***This is a post I snicked off Craigs List, with permission of course. ;-) The poster did an exceptional job of detailing what you should consider before committing to a Siberian husky.***
Thank you for reading my listing. I post this ad on behalf of Siberian Huskies, Husky lovers/admirers, and for those who might need some insight into the Husky and /or canine world... this is simply an “educational post”. All I am aiming to do is voice a few “opinions” and share some “experiences” with those who don’t know about this BREED. If you want a Siberian Husky and don’t know much about them… or if you are new to dog ownership, please read and enjoy.
I am not claiming to be an "expert"; however, I have much experience with the Siberian Husky breed. For some reason, I have a weakness for Huskies. Every dog I've had the pleasure of sharing my home with has been a SIBERIAN HUSKY. I just love huskies! I was a Veterinary Nurse for some time, as well. That being said, I have experienced many BREEDS, dog personalities, and owner personalities.
First and foremost, please remember that a dog needs a FOREVER HOME. Dogs are family members and shouldn’t be dumped on the side of the road or tossed from home to home. Put SERIOUS thought into your decision to add a dog to your family. You must be prepared to care for them, as you would a child. Dogs require time, attention, affection, exercise, and discipline (some less than others- that is why BREED research is important). They are pack animals and want to be with you and your family. Throwing a dog out in the backyard can result in numerous problems- mainly aggression, which means biting and dominance issues.
Also, you need to be aware of the financial investment. You will have to provide financially by purchasing healthy foods, keeping up with routine medical exams, planning for emergencies, etc. Luckily, there are many low cost pet care programs. You can check with Animal Trustees of Austin, larger chain pet stores, or the Humane Society for more info. Spaying/neutering is a MUST, not following through with a pet alteration only leads to continual problems for your dog, you, and the community. Let’s keep animals from being put to sleep by being responsible pet owners! Heart Worm and Flea Preventative, especially in our climate, is also a MUST! I adopted a Husky who was Heartworm Positive, he did very well on the treatment, but some dogs pass during the process. Heartworms can cause chronic health issues, they lead to death, treatment is very expensive- with one simple monthly pill it is an avoidable occurrence. Please, educate yourself about Heartworms!
OK… on to the HUSKY stuff… so you want a Siberian Husky… I do not consider a Husky for a beginner/novice. They are definitely for a more advanced dog owner who can handle their quirky characteristics. They are very energetic, difficult to train, stubborn, most can’t be off leash, most are pretty crazy, etc… these are “generalizations”… please, remember each dog has its own unique personality.
We have dog breeds because humans BRED dogs to create canines with certain traits and abilities. Huskies invoke images of racing in sled teams in the harsh winter weather.
Let’s examine what this means- it means that they are VERY ACTIVE, they want to RUN, they are playful, they like to be in groups/teams, they are equipped to handle snow and cold with their thick coats, and they closely resemble wolves.
From this, you can gather that a Husky is not a couch potato. If you are not ready to run a mile a day or at least go for a long 30+ minute walk per day, a Husky is not for you. Key to this breed… EXERCISE… preferably lots of it. If a dog does not get the proper exercise and stimulation, you will end up with behavioral problems: chewing, possible aggression, or some sort of unwanted issue… I guarantee that. Consider too, they were bred to PULL a sled. Most Huskies that I have seen tend to PULL, because it’s their nature. They can be trained not to pull, but it will take consistent discipline.
Decision-making and stubbornness is another characteristic derived from navigating rough, wintry terrain. Huskies are thinkers/decision makers… which is a scary thought. What is a husky thinking? “I know what you want me to do, but I’m just not going to do that today”… that is what they are thinking. They have “selective hearing” and they are very clever. Mine will behave perfectly when food is involved, but when we are outside- the selective hearing kicks in. Many trainers will tell you that they cannot be trained… not true, but they are very difficult to train. Discipline, consistency, and patience are needed for this breed.
Discipline doesn’t mean beating, spanking, or yelling… it’s training that must be concise, repetitive, and directed in doggy language. Yelling = excitement/barking to a dog, that is a mixed signal, yelling at a dog is not going to achieve anything… in fact, it only elevates and exacerbates the situation. You have to remain calm and stern when dealing with negative behavior. In my opinion, Cesar Millan has developed ground breaking training techniques. My advice is to read his books or watch his show- he has it figured out. You must be assertive and be the boss, you must exhibit confidence and strength, expressing yourself in a way that the dog understands… they understand body language and pack mentality. You must be concise, can’t let them get away with something one time or they will remember it. You must be the alpha dog.
Huskies have some other negative quirks. Let’s examine those:
They love to dig, which makes them great escape artists and runaways. Some are fence jumpers, but it’s mainly the digging… and they DIG INCREDIBLY FAST… it’s comical, but can pose a great hazard. They can ruin gardens, too. That is a big complaint I hear from many Husky owners. Consider getting them their own sand box to keep this from happening and be sure to fence off your garden! If you don’t have a secure fence, you might find yourself posting lost dog ads.
Again, can’t stress enough that they love to run, which means most cannot be off-leash. My female is the rare exception to this rule. However, I would not suggest letting most Huskies off their leash. My male absolutely cannot be off leash or he will run away… this has happened a few times… I have retrieved him- but, it’s usually a dangerous, high speed chase at 30 mph in the car, ending in a wrestling match in a stranger’s yard… sounds funny, but it’s really not… it is dangerous to him and us. I laugh after the chase, which has only happened on a few rare occasions due to accidents (like he wiggled out of the front door)… thankfully, ending with everyone safe and back at home…
They are “wolf-like”. Huskies can be prey driven. Some are out to kill cats or other small animals. My dogs live with a cat and they do just fine; however, they will chase neighborhood cats and they have killed a couple of slow moving birds. It’s upsetting, but part of their nature. Being “wolf-like” they tend to play rougher than other breeds, so if you are skittish or scared around rambunctious dogs, Husky play might intimidate you. I have had a few people at the dog park freak out because they have a poodle wanting to prance and daintily play with my dog… so here she comes wanting to wrestle and throw down… LOL. I know it’s not aggression or a fight, but other dog parents get a bit worried… as a dog owner you must learn to differentiate between play and the signs of aggression- you need to nip that in the bud before it happens- and it happens in a split second.
People always comment on the beauty of a Husky, with that comes the compliment “oh what a beautiful coat”. Yes, they are so striking and have lustrous coats. You can only imagine how much hair you will have on your furniture, floor, clothing, etc. I find hair in places you wouldn’t even think you’d find hair… on the stove, in the fridge, even at work, in which they have never been to my place of work! Therefore, if you can’t stand the hair or are highly allergic to dander… might want to go with another breed. They blow their coats and it’s insane- there are some videos on you tube of “what it’s like to brush a Husky”, you might want to check those out. I could make another dog out of the hair I collect in one brushing. Be prepared to BRUSH… often. Also, be prepared to keep them mostly indoors. Would you like to be outside in a double coat when it’s 100 degrees out?
Notorious chickens! I don’t know why, but many Huskies are big babies and total scaredy cats. What does this mean to you… if you have children who are very loud and rough… this might freak a Husky out. That poses the threat of biting. My female LOVES kids… my male is deathly afraid of children. If you have kids, getting a puppy is probably a better idea vs. adopting an adult Husky (as you can acclimate a young dog more easily). This also means that some of them have weird quirks that you will have to work around, such as one might not cross a bridge, or one might be afraid to walk near traffic, etc… these are usually quirks that come with adopting an adult dog, so you must exhibit confidence and not be an enabler. I had a Husky puppy many years ago that was terrified of my friend’s Boston Terrier, he’d jump in my arms and cry whenever he saw that dog… LOL… nothing like a big dog acting like a big baby.
Being a chicken also ties in to the fact that Huskies are not GUARD DOGS. Huskies are pretty quiet. They bark less than most dogs. Don’t get a Husky and expect it to be like a German Shepherd or Rottweiler… sometimes my male Husky wants to sleep outside all night and I never hear a peep out of him… he sleeps peacefully all night, no barking, not one sound.
There are plenty of great reasons to bring a Husky home… I just wanted to warn you about the challenging aspects of Husky ownership. On a positive note, Huskies are hilarious clowns… hours of endless entertainment and stories. Huskies are very sweet and loving. You will get many compliments on how beautiful your dog is. Huskies don’t smell… some breeds produce funky odors… like Labs… their oils are a bit different… Huskies don’t produce smelly odors- they tend to stay pretty clean, even when rolling in the dirt, so they maintain their cleanliness fairly well. Huskies are pretty quiet- not a lot of yippy, yapping… it’s nice to have a dog that is silent most of the time. All in all, they are a fun dogs… and a dog is man’s best friend- they greet you when you come home, make you happy, keep you healthy and active, make you smile, keep your spirits up, etc… as any dog should/will as long as you find the right match and maintain order in the pack.
Having a Husky is unlike having any other dog- they are truly "special" and by that I mean challenging... so you better be READY! They are not a recommended “beginner dog”. If you want an easy dog- I recommend, Labs, Retrievers... or mixes/mutts that are primarily Labs/Retrievers. If you want a fun, sporty dog that is great with tricks/training and that is easier to train, Border Collies, Collies.
Just read about the BREED, please... this will help us save dogs from shelters... and from doggy death row. Find out which BREED is right for YOU…
In closing, consider more than mere looks ... yes Huskies are beautiful dogs… but, Huskies can be a challenge.
Remember that there are many adult dogs out there that need a good home- huskyhaven.org or petfinder.com great places to start looking for a purebred. I adopted my female purebred Siberian Husky from the Humane Society… I found her male, purebred counterpart a few years later on Husky Haven’s website in the courtesy listings- he was at Williamson Regional Animal Shelter. I love adopting older dogs, they are usually house broken already and a bit calmer… sometimes adults come with bad habits that you’ll need to break (but, I’ve always found it to be pretty easy to break those habits). If you plan to buy a purebred puppy- find a reputable, responsible breeder, do your research. Please, don’t support puppy mills or negligent breeders. Buying a dog from the side of the road is a horrible idea. Puppy mills promote animal cruelty and unethical practices- some pet stores still buy from puppy mills. So, research and choose wisely.
Thanks for reading! Good luck in finding the right dog.