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You must have seen those magnificent, wolf-like Alaskan huskies, pulling heavy sleds through heavy snow and blizzards – if not in real life, then in movies. Those super powerful, medium-sized dogs have already raised the bar for the perfect dog, and it’s not without any reason.
Being a working dog, the Alaskan husky is always up for activities. This athletic canine possesses a lot of stamina, confidence, and impeccable willpower, which makes it a perfect match for people with an active lifestyle.
At the same time, it values its family more than any other thing and loves spending time around its humans. If given proper attention and affection, an Alaskan husky makes an unbreakable and super-obedient bond with its owner, dedicating his life to keeping its owner safe and content.
Still, despite such amazing traits, we can’t say that this sled dog is suitable for all living conditions. Thus, to help you decide whether you should adopt an Alaskan husky as your family pet or not, here we’ve penned down all the required details.
Table of Contents
- About the Breed
- History of the Alaskan Husky
- Alaskan Husky Facts
- Alaskan Husky Appearance
- Alaskan Husky Temperament and Personality
- Alaskan Husky Health and Care
- Alaskan Husky Training
About the Breed
First things first, the Alaskan husky is not a specific breed with definite breed standards. Instead, all sled dogs fall into the same category. The breed was developed after crossing multiple northern breeds and are a close relative of the Siberian husky and Alaskan malamute.
The current form of Alaskan husky is also believed to be originated from the cross-breeding of ancient Alaskan huskies with Saluki and German shorthaired pointer dogs. At the same time, they are also considered spitz dogs having a wolf-like appearance.
Since the motive behind this cross-breeding was to develop working dogs. They are more famous and appreciated for their skills and performance than their looks. There’s most probably not any other dog breed that could endure harsh weather conditions as these dogs can.
Having a close resemblance with other spitz dogs, the Alaskan husky is often confused with them (especially with the Alaskan malamute and Siberian husky).
However, Alaskan huskies are longer and leaner than Siberian huskies with brown eyes, whereas Siberian huskies mostly have blue eyes. Also, Alaskan huskies have shorter coats than Siberian huskies.
On the other hand, Alaskan Malamute is much larger than Alaskans. Now, returning to the Alaskan huskies, these dogs are all about activity and speed. Considering this, these dogs are not compatible with apartment living. Instead, they prefer living in large houses, having a super-wide area to exercise and roam around.
Their high need for exercise and activity may make them the best escape artist, but only when your dog is unhappy. A happy Alaskan won’t think of running away, even when not leashed or confined into a fenced property.
History of the Alaskan Husky
No one knows the exact place or date of Alaskan’s origin, but it’s believed that the very first dog was introduced to America by Siberian migrants about 4500 years ago.
Alaskan huskies were developed originally by human dog sled racers of Canada and Alaska, also called mushers.
Those breeders were actually up to developing a powerful, enduring, and strong-willed dog that can perform even the toughest tasks easily, like transportation, hauling logs, winning prize money in sled racing competitions, and delivering heavy supplies to long distances.
To attain desirable traits and unbeatable stamina, those breeders cross-bred various native breeds of that time to develop what we call huskies today. However, since some of those ancient native breeds have gone extinct, breeders today are using German Shorthaired pointers, Greyhounds, Siberian huskies, and Eskimo dogs.
Since Alaskans are not purebred dogs but selectively bred, mixed-breed dogs, they are not registered by American or Canadian kennel clubs. Another reason for them not being recognized by AKC is that they have so many variations in traits (both physical and behavioral).
All major kennel clubs consider Alaskan huskies are a dog category, not a dog breed. However, the dog registry of America has recognized Alaskan huskies.
Alaskan Husky Facts
- Alaskans are further divided into certain strains. based on their job type. For example, Alaskans who are used for participating in races are called sprinters since they can run swiftly to long distances. Similarly, Alaskan huskies which pull sleds are called freighting dogs.
- The average lifespan of Alaskan huskies is 12-16 years.
- Alaskans are one of the most common sled dogs and this is because of their ability to run at an impressive rate (at about 45 km/h). Due to the very same reason, Alaskans are considered the seventh fastest canine out there.
- Alaskan huskies can live in hot climates since they originated from the world’s coolest region. Unlike other dogs, this one can stay active and happy even at a freezing temperature of as low as -62.2°C.
- Alaskan husky can run about 100 miles a day, without feeling fatigued or having painful cramps.
Alaskan Husky Appearance
As mentioned before, these dogs show great variation in their appearances and characteristics, owing to so many bloodlines. The distinctive features of Alaskans are their wedge-shaped heads, medium stature, pointed ears, curled tails, long muzzles, muscular legs, and thick fur.
Also, they have special snowshoes in the form of webbed, tough feet which help them run over snow, without slipping.
An Alaskan may grow up to 23-26 inches; however, the height may vary in males and females – females could be 1-2 inches shorter than males.
Despite having immense strength, the Alaskans weigh fairly low. Generally, a healthy Alaskan husky weighs around 18-27 kg. Male Alaskans may weigh higher (around 40-60 pounds), whereas female Alaskans may weigh around 35-48 lbs.
Most huskies, including Alaskans, feature double coats. The undercoat is not so dense but downy; however, the outer coat is smooth, shaggy, and of medium length. It is also worth mentioning here that the Alaskan husky’s coat is shorter, whereas that of purebred huskies is longer and fluffier.
The common colors you’ll find in Alaskan huskies are white and black. Also, Alaskan huskies mostly tend to feature coats in solid colors, which differentiate them from Siberian huskies.
Alaskan Husky Temperament and Personality
Since Alaskans were developed to work in packs, they have strong packing instincts, which makes them friendly towards other dogs and strangers. Considering this trait, they don’t make good watchdogs.
Also, they can never withstand isolation and always wants to stay beside their owner. At first glance, one may think of these dogs as serious, aggressive canines, but no, they are highly affectionate. They won’t hesitate to jump into your bed to give you random warm hugs and cuddles.
However, they are not great companions for those who prefer solitude and silence. In a quiet room, these dogs may talk, whether the owner is present there or not. Yes, these Alaskan husky puppies talk for real, in the form of a wheezing sound and howls.
Not only do they need constant activity around them, but they also need their owner’s complete attention. Otherwise, they might show extremely destructive behavior.
Alaskan huskies are mostly gentle and trusted around kids and other animals. However, since they possess loads of energy, they might leap onto their owners, out of love and excitement. Considering this, this dog doesn’t also make a great companion for toddlers and elderly, infirm people.
Lastly, remember that even though an Alaskan husky dog is very loyal, its curious and mischievous personality may compel it to wander off and get lost. Therefore, while heading out with your Alaskan for long trips, don’t forget to put him on a leash first.
Alaskan Husky Health and Care
Since it’s not a purebred dog, an Alaskan husky is prone to several health problems, including progressive retinal atrophy, cancer, obesity, hip dysplasia, hypothyroidism,, and deformation of the larynx which induces a strange, wheezing sound.
To discard the risk of genetic problems, ask the breeder to show a health clearance certificate of the Alaskan husky puppy and its parent.
On the other hand, pay special attention to your dog’s diet and physical exercise to prevent other health conditions. Remember that you can extend the overall life span of your husky pup only by keeping his weight within a healthy range.
The good part here is that Alaskan husky dogs don’t come with insanely high grooming requirements. Their coats clean up themselves automatically with the natural body oils they secrete. Due to this very reason, they don’t smell filthy, even after not taking a shower in months.
However, to keep the coat smooth and well-textured, brush it twice a week to remove debris and dead hair. During the shedding seasons (which usually hits twice a year), brush their coats more frequently to prevent matting and suppress fur loss. Lastly, to ensure proper hygiene, trim nails, brush teeth, and clean ears regularly.
Alaskan Husky Training
Yes, these dogs are smart enough to understand basic commands much earlier than other dog breeds, but it’s also true that these dogs might grow more headstrong and stubborn as they age. Therefore, it’s important to begin training an Alaskan pup from the very first day.
You might be surprised to know that these pups are trainable from a very young age of eight weeks. Just make sure you are using only the positive reinforcement training methods and showing patience.
Strangely, it’s easier to train a husky pup for pulling sleds than crate training and housetraining. However, if you’d be persistent enough and use the right, timely corrections, the whole training thing won’t take too long.
Most importantly, never exercise Alaskan huskies off-leash since they don’t know how to stay close to the owner.
Before you finally head out to purchase an Alaskan husky, you should note that this dog comes with vigorous exercise needs. Due to this, you’d need to take your husky on long strolls daily, if you want to keep them mentally and physically fit.
An Alaskan Husky may cost from $750-$3000, but you can also get one free, by adopting from a rescue group.
However, if you want to purchase a new husky pup, don’t forget to undertake proper vaccination, before letting them interact with other pets of your family.
Alaskan Husky Temperament and Personality. The Alaskan Husky is a good friend to have on a three-dog night. He's typically affectionate and has an instinct for snuggling since that's how he keeps warm out on the trail with his sled mates. He's a team player and gets along well with people and other dogs.What is the trainability of a Husky? ›
Huskies are not easy to train and will challenge first-time dog owners. The reason for this is in the breed history – Huskies were bred to pull sleds in harnesses over long distances. The breed was not developed to work closely with their owner. Instead, they were bred for endurance and athletic ability.What are the traits of Husky owners? ›
As a husky owner, you tend to be confident and strong-willed. But you still always make it your priority to take care of the people around you. Huskies are active dogs who love to be outside, just like their owners. If well-trained, this guard dog will shower his family with affection.Can a Husky be well trained? ›
Huskies are notoriously tough to train. They're also gentle, playful, and relentlessly good natured. If you're willing to put in the time and effort, you'll be able to train your husky to obey your commands.Are Alaskan Huskies good house dogs? ›
A Husky is very sociable and loves to be around all people. A Husky is very loyal and pack-oriented, so he loves being a member of a family. A Husky is even-keeled when it comes to his temperament, and is not known for being aggressive, which makes him a great fit for homes with kids.Are huskies well behaved dogs? ›
A Good-Natured Breed
The Siberian husky is a friendly and gentle breed of dog if taken care of properly. They are also very playful to whoever handles them. They do not show suspicions on other people or even get aggressive with other dogs unless the other dog shows hostility.
Degenerative Myelopathy. Degenerative myelopathy is a neurologic condition, similar to ALS or Lou Gehrig's disease in people, that causes weakness and poor nerve function in the hind legs. It affects Huskies more frequently than other breeds.Are huskies hard to housebreak? ›
Fortunately, potty training a Husky is relatively straightforward. The main task is to get him into a consistent routine. However, you will also need to make the potty as pleasant as possible. That will require an effective motivator.Are huskies difficult to own? ›
Huskies really don't cope well on their own and ideally need a home where someone is around all the time to keep them company. The breed is known for suffering from separation anxiety so they may not even cope with very short periods alone.What is the attitude of a husky? ›
The Husky temperament is intelligent, playful and very friendly. They are known for their good nature as well as their love of people and they make loyal companions for people with active lifestyles. Huskies crave company and love nothing more than spending as much time as possible with their owners.
Your Siberian Husky may howl, whine or otherwise vocalize his displeasure at your leaving the house and his being left alone. This is a normal case of separation anxiety, but there are things that can be done to eliminate this problem.Do huskies like to sleep with their owners? ›
According to Pet Keen, dogs indeed do love sleeping with their owners, and while there are many reasons for this, some experts speculate it is because of the security and comfort that being near their owner provides.How do you get a Husky to obey you? ›
- Use simple one-word commands and say them only once. ...
- Never correct your dog for something he did minutes earlier. ...
- Always praise (and offer a treat ) as soon as your puppy does something good (or stops doing something naughty). ...
- Be consistent.
Husky puppies are some of the more daunting breeds to train, especially when it comes to leash training. Huskies and other similar breeds like the Alaskan Malamute are bred for heavy pulling, such as the pulling that is done by sled dogs in snowy climates.Are huskies better inside or outside dogs? ›
Basically, huskies are characteristically suited to living in the cold. Despite the Northern Reaches being their more natural habitat, however, any loving dog owner can adopt a Husky in any climate, so long as they take care to make sure they stay healthy!Do huskies like to be hugged? ›
Huskies love to cuddle with their owners and be petted. They are a very happy and social breed of dog and enjoy human interaction.Why not to get a husky? ›
While it is a good-natured and fun dog to have around, a husky is a very stubborn and free-spirited breed. It requires extensive exercise and obedience training to maintain good behavior. Being highly independent, they easily run away if given a chance or taken off-leash.How aggressive can a husky be? ›
Huskies are not an aggressive breed. They don't get aggressive toward other dogs unless cornered. Huskies can get aggressive when protecting their favorite toy or food from other dogs. They can also be aggressive if they feel intimidated by the other dogs.Do Huskies have anger issues? ›
Signs of aggression in huskies may include growling, barking, biting, snarling, and snapping. Many triggers can lead to husky aggression. Common triggers include fear or anxiety, territorial disputes, resource guarding, lack of socialisation, and improper training.Why does my husky follow me everywhere? ›
If your dog follows you everywhere then it's a sign that they trust and love you and that you make them feel safe. Following you very closely can be a sign that they're bored, they want something, they're feeling scared or are just being nosy.
What Allergies are Huskies Most Likely to Develop? Food allergies are most likely to affect Siberian huskies, causing intense itching that puts their beautiful coat at risk. Although chicken and beef cause reactions most, milk, eggs, and corn often leave huskies scratching away as well.What age are huskies most difficult? ›
The first two years are the toughest years for both husky and owner. And sadly many people cannot put up with it. Around the age of 8 months, they start to go through adolescence, which is so much worse than the puppy teething phase.How long can huskies hold their pee? ›
Adult dogs that are one year or older should be able to hold their pee in for up to 6-8 hours.Do all huskies try to run away? ›
It's true. "Huskies are a very independent, headstrong breed that has been bred to think on their own out in the tundra," she says. "If they have the opportunity, they are definitely prone to run off on their own."Do huskies like being left alone? ›
The truth is that most huskies do not cope well when left alone for more than a few hours at a time. Huskies rely on having human company most of the time, so being left on their own too much can lead to undesirable behavioral and mental issues like disobedience, stress, and anxiety.Are huskies OK to be left alone? ›
Huskies over 18 months old can be left alone in their crate for 4 to 6 hours a day while puppies should not be left for more than 2 to 3 hours a day. They'll need around a few hours of free run time. If you leave him unsupervised for any longer than that then he could become a potential risk.Why does my Husky cry when left alone? ›
Separation anxiety howling only occurs when a dog is left alone or otherwise separated from his owner. This kind of howling is usually accompanied by at least one other symptom of separation anxiety, such as pacing, destruction, elimination, depression or other signs of distress.What is the social behavior of a Husky? ›
Siberian huskies tend to be friendly with people, including children. Most Siberian huskies are good with other dogs, especially ones they are raised with. They have a high prey drive and may chase cats and livestock.Do huskies throw tantrums? ›
Husky owners can certainly attest to the fact that their dogs go beyond the typical quirky canine traits—they are certified drama queens. Huskies can throw temper tantrums, similar to a tired and hungry kid who has yet to take a nap.How can you tell if a Husky is emotional? ›
Vocalization to Expresses Emotions
Huskies will use a variety of tones and sounds to let you know how they're feeling. They'll whine, cry, and yelp when they aren't happy with the situation. They may even resort to the well-known Husky scream.
- Withdrawn – the dog may have little enthusiasm for exercise or games or joining in with the things they normally enjoy.
- Lethargic – they may be sleeping more than usual.
- Loss of appetite - they may lose interest in food or there may be changes to eating patterns.
You are your dog's closet companion, and being close to you means food, safety, and happiness. On the flip side, being separated from you may mean anxiety or distress. You're their pack now—and for some dogs, that means not letting anything, not even the pesky bathroom door, come between you.Where is the best place for a Husky to sleep? ›
Huskies should have a shelter from the elements outside, but often choose to curl up with their nose under their tails or dig a hole in the snow for a den. A curled up Husky with snow on his back is doing just fine; his coat is functioning as it should and keeping his body heat in.Do Huskies guard their owners? ›
Huskies, by their very nature, are quite protective of their owners. Your job will be to reinforce that you are part of his territory to defend. You will also need to use obedience commands to train Ice to react in the correct manner to protect you.What happens if you yell at a Husky? ›
Yelling at your dog does not work because it will just get him more stressed or it will only increase his energy level and how excited he is about the situation. Instead, your Bark Busters dog trainer can teach you how to use a calm yet firm voice to refocus your dog and to teach the desired behavior.How do I get my Husky to come when called? ›
Start adding some distance between you and your dog as she is ready for the challenge. You can also stop running every time, using that tactic only if she fails to come immediately. If your Husky is really on the ball, try calling her from another room and reward very generously if she comes right to you!How do I stop my Husky from pulling when I walk? ›
If your Husky pulls on the leash and gets what he wants (to sniff that bush, to greet that person, to play with that dog) then he will continue to do it and it will get worse. Instead, if you feel your Husky start to pull you in one direction, you can plant your feet and not move, waiting until he returns to you.What do huskies do when they are happy? ›
A happy husky will look relaxed in their face and body. Their tail may or may not be wagging, but their tail and ears are both neutral. Usually their mouth will be open with their tongue showing. And they will have “soft” eyes looking at you.Do huskies have separation anxiety? ›
All dogs have separation anxiety to some degree, the Siberian Husky is no different. With Huskies specifically, they tend to gravitate towards others, preferring not to be left alone. If left by themselves in an easily destructible environment the results could be pretty bad.Can huskies sense anxiety? ›
Dogs can sense when humans are anxious
They use this information to predict what might happen next, for example, a game, a snooze, a cuddle, or a meal. Our dogs also take cues from us about how to respond in particular circumstances...
Huskies are not an aggressive breed. They don't get aggressive toward other dogs unless cornered. Huskies can get aggressive when protecting their favorite toy or food from other dogs. They can also be aggressive if they feel intimidated by the other dogs.Are Alaskan Huskies cuddly? ›
Huskies love to cuddle with their owners and be petted. They are a very happy and social breed of dog and enjoy human interaction.What is the weakness of Siberian husky? ›
Degenerative Myelopathy. Degenerative myelopathy is a neurologic condition, similar to ALS or Lou Gehrig's disease in people, that causes weakness and poor nerve function in the hind legs. It affects Huskies more frequently than other breeds.What's the difference between a Siberian husky and an Alaskan husky? ›
Alaskan huskies are not purebred dogs according to the AKC, while Siberian huskies are. Siberian Huskies are usually larger than Alaskan huskies, with longer coats and more variety of both coat and eye colors. Alaskan huskies and Siberian huskies are bred for different lifestyles over time.Will a Husky protect you? ›
Huskies, by their very nature, are quite protective of their owners. Your job will be to reinforce that you are part of his territory to defend. You will also need to use obedience commands to train Ice to react in the correct manner to protect you.What to do if your Husky bites you? ›
Whenever your Husky pup bites or nips you, you should stop the behavior and provide an alternative or reward him for stopping. Make sure everyone in your house follows the same rules so your puppy understands that biting a human is never okay.Do Huskies like to sleep with their owners? ›
According to Pet Keen, dogs indeed do love sleeping with their owners, and while there are many reasons for this, some experts speculate it is because of the security and comfort that being near their owner provides.Why do Huskies paw at you? ›
Most dog owners have likely experienced your dog pawing at your legs. While you may brush off this act as a mere annoyance, it's actually your pup's way of trying to communicate with you. And it can mean something really sweet. If your dog puts his paw on you, it can be his way of saying "I love you."Do Huskies get attached to people? ›
But believe it or not, these dogs really love their people! You just have to know how to spot a husky's signs of affection. Huskies are very social dogs, and they do require a lot of time spent with their pet parents, or with other dogs. Remember—they are pack dogs, so they want to be with their pack.What are huskies sensitive to? ›
What Allergies are Huskies Most Likely to Develop? Food allergies are most likely to affect Siberian huskies, causing intense itching that puts their beautiful coat at risk. Although chicken and beef cause reactions most, milk, eggs, and corn often leave huskies scratching away as well.
Alaskan Huskies have no breed standards since people often breed these dogs for specific purposes and jobs. That said, most of these dogs have a mix of Siberian Husky, Greyhound, German Shorthair Pointer, and Eskimo dog in their genes.How long do Alaskan huskies live for? ›
Huskies are typically healthy pups that live around 12-15 years. This is longer than many breeds, but as dog owners, we know that every minute you spend with your best friend is precious.What is the best Husky to own? ›
Despite being strong-willed, Pomeranian Huskies are, in general, friendly and affectionate, which can make them excellent family pets in homes where they receive lots of attention and exercise. With their long, dense coats, Pomeranian Huskies are year-round shedders that require lots of brushing.