The Siberian Husky
|Weight||23 Kg (approx)|
|Life Span||13 Years (approx)|
A medium sized Spitz breed with a double coat that is weather proof in arctic conditions.
Proportions of 20 – 27 Kgs and 53.5 – 60 cms in height for males with bitches a little smaller.
The Siberian is permitted to be any colour or combination of colour and any colour eye or combination of colour e.g. bi-eyed (two different colours). There is no preference in the requirements of the standard for colour. He did not need to be colour co-ordinated to do his job well!
The Siberian is generally a good looking breed with what appears to be a “happy/smiling” face.
Brought to Alaska from the Chukchi Pensinsula just after the turn of the 1900’s as a sled dog for pulling a light load over a long distance.
The gold miners used this dog for his endurance qualities with his ability to work in difficult terrain and extreme cold.
The dog then gained favour as a sled racing dog winning the All Alaska Sweepstakes several times with Leonard Sepphala a Norwegian fur trapper.
The Siberian gained fame for his efforts in the Serum run of the 1920’s enabling the vaccine for diptheria to get through to Nome when all other means of transport were unable to do so. Thus many lives were saved and this courageous effort by the teams of Siberians went down in history forever.
The Iditarod run the first Saturday of each March from Anchorage to Nome commemorates the Serum run.
Generally the Siberian is a good natured breed though exuberant and willful. He is an independent thinker and doesn’t take too readily to obedience. His breeding for his job to be able to think for himself meant that nature made this dog a survivor. Only those who were tough and built correctly for the job in those extreme conditions did survive so he is not always the easiest dog to train.
However this dog will learn if the right incentives are given but do not except him to be a “fetch, go and get dog”. He is not a Retriever!
The Siberian is also fairly destructive when young. He will usually dig, sometimes climb, leap tall buildings in a single bound – the usual stuff. He will also chew anything that happens to be in his domain, so if you value anything at all in that yard, move it. Do not leave a Siberian unsupervised in the house. It may never be the same again!
The Siberian is also not good with cats. He was and can be a small prey predator and will happily supplement his protein intake given a chance. Rodents and cats beware!
Care / Grooming
All double coated breeds shed. Bitches will usually shed twice a year about 6 weeks after a season and males once a year.
You should expect a snow storm of undercoat all over the yard once the coat is ready to “blow”. You can minimize the mess and ugliness of the shedding coat if you regularly (at least once a week), brush the coat with an oval cushioned Pin Brush (without knobs on the pins). Keep a bag nearby to place the shedding hair and this can be spun along with a small amount of sheep’s wool for those craft minded owners.
Best of all, bath at least once a fortnight and use a small amount of special plant oil in the final rinse to keep the coat hydrated. Preferably using a cool dryer, blow the coat against the growth to remove all dead hair and ensure the coat is perfectly dry to prevent “hot spots” especially in summer.
If you follow this routine, the coat will always look good even when shedding as this will be minimized and the coat simply appear to just fluff out instead of explode overnight.
You have a good looking breed in the Siberian and no-one wants this dog to look less than his best for all those weeks of shedding each year. It takes 4 – 6 weeks at least after shedding for the coat to regenerate to some semblence of normality so any efforts to lessen the impact of shedding is desirable.
Keep the toe nails clipped for a nice compact foot and trim the hair underneath the pads so he doesn’t slide around on wet concrete.
The Siberian is a relatively healthy breed avoiding most of the usual nasties that many other breeds have in their genetic makeup.
The breed is a fairly natural breed and was environmentally programmed for the survival of the fittest.
There can be eye problems such as corneal dystrophy and cataracts though most of the dogs in good breeding programs have had the ancestors screened for many generations minimizing the problems in those lines. These problems are not generally seen in good breeding programs amongst serious show exhibitors.
Hips are not an issue either though care ought to be exercised when the puppy is young to make sure they are not overweight causing stress on joints nor allowed to slide around on a polished floor. Stairs should be avoided too just to be on the safe side when young.
Keep the puppy at a good weight and a “general” rule we follow is 2 cups in total of food per day for a puppy – 1 cup in the morning and one at night. Anything you feel bound to add to his diet must come out of that 2 cup allowance. This maintains a good weight for a Siberian puppy.
Never give cooked bones – only raw. Chicken wings, chicken feet, chicken carcases etc are great. Use raw carrots instead of chew bones and half an apple is a treat – not cookies nor chocolate which is not allowed.
Keep lots of water available for your Siberian – he needs it.