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What to Expect When Owning a Husky

Article by Robin Burke

Photography by Robin Burke

When my son wanted to bring a Siberian Husky puppy into our existence, I was immediately apprehensive. Everything that I had ever heard about Huskies could lead back to two words—high maintenance. I told my son that these dogs are high-energy animals that need to be strenuously exercised and lovingly disciplined to help them stay out of trouble; but my son’s enthusiasm couldn’t be curtailed.

A new puppy is an expensive undertaking, but I’d heard that Husky puppies could be especially expensive, and quite often you weren’t able to find a local breeder. We were probably going to have to either drive quite a distance to find one or pay to have a puppy flown in from another state. But no matter what I said to try to deter my son, it seemed a Husky was in our future.

My son said that he realized that having a Husky was a huge commitment, but the benefits he said would far outweigh the drawbacks. He said that they are intelligent, strong, loving, beautiful, faithful, and the only breed that he’d found that could “talk” to you. He’d watched video after video of Huskies “talking” to their humans in their delightful fashion, not to mention their enthusiastic and soulful howl. They were a breed filled with personality and my son just couldn’t imagine being satisfied with any other type of dog. It was going to have to be a Husky. So, several months later and a plane trip from South Carolina to our home in Montana, our Sable Siberian Husky, Falcon, hesitantly came out of his crate and into our lives. And things have never been the same.

He is everything that I’d heard he’d be and everything that my son believed him to be. He is not a dog that one pats on the head and watches while he passively sits in his spot by the sofa. There is no putting “Baby” in a corner as Huskies will not be happy being left alone—at least, not for very long. He is a dog who is a constant companion and who isn’t happy unless he’s basking in the company of his family.

He is very needy—not satisfied unless he knows that you are “there” for him and that includes his double-checking several times a night just to verify that you are still in the house. He seems desolate when he thinks he will be left behind, and absolutely overjoyed when realizes that he “gets” to go. His energy seems boundless, and he can out-run and out-hike all of us put together. He’s always ready to go, he’s always happy to be with you, and he’s always questioning everything as his curiosity is endless. He wants to be where we are, he wants to eat what we eat, and he wants to be included in everything. Excluding him will bring out the cranky and ornery, and he will begin to act out in a manner that reminds us of a child throwing a tantrum.  

Falcon is nearly two and except for being pottie trained, he really hasn’t changed much since that first day when we brought him home. He’s a handful, but we love him and at this point cannot imagine life without him. He’s incredible company, and if you are looking for a dog that can exist as a true member of your family, then a Siberian Husky is the dog for you. Here are some caveats known to the breed:

A Little Background

They are originally from Russian and were used for sled pulling—a true Working-Class dog. They are an ancient breed that can be traced to the wolf, and there are times when your Husky is howling at you that you think a wolf is what you’ve got.

They are considered a large breed, and our Falcon is on the heavy end right now at 76 pounds. They will shed every hair on their body (at least, it seems that way) twice a year, and we’ve got two dead vacuum cleaners to prove it. They tolerate the cold incredibly well—preferring it, really—and they have very little tolerance for heat. We’ve watched Falcon take naps on ice blocks out in the yard—refusing to come in—preferring to stay outdoors.

Huskies who are full bred and who have a pedigree can be quite expensive. You may want to check the adoption agencies in and around your town as we do hear that Huskies show up there from time-to-time. It would certainly be a much cheaper option, and you would be bringing hope and happiness to an abandoned dog.  If you are interested in acquiring a Husky, you will find a lot of additional information on the breed from the American Kennel Club.