From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
A black and white male Siberian Husky
||Chukcha, Chuksha, Keshia
|Country of origin
||45–60 pounds (20–27 kg)
||35–50 pounds (16–23 kg)
||21–23.5 inches (53–60 cm)
||20–22 inches (51–56 cm)
||Thick double coat - thick undercoat and soft outer coat.
||All colors from black to white
The Siberian Husky
: Сибирский хаски
, Seebeerskij huskie
, "Siberian Dog") is a medium-size, dense-coat working dog breed
that originated in eastern Siberia
. The breed belongs to the Spitz
genetic family. It is recognizable by its thickly furred double coat
, sickle tail
, erect triangular ears and distinctive markings.
Huskies are an active, energetic and resilient breed whose ancestors came from the extremely cold and harsh environment of the Siberian Arctic. Siberian Huskies were bred by the Chukchi
of Northeastern Asia. The dogs were imported into Alaska
during the Nome Gold Rush
and later spread into the United States
. They were initially sent to Alaska and Canada as sled dogs
but rapidly acquired the status of family pets and show-dogs.
In this breed of canine, the word "Husky" is a corruption of the derogative term "Eskie" which was also shared by the Inuit
people met by Europeans when they first made expeditions into their lands. By standard, Huskies are not burly, thick, fat, or overweight. The word "Siberian" in this breed's name is derived from Siberia
itself, because it is thought that Eskimo or sled dogs were used to cross the land bridge
of the Bering Strait
on the way into, or out of, Alaska
though this theory is continuously disputed by scholars.
Some sources say that the word Siberia originates from the Turkic for "sleeping land". Another version is that this name was the tribal name of the Sibilla, ancient Turkic nomads. 
Breeds descending from the Eskimo dog
were once found throughout the Northern Hemisphere
from Siberia to Canada, Alaska, Greenland, Labrador, and Baffin Island.
Siberian husky in wintertime serving as a sled dog.
With the help of Siberian Huskies, entire tribes of peoples were able to not only survive, but push forth into terra incognita
. Admiral Robert Peary
of the United States Navy was aided by this breed during his expeditions in search of the North Pole. The Siberian Husky's role in this feat cannot be overestimated.
Dogs from the Anadyr River
and surrounding regions were imported into Alaska
from 1908 (and for the next two decades) during the gold rush
for use as sled dogs
, especially in the "All-Alaska Sweepstakes," a 408-mile (657 km) distance dog sled race from Nome
to Candle and back. Smaller, faster and more enduring than the 100 to 120 pound (45 to 54 kg) freighting dogs then in general use, they immediately dominated the Nome Sweepstakes. Leonhard Seppala
, the foremost breeder of Siberian Huskies of the time, participated in competitions from 1909 to the mid 1920s.
On February 3, 1925 Gunnar Kaasen
was first in the 1925 serum run to Nome
to deliver diphtheria
serum from Nenana
over 600 miles to Nome. This was a group effort by several sled dog teams and mushers. The Iditarod Trail Sled Dog Race
commemorates this famous delivery. The event is also loosely depicted in the 1995 animated film Balto
, as the name of Gunnar Kaasen's lead dog in his sled team was named Balto
, although unlike the real dog, Balto the character
was portrayed as half wolf
in the film. In honor of this lead dog a bronze statue was erected at Central Park in New York City. The epitaph upon it is inscribed with
"Dedicated to the indomitable spirit of the sled dogs that relayed antitoxin six hundred miles over rough ice, across treacherous waters, through Arctic blizzards from Nenana to the relief of a stricken Nome in the winter of 1925. Endurance--fidelity--intelligence" 
In 1930 the last Siberians were exported as the Soviet
government closed the borders of Siberia
to external trade. The same year saw recognition of the Siberian Husky by the American Kennel Club. Nine years later the breed was first registered in Canada. Today’s Siberian Huskies registered in North America are largely the descendants of the 1930 Siberia imports and of Leonhard Seppala
’s dogs. Seppala owned a kennel in Nenana before moving to New England. Arthur Walden, owner of Chinook Kennels of Wonalancet
, New Hampshire
, was by far the most prominent breeder of Siberian Huskies. The foundation of his kennel stock came directly from Alaska, and Seppala's kennel.
Only beginning to come to prominence, in 1933 Navy Rear Admiral Richard E. Byrd
brought about 50 Siberian Huskies with him on an expedition in which Byrd hoped to journey around the 16,000-mile coast of Antarctica
. Many of the dogs were trained at Chinook Kennels in New Hampshire. Called Operation Highjump
, the historic trek proved the worth of the Siberian Husky due to its compact size and greater speeds.
Siberian Huskies also served in the United States Army
's Arctic Search and Rescue Unit of the Air Transport Command
during World War II
A sable colored Siberian Husky.
Siberian Huskies share many outward similarities with the Alaskan Malamute
as well as many other Spitz breeds such as the Samoyed, which has a comparable history to the Huskies. They come in a variety of colors and patterns, usually with white paws and legs, facial markings, and tail tip. The most common colors are black and white, copper-red and white, gray and white, and pure white, though many individuals have blondish, or piebald
spotting. Striking masks, spectacles, and other facial markings occur in wide variety. They tend to have a wolf
Facial masking is common in the husky.
Huskies are smaller than Malamutes.
A red/white colored Siberian Husky with heterochromia, a trait which is unusual in most dogs, but not uncommon among Siberian Huskies.
The eyes of a Siberian Husky are ice blue, dark blue, amber, or brown. In some individual dogs, one eye may be brown and the other blue (complete heterochromia
), or one or both eyes may be "parti-colored," that is, half brown and half blue (partial heterochromia). All of these eye color combinations are considered to be acceptable by the American Kennel Club
, which also states that the eyes are "an almond shape, moderately spaced and set slightly obliquely."
The Siberian Husky's coat is thicker than most breeds of dogs
, comprising two layers: a dense undercoat
and a longer topcoat of short, straight guard hairs
. It protects the dogs effectively against harsh Arctic winters, but the coat also reflects heat in the summer. It is able to withstand temperatures as low as −50 °C to −60 °C.
The undercoat is often absent during shedding
.Their thick coats require weekly grooming
Long guard hair is not desirable and is considered a fault.
In some instances, Siberian Huskies can exhibit what is called "snow nose" or "winter nose". This condition is called hypopigmentation
in animals. Show-quality dogs are preferred to have neither pointed nor square noses in shape. The nose is black in gray, tan in black dogs, liver in copper-colored dogs, and may be flesh-colored in white dogs. "Snow nose" is acceptable in the show ring.
The breed standard indicates that the males of the breed are ideally between 21 and 23.5 inches (53 and 60 cm) tall at the withers
and weighing between 45 and 60 pounds (20 and 27 kg). Females are smaller, growing to between 20 to 22 inches (51 to 56 cm) tall at the withers and weighing between 35 to 50 pounds (16 to 23 kg).
The Siberian Husky has been described as a behavioral representative of the domestic dog's forebearer, the wolf, exhibiting a wide range of its ancestors' behavior.
They are known to howl
rather than bark.
Hyperactivity displaying as an overactive hunting drive, a characteristic of kenneled dogs, is often noticeable in dogs released from their captive environment for exercise - a behavior welcome in hunting dogs but not in the family pet. The frequency of kenneled Siberian Huskies, especially for racing purposes, is rather high, as attributed through the history of the breed in North America. They are affectionate with people, but independent. A fifteen-minute daily obedience training class will serve well for Siberian Huskies.
Siberian Huskies are a very stubborn and dominant breed of dog. Siberians need consistent training and do well with a "Nothing In Life Is Free" training program. They rank 45th in Stanley Coren
's The Intelligence of Dogs
, being of average working/obedience intelligence. They tend to run because they were at first bred to be a sled dog. Owners are advised to exercise caution when letting their Siberian Husky off the leash as the dog is likely to be miles away before looking around and realizing their owner is nowhere in sight. They also get bored easily, so playing with toys or throwing the ball at least once a day is essential. Failure to give them the attention or proper exercise they need can result in unwanted behavior, such as excessive howling, marking, chewing on furniture, or crying.
Siberian Huskies, with proper care, have a typical lifespan ranging from twelve to fifteen years. Health and issues in the breed are genetic like seizures, defects of the eye such as juvenile cataracts, corneal dystrophy
, and progressive retinal atrophy
. Hip dysplasia
is not often found in this breed, though as with many medium or larger-sized canines, it can occur.
However, Siberians in general have remarkably good hips. The Orthopedic Foundation for Animals
currently has the Siberian Husky ranked 148th out of a possible 153 breeds at risk for hip dysplasia, with only two percent of tested Siberian Huskies showing dysplasia.
Siberian Huskies are still used as sled dogs
in sled dog racing
. Siberians are still popular in races restricted to purebreds and are faster than other pure sled dog breeds such as the Samoyed
and the slower but much stronger Alaskan Malamute. Today the breed tends to divide along lines of "racing" Siberians and "show" Siberians. Racing Siberians tend to have more leg to enable them more reach when running. Show Siberians tend to be a bit smaller.
Apart from dog sled racing - they are very popular for recreational mushing and are also used for skijoring
(one to three dogs pulling a skier) and European ski-hi. A few owners use them for dog-packing and hiking.
Due to the lack of snow in the United Kingdom
, Siberian Huskies are raced on forest tracks using specially designed scooters with two wheels for one or two dogs, or three wheeled rigs for three or more dogs.
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