When you have the idea popping into your head “I want a husky”, you must ask yourself this question: Do I know what I’m letting myself into?
Here are some need to know information that will help you to decide if a husky is the right pet for you.
The Minus Points
1. Not a one-man dog- any human will do- this may be seen as a lack of loyalty.
2. He will not guard your home or property.
3. Strong desire to run. If he gets free he will run so far he will be lost, if not hit by a car or train, or shot by a farmer.
4. Cannot be relied on to return to you on command. He will decide whether or not to return for himself, knowing that you cannot catch him.
5. Too independent and strong willed generally to be a candidate for obedience training/work.
6. Keen and efficient hunter and killer. Cannot be trusted with non-canine pets or livestock of any sort. On occasion been known to accept into the pack a cat that he is brought up with, but all others will be regarded as fair game. Please note - huskies have been known to kill cats, that they have lived happily with for many years, for no obvious reason.
7. Like any dog- must be exercised to keep him fit and contented, but this must be done ON lead.
8. Can be very destructive, especially when young and/or if left alone for a long time.
9. Needs company, either human or canine, and is miserable without it.
10. Needs a safely enclosed exercise area. Your garden must be fully fenced and secure. Six foot high fencing USUALLY enough.
Check neighbours will not object to high fences. Take care he cannot dig his way out beneath it, and do not leave dustbins etc near the fence or he may use them to get over the top. Keep the garden gate locked, otherwise there is a risk that visitors, window cleaners etc may leave them open.
11. Your garden is unlikely to remain neat and tidy with a Sibe, rampaging happily within.
12. He needs correct feeding- breeders will be able to tell you which foods suit Sibes and which can cause problems.
13. Moults twice a year. The quantity of fur shed can surprise you, especially in spring when the winter coat is replaced by a shorter, thinner summer coat.
14. You need an understanding and experienced veterinary surgeon. Sibes are sensitive to some drugs, particularly anaesthetics, sedatives and tranquillisers. This is due to their relatively low metabolic rate and lack of body fat. Also the bulk of their fur can lead vets to overestimate their weight and so overdose them. Sibes should always be weighed accurately beforehand to avoid this.
The Good Points
1. Friendly with people of all ages.
2. An honest dog- his body language and voice can be taken at face value- he says what he means.
3. He has no guarding instinct and will greet and kiss an intruder the same as any other visitor.
4. Gregarious- he likes company.
5. Youthful in outlook, he often reaches 14 years of age, sometimes 16 or more.
6. Robust athletic constitution.
7. Good travellers, new sights and sounds do not upset them.
8. Intelligent and mischievous.
9. Easy-going and forgiving.
10. Clean, little or no doggy smell. Some people allergic to dogs can tolerate Siberian Husky fur.
11. Straightforward to groom.
12. Quiet. They do not often bark, but they do howl like a wolf often just for the joy of it. This may be a disadvantage in some neighbourhoods.
13. They do not require as much food for their size as many other breeds.
14. Not fussy eaters (but see minus point 12).
15. Get on well with other well-adjusted canines. However they will take up a challenge if offered.
The above assumes a normal puppyhood and socialisation.
Jasper van Jaarsveld
083 231 2290 Husky Rescue Representative - West Rand
Top : Husky Rescue South Africa
Bottom : Layla Cassim's Husky Coco Chanel.