The Siberian husky has consistently ranked as one of America’s top 20 breeds. As with other popular dog breeds, this has led to some overbreeding, and therefore—problems in the breed.
The “show quality” husky, which is the breed standard and hopefully, more true to the original character of the breed, is a compact dog with a free spirit and generally good temperament. They do not make good watch dogs or guard dogs as they often don’t bark very much and are quite accepting of strangers. Classic huskies are a light-footed and graceful breed. They almost look too delicate to pull a sled and live outdoors in the snow—but are definitely not too delicate for either activity. Huskies love to pull—it is their defining characteristic and their crowing glory.
Classic huskies can seem a little aloof due to their independent streak and slightly “wild spirit”. Most huskies, even the best trained, do not do well off-leash. They tend to run—far and wide and come back only when they are good and ready. They love to explore, especially in the woods or other natural areas. This is not to say that huskies do not love their owners, they are just slightly different than a typical dog. And, the usual disclaimer goes “all dogs are individuals and there are exceptions to every rule”.
Problems with overbreeding huskies include poor temperaments-especially in males, various health problems and a weakened character. By this I mean, huskies (in general) are sissy’s when it comes to pain. They will whine, scream and howl when pricked with a needle that most dogs will barely notice. But I believe the low pain threshold may also be due to their “closer to the wild” nature. Wild animals react much more strongly to minor stimuli than domestic animals and this could be a good survival tactic in the wild.
So, if you think you want a husky, consider the following issues for owning one. A husky LOVES to pull and they do not leash train/heel easily. They need tons of exercise to curb their boundless energy and strength and they do best when given plenty of exercise in natural areas where they can safely explore attacked to a long leash, in order to satisfy their burning curiosity and need to roam. Huskies do not do well in high heat so in the summer, you will need to provide a cool place for your dog—air conditioning is a must. If you live in a climate that is warm all the time, a husky may not be for you—if you want a truly happy dog. Finally, in order for a husky to be a good pet and companion, they require some level of training and discipline. The thing I recommend for most husky owners is sled dog training or some sort of pulling class—wagons or whatever—and once they are trained—working them daily which will burn off their restless energy of the body and mind and allow them to focus more on their owners wishes.
If you can meet all the criteria and have a strong desire for this beautiful, ancient breed, then a husky could be for you!