As its name would imply, the Siberian Husky has its origins in Eastern Siberia. The dog was brought to Canada and Alaska where it was employed as a sled dog and as a companion. This powerful dog is generally robust and healthy, although it can be prone to genetic eye disorders and epileptic seizures. The Siberian Husky has one of the lowest incidences of hip dysplasia among mid to large sized dog breeds, although the dog is still susceptible to the condition. The typical lifespan of the Siberian Husky ranges from 11 to 13 years.
Primary Health Conditions of the Siberian Husky
The Siberian Husky is subject to a number of inherited diseases of the eye, including cataracts, corneal dystrophy, progressive retinal atrophy, and glaucoma. Given the wide array of possible eye conditions, regular eye examinations at the veterinarian’s office are in order. Many of these conditions are not treatable, although some may be amenable to surgery. Dogs with progressive retinal atrophy should not be bred. The Siberian Husky can also be prone to epilepsy and seizures. Drugs can be used to control these seizures, and again genetically predisposed dogs should not be used in breeding.
Secondary Health Conditions of the Siberian Husky
The Siberian Husky ranks 155th out of 160 in its susceptibility to hip dysplasia, a condition in which a malformation at the hip and hind legs leads to inflammation, soreness, and possible gait problems. This low incidence is probably due to the breed’s powerful and hardy musculoskeletal makeup. However, the Siberian Husky can still suffer from this condition, particularly in later years or if the dog is overweight. Dogs to be bred should be screened for the condition and pulled from the breeding stock accordingly.
Siberian Husky Exercise and Walking Needs
The Siberian Husky is a working dog and a runner. Thus, it requires the daily opportunity to play and romp. The Husky owner should be aware that the dog may have a tendency to keep running, and thus supervision is needed to prevent the dog from getting lost. Like all dogs, daily walks will also allow the dog to explore its environment. The thick coat of the Siberian Husky makes it largely impervious to the cold, and a Husky can stay outside in the winter for long periods. The coat also reflects sunlight, so the Husky is less heat intolerant than one might assume. Nevertheless, care should be taken to give the dog rest and water on hot days.
Siberian Husky Nutritional Needs
The Siberian Husky was bred to work long hours in the harsh Arctic environment with little food. Thus, the breed typically only needs to be fed once a day with a high quality, high protein dog food. The amount of food the dog receives should be matched to its age and activity level to prevent any weight problems. Naturally, working Huskies will require more food than a family pet.