Siberian Husky History
It is the Chukchi tribe that is credited with the origination of the Siberian Husky. The Chukchi tribe inhabited the part of Siberia closest to Alaska and the harsh weather conditions along with the necessity to transport food and goods over a long distance led to the beginning of the sled dog. The Siberian Husky which at that time was known as the Siberian Chukchi was bred for endurance to cover the long distances rather than for speed. They had to be energy efficient so that they could perform their task with as little effort as possible. The friendly nature of the breed also stems from the Chuckchi as the dogs were primarily cared for by the women and children of the tribe on a daily basis and thus they adapted to family life.
It was in 1908 that a Russian fur trader named Goosak brought a group of huskies still known as Chukchis to Alaska. his purpose was to enter the All-Alaska Sweepstakes sled dog race which was a 408 mile race in which he was placed third. Following this race a man named Fox Maule Ramsay chartered a boat to Siberia and returned with over 60 of the best dogs he could find. In the third All-Alaska Sweepstakes two of Ramsay's teams placed first and second. The dogs brought in by Ramsay came to form the foundation of what is know today as the Siberian Husky.
in 1925 an outbreak of diphtheria in Nome, Alaska led to the great serum run during which teams of sled dogs transported the anti-toxin from Nenana, Alaska to Nome, Alaska. Thanks to the sled dogs the serum was delivered in time. One person who became especially known from the run was Leonard Seppala who used a team of huskies. Seppala was the first to introduce Siberian Huskies to the United States outside of Alaska and helped to establish the breed in the eastern United States through his own breeding programs and his dogs became the foundation stock for other New England breeders and so the breed began.
So you want to own a Siberian Husky?
Siberian Huskies are a strikingly beautiful breed but a breed that requires an owner who is willing to invest a lot of time and energy into owning one. Below you will find some of the plus and minus points of owning a Siberian Husky to help you discover if a husky is the breed for you. You will also find information on Siberian Husky health and grooming.
Leonhard Seppala with sled dogs from his kennel. From left to right - Togo, Karinsky, Jafet, Pete, unknown dog, Fritz
Advantages and Disadvantages of owning a Siberian Husky
Huskies are friendly and good natured which makes them good with children. This also means they do not make good guard dogs and will likely greet an intruder rather than stop one.
They are also mischievous and intelligent and notorious escape artists and so they need high fencing to keep them in. They also love to dig so make sure your husky's run is dig proof.
They are loving and affectionate but not loyal to one man. They need the company of humans or another dog as they are easily bored and boredom can often result in destructive behavior.
They don't often bark but will howl like a wolf and talk to you and other dogs with a "woo-woo-wooooh".
They are good travelers and enjoy new sights and sounds.
They are a very clean breed with little or no doggy odor. But they do shed their coat about twice a year so be prepared for large quantities of fur ending up on your clothes and furniture.
They need a lot of exercise but this must be done on lead as most of all they love to RUN! They do not have good recall and once they are off lead you may be lucky to just see your husky on the horizon. But with some good training since puppy stage, they can be trained off leash in secure areas (Siberians have very strong prey drive, so be aware that they will very likely runaway after wildlife or domestic animals)
Siberian Husky Health
No dog breed is completely free from inheritable genetic defects but the Siberian Husky has been lucky as not only is the individual dog is generally healthy but over the years there has not been an abundance of genetic defects. Siberian Husky Breeder is checking dogs he/she owns on genetic health issues before making a litter, to make sure parents are healthy. Here you will find some information on the 3 most common genetic health issues that afflict the Siberian Husky.
Unlike many breeds the Siberian Husky has retained its original naturally functional coat. As a result the husky coat needs very minimal grooming. Brushing about twice a week will remove any loose hairs and provide an opportunity to check for fleas etc. Generally huskies require very little bathing unless they have gotten particularly dirty, usually a few times a year is sufficient. The main challenge with a huskies coat is dealing with shedding. Huskies have a double coat of hair, an undercoat and an outer coat. Approximately twice a year, depending on your climate, a husky will blow or shed its undercoat. This can last for about three weeks or more and a huge quantity of hair is lost in this time. The hair falls out in clumps, sometimes large clumps and so daily brushing is required to remove the hair that is falling out. The shedding will usually start on the legs and thighs and then progress the body and finish up with the britches and tail area. Sometimes a warm bath can help to loosen up hair during shedding season and make it easier to brush out.
Do not underestimate the amount of fur that will be lost during a huskies shedding. If you do not want hairs on your furniture, clothes etc. then a husky is not the right breed for you.