the wolf.  In fact, genetically they are the closest domesticated dog to the wolf.  Wolves run in packs that have a hierarchy and it is extremely important that your husky see you as the pack leader.  These dogs are extremely strong willed and opinionated on how things should go and if they do not see you as their leader they will flat and outright ignore anything that you tell them to do.

Training should be ongoing.  Even though Sophie is as old as she is and has been with me for many years now, we still occasionally have training sessions to refresh her memory on who runs the show.  I call those sessions attitude adjustments and will run her through the gamete of "sit, lay down, shake and speak" until I am satisfied that she has been reminded that I am in fact the leader.  If she is outside with me and sees a squirrel and I tell her no, she will not start pulling on the leash, possibly getting away to chase that squirrel.  It is for the safety of the dog and for your piece of mind.

4 comments:

  1. A lot of good ideas there. I think you got it right about the frequency of exercise that Huskies need - every day, even if you don't feel like it, the dog gets to go out and move around. A lot of wannabe Husky owners don't realise that this is a working dog that needs to be worked!

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  2. Thank you Danny. It is so important to stress to people that are unfamiliar with the breed and are considering the Sibe to understand their exercise requirement. As you know there's no getting around it.

    BTW- Beautiful Sibe in your photo!

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  3. Good article and accurate so far, but I would disagree with the "crate" part. I live in Europe and I didn't even now until a few years back that most of the people in the US put their dogs into a crate if they are left alone at home. I can leave my husky pup alone at home without worrying (she can be alone for up to 6 hours, but normally it isn't longer than 2 or 3 hours. She sleeps on the couch and that's it. :)

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    1. First nice article and good info! Im with you on the "crate" thing anon, well I call them "cages" but that doesn't sound so nice lol ! I'm not a fan at all and flokie (pronounced flow-key ) my dog use to be in one with his previous owner , but touch wood iv never had any problems with leaving him, that said he does spend most of his time with me even coming to work with me where he chills out either on the front seat off the campervan watching the world go by or asleep on the couch in his standard pose on his back legs up in the air ! He was given to me as his old owners could not handled him , thay said he would not do anything he was asked would mount everyone , couldn't be walked in the day or within a million miles of Any one or animal ! Have to say he has never tried to mount me or anyone! He loves playing with other dogs ,cats, people anything that wants to or not and loves being of the lead running like a nutter, sorry I'm rambling on, basically he is happy because he knows he is not alpha male anymore and dose not have the stress that comes with that job! I have never had a husky before and can vouch that your normal dog handling/training methods won't be much cop ! thay are great fun and so full of character and me and flokie are still working out our little kinks like recall right away and not in his own time as I'm sure most of you will remember :) I find exercise helps him in all aspects from calmness and happiness right though to bowel movements so yer if u live in the UK and don't like walking in the rain then get a cat :)

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