The Siberian Husky breed originated more than 3,000 years ago as a sled dog used by the Chukchi people of the eastern Siberian Peninsula in northeast Asia. The Chukchi selected medium-sized dogs with the endurance and desire to run for hours in the cold, hauling light loads over long distances. In the early 20th century, some Chukchi dogs were imported to Alaska for use in sled racing. Soon after the famous 1925 relay of sled dog teams that carried serum to fight a diphtheria epidemic, Chukchi dogs were recognized by the American Kennel Club as Siberian Huskies.
Although Siberian Huskies were used by the Chukchi as working dogs, they were also family dogs. The Chukchi brought them into their homes and encouraged their children to play with them. Today, Siberian Huskies are typically gentle with humans, including children, and are equally cordial with other dogs. If attacked by another dog, however, they will fight back aggressively. Siberians also have a strong predatory instinct, and may chase small animals such as squirrels, rabbits, birds, and the family cat. They also have a willful and independent streak, so patience is required when training them; however, they are trainable. They can learn obedience commands, but they may not consistently or immediately obey an owner's every order.
Siberian Huskies need a home with a yard and ample space to run and play. They also need substantial interaction with their human families or with other dogs. If owned by someone who lives in a small apartment or who is away from home most of the day, the Siberian can quickly become bored and may act out this boredom and loneliness in destructive ways. Adopting a second Siberian to keep the first company may be one way to avoid the mischief that can be a consequence of loneliness.
Siberian Huskies need plenty of exercise, but because they were bred for life in arctic conditions, they can easily become overheated. They fare better in cooler climates or when they are exercised primarily during the cool morning hours. Keeping the air conditioner on during warm days can also keep them comfortable and safe.
Siberian Huskies are notorious escape artists, and can squeeze through the smallest hole or climb the tallest fence in a quest for adventure. It's essential that owners vigilantly inspect fences and other structures for openings the Siberian could use to escape. When taken for walks or other activities outside the home, Siberian Huskies should always be on leash, to prevent them from running off to pursue a small animal or investigate an intriguing scent.
Interaction with Strangers
Siberians like people, and they will greet strangers as enthusiastically as they greet their human family members. Because of this, they don't make good guard dogs, and they likely will not bark or otherwise alert their owners if a stranger approaches them or the home. Siberians must be kept under control when meeting new people, to prevent them from jumping up on strangers and greeting them too eagerly. A Siberian Husky's greeting could be unwelcome in the eyes of people who are not comfortable around dogs.
References & Resources
AKC Meet the Breeds: Siberian Husky
Siberian Husky Club of America: The Siberian Husky
Siberian Husky Rescue Site: Is There a Siberian in Your Future?
This information is for informational purposes only and is not meant as a substitute for the professional advice of, or diagnosis or treatment by, your veterinarian. Always seek the advice of your veterinarian or other qualified professional with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. Never disregard or delay seeking professional advice due to what you may have read on our website.