The Siberian Husky is, and has for centuries been, a purebred DOG -- not a wild, half-wolf, cross-bred creature, as the uninformed may suggest. The breed was originally developed by the Chukchi 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 Neana. The 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, 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. His intelligence has been proven, but his independent spirit may at times challenge your ingenuity. His versatility makes him an agreeable companion to people of all ages and varying interests.
While capable of showing strong affection for his family, the Siberian Husky is not usually a one-man dog. He exhibits no fear or suspicion of strangers, and will greet guests cordially. This is not the temperament of a watchdog, although a Siberian Husky may unwittingly act as a deterrent to those ignorant of his true hospitable nature. If he lacks a fierce possessive instinct, he also lacks the aggressive quality which can sometimes cause trouble for the owner of an ill-trained or highly sensitive guard dog. In his relations with strange dogs, the Siberian Husky displays friendly interest and gentlemanly decorum. If attacked, however, he is ready and able to defend himself, 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 aound the home, such as squirrels, rabbits, birds, guinea pigs, hamsters, 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. He is by nature fastidiously clean and is free from body odor and parasites. He is presented in the show ring well-groomed but requires no clipping or trimming. At least once a year the Siberian Husky sheds his coat, and it is then, when armed with a comb and a bushel basket, 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.
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 channeled 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.
The Siberian Husky is noted as an "easy keeper," requiring a relatively small amount of food for his 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. His heritage has endowed him with the desire to run and his conformation has given him the ability to enjoy it effortlessly. But, one quick lope across a busy street could be the last run that he enjoys, ever. Because of this, we strongly urge that no Siberian Husky ever be allowed unrestrained freedom. Instead, for his own protection, he 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. If you feel that it is inconvenient or cruel to keep a dog thus confined, then the Siberian Husky is not the breed for you.
In addition to the Siberian Husky, there are two other Arctic breeds, the Alaskan Malamute and the Samoyed, recognized by the American Kennel Club. 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.
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 shortcomings, 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 at all times. If you work all day, or have room for only one dog . . . don't buy a Siberian.
While capable of strong affection for his family, the Siberian Husky is also very friendly with strangers. So, if you want the fierce loyalty of a one-man dog . . . don't buy a Siberian.
The Siberian Husky is not a watch dog, although those ignorant of his true nature may be frightened by his appearance. If you want a dog with aggressive guard-dog instincts . . . don't buy a Siberian.
At least once a year Siberians shed their coats. 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 . . . don't buy a Siberian.
Siberian Huskies have a natural proclivity for digging holes in backyards. If you take great pride in your landscaping efforts . . . don't buy a Siberian.
Of all the shortcomings to be found in Siberians, the most dangerous to the pet owner is their tremendous desire to RUN. But the very first dash that a puppy makes across the road could be his last run, anywhere. A Siberian, for his 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 . . . don't buy a Siberian.
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; the thrill of being shot in a farmyard; 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.
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!