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The Alaskan Husky is not a purebred dog like the Siberian Husky, it’s a designed dog breed, containing the Siberia Husky in its genes, and it’s bigger at about 20 to 23.5 inches tall, weighing between 35 to 60 pounds. The lifespan of the Alaskan Husky is around 12 to 15 years.
In this article, I will provide you with 9 facts on the Alaskan Husky and give you an idea of what you can expect from her as a companion dog.
Alaskan Husky Photos
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1. Alaskan Huskies are a mixed bag
The Alaskan Husky is not a purebred, nor is she actually a breed of dog at all. She is defined by her purpose: for use as a sled dog.
She was originally bred in Alaskan villages from a mix of various Northern breeds, including the Siberian Husky, Greyhound, and the German Shorthaired-Pointer. She is still bred today for use as a sled dog in dog sled racing, a winter dog sport that takes place in Alaska.
She is not recognized by any breed clubs or kennel clubs and is classed as a working dog; unlike the Siberian Husky and the Alaskan Malamute, who are both purebreds, registered with the AKC and CKC and used as a show dog as well as a working dog.
2. …which means their looks can vary!
As mentioned above she is usually medium to large in size, weighing up to 60 lb (27.2 kg) and measuring up to 23.5 inches (60cm).
The Alaskan Husky often looks similar to the Siberian Husky, with pointed ears and a fluffy tail that curls over her back, but there are some differences:
- She comes in any color or mix of colors (most commonly gray, black and white) and any pattern of markings.
- She has a larger and leaner body than the Siberian Husky.
- Her coat can be short to medium length, with a very heavy undercoat, while the Siberian’s is always medium length.
- She usually has brown eyes, while the Siberian has blue eyes.
- She has a more pronounced tuck-up than the Siberian Husky (the tuck-up is the part of the dog’s body where the rib cage and hind legs join when viewed from the side).
3. They can really go – and for miles
There’s a reason these dogs are chosen for taking part in sled racing: they can go fast. Vet Street lists the Alaskan Husky as the 7th fastest dog in the world; she has been recorded as traveling at 28 mph (45 kph).
The article also names her the ‘marathoner of dogs,’ which is another quality of the Alaskan Husky: extreme endurance. There are particular strains of Alaskan Husky that are bred to race for very long distances – of up to 1,000 miles!
4. Love exercising? So does she!
Given her working background, it shouldn’t come as a surprise that the Alaskan Husky is a great companion for hikers, runners, and mountaineers. This dog craves exercise – and lots of it. If she does not get it, she is likely to dig, howl or chew anything she can find.
A high-energy dog needs a high-energy owner, so think twice about getting an Alaskan Husky if your idea of exercise is a quick stroll around the block.
She will also do well if you give her a job while you’re exercising together. Try out a doggie backpack on her – she can carry essentials like your cell phone and much-needed bottles of water.
By fitting her with this pack, you will be fulfilling a need in her, as carrying weight is what she was born to do – plus you will help her burn up more energy. The pack should hold no more than 10-12% of your dog’s body weight.
Alaskan Huskies also tend to do very well in agility classes, where they can burn off energy while you train her, show her who’s boss, and strengthen your bond with her.
Check out these Alaskan Husky puppies, who seem to have tons of energy and stamina!
5. They prefer cooler climates
The Alaskan Husky cannot live in very hot climates. This is perhaps another unsurprising point, given that she hails from Alaska, where temperatures can drop as low as 80 degrees below freezing (-62.2°C).
If you live somewhere where the temperature goes above 80 degrees (26°C), don’t get an Alaskan Husky.
She will suffer terribly, as she has very thick fur and a thermal underlayer – just imagine wearing a wool sweater in the blistering heat!
You shouldn’t exercise your Alaskan Husky in temperatures above 70 degrees (20°C).
In summer months, it is a good idea to take out your Alaskan Husky in the mornings or the evenings when the sun is lower, and the temperature has dropped. Make sure you provide her with lots of water and don’t go at too fast a pace if you notice her struggling.
Another important point: do NOT shave your Alaskan Husky. It might seem like you will be alleviating her when it hots up, but actually, you will only put her at risk of sunburn and take away her ability to regulate her body temperature (a task her under layer is in charge of).
6. They’re chilled (excuse the pun)
Alaskan Huskies are known to be calmer than the Siberian Husky and the Alaskan Malamute. Providing they get the exercise needs met, they are generally mellow dogs who will be happy to settle down with you at home. For this reason, they are good with children.
If you want a guard dog, she isn’t the dog of choice, as they are usually incredibly friendly with strangers. She is more likely to sniff and wag her tail than be suspicious or bark.
7. They are true pack animals
Alaskan Huskies have a strong pack instinct, having been bred to work closely with people and other dogs. They are gentle with people and need lots of contact with you, which makes them excellent companion dogs.
They are also incredibly sociable with other dogs, so they fit in well with a family who already has a dog or who would like more than one dog.
8. They’re highly trainable (if you’re game)
You should begin training your Alaskan straight away. She is incredibly intelligent and very trainable; even at 8 weeks of age, she can learn many basic commands.
That being said, Alaskan Huskies can have a stubborn streak. If you tell her to do something she doesn’t really feel like doing at that very moment, she may well not obey. For this reason, it is important you show strong leadership with your Alaskan Husky from the word go.
9. They are usually healthy dogs
Perhaps due to their hybridization, these dogs tend to be healthy and can live for up to 15 years.
Certain strains are at risk of some health problems that affect the purebred, however, and it is good to be aware of these so that you can treat your dog if need be. These health concerns can include:
- Lysosomal storage disease
- Eye problems (including progressive retinal atrophy)
- Malformation of the larynx, causing wheezing sound when breathing
So, what have we learned about the Alaskan Husky? Here’s the breakdown:
- She is not a breed in herself, but a type defined by her purpose as a sled dog
- Her physical traits vary
- She’s calmer in comparison to the Siberian Husky and the Alaskan Malamute
- She needs lots of exercise
- She can’t live in very hot climates
- She’s highly trainable
- She’s a sociable dog
- She’s usually healthy
Is the Alaskan Husky the one for you? Leave me a comment below and let me know!
9 Things You Need to Know About The Alaskan Husky - Animalso? ›
Siberian huskies are classic northern dogs. They are intelligent but somewhat independent and stubborn. They thrive on human company, but need firm, gentle training right from puppy hood. These are dogs bred to run, and their love of running may overcome their love for their guardians at times.What do I need to know about Huskies? ›
Siberian huskies are classic northern dogs. They are intelligent but somewhat independent and stubborn. They thrive on human company, but need firm, gentle training right from puppy hood. These are dogs bred to run, and their love of running may overcome their love for their guardians at times.What do Alaskan Huskies need? ›
Because they work together in large teams, Alaskan Huskies need to get along very well with people and other dogs or animals. They form strong bonds with both alike. Built for speed and endurance, they also need plenty of room in which to run and play, so they are not very well-suited for apartment living.Do 2 Huskies guard the gates of heaven? ›
According to Chukchi belief, two Huskies guard the gates of heaven, turning away anyone who was cruel to a dog during their life on earth.Is Husky fur waterproof? ›
The outer coat of a Husky is very waterproof to help keep their bodies dry in snow or rain. The Husky coat also pretty effectively repels most dirt and mud. When the mud dries, it just brushes off the fur.What do huskies love? ›
Husky Temperament & Personality
Huskies crave company and love nothing more than spending as much time as possible with their owners. They have a great sense of humour that comes with their playful side too. Having said that, Huskies also display an independent side to their nature as well as often being mischievous.
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Siberian huskies are probably best-known for their incredible sled-pulling skills, but these doggies aren't all business! Indeed, they make excellent working dogs, as they were bred originally to help the Chukchi people of Siberia hunt more efficiently. But they're sweet, friendly, and loyal cuddle bugs, too.What is the best thing about a Husky? ›
Intelligent, playful and friendly, Huskies are good-natured and people-loving. Their need for lots of active exercise (at least 2 hours each day), mental stimulation and attention means they're best suited to dog owners with active lifestyles and plenty of time.
Can a Husky live to 20? ›
Siberian Huskies have a lifespan of 10-13 years. Although some Siberian Huskies can live up to 16 years, the average lifespan is 12 to 15 years. In all breeds, including huskies, females live slightly longer than males.How smart is a Husky? ›
Many dog species excel in certain areas of intelligence over other dog breeds. But what about Siberian Huskies? According to Stanley Coren, a leading canine psychologist, huskies ranked 74th out of 138 dog breeds making them, according to Dr. Coren of average intelligence.