There are plenty of resources out there that you can go to to help you decide what breed of puppy you may want. While these are very informative they are usually fairly general, and give an average standard of the breed as opposed to what owning one in real life is like!
We wanted to mix that up and ask actual owners of these breeds to answer some questions about their individual experiences to give a first hand account for our readers! Of course, as everyone's experiences will be different, we plan to get as many different responses per breed as possible over time.
Today is SIBERIAN HUSKY day!
Our first owner has had her dog Kova since she was a puppy, and Kova is now 9 years old.
Why did you get a Husky?
I thought a lot about what breed to get before bringing a dog into my home. At the time I hiked pretty frequently, ran almost everyday, and loved to snowshoe in the winter. I wanted a dog that would have the energy levels and stamina to be able to participate in those activities with me. I was having a hard time deciding between a Rhodesian Ridge Back and a Husky. What ultimately swayed my decision was the Siberian Husky's predominant characteristic of independence and tolerance for cold weather.
Is this your first time owning a Husky?
Yes, Kova is the first!
What were the first 12 months like?
I cannot say the first 12 months were easy by any means. The first 3 months were fairly straight forward as she was mostly settling into city life (for a small puppy from a farm settling was hard). During this time I was a student with a part time job, and therefore I had plenty of free time for training and exercise. Training was not difficult as long as I was consistent and persistent in reinforcing things I introduced. Huskies generally are not known to be a food motivated breed. Due to this I had to replace food as the reward aspect of positive reinforcement. For Kova, attention and praise seemed to work best.
However, two things that I struggled with most within the first 12 months were mental stimulation and eating habits. Since she was still so young it was not recommended that I run with her. At first, although I would average about 4 hours of playtime throughout the day, she was still wired when it was time for bed. She also was very uninterested in food and would sometimes go days without eating. My vet reassured me this was normal for huskies and gave me some tips to help stimulate her appetite. Puzzle toys and hide/search games became a staple at meal times, and solved the mental stimulation problem too!
What is the best thing about owning a Siberian Husky?
Her loyalty and independence. There is also never a dull moment with her around, and their facial expressions are the most telling of any breed of dog!
What is the hardest thing?
Independence is a double edged sword, that is further exacerbated by their persistent stubbornness!
Does your Husky have any funny breed quirks?
She loves a cave-like atmosphere, so don't be surprised when you find your Husky squashed between the couch and the wall!
She tends to be very picky about food and she is stubborn enough to hold out for the food they want.
She can get over-stimulated easily and if she hasn't had enough exercise can be very destructive.
Tell us a funny story about your Husky
Although Kova loves the cold and will gladly sleep in a snow bank, if we have the fireplace on she will not hesitate to watch the fire from no more than a foot away. She has even burned her nose on several occasions from being too close!
She also has an odd fascination with Adele. I can no longer listen to Adele without also listening to her blood curdling howl!
What piece of advice would you give to someone thinking of getting a Siberian Husky?
I always tell people to do lots of research on any breed that they adopt, but with huskies I would advise to do more and then a little more after that. It's not so much that they are aggressive or destructive like a lot of people (including insurance companies) will tell you. However, they are highly intelligent, observant, energetic, stubborn, individualistic, and love to test boundaries. If you are lax as an owner and inconsistent, and unfocused in your training or treatment of your husky, they will run all over you, literally and figuratively.
They say huskies blow their coats twice a year. However, that does not mean they don't shed constantly! My mother frequently jokes that I could make a sweater every time I brush Kova (and this is no exaggeration). Shedding can also depend on the climate of your location, but no matter what I have found that I should brush her a minimum of once a week. As huskies have two coats, shaving or sheering is NEVER recommended. This is due to the fact that after shaving their fur tends to grow back predominantly consisting of their undercoat. This type of fur is heavier, thicker, and more dense, therefore more insulate which can lead to overheating.
Side note: I once took Kova to a groomer and they gave her a BRAZILIAN on her underside without confirming with me! Make sure your groomer knows what to do with a Husky!
Let us know if you own a Siberian Husky and if any of this is true for your dog too!
Coming up in our breed profile series we have Irish setters, Boxers, Terriers, Labradors, Golden Retrievers, Dalmatians and Whippets. And don't worry, we will be interviewing plenty of mixed breeds too. Don't forget to subscribe so you won't miss a post!