Siberian Huskies are beautiful dogs and can be amazing pets. If you’re thinking of getting a Husky, you’ve probably seen articles on other websites trying to scare you off the breed.
They talk about how huskies are stubborn, escape-artists, who will run away as soon as they’re taken off-leash. Let’s have a more realistic look at huskies and why so many people misunderstand huskies.
Huskies are intelligent and energetic dogs. They require a lot of exercise, attention, and stimulus. If you’re able to provide enough exercise and stimulus for your dog, then a husky may be right for you.
If you’re unable to provide your husky with enough exercise and attention, then a husky may not be right for you.
As you can see, the real question isn’t whether a husky is right for you, the real question is whether you’re right for a husky.
Let’s have a closer look at some facts about huskies to see how they fit with you.
A Siberian Husky’s Temperament
One of the reasons huskies can be excellent family pets is thanks to their incredible temperament.
Huskies are often described as outgoing, intelligent, friendly, and gentle. They’re excellent with children and very playful.
While every dog has a different personality, I’ve noticed the same basic temperament across both huskies I’ve lived with. When Sasha sees a stranger during a walk, she immediately wants to go over and meet this potential new friend.
We often joke that huskies would be terrible guard dogs because they would see an intruder as a new friend to play with. While some huskies may be more cautious of strangers, most are incredibly friendly.
There are countless videos on YouTube showing how gentle huskies are with children. A crying baby can instantly set off a husky’s howling.
Of course, no dog should be left alone with young children, but compared to other breeds, huskies are generally excellent with children.
Are Huskies Really Stubborn?
When we got our first husky, we were told that they’re stubborn and won’t listen to you. You’ll see this everywhere with sites claiming that the second you let a husky off-leash, you’ll never see them again.
Calling huskies stubborn is a misunderstanding of a husky’s intelligence. Huskies are quite intelligent as well as independent. This combination can easily come across as stubborn.
People see huskies as stubborn and mistakenly believe that huskies can’t be trained in the same way other breeds can.
The below video does an excellent job of explaining why huskies aren’t stubborn and that modern training techniques are just as effective on huskies when used properly.
The key lesson from the video is that huskies being stubborn is a misinformed stereotype. Good quality training can be incredibly effective on “stubborn” breeds like huskies.
The below video demonstrates what a husky is capable of with the right training:
There are plenty of videos on YouTube showcasing well-trained huskies off-leash. The reason I want to highlight these videos is that the myth that huskies are stubborn just won’t go away.
If you do get a husky, you will constantly hear people telling you that they can’t be trusted off-leash, they’re stubborn, and they’re escape-artists. Poor behavior is a result of poor training.
When I look back at times when I felt my husky was being stubborn, I now realize it was a result of a lack of training. I was completely confident in walking my husky along the beach off-leash, because I regularly trained him to be off-leash at the beach.
But he would suddenly become stubborn when off-leash at a park because I never trained him in that context.
If you properly train your husky using effective methods, you’ll never experience stubbornness.
The below video is a great example of a trained vs untrained husky. The ‘before’ behavior looks like stereotypical behavior most people expect from huskies.
But as you can see from the rest of the video, training makes all the difference.
The key lesson to remember is that a husky can be incredibly stubborn if not trained properly. An under-exercised husky without consistent training can be a nightmare to deal with.
But if you’re committed to consistently exercising and training your husky, you’ll quickly realize how many myths people believe about huskies.
Exercise Requirements for Huskies
Huskies are energetic dogs and require a lot of exercise. This is something a lot of new husky owners don’t properly understand and it leads to problems. Under-exercising a husky can lead to stubbornness and boredom. A bored husky will dig up holes in the backyard, rip up furniture, or try to escape your property.
My first husky used to occasionally escape our backyard and would regularly dig holes. We were told over and over that huskies are chronic diggers and escape artists, so we dealt with it as if it was normal behavior of huskies.
We were wrong.
A husky escaping, digging up holes in your backyard, or ripping furniture apart isn’t normal behavior for huskies. That’s normal behavior for under-exercised huskies. Find out more about escape artist Huskies and how to deal with it in this guide.
When we started to take him for a walk every morning, he suddenly stopped trying to escape or dig up the backyard. The change in behavior was shocking.
‘Normal’ husky problems such as digging, stubbornness, or escaping suddenly disappeared.
Our current husky only dug a few holes as a puppy and has never escaped the backyard because she gets plenty of exercise and simulation.
Every husky has different exercise needs, but a good starting point is for daily morning walks. If you walk you husky in the morning, that exercise will keep your husky happy throughout the day.
This is especially important if your husky will be left alone during the day. Walking your husky before you go to work can be all that it takes to prevent bad behavior during the day.
A common misunderstanding is that you need to have a big backyard to own a husky. As a husky owner with a big backyard, I can tell you that having a big backyard means nothing to a husky. Our husky never runs around the backyard on her own.
Your husky won’t keep herself fit when you’re not home. You either need to be in the backyard with your husky to motivate her to run around, or you need to take her somewhere.
If you live in an apartment or have a small backyard, a husky may still be right for you if you’re committed to consistently exercising your husky.
Owning a Husky 101
This website covers everything you would want to know about owning a husky. But let’s look at some of the most basic aspects of owning a husky to help you decide whether a husky is right for you.
Huskies ‘blow’ their coat once or twice a year depending on your climate. During this 3-6 week phase, your husky will change between a winter and summer coat. New husky owners are often shocked when they enter into the first blowing phase.
A staggering amount of fur is released in a very short time.
During the blowing phase, a lot of work is required to help your husky. Brushing every day keeps the hair manageable. You’ll be shocked by the amount of hair you remove each day.
The good news is that apart from this blowing phase, huskies don’t shed year-round. Your husky can live indoors without leaving hair everywhere compared to other breeds. There will always be loose hair, but it’s not the same as other dog breeds that constantly shed.
While your husky is a puppy, train her to enjoy getting brushed. There’s nothing worse than trying to keep a restless husky still while you brush their coat.
Some dog breeds such as labradors will eat everything you give it. Huskies tend to stop eating when they’re full, so you’re unlikely to accidentally over-feed a husky.
My husky eats around two cups of dry food each day, but this may be very different for your husky depending on your climate and the level of exercise your husky gets.
Huskies love the cold. Their coats protect them in even the harshest environments. A husky is perfectly happy playing in the snow without the cold causing problems.
This also means they don’t do as well in hot weather. If you live in a climate that experiences hot summers, make sure you either keep your husky indoors during the day or you have an area where your husky can stay cool.
If you live in a warm climate and nearby to a beach or lake, learn how to train your Husky to swim. Not only is it excellent exercise, it’s also a great way to keep them cool in warm weather.
Huskies can easily become bored without enough stimulation. When huskies get bored, they dig, tear up furniture, or try to escape. A hyper or destructive husky is a sign that it’s bored. As explained earlier, keeping your husky exercised is an effective way of avoiding boredom when you’re not home.
In addition to regular exercise, some huskies enjoy playing with toys. My first husky would be perfectly happy playing with his toys when I was away. My current husky couldn’t care less about toys.
To compensate, we need to play with her more often and ensure she has long enough walks in the mornings to avoid boredom.
The key lesson with having a husky is to keep her exercised. A well-exercised husky is a happy husky.
So is a Husky Right For You?
The main points to take away from this article is that huskies require a lot of exercise and stimulation to be happy.
While huskies are commonly thought of as stubborn, destructive, or hyper, these issues only happen when a husky isn’t adequately taken care of.
If you read through this article and feel you aren’t able to provide your husky with enough consistent exercise and stimulation, then huskies probably aren’t for you.
But if you like the idea of walking your husky every day (as a minimum) and enjoy the thought of giving consistent training sessions, you’ll enjoy living with a husky.
Huskies can be incredibly friendly, playful, and outgoing. With proper training, they can also be very dependable. Websites like this one wasn’t available when we got our first husky, so we made a lot of mistakes in training him.
A new husky owner today has a wealth of information on how to properly train and care for a husky. In this article, you’ve already seen popular myths debunked by good training.
Check out these 15 Things Only Husky Owners Will Understand to give you a snapshot of what it’s like to have a Husky. While the above information gives you important facts to know, it doesn’t really give you an idea of what Huskies are like. Check out the link for a better idea of what Huskies are like to live with.