The Siberian Husky is a popular and beautiful dog breed that originated in Siberia. They have wolf-like looks that’s why many are drawn to them. It is a medium-sized working dog breed which belongs to the Spitz genetic family. They are great sled dogs and home pets as well. People from Nome refer to them as “Siberian Rats” because they are smaller compared to the Malamute dog breed. Let us know more about the history of Siberian Huskies as well as their characteristics.
The Siberian Husky is believed to have originated in a tribe of Siberian nomads called the Chukchi. Its history is relatively unknown but based on DNA tests, it is one of the oldest of dog breeds. The tribe used them as fast transportation and as a family dog as well. They often sleep with children and provided warm comfortable beds for them.
In the fall of 1908, the Siberian Husky dog breed arrived in North America and were used as sled dogs during the gold rush. It was then imported to Nome, Alaska in 1909 and to be entered in the All Alaska Sweepstakes race of 408 miles, with $10,000 for the first prize. However, no one was impressed with them because of their small size that’s why the people of Nome called them “Siberian Rats”.
In the following years, Siberian Huskies have taken top honers in a lot of races but their first race run in the United States will always remain, by far, their most important. In 1913, a Norwegian explorer named Roald Amundsen, the first man to reach the South Pole, planned an expedition to the North Pole for 1914. Jafet Lindberg, his friend and the co-owner of the largest mining company in Nome, offered to purchase and train the dogs for him. The best Siberians were purchased from all over the Seward Peninsula and this group of sled dogs were trained for the upcoming expedition.
However, Amundsen gave up his North Pole expedition due to the start of World War I. But the training of the Siberians continued and they were entered in the last four Sweepstakes races and won the last three in 1915, 1916, and 1917.
Nome was gripped in a spreading diphtheria epidemic in January 1925. The serum that could save them was over 600 miles away. Therefore, a dog team relay was formed to hasten its arrival. Twenty Siberians left Nome eastbound to meet the serum in Nulato. The team led by Balto completed the relay and they were able to save the people of Nome. A statue of Balto can be seen in New York’s Central Park, in honor of all the sled dogs of the Serum Run.
Based on records, the last Siberian Husky was exported from Siberia in 1930 when the borders were closed by the Soviet government, but the breed still continued to thrive in North America. They have changed slightly from their Siberian foundation dog, which is the Chukchi Sled Dog, but they still have many of the wonderful qualities of the breed.
It was also in 1930 when the Siberian Husky was recognized by the American Kennel Club. In 1938, the Siberian Club of America was founded followed by the Canadian Kennel Club in 1939.
Characteristics of a Siberian Husky
Average height: 1 foot and 8 inches – 1 foot and 11 inches tall
Average weight: 35 – 60 pounds
The Siberian Husky belongs to the working dogs breed group and they can live from 12 to 15 years. Average males can grow from 21 to 23.5 inches tall while females can grow from 20 to 22 inches tall. Male Siberians can weigh from 45 to 60 pounds and females from 35 to 50 pounds.
Siberian Huskies have double coats that feature medium-length hair. Their top coats are straight and their undercoats feel soft and dense. Make sure you have a top working vacuum cleaner at home because they shed a lot especially during spring. Siberian Huskies living in colder places shed less compared to those who live in warmer places. They come in different colors and markings from black to pure white. Their eyes can be blue, brown, or a combination of both. They may also look similar to wolves but their character and personality are very different.
Since Siberian Huskies are pack dogs, they need an owner who is the clear leader of the pack. They are fun-loving and energetic dogs and they are not good guard dogs. It’s because the presence of people excites them and invite play rather than protect. They are also fast since they are bred to pull sleds and hunt.
Siberian Huskies are also great pets for households with children because they can be very tolerant of kids. They thrive in multi-pet households especially when they are raised with them. However, a lot of Huskies still maintain that prey drive toward small animals like squirrels, rabbits, and cats.
Caring for Siberian Huskies
Siberian Huskies are very active dogs, therefore, they need to be exercised 30 to 60 minutes every day to prevent them from becoming bored. They are excellent jogging companions, but not in hot weather. They will also be happy if you take them on a hike and other outdoor sports. In short, Siberian Huskies need to be working to stay happy. But if you will take them outside, they need to be on a leash because of their high prey drive.
When it comes to grooming, Siberian Huskies are fairly easy to care for. They are clean dogs and will take the time to clean themselves just like cats, meaning, they rarely need baths. You just need to commit to brushing their coats at least once a week for the whole year. You should brush your Husky’s teeth two to three times a week to prevent bad breath and other gum disease. Trim their nails as needed to prevent painful tears.
For Huskies, the recommended daily amount of food is 1.5 to 2 cups divided into two meals. Siberian Huskies are known to be easy keepers and they only require small amount of food for their size. But the food you should give them depends on their age, size, metabolism, and activity level.
The Siberian Husky is definitely an amazing dog. They are very strong and active but are great pets at home as well. If you’re looking for someone to accompany you in your sports and outdoor adventures, you might want to get a Siberian Husky as a pet.