Siberian Husky - Trupanion dog breed guideSiberian Husky - Trupanion dog breed guideSiberian Husky - Trupanion dog breed guide

Siberian Husky



Siberian Husky Breed Highlights

A big black-and-white Siberiean Husky prancing through the snow

  • The Siberian Husky is an ancient breed developed by the Chukchi tribe of Northern Siberia. This breed is a relative newcomer to the United States, not making its way to Alaska until the early 1900s!

  • Have you ever seen a Husky with two different colored eyes? This breed is known to have a condition called heterochromia, which gives them bright blue eyes, brown eyes, one of each, or eyes that have both colors in each.

  • The Siberian Husky became famous throughout the U.S. in 1925 when they made the treacherous journey to Nome, Alaska to deliver much-needed diphtheria antitoxin. Balto, the lead sled dog on the last leg of the trek is perhaps the most well-known Husky of the team, but Togo, another lead dog, guided the team over the most dangerous part of the 600-mile trek.

  • When Huskies were first brought to Alaska as sled dogs, many mushers called them “Siberian Rats” due to their much smaller size compared to the Alaskan Malamutes that were usually used for sledding. They quickly proved their worth during the Nome Gold Rush and through their success in sled races, such as the All-Alaska Sweepstakes.

Unique Personality

Siberian Husky dog breed illustration - personality

A Husky is an intelligent and playful dog, with never-ending puppy energy and an eagerness for adventure. While not known for their guard dog skills because they’re so sociable, they are incredibly loyal to their family and love to be involved in everything. If you desire a high-energy companion, who will talk endlessly and throw you judgemental but loving looks every once in a while, the Siberian Husky is a great choice.

Preferred Lifestyle

Energy Level

dog energy level - high (tri-athlete)

With Kids

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Siberian Huskies do well with children and make a wonderful playmate, as long as they’ve had proper socialization since puppyhood.

With Other Pets

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They can also do well with other animals if properly introduced.

Environment

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This breed needs room to run — after all, it’s what they were bred for! They’re escape artists, so secure fences are a must. They can even scale 6-foot-tall fences. Despite their double coat, they’re adaptable to warmer climates with proper care.

Average Lifespan
(Range)

12 - 14 years

Average Size
(Range)

35 - 60 pounds

Breed Group

Working

Similar Breeds

  • Alaskan Malamute

  • Akita

  • Samoyed

  • Norwegian Elkhound

  • Chinook

History of the Siberian Husky

A sleek Siberian Husky standing outside in the grass with her tongue hanging out

The Siberian Husky was created in eastern Siberia by the Chukchi people, a nomadic tribe that needed small sled dogs to transport supplies across the tundra as they migrated. These predecessors to the Husky lived with their families, keeping them warm and providing protection from wild animals. These sled dogs didn’t make their way into North America until the early 1900s when the Nome gold rush began in earnest. In 1908, Siberian Huskies were imported to participate in the All-Alaska Sweepstakes race, and while at first criticized for their small size, their prowess as sled dogs earned them many first-place finishes and respect.

Leonhard Seppala became the most well-known Siberian Husky breeder in Alaska, winning races from 1909 until the mid-1920s. Seppala was one of the 20 mushers who made the 1925 serum run to Nome, also known as the Great Race of Mercy. The delivery of diphtheria antitoxin saved the town and surrounding area from an outbreak, and the Siberian Huskies and their mushers were hailed as heroes. Balto, the lead dog on the final leg of the journey, has a statue erected in his honor in New York City, and Togo, the dog who led the team on the most dangerous part of the journey, went on tour across the United States with Seppala.

Seppala and others ran successful breeding programs for Siberian Husky puppies in the United States, and importing this breed directly from Siberia was halted in 1930 when the American Kennel Club officially recognized the breed. They continue to be a top choice in arctic and Antarctic expeditions. In 1933, Rear Admiral Byrd brought along a team of 50 huskies in his effort to transverse the coast of Antarctica, and the breed worked for the Army as arctic search and rescue dogs during World War II. Their popularity as working dogs has remained steady until today, and their presence as family dogs has increased since the latter half of the 20th century. The Siberian Husky was ranked as the 14th most popular dog breed by the AKC in 2019.

Siberian Husky Behavior and Training

Siberian Husky dog breed illustration - behavior

A Husky is a working dog— bred for endurance running, with a great temperament that makes them a good family companion. Their high energy, athleticism, independent nature, and desire to go off on their own adventures makes them a dog breed best for experienced dog owners. Without the proper management of their environment, consistent positive training, and enough physical and mental exercise, this breed can be quite a handful. Inquisitive and intelligent, they need appropriate outlets for their energy and drive.

Plays Well with Others?

  • Huskies are a very social breed (which is why they aren’t the best choice if you’re looking for a guard dog), but proper proactive exposure to new sights, sounds, people, dogs, and other animals as a young puppy is essential for their socialization skills.

TRAINER TIP

Pair meeting new people or animals with high-value training treats or a favorite toy, and keep introductions short and sweet so it doesn’t get overwhelming.

  • Siberian Huskies are known for doing well with children, as long as they’ve been properly introduced and socialized from puppyhood. Young children and dogs should always be supervised, and it’s helpful for a dog to have their own “safe space” where they can go when they need some quiet time.

  • They can do very well with other dogs, as long as they’ve been socialized as puppies. However, other types of pets, such as cats, guinea pigs, birds, and other small animals can be a challenge for a Husky to ignore. The breed has a high tendency towards chasing prey. It’s important to teach them not to chase, to ensure the safety of all furry friends.
Graphic - bouncing red ball image

Exercise Requirements

Lots of daily exercise is essential for a Siberian Husky. Bred to be long-distance runners and pull sleds, Huskies make excellent jogging or hiking partners (once they’re fully grown). A great activity to exercise a Husky is called Joring, which takes advantage of their instinctual desire to run and pull. Depending on your home climate and time of year, you and your Husky can do Skijoring, Bikejoring, Canicross, or Skatejoring.

Speak with your veterinarian about appropriate exercise for a Husky puppy. Until they’re full-grown (bone growth plates typically all close by around 12-18 months of age), avoid jogging or running beyond what they would do on their own. This limits the risk of damage to the growing bone and cartilage, which can cause pain and future joint issues.

VETERINARIAN TIP

While a tired dog might be a good dog, puppy exercise shouldn’t be forced or “pushed” in any way. Follow your puppy’s lead in the amount of activity they are able to do. If they’re slowing down, and certainly if they stop and sit down, it’s time for some rest and recovery. In some cases, they might have FOMO (fear of missing out) and try to “keep up” with you or another dog in the family. So keep a watchful eye and make sure they don’t push too far and over-exert themselves.

Mental Enrichment Needs

Mental enrichment is necessary for Siberian Huskies and will help prevent unwanted behaviors that Huskies are known for, such as destructive chewing and digging.

You can work their minds by teaching new tricks, attending obedience classes, joining a dog sport, and providing dog puzzles and interactive toys. This breed enjoys variety, so mix up their puzzles and interactive toys every once in a while to keep them entertained.

Common Behavioral Issues

  • Huskies like to dig! Their burrowing instincts come from their need to dig cool resting spots in the dirt during warm weather. Since digging is a natural behavior for dogs, providing an appropriate area for digging will help prevent inappropriate digging and save your flower beds, as does making sure a Husky has a cool place to rest.

  • Did you know Huskies are amazing climbers? They love to jump fences and have been known to scale fences over 6 feet tall. Their love of exploring and adventure, as well as their strong desire to run, means that owners must secure their yards and provide enough physical exercise and mental enrichment to prevent a Husky from getting bored and deciding that the grass is most definitely greener on the other side of the fence.

Fun Activities the Siberian Husky Enjoys

Siberian Husky dog breed illustration - fun

Take advantage of a Husky’s athleticism by trying out the following activities:

  • Joring (Canicross, Skijoring, etc.)

  • Sled pulling

  • Agility

  • Flyball

  • Nosework/Tracking

  • Service Animal Training

Siberian Husky Coat Type

Huskies have a dense double coat, with a down-like undercoat and outer coat of medium-length guard fur. This combination acts as insulation and wind protection during cold weather and protects against sunburn.

Shedding Level

dog shedding level - 4 of 5 piles of fur

4 out of 5 piles of fur

Grooming Requirements

  • Weekly Brushing
  • Seasonal

Siberian Huskies might look like an intimidating grooming project but are actually easy to maintain as long as you stay on top of the brushing. Their coat has natural oils that help it slough off dirt and stay relatively “stink-free” — in fact, many Husky owners find that they only need to bathe their dogs twice a year during shedding season (which is quite lucky, since most Huskies will make their displeasure at being bathed known with continuous howling in the bathtub.)

Introducing your Husky puppy to positive experiences being bathed and brushed will go a long way in helping them tolerate it as they get older.

Brushing should be done at least twice weekly to encourage healthy skin and coat, more often during the twice-yearly periods of heavy shedding when the Husky “blows coat.” This usually happens in the spring and fall time as it changes to/from its summer or winter coat.

Best Brush for a Siberian Husky: Pin brush, undercoat rake

GROOMER TIP

It is not recommended to ever shave or use grooming clippers on a Husky’s coat unless directed to do so by a veterinarian to address skin issues. Shaving the outer coat guard fur takes away the dog’s natural sun protection and actually increases the chances of overheating. A double coat, when brushed properly and frequently, facilitates airflow over the skin during warmer temperatures, helping a dog keep cool. Shaving a double coat will also do nothing to reduce shedding — you’ll have the same amount of fur around the home or on your clothing, just a shorter length. If a dog’s double coat is clipped, often the guard fur will not grow back in quite the same way or might take a long time to reappear, leaving a dog looking patchy. The Husky does best au naturale!

Famous Owners of the Siberian Husky

  • Jared Leto (Actor)

  • Ben Stiller (Actor)

  • Quincy Pondexter (NBA player)

  • Danica Patrick (Race Car Driver)

  • Russell Westbrook III (NBA player)

  • Rita Ora (Singer)

  • Leah Remini (Actress)

  • Taylor Lautner (Actor)

  • Alex Lange (MLB pitcher)

  • Lesley-Ann Brandt (Actress)

Famous Siberian Huskies

The movie Balto is based on a real sled dog named Balto who was instrumental in helping prevent the spread of diphtheria across Alaska. He not only led his team to deliver the life-saving vaccine in harsh conditions but also saved them in the Topkok River. Without a doubt, Balto was one of the goodest boys to ever live. After his passing at the age of 14, Balto’s body was taxidermied and put on display at the Cleveland Zoo, where he had spent his golden years. There is also a bronze statue dedicated to him in New York City’s Central Park.

Huskies in Books, Movies and TV

  • Everest on the popular animated kids’ series, Paw Patrol

  • The movie Eight Below features six huskies: Max, Maya, Truman, Old Jack, Dewey, and Shorty

  • Snow Buddies is another film with the Husky in the lead role

  • The movie Balto was very loosely based on the actual sled dog, although the real Balto was not part-wolf

Non-Endorsement Statement: The social media posts displayed here do not imply any endorsement of these people or products, nor does it imply they endorse Trupanion or our product.

Common Health Conditions for the Siberian Husky Breed

Use the chart of Trupanion claims data below to find out what health conditions happen most frequently for Siberian Huskies. Every Siberian Husky is unique, but understanding what health conditions are likelier to occur can help you be a more prepared pet owner.

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Trupanion member Kelly

Kelly

Groton, CT

Condition: Sarcoma

The Trupanion policy paid: $18,522.39

"My golden Kelly was young when I found a softball-sized lump on Kelly’s left hind leg. Four weeks straight of radiation, six rounds of chemo and checkups every three months, including x-rays and full blood panel were needed. Because of Trupanion, I didn’t have to address the biggest deciding factor that most people face—can I afford this? I can honestly say Kelly is alive today because of the financial support Trupanion provided."

- Lori

Trupanion member Axl

Axl

Ontario, Canada

Condition: Pneumonia, Hip Dysplasia, Lameness

The Trupanion policy paid: $2,084.01

"At two, our German shepherd Axl was diagnosed with pneumonia. Trupanion took care of all our financial concerns. At four, his hip issues led to pain medications, rehabilitation and rest, which all resulted in improved pain-free movement. I’m so grateful that we chose a plan that not only covers the cost of his treatment but also any physical therapy or rehabilitation he may need."

- Nanette K.

Trupanion member Bella

Bella

Ellijay, GA

Condition: Cushing’s disease, tumor, cruciate rupture

The Trupanion policy paid: $15,283.83

"Bella was treated for Cushing’s disease and a pituitary tumor with radiation therapy. Had we not had insurance for her, the decision for her medical care would have been more difficult, as each treatment was expensive. However, because we have Trupanion, these decisions were easier. Rather, we could focus our attention on her treatment and recovery instead of the financial impact these procedures would have on our family."

- Jason P.

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