Information thanks to The Siberian Husky Club of NSW Inc.
History and Traits of The Siberian Husky
The Siberian Husky Club of NSW is vitally interested in helping every potential dog owner find the breed ideally suited to their particular tastes and requirements. Above all, we want every Siberian Husky puppy to be placed in a home where they will be appreciated for their special qualities. Because of this we feel it is important to share with you just what a Siberian Husky is and isn’t.
Are you interested in buying a Siberian Husky? Then, you’ve already heard how marvelous they are. We think you should also be told that they do have their challenges, and may not make the ideal pet for everyone who is attracted to them. Siberians are a gregarious lot and need the company of other dogs or of people. If you work all day, or only have room for one dog… Dont buy a Siberian husky.
The Siberian Husky is, and has for centuries been, a purebred dog – not a wolf, half-wolf or cross-bred animal as some uninformed sites suggest. The breed was originally developed by the Chukchi (pronounced ‘chook-chee‘) people of northeastern Asia as an endurance sled dog. In 1909, the first large numbers of these Chukchi dogs were brought to Alaska to compete in the long-distance All-Alaska Sweepstakes races, and the Alaskan dog drivers quickly recognized the ability of these huskies from Siberia.
In the winter of 1925, when a diphtheria epidemic broke out in the isolated town of Nome, Alaska, a relay of dog teams brought life-saving serum from distant Nenana. This heroic endeavor earned national prominence for the drivers and their dogs. One of these drivers, Leonhard Seppala, brought his team of Siberian Huskies, descendants of the original imports from Siberia, to the United States on a personal appearance tour. While in New England USA, he competed in sled dog races and again proved the superiority of Siberian Huskies over the native dogs. The New England drivers and pioneer fanciers acquired foundation stock, earned AKC recognition for the breed in 1930, and founded the Siberian Husky Club of America in 1938.
The Siberian husky has a delightful temperament, affectionate but not fawning. This gentle and friendly disposition may be a heritage from the past, since the Chukchi people held their dogs in great esteem, housed them in the family shelters, and encouraged their children to play with them. Today, it is charming to observe the special appeal that Siberian huskies and children have for each other. The Siberian husky is alert, eager to please, and adaptable. Their intelligence has been proven, but their independent spirit may at times challenge your ingenuity.
The versatility of the Siberian husky makes them an agreeable companion to people of all ages and varying interests. While capable of showing strong affection for their family, the Siberian huskies are not usually a one-person dog. They exhibit no fear or suspicion of strangers, and will greet guests cordially. So, if you want the fierce loyalty of a one-man dog… Dont buy a Siberian husky.
Theirs is not the temperament of a watchdog, although a Siberian husky may unwittingly act as a deterrent to those ignorant of their true hospitable nature. If they lack a fierce possessive instinct, they also lack the aggressive quality which can otherwise cause trouble for the owner of an ill-trained or highly sensitive guard dog. If you want a dog with aggressive guard-dog instincts… Dont buy a Siberian husky.
In their interactions with unfamiliar dogs, the Siberian husky displays friendly interest and gentlemanly decorum. If attacked, however, they are ready and able to defend themselves, and can handle the aggressor with dispatch.
Predatory instincts in the Siberian husky are strong. While the Siberian is normally gentle and friendly with people and other dogs, owners MUST be aware that small animals in and around the home, such as rabbits, birds, guinea pigs and cats, are potential victims of their strong predatory instinct. They are swift, cunning, and patient in their hunting skills.
The Siberian husky is a comparatively easy dog to care for. They are by nature fastidiously clean and is free from body odour and parasites. They are presented in the show ring well-groomed and never require clipping or trimming. At least once a year the Siberian husky sheds their coat, and it is then, when armed with a comb and a garbage bag, that one realizes the amazing density and profusion of the typical Siberian husky coat. Some people feel that this periodic problem is easier to cope with than the constant shedding and renewal of many smooth-coated breeds. If you like fur all over the house and in the very air you breathe, then fine. If, however, you value neatness at all times, then… Dont buy a Siberian husky.
Chewing and digging? Siberian huskies have been known to do their share. The former is a habit that most puppies of all breeds acquire during the teething period, and it can be curbed or channelled in the right direction. Digging holes is a pastime that many Siberian huskies have a special proclivity for, but in this, too, they may be outwitted, circumvented, of if you have the right area, indulged. If you take great pride in your landscaping efforts… Dont buy a Siberian husky.
The Siberian husky is noted as an “easy keeper”, requiring a relatively small amount of food for their size. This trait, too, may be traced to the origins of the breed, as the Chukchis developed their dogs to pull a light load at a fast pace over great distances in low temperatures on the smallest possible intake of food.
There is one final characteristic of the Siberian Husky which we must point out - their desire to RUN. There are many breeds of dogs which, when let out in the morning, will sit in the front yard all day. Not the Siberian husky. Their heritage has endowed them with the desire to run and their conformation has given them the ability to enjoy it effortlessly. But, one quick lope across a busy street could be the last run they enjoy, ever. Because of this, we strongly urge that NO Siberian husky ever be allowed unrestrained freedom. Instead, for their own protection, they should be confined or under control at all times. Sufficient exercise for proper development and well-being may be obtained on a leash, in a large enclosure, or best of all, in harness.
Of all the shortcomings to be found in Siberians, the most dangerous to the pet owner is their tremendous desire to RUN. A Siberian, for their own protection, should be kept confined or under control at all times. If you are one of those people who think it is cruel to kennel a dog, or keep him confined in his own backyard… Dont buy a Siberian husky.
We just happen to believe that any dog is better off in a proper kennel than running loose all over the countryside. Yes, a kennel dog is missing a lot in life: the chance to be hit by a car; the fun of being dirty, full of burrs, and loaded with worms; the opportunity of being attacked by other dogs; the joy of being sick on garbage infested with disease; the pleasure of being tormented by mean kids; and finally the great comfort of never knowing where he belongs or how to behave. We don’t want to see any Siberian become a TRAMP.
In addition to the Siberian husky, there are two other Arctic breeds, the Alaskan Malamute and the Samoyed, recognized by the Australian National Kennel Control. These three recognized breeds are to be distinguished from the various cross-breds known collectively as Alaskan huskies. The term “husky” is a corruption of the nickname “Esky” once applied to the Eskimos and subsequently to their dogs. The Siberian husky is the only recognized breed in which this word has become part of the proper name.
If you have read this far, honestly feel that you qualify on all counts, and are still determined to own a Siberian, then we take great pleasure in welcoming you to the fold. Join the rest of us in the smug complacency of knowing that we own the most beautiful, the smartest, the most nearly ideal dog in the world… the Siberian husky!
In recent years, the registration figures for the Siberian husky have risen sharply. SHCNSW is deeply concerned about this rapid increase in breed popularity, and does not wish to see the demand for Siberian huskies result in a sacrifice of the breed’s high quality. To help maintain this quality, SHCNSW recommends that prospective buyers give very careful consideration about who they intend to purchase a puppy from, and contact SHCNSW member breeders in their area rather than ever purchasing from classifieds or pet stores. These member breeders are pledged to adhere to the breed standard, to uphold the Code of Ethics, and to conduct themselves with good sportsmanship in all breed activities. By patronizing reliable breeders, the buyer is assured of dealing with knowledgeable people who are in a position to give the purchaser correct information and counseling during all stages of his dog’s development.
The Siberian Husky Club of NSW, whose membership consists of breeders, sled dog racing enthusiasts, exhibitors, and fanciers, has never lost sight of its primary objective:
It remains dedicated to the preservation and perpetuation of the Siberian Husky as a sound, capable, and natural breed, whose characteristics of mind and body make him not only a beautiful dog and a willing worker, but also a devoted and delightful companion