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Home > Dogs > 10 Interesting Siberian Husky Facts: Understanding the Breed

10 Interesting Siberian Husky Facts: Understanding the Breed

siberian husky dog in the forest

Siberian Huskies are dogs with big personalities that have managed to win over tons of people, quickly becoming an extremely popular dog breed. These dogs are packed with energy and covered with a thick, beautiful coat that seems to constantly shed during the warmer months. These dogs have a long ancestry, and they have been lauded for their hardiness and work ethic. Keep reading if you want to learn more about these fascinating dogs.

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The 10 Interesting Siberian Husky Facts

1. The Breed Is Ancient

Siberian Huskies aren’t a breed that was developed overnight. This hardy breed was developed over thousands of years to reach the modern-day Siberian Husky. Early Huskies were developed on the Siberian peninsula in Northeast Asia.

The Chukchi people are credited with developing the earliest Huskies, managing to develop a dog breed that thrived in the hostile arctic environment1. The Chukchi people were reliant on their dogs for survival, and the dogs served as sled dogs to help them find food. In a hostile environment, dogs and people needed to work together so both could survive.


2. The Chukchi Had a Specific Belief

Because of how important early Huskies were to helping the Chukchi people survive, they took excellent care of their dogs and viewed them as an extremely important part of their society. They believed in treating dogs with kindness and ensuring their needs were met.

In Chukchi lore, two Huskies guarded the gates to the afterlife, allowing in good people—namely, those who were good to their dogs. People who were cruel to dogs or who didn’t provide their dogs with appropriate care were turned away at the gates by the Husky guardians.

siberian husky dogs in the snow
Image Credit: Kristina Sorokina, Shutterstock

3. The Breed Made a Real Difference in Alaska

If you’ve ever heard of a dog named Balto, then you know the story of how a team of sled dogs helped save the town of Nome, Alaska. In 1925, an outbreak of diphtheria threatened the people of Nome, sickening and killing many people, including children. There was a vaccine for the disease, but Nome was too remote, especially during the cold winter months, for the vaccine to easily be transported to the town.

A team was assembled including 20 mushers and over 100 dogs. Throughout the trip, teams came from both directions, meeting about 170 miles away from Nome to pass the vaccine off to a team of dogs with musher Leonhard Seppala and his lead dog, Togo.

Togo was a true hero, managing to navigate the team through temperatures well below 0°F, gale-force winds, and low-vision blizzard conditions. The team met with musher Gunnar Kaasen and his dog team with the lead dog, Balto. They were able to complete the trip, saving the town of Nome. While Balto is the dog who receives the most credit, Togo was the true hero of the trial.


4. The Iditarod Commemorates Nome

Starting in 1973, the Iditarod has been run every year to commemorate the dog teams that saved Nome. During a period of up to 15 days, dozens of dog sled teams work to complete the trip from Anchorage to Nome. In 2017, Mitch Seavey and his dog team completed the Iditarod in 8 days, 3 hours, 40 minutes, and 13 seconds, setting the record for the fastest completion time.

Even with modern supplies and checkpoints, the Iditarod trail can be extremely dangerous and challenging for both dogs and people. While many dogs on the trail are Siberian Huskies, there are also mixed-breed dogs that compete.

siberian husky pulling a sled
Image Credit: Viola ‘, Pixabay

5. Siberian Huskies Helped Save Lives During World War II

During World War II, there were many pilots and soldiers in parts of the Arctic. When planes were downed in the Arctic, it was necessary to send search parties to save the soldiers and cargo that could be retrieved.

Unfortunately, the harsh environment made this extremely difficult. To find downed planes, recon planes were sent. Once a location was determined, the recon plane would drop the mushers and Siberian Husky sled dogs as close to the site as possible to retrieve the living soldiers and all usable cargo.


6. They Aren’t for the Faint of Heart

People love Siberian Huskies because of their wild, wolf-like appearance. People are also attracted to this breed because of movies featuring Siberian Huskies. These things have led to people bringing home Siberian Huskies who should have researched the breed before doing so.

These dogs were bred for high-energy work, which means they’re poor candidates for apartments, homes without yards, and homes with few opportunities for exercise. Siberian Huskies require lots of activity every day, and this breed won’t be appeased with a walk around the block.

They also can be stubborn and noisy dogs, making them hard to train and obnoxious if allowed to bark incessantly. They can be escape artists, too, so a sturdy fence, exercise, supervision, and daily fence checks for holes and other escape routes are necessary for the Siberian Husky.

Siberian Husky Dog standing on grass
Image Credit: jpgordijn, Pixabay

7. This Is a Friendly Breed

The Siberian Husky may look like a scary wolf, but these dogs are actually quite friendly. In fact, they may make poor guard dogs because of their friendly nature. They can be good alert dogs because of their noisy nature.

Siberian Huskies can be hit or miss when it comes to other animals, especially small animals like cats. This breed has a high prey drive and high energy level, so it’s not uncommon for them to take these things out on smaller pets within the home. Training, supervision, and proper introductions are important to keep everyone safe.


8. They Have Cat-Like Habits

While Siberian Huskies don’t always get along with cats, they can be cat-like in their grooming habits. They tend to groom themselves in a very similar way to cats, often licking their coats to keep themselves clean. They are a generally clean breed, but they do require routine brushing to maintain their coat and limit shedding.

Their coat is an important thing for Siberian Huskies, though. Their dense coat is designed to help maintain an appropriate body temperature for these dogs. This means that shaving the coat down, even during the summer months, can make it more difficult for the dog to maintain its body temperature.

siberian puppy licking the other
Image Credit: Ermolaev Alexander, Shutterstock

9. They Can Live Long Lives

Some large dog breeds don’t live very long lives, but the Siberian Husky can live up to 15 years. With proper care and good genetics, some Siberian Huskies exceed 15 years of age.

These dogs tend to be relatively active and healthy, even into old age, so it’s not uncommon to have a Siberian Husky that remains a jogging or hiking buddy well into their teen years. Just remember to slow things down on behalf of your dog as they age to prevent them from overdoing things in an attempt to keep up with you.


10. They’re Built for Efficiency

Because Siberian Huskies were bred for pulling sleds over long distances in harsh environments, they have high energy needs. However, they can also go long periods without food while expending significant energy. What makes this ability extra interesting is that it takes a lot for a Siberian Husky to begin depleting the glycogen stores within their cells. This means that they can pull a sled in a harsh environment for a long time without food and without depleting their body’s energy stores.

siberian husky dogs pulling a sled
Image Credit: badamczak80, Pixabay

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Conclusion

The Siberian Husky is a talkative and fun dog that often ends up in homes that aren’t quite prepared for the exceedingly high energy levels that they have. These dogs descended from an ancient breed that was developed thousands of years ago, and they are often considered to be somewhat more “wild” than the average domestic dog. Don’t be fooled, though. Siberian Huskies are friendly and affectionate dogs that can make great pets with the right planning.


Featured Image Credit: Ivanova N, Shutterstock

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