Is The Siberian Husky For You?
The Siberian Husky is not the breed for everyone and before deciding to welcome one (or more) into your family, there are a few points to be made aware of.
Chewing & Digging
All dogs love to chew things and dig holes in your garden, especially when puppies and the Siberian Husky is no exception. And being an energetic breed, they do tend to leave a trail of destruction behind them if not kept amused. Chew toys, raw hide chews and other similar products can usually help to reduce the problem, but always be aware of what you leave lying around. (Especially the washing basket - socks are a favourite.)
When not in an enclosed area, the Siberian should never be let off the lead. If you are the type of person who wants a dog to go running with, play frisbee with etc., this is fine as long as the area is properly fenced off, ie backyard, certain council parks are also fenced, but otherwise, forget it. This breed loves to run, and can certainly outrun any person and once off the lead, they're off! No amount of calling, whistling etc, will stop them if that's not what they want to do. This is an independent breed and they'll do something if its in their best interest, not just because you ask them to.
Now before I get any e-mails telling me how this or that Siberian Husky walks or runs perfectly well off the lead, I know that there are cases like this, however, this should not be taken for granted as being a characteristic of the breed and once you've acquired this beautiful creature -> would you want to take the risk?!
Just a note on fences. As I mentioned, the yard or park should be properly fenced off, what's PROPERLY? Huskies have an ability to jump high fences from a standing position - an almost springbok like action. A three to four foot high fence is not going to keep them in. Further, the bottom of the fence should be fairly close to the ground. Siberian Huskies will see gaps as opportunities to dig under and get out. These dogs are amazing escape artists. My first husky used to dig herself out of the yard while I was at work, and knowing what time I got home, got herself back into the yard before I arrived, I was none the wiser - their minds are incredible. I was lucky a neighbour let me know what was going on and even luckier that nothing happened while she was out. Needless to say, the fences are now 'husky' proof.
Hair, hair & more hair
Or should I say fur? At shedding time (about twice a year), Siberian Husky owners develop a close bond with their vacuum cleaner. This is due to the inordinate amounts of hair lost when the husky is 'losing coat'. This undercoat is like fur or wool and people have been known to spin it and make beautiful jumpers. This fur comes out in handfuls and seems to be never-ending. If you like your clothes/carpets/furniture to be hair-free, the Siberian Husky is not the dog for you. Even keeping your husky outside doesn't eliminate the problem, the hair still seems to find its way inside.
Not A Lap Dog
If you want a dog that lies at your feet, or across your lap while you watch TV, I wouldn't recommend a Siberian Husky. This is not to say that the breed is not affectionate, quite the opposite, your husky is likely to jump all over you and shower you with kisses (licks) when you walk in the door, but once their hellos or playing is over, they'll go back to 'their spot', which may be a few feet away, the next room or the other side of the backyard. As I've stated before, this breed is independent!
The Siberian Husky and Other Pets
Like any other dog and probably more so than other breeds, the Siberian Husky is a pack animal. You will usually see a marked difference in personality when going from one Siberian Husky to two. However, do beware with other pets such as birds, cats, mice, rabbits (especially) etc., your Siberian Husky may mistake these smaller animals for food. There is no reason for all your pets to get along though, as long as the animals are properly socialised, the younger, the better. Also, it is recommended that the animals are supervised when together.
Our dogs get along famously with our pet Galah (bird), but chase other birds (wild ones) when in the back yard.
Guard Dog? I don't think so!
THE SIBERIAN HUSKY IS NOT A GUARD DOG.
If you're still reading at this point, then the above mentioned topics must not have turned you off the Siberian Husky and this is a good sign as there are definite pleasures to owning this wonderful breed.
Beauty and Intelligence in One Package
No-one can deny how magnificent the Siberian Husky looks, the body shape, the distinctive face markings and the haunting eyes that seem to look straight into your soul. But beauty is not all that this wonderful breed has to offer, this dogs has brains too! Once you have owned a Siberian for a while and got to know their personality, you will marvel at the way the Siberian Husky mind works. They will continually keep you challenged in working out what they will do next. My first husky's escapades while I was at work, mentioned above, still amaze me.
The Siberian Husky is a breed with a wonderful temperament. They must, their original use was in a harness, eight or more dogs together pulling a sled/sledge. Aggressiveness towards the 'musher' or the other dogs, could not and would not be tolerated.
The Siberian Husky has a gentle nature but is also active, alert and outgoing. They are good with children, but being a pack animal, new babies should be socialised with the dogs.
My three year old & six month old daughters and my dogs are the best of friends and I have never had a problem with them around the huskies. Even my 3 year old daughter's whacks (her version of patting), her pulling their hair and tails, have never seemed to phase them, the dogs simply get up and walk away, when they've had enough. It goes without saying, that young children should be supervised when around animals.
Note to parents with new born babies. Any change in attitude towards the dog can cause jealousy. This can be said of any breed of dog, cats and even some parrots, not only the Siberian Husky. If your dog is an inside dog and will be moved outside once the new baby comes. Make sure you have moved the dog outside well before 'new baby' comes along so the dog does not associate the two events as being related, ie new baby = move outside. Again, let me emphasize, that this applies to all breeds of dogs. So much pain and heartache can be avoided if you try to look at the situation from the dog's point of view. They are part of the family and don't want to be left out.
Now, depending on your personal preference, this may be a positive or a negative. Some breeds, such as fox terriers were bred with the specific trait of barking in mind - to let their owners know where they were and what they had found/caught. Other breeds, such as the Doberman, were bred to bark to warn their owners of impending danger. Siberian Huskies never had a use for barking and therefore usually don't. This is not to say that they can't. Barking can still be useful for getting your attention sometimes! These wonderful creatures do love to howl however, and making howling noises which us Siberian enthusiasts like to label "talking".