Newest Review: ... white and copper red and white. White dots mark the tail, face and paws. Coating: The Siberian Husky is double-coated. A dense woolly un... more
Old Blue Eyes is Back
Member Name: sit2020
Advantages: Great companions
Since we embarked on sharing our lives with huskies, our eyes and hearts have been opened up. These really are amazing dogs, highly intelligent and very strong willed, they do things on their terms, this can cause frustration to dog owners at times. But that is all part of their charm.
These are highly active creatures that are surprisingly quiet, yet they can always let you know exactly what they want. They tend not too make a fuss, but love nothing better than being made a fuss of.
What do they look like?
This is the part of the review that I will step away from the accepted opinion. If you look at the Kennel Club's definition of the breed you will get a medium sized dog of a specific size and weight. I may be alone in not accepting their definitions as totally accurate, the Siberian husky has only relatively recently become a recognised breed by the Kennel Club. So any dogs that are either taller or smaller than the KC accepted standard is regarded by them as a fault. It may because of this that a lot of Huskies that are available for sale are not KC registered, this is not to say they are not huskies, it is just for one reason or another they have not been registered with the KC.
The first thing you will notice about a Husky is its eyes, they are either blue or brown occasionally you will get a Bi-Eyed husky who has one brown and one blue. No matter what colour the husky is they tend to look as if they have black eye liner on, this tends to emphasise their eyes and helps them communicate without the need to resort to any vocal noise.
There are a lot of different colours of husky from white and cream through to grey, tan, black and copper. The latter four are not pure colours; they tend to have these colours in a marked presentation. Often you will see masks on the dogs that although they vary in size and style are all readily identifiable as being that of a husky.
The ears of a husky are triangular in shape. Pointing up and are in direct proportion to the animals head.
Overall these medium sized dogs are well proportioned, with a strong appearance; they have a reasonably muscular build, with no fat on them.
The other part of a husky is the tail, obviously the position of the tail depends on the dog's mood, but generally, the tail curls over the dogs back and has long hair on the outer side of the tail giving it a very striking appearance.
The fur is one thing that people often comment on, they may tell the owner of a Siberian husky "that is not a husky its fur is too short". This is incorrect, Siberians do not generally have long fur, theirs is medium length although it may vary slightly from dog to dog. What happens is people often mistake the Alaskan Malamute with the Siberian Husky. The malamute has denser, longer and thicker fur than the Siberian and tends to be overall slightly larger. The best example is in the film "Eight Below", here you will see a film about a group of sled dogs, most are Siberians but two are Malamutes, if you watch the film carefully you will see the difference between the two breeds of dog.
One thing that is very interesting is how a Huskies colours can change from a pup to a two year old dog. Basically the pup that you buy will change its markings as it grows, they may develop darker areas, the mask on the face will often become more pronounced.
How easy are they to keep?
As far as feeding is concerned, they can be a little fussy, they tend not to have the strongest stomachs or largest of appetites.
They need human contact, it is not necessary that you make a constant fuss of them, but they just need to know you are nearby, leaving them alone for long periods of time is asking for trouble. Often a Husky left alone will find something to do; invariably this will involve something of a destructive nature.
How much exercise do they need?
If you enjoy dog walking then these are the animal for you, they need regular exercise and plenty of it. They do not seem to run out of energy when out walking, it tends to be the owner who runs out of steam first.
Our husky bitch loves the sea and the sand. She will quite happily paddle about for hours
Also ours do not mind the rain, cold weather or high winds either. They still need exercise even when the weather is at its worst.
Are they related to the wolf?
People often stop me in the street and ask is it a wolf? Well that is a simple No. However the debate as to how close they are related to the wolf rages and as far as I can see will always be the case. As far as I am concerned ALL domestic Dogs are related to the wolf and therefore the Siberian in that respect is no different. One thing that the Siberian does that is not so common in other domestic breeds is when it comes to a mother weaning her pups onto solid food, she will eat and then regurgitate for the pups to eat. On speaking to a vet about this particular trait, he said it was because they are closely related to the wolf.
Another thing that is in favour of those who say they are closely related is the noises that they make, yes they can whimper and bark in a dog like way, but in general they tend to make very little in the way of noise and to attract attention they will raise their heads and howl.
Are they good with other pets?
This again is an issue that you need to think very carefully over. Huskies are extremely fast and will look at smaller animals as prey. There is no easy way to say this they can and will kill small animals (rabbits, cats etc), the only saving grace is they do not play with the animals; they make a quick and decisive kill. Please do not think of Huskies as killers, they are only doing what comes naturally to them.
Are their any downsides
Destructive - These animals love company (either human or that of another dog), if they are allowed to get bored then they may take to chewing (or digging see below) this could be any item from a child's toy, any coats or shoes within reach, not forgetting any item of furniture or even a wall if that takes their fancy. Huskies are not the only dog that will act in this manner, but they have taken this art form to a higher level.
Compulsive diggers - Not just holes in your garden, a bored or playful Husky may decide that to dig a hole in a bed or settee would be fun and in a matter of minutes they can completely transform a once fine piece of furniture into a work of Husky art. I am unsure what causes this behaviour; it makes for a lot of thought, especially when you consider that once they have dug a hole in a piece of furniture they will bed down in it.
Escape artistes - As I have already mentioned these dogs have a compulsion to dig, but they are also able to climb and jump with amazing agility, if you let them out in your garden you will need to make sure you have high gates and fences and this needs to either go deep into the ground or the ground needs to be paved and or concreted. Our husky bitch can be sitting on one side of a child safety gate and from that position and seemingly with little effort can jump over the gate without touching it.
Very strong willed - Probably because these animals are bright they tend to do things as and when they want. They seem to sit and reason their actions. They can do things that you would not have imagined them being capable of, normally this will be a source of amusement, but it can also be a source of frustration for the owner.
They love to pull when being walked - This is not really a surprise when you think of it, after all these animals have been bred for a lot of years to pull sledges and just because you have a pet does not mean they lose what is now part of their nature. The best way to combat this is to use a harness rather than a collar when walking a husky as this means they are not constantly pulling from their neck. It also gives the handler more control over the animal.
Very difficult to train - They do learn, commands such as sit, and with more than a little patience and persuasion on the part of the owner a Husky will obey such commands most of the time. It is very true that even the most obedient Husky is easily distracted by nearly anything; a moth flying by will mean a Husky will be more interested in that than sitting just because you have told/asked it to.
I have yet to see a Husky perform at an agility competition, if you could get one to do it, they would do well as they are fast and very agile, but it would only be done on their terms.
Toys - They do play with toys, often as not play is on their terms. Our bitch will look enthusiastically as you throw a ball for her to fetch. She will still look on with the same enthusiasm as we go and pick up the ball again. One look into her eyes will tell you that although she enjoys watching, the very thought of her chasing after a ball let alone bringing it back really is below her.
The male pup on the other hand has a selection of his favourite toys and he tends to have them strategically placed around our house and often he will walk around with one in his mouth.
Road Safety - Well for such an intelligent animal they tend to be extremely dense when it comes to road traffic, they do not see the danger of cars hurtling past them and quite a few who have either been let off of the lead or have absconded from their home have met with tragic accidents.
Moult - As with most dogs Huskies moult twice a year. In common with most breeds of dog this is a time where the owners may start to question the wisdom of having a pet in the first place. Although they shed an awful lot of fur, it tends to come away in clumps in a very short space of time. We have found the best way is to take the dog outside and groom it. Continue to do this as many times as you can until the moult is over. The husky will be very happy with all the added fuss.
Things you cannot do with a Husky
Never let them off of a lead - Now this is really important, people who know best have decided that their Husky is different and as they have trained it, then the dog can be let off of the lead safely. Please believe me a Husky should never be allowed off of a lead, I have read horror stories of people who thought they knew better and ended up losing their dog. You need to realise if a Husky sees something that interests it, then the Husky will go to investigate, roads and cars will not deter the animal in its endeavour, tragically this all too often results in the death of a dog.
Our husky bitch has a strange association with Staffordshire bull terriers. Whenever she sees one her heckles rise and she actually starts drooling. Now I hope that I do not find out the truth, but it seems to me that she wants to eat one. As far as she is concerned a staff is only marginally larger than a cat or a rabbit and definitely smaller than a sheep. So if you are the owner of a staff and see someone walking a husky, please don't take a chance, put your dog on a lead, it could be me walking my husky.
Personally we have an extending lead made for a large breed of dog, the longer and stronger this type of lead is the better, it means the dog can still run, just that the dog is still under the control of the human at the other end of the lead.
I see far too many dogs in parks that run free; I am not talking about huskies but all breeds of dog. Fair enough some are under voice control of their owners, but I do worry about those dogs that run free, jump up at people as and when they want. The owners of such pets should consider other people in the park and if their dogs are not under their full control then the dog should not be off of a lead in the first place.
Keep them away from small animals and livestock - If you own other pets especially cats and rabbits then you need to think very carefully before getting a Husky. As previously mentioned a Husky must never be let off of a lead this is also true where livestock is concerned, they are not likely to worry sheep as other dogs can, they are more likely to kill one. It can also be very bad for a huskies health to be off of a lead in the vicinity of livestock, it is just possible that the animal may be shot by a farmer.
So far all I have listed is the negative attributes of this breed of dog, with that in mind those of you who are reading this will be starting to wonder why anyone would want to own one of these animals.
Get Fit - You will find that these animals absolutely love being walked, they will encourage you to walk great distances and get fitter in the process. But they are not without heart, when they have had a decent amount of exercise they do tend to ease up and allow a much more sedate pace.
Children - We have a large family and feel safe when the children and the huskies are in the same vicinity. These dogs are very social and loving when it comes to human contact. In fact they really crave the contact and affection.
Loyalty - It probably comes from their pack instinct and it is no bad thing that they take their human owners as part of that pack. Two very good instances spring to mind. The first I was walking our girl husky, as we approached a corner a man ran round the corner, the husky reacted instantly by jumping in front of me and confronting the man, there was no barking, snarling or growling, just a determination in her eyes and her heckles raised, as soon as she realised the man was not a threat she relaxed very quickly.
The second time involved a family friend who was playing enthusiastically with our 14 month old son, our male 4 month old husky pup, decided that the play was not in the boy's best interest and began barking at the family friend, this continued until the pup decided that the toddler was not being harmed.
Temperament - They are generally very friendly and gentle, alert and outgoing.
They do not make good guard dogs as they are not naturally aggressive towards strangers, however this does not mean they are unable to protect if they feel threatened.
Intelligence - The husky in general is a bright animal, from my experience they seem to be good at solving problems, especially how to get through a door. They are happy when they are on the go and make a great companion.
Health - Unlike a lot of breeds of dog that are prone to inherited conditions, the husky tends not to have any. Apart from their fussy appetite and slightly delicate stomachs they have no major health worries.
A Siberian Husky makes a very good pet and companion. Their friendly nature makes them a pleasure to be with. As with all animals they are a commitment for a number of years. Also because of their nature and needs any prospective owner needs to think very carefully before deciding if a husky really is the pet for them.
Finally if you are still not sure and want to get more information about huskies then a good website to visit is "The Siberian Husky Club of Great Britain" (www.siberianhuskyclub.com) here you will find out quite a lot about the breed including shows, sled racing, stories and even some pictures of the damage a husky can cause.
Summary: A great dog, but any prospective owner should think carefully before deciding if they want one.
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