Siberian Husky

November 7, 2022 - 8 min read

Vital stats

  • Breed type: Working
  • Size: 20 - 24 inches
  • Weight: 31 - 62 pounds
  • Lifespan: 12 - 15 years


  • Size

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  • Intelligence

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  • Trainability

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  • Exercise needs

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  • Good with kids

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  • Levels of shedding

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  • Good for new owners

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  • Overall health of breed

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Huskies are an ancient breed believed to have been around for thousands of years. They were initially bred to be working dogs, pulling sleds and hunting prey in Northeast Asia, thanks to their size, strength, and agility.

Today, Huskies are playful and fun-loving pets that are always on the go: the perfect dog for experienced owners who can keep up with their high energy!

Learn everything you need to know about this friendly breed with our in-depth guide.

Husky Popularity

As well as being excellent working dogs, Huskies are a friendly and affectionate breed, so it’s no surprise the American Kennel Club ranked them the 19th most popular dog in the US in 2021 out of 197 breeds.

They also have a flair for fame, with past and present celebrity Husky owners including Leonardo DiCaprio, Ben Stiller, and Miley Cyrus!

Husky Training

Although they are intelligent dogs, Huskies can be difficult to train due to their stubborn streak — even for experienced owners. Huskies were not bred to work closely with humans; they were developed for their agility and power to pull sleds. Therefore, getting them to follow instructions can take time and patience.

Breed Habits

Huskies are a curious breed that loves to explore, which can get them into trouble if they wander off. They sometimes prefer to follow their own way and may ignore your commands, so keeping them on a leash is necessary when out for walks.

Huskies were bred to be in a pack with strict hierarchies. Therefore, they can show leadership by staring, charging, or trying to stand over other dogs. Huskies may also believe themselves to be dominant over their owner, so discipline and obedience training is needed from puppyhood.

It must also be noted that Huskies have a strong prey drive, so they may chase other animals, especially those smaller than them. However, this shouldn’t be a problem if socialized with other pets from a young age.

Husky Gender Differences

The most significant difference between the genders is size: males are usually taller, heavier, and stronger than females.

Although there are some variations in temperament, it is often unnoticeable. Instead, how they are trained and socialized is more likely to reflect their behavior.


Female Huskies are often considered easier to train, as they can be less dominant than their male counterparts. Females are less likely to challenge their owner’s authority, so they usually obey and respond to commands easily.

They also mature quicker and can be more independent. Although they still love attention from their owners, females may be happier doing their own thing.

Female Size Information

  • Height: 20–22 inches

  • Weight: 35–51 pounds

  • Size: Medium


Although it’s easy to create a loving bond with both genders, males are usually more affectionate, leaning against you or even trying to sit on your lap.

However, they can attempt to assert dominance more than females. For this reason, owners need to establish themselves as confident with obedience training as soon as they get their new pup home. This can help prevent behavioral issues from arising.

Male Size Information

  • Height: 21–24 inches

  • Weight: 44–60 pounds

  • Size: Medium

Husky Breed Health

All dogs in the US can catch rabies—a viral disease that is transmitted through direct contact with wild animals like coyotes and raccoons, as well as other dogs—if they aren’t vaccinated. It can be fatal, so ensuring your pup receives the vaccination and necessary boosters is essential to prevent them from catching the disease.

Life Expectancy

A healthy Husky is expected to live for an average of 12 to 15 years.

Common Health Problems

The most common health problems that Huskies are prone to include:

  • Hip dysplasia: Huskies are prone to developing hip dysplasia, which causes the joints to form abnormally. Symptoms include limping in the hind legs, unwillingness to exercise, and difficulty standing up. It's best to speak to your vet as soon as you notice any symptoms, as hip dysplasia can cause mild to extreme pain. Although incurable, it can be managed with changes to diet if your pup is overweight and a different exercise routine. In severe cases, your Husky may need surgery.

  • Hypothyroidism: Hypothyroidism is a disease in which the thyroid gland doesn't produce enough thyroid hormone. You may notice signs such as weight gain, lethargy, and skin changes in your dog if they develop the disease. There is no cure for the condition, but dogs can live a long and happy life with thyroid hormone replacement medication that can help alleviate the symptoms.

  • Progressive Retinal Atrophy (PRA): PRA is an eye disease that can lead to blindness. Your Husky may be reluctant to step into dark spaces and rooms or bump into things around the house. Their eyes could also appear to be very reflective. There is currently no treatment for PRA, but with adjustments to their routine, your dog will be able to navigate around easily and live a happy life.

  • Glaucoma: Huskies are susceptible to developing glaucoma, an eye condition that causes increases in eye pressure. There are two different forms: primary glaucoma is almost always hereditary, while secondary glaucoma is usually the result of another condition like cataracts. However, the symptoms are the same: squinting, weeping, red or bulging eyes, and eventually blindness. Glaucoma is painful and will usually cause blindness if left untreated, so it's best to take your dog to the vet when you first notice symptoms. Although incurable, the condition can often be managed with medication. Most dogs will eventually go blind, even with treatment, but spotting the signs early can potentially prolong their vision.

  • Cataracts — Huskies are prone to developing cataracts: an eye condition that affects the lens, causing the eyes to appear cloudy or milky. This can affect vision, and you may notice your dog bumping into things. The only effective treatment for cataracts is surgery to remove it.

Vet Tips

"Like all breeds, Huskies are susceptible to a few diseases," says Dr. Kirsten Ronngren, DVM MRCVS. "Knowing and spotting the signs of those common to the breed will give you and your vet the best chance of managing them."

"I typically talk to Husky owners about setting a solid nutrition and exercise routine early on! While they are an active breed by nature, it's still important to be aware of keeping them at a healthy weight so as to not put added pressure on their joints. We want our husky pups to be able to run comfortably for as long as possible to fulfill that working drive they have!"

Husky Colors and Variants


Although there are over 20 husky types, the only one recognized in the US is the Siberian Husky.

According to the AKC, the standard colors for Huskies include:

  • Agouti & white

  • Black

  • Black & white

  • Black, tan & white

  • Brown & white

  • Gray & white

  • Red & white

  • Sable & white

  • White

Huskies can be a solid color or have black points, pinto, or piebald markings, usually in white. Markings on the head are also common.

Caring for Huskies

Huskies are high-energy dogs that need a lot of work and care to keep them happy. Therefore, they won’t be ideal for first-time owners or people living in flats.


Owners must know that a Husky’s exercise needs are high: perfect if you live an active lifestyle. They’ll need plenty of space to run around in the yard, as well as one to two hours of walking per day. This time should be spread over the course of the day—three to four walks will help keep your dog engaged and burn pent-up energy.

If you’re letting your dog out in the garden, ensure it’s secure. Huskies have a reputation for digging!

Huskies were initially bred to work in colder climates of Siberia, so they thrive in cold environments, withstanding temperatures as low as -75 degrees Fahrenheit! This makes them the ideal pet for colder, northern states like Minnesota or Alaska, where temperatures often dip well below freezing.

Surprisingly, Huskies can adapt well to warmer climates too, as their coat sheds seasonally to prepare for the changing weather conditions. This means if you live in warmer states like California and Georgia, you could still have a Husky as a pet.

However, you’ll need to observe any signs of overheating in hot weather, like heavy panting or weakness. Since a Husky’s thick double coat was developed to retain heat, they are more at risk than other breeds of heatstroke. You should also wait until temperatures have cooled in the early morning or late evening to walk your dog and provide plenty of water and shade from the sun.


Like all large breeds, Huskies will need a significant amount of food to fuel their energy levels throughout the day.

Your dog’s specific diet will depend on factors like activity level, age, and size. It’s best to consult your vet for nutrition advice, as building a healthy, balanced diet on your own will be difficult.


The average Husky will need between 12 and 14 hours of sleep a day. As working dogs, this usually isn't one long sleep; they tend to have short naps throughout the day, so they're ready when needed. Puppies will sleep for around 20 hours to support their growth and development.

You may find your Husky asleep with their tail wrapped around their face for additional warmth!

Healthcare Tips

“Huskies are active dogs by nature that require a lot of exercise to burn their energy,” says Sarah Dawson, RVN. “They’re also extremely intelligent, so they enjoy exploring and playing games to keep their mind active!”

“Be careful exercising them during warm weather, as Huskies have dense, thick coats that can cause them to overheat more easily than other breeds. Prevention is always the way to go, so head out for your walks in the morning or wait until the weather has cooled in the evening. Even temperatures in the mid to high teens can be too much at times.”

Husky Temperament

How Good Are Huskies With Kids?

Huskies are a loving breed that make great playmates for children. However, they could accidentally knock smaller kids over due to their strength, size, and boisterous nature. Therefore, they may be best for families with older children who will be able to take on their lively character.

How affectionate are Huskies?

Huskies are sweet dogs that show affection by cuddling or leaning against you. They also love being stroked and having belly rubs!

Due to their intelligence, your Husky may know when you’re upset by lying down next to you or licking you to cheer you up.

How territorial are Huskies?

Although they aren’t naturally aggressive, Huskies may challenge other dogs they haven’t met before if they come into their territory. However, this isn’t often an issue if socialized from a young age.

They’re also usually friendly toward new people, so they aren’t the best watchdogs!

How friendly are Huskies with other dogs?

In general, Huskies are well-mannered, so if socialized from puppyhood, they can get along well with other dogs. Although they can be cautious when meeting new pups, with slow introductions and time, they’ll get on just fine!

How much will Huskies tolerate other pets?

Many Huskies have a strong prey drive and may chase small animals. Therefore, they might not be best with other pets, like cats. However, they could get along in due time with consistent training and slow introductions!

How much attention do Huskies need?

Huskies are active dogs, so they need at least one to two hours of exercise daily. This means someone needs to be around a lot of the time to ensure their needs are met.

Remember: Huskies were bred to be in a pack, so they can suffer from separation anxiety if left alone for too long.

Husky coat and grooming

Coat type

Huskies were bred with protection against harsh Arctic weather in mind, so they have a thick, double coat to keep them warm. The undercoat is dense, and the topcoat is straight and medium-length.

Shedding levels

Due to their thick double coat, Huskies shed a lot more than the average dog all year round. Shedding will increase in spring and autumn—also known as 'shedding season’—to adjust to the weather changes.

How Often Do I Need to Groom Huskies?

A Husky's coat is easy to maintain; you'll need to brush their fur once or twice a week to keep it looking healthy and smooth.

They tend to keep themselves clean and have very little odor, so bathing is only needed every three to four months. Huskies shed a lot, so you won't need to bathe them too much, as dirt will fall off their hair. If you need to clean them, it may be best to take them to a groomer; their size can make it difficult to do at home!

Trimming your pup's nails regularly is also essential, as overgrowth can be painful. Do this at home with dog-safe clippers, or take a trip to the groomer. Don't forget to trim their pads, too!

Are Huskies hypoallergenic?

No—huskies are not hypoallergenic. They are heavy shedders all year round, so dander (dead skin cells in the fur) can spread easily, causing a reaction in those that are allergic.

Husky bark sound

A Husky’s tendency to bark is high compared to other breeds. Historically, they were bred to communicate with a pack while pulling sleds or hunting, meaning they are a pretty vocal breed.

Barking Habits

Although they don't necessarily bark often, they make up for it by whining, howling, and yelping to communicate with their owner and other dogs. They can also be known to 'scream' or 'sing' to show how they're feeling, whether they're bored, excited, or just want a chat!

If your husky is left alone for too long, they may instinctively resort to howling to call their pack. This can be an issue with neighbors — especially if you live in an apartment building or have thin walls.

Frequently asked questions about Siberian Huskys

Are Huskies High-Maintenance Dogs?

Although they may be low-maintenance when grooming, Huskies require a lot of exercise and attention to keep them happy and healthy. Therefore, owners with lots of time in the day are best!

How Big Does a Husky Get?

Generally, a male Husky can reach up to 60cm in height, whereas female Huskies reach around 56cm. On average, your Husky should be fully grown by the time they get to 15 months of age.