Ranked at number 16 on the American Kennel Club’s most popular breeds list for 2020, it’s undoubtedly clear that huskies are a must-have breed. While many husky owners have a blast with their wolf-like dog, what is it like owning a husky? What should you be aware of? And are they really the best dogs? These are all questions we answer in this article. So keep reading to find out more.
Before we delve into the main aspects it’s worth getting yourself familiar with the breed. Huskies are working dogs and were bred for their stamina and ability to pull sleighs over long distances. They are highly energetic and need a lot of looking after. From daily exercise to frequent training and mental stimulation. Huskies are a beautiful breed but they do have a bit of a dark side. If you aren’t strong-willed and consistent then your husky is likely to take advantage of you and may even escape.
Is Owning A Husky Difficult?
Despite having several great qualities, owning a husky can be difficult and has been compared to parenting a toddler – they are full to the brim with energy. If you’re thinking of getting a husky then you should know that owning one isn’t for the faint-hearted.
The main reason huskies can be difficult is due to their stubbornness, intelligence, and independent nature. Huskies will often use their remarkable minds to learn less savory things and are not overly keen on pleasing their owner, making training them hard. Despite these factors, huskies do make amazing pets and will bring some fun into your home.
Are Huskies Good Dogs To Own?
Yes, without a doubt, huskies are great dogs to own. Their incredible temperament and kind nature make them great family pets. They are very tolerant of small children and aren’t known to be aggressive toward humans or other animals.
If you do have small children though, just like any breed, you should never leave them alone or unsupervised. Large dogs can easily overpower a child. Huskies have been known to thrive in a multi-dog household, this is down to their natural pack instincts. Socialization from a pup will teach your husky how to behave appropriately around other dogs and people. Huskies will get on with everyone, including strangers.
What are the pros of owning a husky?
Huskies are incredible dogs and they come with a whole load of pros. Here’s a list of husky traits that draw people to this incredible breed.
Playful and Dynamic – Huskies are an incredibly playful and highly energetic breed. They are always there to greet you after your day at work and will likely bounce off the walls when they see you. Huskies love the outdoors which makes them great at hiking, walking, running, biking, and even camping companions. They were originally bred to pull sleighs long distances, so they have an incredible amount of stamina and vigorous exercise in cold temperatures would be very much appreciated by them. As they are full of energy they also make good companions for energetic children and will love playing fetch, running around the garden with them, and just generally being around them.
Good Family Dogs – Huskies make great family pets. They were bred to be pack dogs, much like the Alaskan Malamute. This pack mentality transfers to their human family and as such, huskies get along with children, other adults, and even other animals. But you’ll still need to supervise your husky when they are around very small children. Just like you would with any other large breed dog.
Intelligent – Almost any dog can do tricks if you teach them. But huskies aren’t smart in the way you might typically think. Huskies are intelligent due to their independence. Their independence makes them a little harder to train than some other breeds. This isn’t because they don’t understand what you want them to do, but because they are choosing not to do it. That’s why making training fun and more challenging helps keep them engaged. This also means they are more likely to do a whole range of cool tricks.
Clean – The greatest thing about huskies for many people is the fact that on the whole, they are relatively clean dogs. While some dogs start to give off that unpleasant ‘wet dog’ odor if not bathed frequently, huskies don’t. They are classed as a ‘natural’ breed and can be quite meticulous when it comes to cleaning themselves. You’ll often find them licking themselves, a bit like a cat. Regular weekly brushing is recommended to help with shedding and a bath a few times a year is all they really need.
Good-natured Dogs – Huskies are very friendly, gentle dogs and as such are good-natured dogs. They are extremely sociable with strangers. According to the American Kennel Club, huskies do not typically display the territorial qualities of guard dogs so they tend not to be suspicious of strangers. If socialized from an early age they have even been known to get on with other animals including cats, small dogs, and other small animals.
Convenient and Economical – When you look at a husky you may think they need a lot of food, just because of their sheer size. However, that’s not the case. Huskies were bred to perform on minimal amounts of food, so it’s not unusual for them to skip a meal every now and then. Although they may require less food intake per pound compared to other breeds, it’s super important to realize that they still need a balanced diet rich in protein and fat.
What are the cons of owning a husky?
While there are many pros to owning a husky there are several cons too. Although a lot of these are minor, they are definitely worth knowing if you’re thinking of getting one. Here’s a list of cons to owning a husky.
Magical Houdini’s – Many husky owners will tell you that their dog has escaped on more than one occasion. That’s due to their independence and their natural instinct to explore. Huskies have a reputation for squeezing through small gaps, breaking, digging, or chewing through tie-outs or under fences, escaping through doors that are left slightly ajar, and even running through electric fences. You will even need to be cautious when walking your husky off-leash. Sadly you cannot trust their recall, as their risk of running away/escaping is high. So if you’ve got a husky or thinking of getting one make sure you have the necessary precautions in place such as a 6-foot high fence around your property.
Stubborn – As mentioned earlier in this article, huskies are incredibly stubborn. This stubbornness makes them difficult to train but not impossible. They thrive on positive reinforcement and will often require new challenges to stay focused. Incorporating training into their daily routine will make them happy as they like to work for their owner, plus it helps to build a rewarding bond between you and your dog.
Noisy – Although huskies aren’t a breed that barks much, they do like to howl or ‘talk’. Generally, huskies are a very vocal breed and they can be fun to listen to. However, they have also been known to mournfully howl when left alone either in the house or in your yard. This mournful howling could cause your neighbors some hassle, especially if you live in a close-knit community.
Highly Energetic – If you’re not much of an active person then a husky could prove to be too much for you. Huskies are very energetic and require large amounts of exercise and mental stimulation to stop them from getting bored. Although they are playful dogs, they still need their daily dose of exercise which can be as simple as a long walk, a good romp around the yard, or even play dates with other dogs.
Lousy Guard Dogs – Contrary to popular belief, huskies make lousy guard dogs because of their sociable, friendly nature. Although your husky may look intimidating, that’s about all they have going for them. If a burglar were to break in, they are likely to be greeted enthusiastically and even accompany the burglar on a tour around the house.
What to expect from owning a husky?
Owning any dog comes with costs and expectations, huskies are no different. There are many things you should know before you decide to get a husky. From health conditions to starting fees. Huskies, just like any dog, are a massive lifetime commitment. You’ll need to make sure you have enough time to care for your husky. They need a lot of exercise, mental stimulation, and attention. Here is a list of other important factors to be aware of and expect when owning a husky:
Health Conditions – Huskies are prone to developing several health conditions throughout their lifetime. Some of these health conditions include hip dysplasia, epilepsy, certain cancers, ear infections, and eye problems.
Shedding – Most breeds will shed their fur coats. Some do this all year round, while others only shed once or twice a year. Huskies have thick fur coats that shed twice a year and the best way to help them shed is to give their coat a blowout and groom them frequently. You may decide to get this done by a professional dog groomer or do it yourself. Investing in a decent vacuum is also recommended with this breed as vacuuming may become a new way of life for you.
Financial Impacts – Owning an animal comes with a great sense of responsibility, not just in terms of your time but also financially. There are a lot of things to consider such as food, toys, leads, harnesses, accessories, treats, pet insurance, vet bills, and much more. According to PDSA, rescuing a husky can be a more cost-effective option than buying one straight from a breeder. So if you’re looking to save a bit of money, rescuing a dog is a great way to go, plus is really rewarding knowing that you’re giving a husky another lease of life. Other costs you would need to consider are boarding costs for kennels if you go away and can’t take them with you, dog walkers/daycare, training, and even agility classes if this is something you decide to do with them.
Husky Proofing Your Home – Huskies are known for being escape artists, so you’ll need to make sure that your home is husky proof. The first thing to consider is whether you live in an apartment or in a house. If you live in an apartment you may want to reconsider owning a husky as they need a lot of free space to roam around in. Houses with large yards are the perfect places for them, but you’ll want to make sure you have a large 6-foot high fence around your property to ensure they stay within their boundaries.