Not every breed made its American debut with as big a splash as the Siberian Husky. A team of these lean, fast sled dogs, originally developed by the seminomadic Chukchi people of Northeastern Asia to pull sleds over long distances, proved just what they were made of while racing across the frozen Alaskan wilderness to deliver life-saving diphtheria serum to remote Nome, Alaska, in January 1925. Some of the dogs were taken on a tour of the Lower 48 after news of the courageous men and dogs spread, and they were met with wild acclaim. From that day on, the Siberian has been popular.
For those looking for a calm dog to settle with on the couch in the evenings and maybe enjoy a short stroll around the block a few times a week, the Siberian Husky isn’t a match. The same goes for those looking for a devoted companion who lives to please and hangs on his owner’s every word.
But for people who want a dog to be a partner and friend, who will love children, greet guests, and get along with other dogs — and most importantly, for those ready and willing to provide consistent leadership and plenty of vigorous exercise every day — then a Siberian Husky will be a joy.
Although they usually get along well with other dogs, Siberians have a strong predatory streak and may consider small animals, including cats, prey. Those with multispecies households need to be extremely cautious with this breed.
As should be expected from a breed developed for snow country, the Siberian sheds year-round, but more so in spring and fall. On the upside, his short, thick coat requires little care, and frequent brushing will curb the shedding.
Siberians are not usually barkers, although they’ll often howl, especially to a siren. They are adept escape artists and have been known to climb over and dig under some pretty serious fences. Neutering may lessen the sense of wanderlust, but don’t count on it: Siberians should be microchipped and have an ID tag on their collars at all times if you want to help ensure their safe return after an escape.
Although working Siberians often live happily in kennel situations because they get lots of exercise, relegating a Siberian to the backyard isn’t a great idea. He’ll easily become lonely and bored, and that means he’ll become destructive. Siberians are world-class diggers when they’re not jumping fences and wandering for miles.
Finally, if you are looking for a dog who focuses only on you or will protect your home, choose a different breed. Siberians do not grasp the concept of strangers and may instead greet all with enthusiasm. A Siberian does not a good watchdog make.
Other Quick Facts
Siberians can have blue eyes, brown eyes, eyes that are a little of both, or one of each color. There is no relationship between eye color and eye disease in this breed.
The Siberian’s passions include digging and running. These are not behaviors that can be trained away.
The Siberian has a strong prey drive and probably isn’t the greatest roommate for cats and other small mammals.
If you’re a dog owner, chances are you really don’t think much about your daily walks. But in the summer, there are some things you might want to consider to make your dog walking as safe and healthy as possible.
Summer heat poses some risks. Here are some tips for taking your dog walking in hot weather.
Every dog is different. Experts suggest customizing your walk to suit your dog’s physical type and endurance level. If your dog is slightly overweight and you’re starting an exercise program, then three or four short, 10-minute walks might work better than one long one. For a more energetic, younger or thinner dog, a longer walk might work fine, but a brief rest and drink every 10 minutes helps keep your dog cool and hydrated.
Small dogs have to work harder to cover the same distance that might be a mere hop and a skip for a larger dog. Remember your dog’s size as you customize your walk. And dogs with snub-noses are more prone to respiratory distress in hot weather, sources say. It’s a little harder for them to cool themselves effectively, so walking in the morning or evening may be better for these types of dogs.
In the summer, you aren’t as likely to run into antifreeze in water on the street. Nonetheless, puddles should not be water sources for your dog during your walk, sources warn. They can harbor parasites and other road chemicals such as motor oil.
What to Bring
For a safe walk this summer, here is a checklist of things you might want to bring along to make your dog’s walk successful, healthy, and safe.
-Cool water should be taken along (for you, too!). Consider a backpack with an ice pack (a slim gel pack from your freezer will do fine and won’t add too much weight). Put bottles of water for both of you in the pack.
-A collapsible water bowl can be slipped into your backpack too.
-Treats are good to bring along for reward and to sustain your dog.
-Tweezers can be handy for removing ticks.
-Flea and tick repellent should be applied before your walk.
Go for Grass
Whenever possible, try to get your dog to grass or vegetation during the walk. Hot concrete can burn his paws. If you can, a walk in the woods or park with shade is a good choice.
Know the Signs
Watch your dog for signs of discomfort and agitation. Excessive panting is also a sign that your dog is getting overheated. If you see signs of heat exhaustion, get your dog to an air conditioned car or building as soon as possible, and call your vet.