The term “husky” is a general term for dog breeds in the polar regions of the world bred for work as sled dogs. Breeds like Alaskan Malamutes, Labrador Huskies, Siberian Huskies, and Alaskan Huskies are among some of the most common. Huskies are a beautiful dog breed with many redeeming characteristics. They are energetic, athletic, and incredibly hardy, with excellent tolerance to cold weather. Given these breeds’ propensity for work, you might wonder if Huskies make good service dogs.
Despite their hardworking demeanor, most Huskies wouldn’t make good service dogs. They can be a challenging breed to train and may not have the chops necessary to make it as service dogs. Keep reading to learn more.
What Is a Service Dog?
According to the Americans with Disabilities Act, service dogs are pups that have done one-on-one training to learn how to perform tasks for people with disabilities1.
Service animals are not pets but working animals. Therefore, they have full public access rights, allowing them to go places in public where other animals are not allowed, such as libraries and restaurants.
Other types of working canines, like therapy or emotional support dogs, are not technically considered service dogs. These pups are still very good boys, but they have not been formally trained to perform tasks to assist their handlers. They are also not afforded the same privileges as service dogs.
Why Wouldn’t Huskies Make a Good Service Dog?
Not every dog breed has what it takes to be a service dog. Some breeds are more suited to this position in general, but each dog will need specific personality traits to fulfill its duties as a service dog.
Service dogs must be non-reactive towards humans and other dogs, concentrated, and trainable. They must be confident, intelligent, calm under pressure, and able to show love and companionship to their owner. The best service dogs are attentive, responsive, and not easily distracted.
Service dogs undergo rigorous training that can sometimes take one to two years. They must learn to withstand temptations to greet bystanders, play alongside other pups, and chase smaller animals.
Unfortunately, Huskies do not possess all these traits. They are brilliant and hardworking, characteristics that lend themselves well to service dog work, but they have a stubborn streak and are very independent. These traits are coded into the Husky DNA as they worked as sled dogs in the winter and were often set free to roam in the wild during the summer. They had to rely on themselves to survive and became very independent because of this.
Huskies have a short attention span and can be easily distracted and tempted by play. As a result, getting a Husky to stay on task can feel like an impossible task.
Because Huskies are pack dogs, they bond well with their people but need a lot of attention. Therefore, they need a lot of mental and physical exercise to prevent under stimulation. Inactivity and lack of stimulation can cause boredom, leading to inappropriate behaviors.
Huskies are not well suited to apartment living due to their high energy levels and naturally loud demeanor. Though they don’t bark as much as other breeds, Huskies are known for their howls, whining, moaning, and chirping.
That said, it’s not impossible to have a Husky as a service dog if you have your heart set on it. You and your pup must be devoted to training from a very young age to ensure you’re maximizing its learning time. You’ll need to be firm but gentle so it knows what is expected.
What Breeds Make Good Service Dogs?
If Huskies don’t make the best service dogs, you might wonder what breeds do. The best service dog breeds have a long history of possessing the right personality traits for the job. These breeds have been purposely bred to maintain these qualities to ensure they make fantastic service pups. The most common breeds include:
While Huskies are certainly not a service dog trainer’s first choice, you may get lucky and find a trainable, calm, and concentrated Husky. This breed has some redeemable service dog qualities to offer, but they’ll need a lot of patience and training to fulfill their duties. We recommend reading about Huskies before adopting one either way, as they have specific needs that must be met to keep them happy.
Featured Image Credit: Surprising_Shots, Pixabay