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The beautiful Siberian Husky and Labrador Retriever hybrid goes by several names: the “Labsky,” the “Huskadour,” or simply, the Siberian Retriever. As you’d expect with their parent breeds, these designer dogs are highly energetic, making them an ideal choice for active owners. Labskys were first intentionally bred in the early 1990s and inherit the best traits of both their parent breeds.
19 – 28 inches
45 – 70 pounds
10 – 13 years
Black, grey, white, tan, yellow
Active families, singles, and couples
Intelligent, energetic, active, playful, loyal, alert, affectionate, gentle
Siberian Huskies are working dogs through and through. Not only are they super smart, but they also have an almost inexhaustible energy reserve. Huskies have historically spent hours and hours pulling sleds through icy conditions, so they are energetic and independent and can be challenging for novice owners. The Labrador Retriever is America’s sweetheart, one of the most popular family dogs in the United States. While they are best known as loyal family dogs nowadays, these dogs were also bred primarily for working and are exceedingly athletic, intelligent, and energetic animals.
The Labsky inherits the best traits of both these breeds. If this sounds like the dog for you, read on for more in-depth information about this loving and active pooch.
Husky Lab Characteristics
Husky Lab Puppies
Before bringing home a Labsky, it’s vital to understand that these dogs have a ton of energy and stamina. Both their parent breeds were purposely bred to run long distances, so you’ll need to give your Labsky plenty of daily exercise to keep them healthy and happy. This makes them unsuited for apartment living because they’ll need a large backyard to run around and exercise in.
Temperament & Intelligence of the Husky Lab
Since the Labsky is a mix of two somewhat different breeds, their personality is fairly unpredictable. They could inherit more of the laidback, affectionate, and calm temperament of a Labrador; the independent, highly-strung, and stubborn personality of a Husky; or something in between. Either way, your Labsky will be social and loyal due to their parents’ histories of working closely with humans.
Labradors are renowned for their gentle nature, one of the reasons that they are such popular family pets. They are also highly intelligent and eager to please, making them easy to train even for novice owners. Siberian Huskies are also eager-to-please, outgoing dogs, but they are notoriously stubborn and independent. This mixed with their inexhaustible energy reserves can make them quite a handful if they are not put to work. Your Labsky is likely to be somewhere between these extremes, and although their temperament can be difficult to predict, they will be intelligent, energetic, and loyal animals.
Are These Dogs Good for Families? 👪
The Labsky makes a wonderful family dog, especially for families that have a large backyard for their dog to play in and that love outdoor activities. Of course, with the high energy of these dogs and since Huskies can be somewhat temperamental at times, they can be a bit much for young children and should not be left unsupervised. That said, they have the gentleness of Labradors in their personality and are generally rare, if ever, aggressive. With that in mind, if you are looking for a guard dog, the Labsky is not ideal!
Does This Breed Get Along With Other Pets?
Labskys are generally friendly and social animals that do not have a strong prey drive. While smaller pets can be tempting, early socialization, training, and raising your Labsky alongside other pets will go a long way in mitigating any hunting instincts. Huskies have a reputation for not getting along with other dogs and being possessive of their human companions. However, the mix of the friendly and easy-going Labradors will likely lessen this instinct, and these dogs are generally social animals that get along well with other dogs.
Things to Know When Owning a Husky Lab
Food & Diet Requirements 🦴
Labskys are high-energy animals that need a nutrient-dense diet to keep them active, healthy, and happy. Good-quality dry food is ideal for them, provided that it has a protein content of at least 25% and is free from filler ingredients like wheat, soy, and corn. Ideally, you’ll want to feed your Labsky around 80% dry kibble and 20% wet food or lean meats. Try to make sure that the first-listed ingredient is animal-based or that one is at least listed in the top three. Food that is formulated specifically for high-energy breeds like Huskies is best, as this will contain the perfect balance of ingredients to keep your pooch energized.
We highly recommend splitting your dog’s meals into two because this will help prevent bloat and eating too fast. While these dogs are high-energy and thus burn many calories every day, you’ll still need to be careful of overfeeding them. Finally, as with all dogs, make sure they have access to fresh, clean water at all times.
Sufficient exercise is vital for these dogs. Without it, they will quickly become bored, destructive, and even aggressive. Daily exercise is essential to their physical health and their mental well-being. A short walk around the block will simply not be enough for these high-energy pooches! They’ll need at least 2 hours of intensive exercise per day, preferably more, and they are certainly capable of it. They will love joining you on long hikes, jogs and runs, and cycles, along with regular interactive play in the backyard.
It’s important to keep exercise somewhat restricted in the first few months, though, as your Labsky is still developing. Too much exercise at this time can cause issues while their body is growing. After 6–8 months, you can begin exercising your pooch as much as they like, which will be a significant amount!
Labskys are generally easy to train because they have Labrador genetics on their side. Siberian Huskies are known to be somewhat independent and stubborn at times, and if your pooch inherits this trait, it can make training a bit more of a challenge. Both your Labsky’s parent breeds have long histories of working closely alongside humans with a deep level of trust and loyalty. For this reason, you should stick to positive reinforcement training methods only, as harsh training methods can quickly harm this bond and make training all the more difficult.
That said, these dogs have a ton of energy, so good training is essential. Training should begin as early as possible and include plenty of socialization. If you are a novice dog owner, you may want to consider group obedience classes or going with a professional trainer, as these dogs are headstrong, and you’ll need a consistent and firm hand during training.
Husky Labs may inherit either of their parent breed’s coats, but in either case, they will require a fair amount of grooming. These dogs typically have a thick double coat that will need daily brushing to remove any dead hair, as they are known to be fairly high shedders. Other than that, they are easy dogs to keep well-groomed and do not usually need regular bathing or trimming. Keep their nails trimmed to help avoid injury, and give their teeth a brush every few days to help avoid any dental issues.
Health and Conditions 🏥
Both Labradors and Huskies are fairly healthy and robust breeds, and due to hybrid vigor — the health result of breeding two purebreds together — Labskys are much the same, if not more so. Of course, there is no way to predict this confidently, and they may still be susceptible to some of the health issues of their parent breeds and the common issues of larger, active dog breeds.
Male vs. Female
Other than size, there are few differences between male and female Husky-Labrador hybrids, so your choice of bringing home a male or female is largely down to personal preference. One important consideration is the sex of the dog that you may already have at home, if any, as same-sex pairings can sometimes be problematic, although good training and socialization should mitigate this.
Unless you intend on breeding, most experts highly recommend neutering males and spaying females. This will help stop your male from wandering and stop any unwanted pregnancies in females. Remember that all dogs are individuals, and their personality is far more influenced by their training and upbringing than their sex.
3 Little-Known Facts About the Husky Lab
1. They are extremely loyal
Siberian Huskies have worked closely alongside their owners for decades. In this time, they have developed a powerful relationship of loyalty and devotion for their owners, as the icy conditions they worked in this trust was often a matter of life or death. Labradors also form a powerful bond with their owners because they were bred to work out in the field retrieving, where trust and loyalty are vital to a successful hunt. With parent breeds like these, you can be certain your Labsky will have the same loyalty and devotion.
2. They have incredible stamina
Labskys parent breeds spent their days working in harsh conditions. Huskies in particular were bred for endurance, with a high tolerance to cold and the ability to survive for days on little food while carrying heavy loads. Labradors were originally bred to be fisherman’s helpers, hauling in nets and fish from frigid Atlantic waters. They were also used widely in waterfowl and game hunting, frequently for many hours at a time. This history of working hard alongside humans gave both breeds incredible stamina, a trait that your Labsky will inherit too.
3. They are highly adaptable
Although Huskies were bred to work in frigid conditions, they are adaptable animals that have been put to use for various other activities too. Labradors are all the more adaptable, having been used widely for hunting, as well as service dogs, search and rescue, and faithful companions.
The Husky Lab mix is a uniquely beautiful breed. These dogs can make wonderful family pets, although they have a ton of energy and are suited to more active owners who have large backyards. These dogs are not suitable for apartment living and are not good choices if you are not at home frequently or don’t have much time to spend with them, as they need at least 2 hours of exercise and interaction per day. They are ideal for novice owners provided that you are willing to take on an active and occasionally headstrong dog. They are highly loyal and affectionate animals.
If you are an active person who loves to exercise with your pooch or have a family that loves the outdoors, the Labsky is an ideal choice!
Featured Image Credit: Left – Image Credit: Sbolotova, Shutterstock | Right – Image Credit: Carolina García, Pixabay