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Siberian Husky

 Photo of Siberian Husky
Photo: Wikipedia

Siberian Husky Books

Group: Working - Breed Standard

Origins

The Siberian Husky is a working dog breed that originated in eastern Siberia. The Siberian Husky is a medium-sized dog. Siberian Huskies are a resiliant breed of dog, known for their ability to thrive in the arctic cold. They were originally bred by the Chukchi tribes for use as a village dog to accomplish such tasks as herding reindeer, pulling sleds, and keeping children warm.

Description

Height: dogs: 53-60 cms (21-23½ ins) at withers; bitches: 51-56 cms (20-22 ins) at withers. Weight: dogs: 20.-27 kgs (45-60 lbs); bitches: 16-23 kgs (35-50 lbs).

Siberians have a thicker coat than most other breeds of dog. It comes in a variety of colors and patterns, usually with white paws and legs, facial markings, and tail tip. The most common colors are black and white, grey and white, copper-red and white, and pure white, though many individuals have brown, reddish, or biscuit shadings and some are piebald spotted. Striking masks, spectacles, and other facial markings occur in wide variety. They tend to have a wolf-like appearance. This may be due to the fact that Huskies are one of the few dog breeds closely related to the wolf and some people are slightly afraid of them because of this. But they also gaining popularity because of their friendliness and stamina. The dogs eyes are brown, hazel, or blue. Light blue eye color is characteristic but not completely dominant. The breed may have one eye brown or hazel and the other blue, called "bi-eyed" or may have blue and another color mixed in the iris of one or both eyes; this latter trait, heterochromia, is called "parti-eyed" by Siberian enthusiasts. This is one of the few breeds for which different-colored eyes are allowed in the show ring. The Siberian Husky is one of the few dog breeds where blue eyes are common. Its ears are triangular, well-furred, medium-sized, and erect; its fox-like brush tail is carried in a sickle curve over the back. The Siberian Husky's coat consists of two layers, a dense, cashmere-like undercoat and a longer coarser topcoat consisting of short, straight guard hairs. Siberians only shed their undercoat once a year; the process is commonly referred to as blowing their coat. Dogs that live primarily indoors often will not shed year round, so the shedding is less profuse. Otherwise, grooming is minimal; bathing is normally unnecessary as the coat sheds dirt. Also, it is not uncommon for a dog of this breed to groom itself carefully in much the same way one might expect of cats. Well and healthy Siberians have little odor. Their ears are amazingly soft and they have very good hearing.Like all dogs, the Husky's nose is normally cool and moist. In some instances, Huskies can exhibit what is called 'snow nose' or 'winter nose'. Technically called "hypopigmentation", it results from loss of sunlight, and causes the nose (or parts of it) to fade to brown or pink in winter. The normal color returns as summer approaches. Snow nose also occurs in other light-coated breeds; the color change can become permanent in older dogs, though it is not associated with disease.

Character/Temperament

Despite their sometimes intimidating wolf-like appearance, Siberian Huskies generally have a gentle temperament. Being a working breed, Siberians are very energetic and enjoy the ability to explore and run. That, combined with their striking appearance, has made them popular as both family pets and as show dogs. Huskies can be extremely affectionate, curious (like all dogs), and welcoming to people; characteristics that usually render them as poor guard dogs. Properly socialized Siberians are most often quite gentle with children (although no dog, including Siberians, should be left unsupervised with small children). As with any dog breed, Siberian Huskies do have some qualities which some pet owners may find undesirable. Despite their affectionate nature, Siberian Huskies are not as subservient and "eager-to-please" their owners as some other popular breeds. Siberian Huskies are not generally recommended for first time dog owners, as their strong will and desire to run are difficult to manage without the right knowledge.

Breed Health

Siberians are normally rather healthy dogs, typically living from eleven to fifteen years of age. Health issues in the breed are eye troubles (cataracts, glaucoma, and corneal dystrophy among others), allergies, and cancer in older animals. Hip dysplasia occurs but is not a major concern in the breed. This breed needs a high-quality diet with high levels of protein and fat, particularly when used for dogsledding. That said, Siberian Huskies are fuel-efficient dogs, consuming less food than other dogs of similar size and activity level. The diet must be adjusted to their level of work and exercise; obesity can be a problem for underexercised, overfed pets. Due to their origins, Huskies do require some amount of fish oil in their diet, primarily for their coat and nails, which can become brittle without the fish oil. Most trainers/hobbyists recommend feeding Huskies sardines as a means to introduce fish oil into their diet.

Exercise

Siberian Huskies have strong running instincts and therefore as a general rule of thumb should never be left to run free off-lead for their own safety.

Training

Huskies can be challenging to train due to their strong will and stubborn nature. Many times they will refuse to perform a task until they see a greater reason than simply appeasing their owner. Proper training requires a lot of persistence and patience on behalf of the trainer. See our books on training


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Last link added: 16 Mar, 2008