The Siberian Husky

Information

Breed Summary

THE Siberian Husky is the only pure bred dog in Australia where the word “Husky” is part of the proper name. Husky being a corruption of the word “esky” which once was used for eskimos, and subsequently, their dogs.

THE Siberian Husky is, and for centuries has been, a pure bred 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.

IN the winter of 1925, when a diptheria epidemic broke out in the isolated town of Nome, Alaska, a relay of dog teams brought life-saving serum from distant Nenana. This heroic endeavour 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 U.S. 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 breed has since become very popular. It earned recognition by the American Kennel Club in 1930, and later in England, Europe and Australia.

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. 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 great 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 all cordially. This is not the temperament of a watch dog, 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 that aggressive quality which can sometimes cause trouble for the owner of an ill-trained or highly sensitive guard dog.

THE Siberian Husky is a comparatively easy dog to care for. He is by nature fastidiously clean. He is presented in the Conformation Show Ring well groomed, but requires no trimming or clipping. At least once a year the Siberian Husky sheds his coat, and it is then that one realises the density and profusion of coat. Some people feel that this periodic problem is easier to cope with than the constant shedding and renewal of many srnooth coated breeds.

CHEWING and digging is not uncommon with the Siberian Husky. Chewing is a habit acquired during teething, it can be channelled in the right direction. Digging the odd hole, or three, or four, is something the Siberian Husky has a proclivity for. This too, may be outwitted, circumvented, or, if you have the right area, indulged. Siberian Huskies will dig a hole in the summer to get to the cooler ground below, or in the snow after a run to snuggle down and keep warm and conserve energy.

THE Siberian Husky is fairly easy to keep, requiring little food for their size. However, he requires plenty of exercise! His heritage has endowed him with the desire to run, and his conformation enables him to enjoy it effortlessly. BE WARNED one quick lope across a busy street could be his last run on this earth. Sufficient exercise for proper development and wellbeing can be obtained on a leash, in a large enclosure, or best of all, in harness. The Siberian Husky has a will of its own and will not care how long or how loud you yell. It must want to do as you ask, so make lessons brief and enjoyable, animate your voice.

General Appearance:

The Siberian Husky is a medium-sized working dog, quick and light on his feet and free and graceful in action. His moderately compact and well-furred body, erect ears and brush tail suggest his Northern heritage. His characteristic gait is smooth and seemingly effortless. He performs his original function in harness most capably, carrying a light load at a moderate speed over great distances. His body proportions and form reflect this basic balance of power, speed and endurance. The males of the Siberian Husky breed are masculine but never coarse; the bitches are feminine but without weakness of structure. In proper condition, with muscle firm and well developed, the Siberian Husky does not carry excess weight.

Characteristics:

Summary: The most important breed characteristics of the Siberian Husky are medium size, moderate bone, well-balanced proportions, ease and freedom of movement, proper coat, pleasing head and ears, correct tail, and good disposition. Any appearance of excessive bone or weight, constricted or clumsy gait, or long, rough coat should be penalised. The Siberian Husky never appears so heavy or coarse as to suggest a freighting animal; nor is he so light and fragile as to suggest a sprint-racing animal. In both sexes the Siberian Husky gives the appearance of being capable of great endurance.

Temperament:

The characteristic temperament of the Siberian Husky is friendly and gentle, but also alert and outgoing. He does not display the possessive qualities of the guard dog, nor is he overly suspicious of strangers or aggressive with other dogs. Some measure of reserve and dignity may be expected in the mature dog. His intelligence, tractability, and eager disposition make him an agreeable companion and willing worker.

Head And Skull:

Expression: Is keen, but friendly; interested and even mischievous.
Skull: Of medium size and in proportion to the body; slightly rounded on top and tapering from the widest point to the eyes. Faults: Head clumsy or heavy; head too finely chiselled.
Stop: The stop is well-defined and the bridge of the nose is straight from the stop to the tip. Fault: Insufficient stop.
Muzzle: Of medium length; that is, the distance from the tip of the nose to the stop is equal to the distance from the stop to the occiput. The muzzle is of medium width, tapering gradually to the nose, with the tip neither pointed nor square. Faults: Muzzle either too snipy or too coarse; muzzle too short or too long.
Nose: Black in grey, tan or black dogs; liver in copper dogs; may be flesh coloured in pure white dogs. The pink-streaked “snow nose” is acceptable.
Lips: Are well pigmented and close fitting.

Eyes:

Almond shaped, moderately spaced and set a trifle obliquely. Eyes may be brown or blue in colour; one of each or particoloured are acceptable. Faults: Eyes set too obliquely; set too close together.

Ears:

Of medium size, triangular in shape, close fitting and set high on the head. They are thick, well furred, slightly arched at the back, and strongly erect, with slightly rounded tips pointing straight up. Faults: Ears too large in proportion to the head; too wide set; not strongly erect.

Mouth:

Teeth: Closing in a scissor bite. Fault: Any bite other than scissor.

Neck:

Medium in length, arched and carried proudly erect when dog is standing. When moving at a trot, the neck is extended so that the head is carried slightly forward. Faults: Neck too short and thick; neck too long.

Forequarters:

Shoulders: The shoulder blade is well laid back. The upper arm angles slightly backward from point of shoulder to elbow, and is never perpendicular to the ground. The muscles and ligaments holding the shoulder to the rib cage are firm and well developed. Faults: Straight shoulders; loose shoulders.
Forelegs: When standing and viewed from the front, the legs are moderately spaced, parallel and straight, with the elbows close to the body and turned neither in nor out. Viewed from the side, pasterns are slightly slanted, with the pastern joint strong, but flexible. Bone is substantial but never heavy. Length of the leg from elbow to ground is slightly more than the distance from the elbow to the top of the withers. Dew claws on forelegs may be removed. Faults: Weak pasterns; too heavy bone; too narrow or too wide in the front; out at the elbows.

Body:

Chest: Deep and strong, but not too broad, with the deepest point being just behind and level with the elbows. The ribs are well-sprung from the spine but flattened on the sides to allow for freedom of action. Faults: Chest too broad; “barrel ribs”; ribs too flat or weak.
Back: The back is straight and strong, with a level top line from withers to croup. It is of medium length, neither cobby nor slack from excessive length. The loin is taut and lean, narrower than the rib cage, and with a slight tuck-up. The croup slopes away from the spine at an angle, but never so steeply as to restrict the rearward thrust of the hind legs. Faults: Weak or slack back; roached back; sloping top line.

Hindquarters:

When standing and viewed from the rear, the hind legs are moderately spaced and parallel. The upper thighs are well muscled and powerful, the stifles well bent, the hock joint well defined and set low to the ground. Dew claws, if any, are to be removed. Faults: Straight stifles; cow hocks; too narrow or too wide in the rear.

Feet:

Oval in shape but not long. The paws are medium in size, compact and well furred between the toes and pads. The pads are tough and thickly cushioned. The paws neither turn in nor out when the dog is in natural stance. Faults: Soft or splayed toes; paws too large and clumsy; paws too small and delicate; toeing in or out.

Tail:

The well furred tail of fox-brush shape is set on just below the level of the top line, and is usually carried over the back in a graceful sickle curve when the dog is at attention. When carried up, the tail does not curl to either side of the body, nor does it snap flat against the back. A trailing tail is normal for the dog when in repose. Hair on the tail is of medium length and approximately the same length on top, sides and bottom, giving the appearance of a round brush. Faults: A snapped or tightly curled tail; highly plumed tail; tail set too low or too high.

Gait/Movement:

The Siberian Husky’s characteristic gait is smooth and seemingly effortless. He is quick and light on his feet, and when in the show ring should be gaited on a loose lead at a moderately fast trot, exhibiting good reach in the forequarters and good drive in the hindquarters. When viewed from the front or rear while moving at a walk the Siberian Husky does not single track, but as the speed increases the legs gradually angle inward until the pads are falling on a line directly under the longitudinal centre of the body. As the pad marks converge, the forelegs and hind legs are carried straight forward, with neither elbows nor stifles turned in or out. Each hind leg moves in the path of the foreleg on the same side. While the dog is gaiting, the top line remains firm and level. Faults: Short, prancing or choppy gait, lumbering or rolling gait; crossing or crabbing.

Coat:

The coat of the Siberian Husky is double and medium in length, giving a well-furred appearance, but is never so long as to obscure the clean-cut outline of the dog. The undercoat is soft and dense and of sufficient length to support the outer coat. The guard hairs of the outer coat are straight and somewhat smooth lying, never harsh nor standing straight off from the body. It should be noted that the absence of the undercoat during the shedding season is normal. Trimming of whiskers and fur between the toes and around the feet to present a neater appearance is permissible. Trimming the fur on any other part of the dog is not to be condoned and should be severely penalised. Faults: Long, rough, or shaggy coat; texture too harsh or too silky; trimming of the coat, except as permitted above.

Colour:

All colours from black to pure white are allowed. A variety of markings on the head is common, including many striking patterns not found in other breeds.

Sizes:

Size, Proportion, Substance:
Height: Dogs 53.5-60 cm (21 – 23 1/2ins) at the withers
Bitches 51-56 cm (20-22 ins) at the withers.
Weight: Dogs 20-27 kg (45-60 lbs
Bitches 16-23 kg (35-50 lbs)
Weight is in proportion to height.
The measurements mentioned above represent the extreme height and weight limits with no preference given to either extreme. Any appearance of excessive bone or weight should be penalised. In profile, the length of the body from the point of the shoulder to the rear point of the croup is slightly longer than the height of the body from the ground to the top of the withers.
Disqualification: Dogs over 60cm (23 1/2ins) and bitches over 56 cm (22 ins).

Faults:

Any departure from the foregoing points should be considered a fault and the seriousness with which the fault should be regarded should be in exact proportion to its degree and its effect upon the health and welfare of the dog.

Skull :Head clumsy or heavy; head too finely chiselled.
Stop: Insufficient stop.
Muzzle: Muzzle either too snipy or too coarse; muzzle too short or too long.
Eyes: Eyes set too obliquely; set too close together.
Ears: Ears too large in proportion to the head; too wide set; not strongly erect.
Mouth: Any bite other than scissor.
Neck: Neck too short and thick; neck too long.
Shoulders: Straight shoulders; loose shoulders.
Forelegs: Weak pasterns; too heavy bone; too narrow or too wide in the front; out at the elbows.
Chest: Chest too broad; “barrel ribs”; ribs too flat or weak.
Back: Weak or slack back; roached back; sloping top line.
Hindquarters: Straight stifles; cow hocks; too narrow or too wide in the rear.
Feet: Soft or splayed toes; paws too large and clumsy; paws too small and delicate; toeing in or out.
Tail: A snapped or tightly curled tail; highly plumed tail; tail set too low or too high.
Gait/Movement: Short, prancing or choppy gait, lumbering or rolling gait; crossing or crabbing.
Coat: Long, rough or shaggy coat; texture too harsh or too silky; trimming of the coat, except as permitted above.

Disqualification:

Dogs over 60 cm (23 1/2ins) and bitches over 56 cm (22 ins).
In addition to the faults already noted, the obvious structural faults common to all breeds are as undesirable in the Siberian Husky as in other breed, even though they are not specifically mentioned herein.

Notes:

Male animals should have two apparently normal testicles fully descended into the scrotum.

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 nomad tribes of Siberia held their dogs in great esteem, as the dogs assisted the people with their survival, transport and hunting. They housed their dogs in the family shelters and encouraged their children to play with them.

THE Siberian Husky is alert, eager to please, and adaptable. They are not an aggressive dog – if they were aggressive as a ‘team’ dog they would have made terrible sled dogs for the tribes. They are independent and highly intelligent, can be extremely stubborn and easily get bored. This trait of the Siberian can test your limits and ingenuity. The Siberian is a great companion to people of all ages and varying interests. However, this is not a breed that is typically recommended for

first-time dog owners, as mistakes are easy to make and sometimes difficult to fix with this remarkably intelligent and opportunistic breed.

SIBERIAN Huskies are a gregarious lot and need the company of other dogs and people. While capable of showing great 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 all cordially – he would probably greet a potential intruder with a big lick! This is not the temperament of a watch dog, although a Siberian Husky may unwittingly act as a deterrent to those ignorant of his true hospitable nature.

THE Siberian Husky is a very inquisitive dog and you will find this aspect endearing but extremely challenging. Curiosity not only killed the cat so to speak, unfortunately the Siberian does have a prey drive . The desire to seek out a scent, to hunt, to chase and to discover that the grass is greener on the other side of the fence, is a part of their heritage and is deeply inbred. These traits can be overwhelming.

THE Siberian Husky is a comparatively easy dog to care for. He is by nature fastidiously clean and free from body odour. Siberians preen themselves like cats. The thick double coat repels dirt and a regular brush will help to keep it in good condition. Bathing requirements are minimal.

Many owners only bath their Siberians a few times a year. Siberians coats must NEVER be shaved, their undercoat insulates them against both heat and cold. If shaved in summer they can suffer from severe heat stroke.

AT least once a year the Siberian Husky sheds his entire undercoat and it is then that one realises the density and profusion of coat. This process can last up to six weeks from start to finish. All dead hair needs to be brushed out to enable quick, strong re-growth, a slicker brush or rake is recommended. A warm bath and blow dry will encourage the hair to drop out evenly, making it easier to getting the remaining loose fur out. Some people feel that this periodic problem is easier to cope with than the constant shedding and renewal of many smooth coated breeds.

AT other times, the Siberian needs very little grooming, no trimming of hair on the body, can be a good idea between the pads on their feet. Their nails should be checked and clipped as not to injure their feet if grown too long.

THE Siberian Husky can get fleas like any other dog if they are exposed to them. Adequate flea control is essential.

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SIBERIAN Huskies, unlike other breeds of similar size, have a highly efficient metabolism evolved from centuries of living in harsh arctic conditions. They only need a minimum amount of food – adult Siberian Huskies need only be fed once a day, and then only as much as they require to sustain them for that day. A working dog would need more than an inactive one. Today’s high energy, low bulk dry foods make it very easy to feed a healthy diet. Do not overfeed them – excess weight is very hard to trim off and a leaner dog finds it easier to cope with our summer heat than an overweight one.

WHILST we don’t recommend any particular brand of dog food, we would suggest that a good quality dry food (soaked in water or bone broth) be used together with some fresh meat. They also like veggies, fruit and fish but nothing too high in mercury. Siberian Huskies need a balanced diet, high in protein. Some dog foods do not meet the dietary needs of a Siberian, supermarket brands are not recommended. Some people choose to feed what is called a BARF diet which is totally a raw food diet, there are Facebook groups available to assist if you want to go down this path as percentages of each ingredient and weights are very important.

IF purchasing a new puppy, generally the breeder will assist you with their dietary requirements and if you were going to change the pups diet it’s recommended to do over a course of time as to not upset the pups stomach.

AT no time should your dog have a cooked bone to chew. This could splinter throughout your dog – huge vet bills will be incurred and possibly the risk of death. Raw chicken necks or carcasses, raw shank bones, raw sheep neck or breast bones are ideal for your husky to chew on and to help prevent the build up of tartar on the teeth. If you have more than one dog it is advisable to separate them whilst chewing bones and once out together again, remove the left over bones.

YOU must have fresh clean water available to your Siberian Husky at all times.

SIBERIAN Huskies are generally a fairly robust, sturdy and healthy lot. When they are fed correctly and exercised they are really ‘maintenance free’ except of course for their vaccinations and normal checkups.

THERE are some instances of hip dysplasia but due to careful breeding, by reputable breeders who health screen this is fairly low. They also can have some very serious eye problems, however careful breeding is again managing the likelihood of this. Both of these problems can and should be screened for prior to a mating.

THIS does not mean that a particular Siberian will not suffer from any other ailments. In the last few years, there have been several reported instances of luxating patellas (slipping kneecaps) and cruciate ligament injury in Victoria (Australia).

SIBERIANS have also seen in recent years epilepsy increasing, it’s important to discuss with the breeder the likelihood of this occurring within the lines used.

A well cared-for Siberian Husky can expect to have a life span of anywhere between 12 to 15 years.

WHERE you have an older Siberian Husky or another breed of dog and introduce a younger Siberian into the household, there are often issues, particularly when your older dog starts to fail in his health. The younger dog senses that the older dog can no longer be the alpha dog and run with the pack and will seek to take over to remove the older dog from the alpha position. This is instinct behaviour and goes back to the Siberian’s heritage. Fighting between the dogs may ensue. At this point the only option is to separate them and let your old dog live out the rest of its days peacefully, otherwise you will have vet bills and you are putting your old dog’s life at risk unnecessarily.

THE Siberian Husky is at its happiest when they can share in family activities. Most Siberians will be quite comfortable inside the house and quite comfortable outside. The best arrangement is one in which the dog can come in and out of the house of its own free-will, through a dog door. If a dog door is not possible, then training the dog to go to an outside door to be let out is also very easy to do.

THE Siberian Husky is a nomad, he has no fear of cars or homing instincts. If allowed loose, the dog will be hit by cars, fall prey to injury or disease and hunger. He will hunt stock, rabbits, poultry, cats, smaller dogs and other smaller animals to survive and ultimately if caught may be shot by farmers or confined in a pound to be put to sleep, as he now has a tag ‘vicious dog’ by just fulfilling his natural instinct. Because of this, a Siberian Husky MUST be contained at all times.

YOU will need a yard that is fully fenced at least six foot tall, with no escape routes over, through or under the fence. Wire dug into the ground will discourage digging out. Siberian Huskies are the best escape artists of all time – even the best cared-for dog may get loose, never to be seen again. They can get through microscopic holes, scale six foot fences with the grace of a gymnast, break tie-out chains and above all slip collars that even Harry Houdini would be amazed. A Siberian Husky will be miles away from home within a very short space of time.

SIBERIAN owners must build strong enclosures and constantly check for that small hole, loose fencing or that gleam in your dogs eye that says, ‘I know something that you don’t.’ The words ‘escape proof’ are not in the Siberian Husky’s vocabulary.

EVEN after you’ve made your yard look like Fort Knox, a determined Siberian Husky will find a way to slip your guard. Perhaps on a walk you slacken your grip on the lead just as something catches its attention – and off he goes! Or you didn’t check the fence line for the last week and missed observing the new excavations that were taking place down there. An unexpected escape can happen at the best of times. To maximise your chance of finding your dog, it is essential to have him microchipped and registered with your local Council. If your escapee Siberian is captured by or handed in to a pound or animal shelter, it is essential that they be able to locate and contact you. Microchipping is a simple and relatively cheap procedure which your vet can perform, which provides life-long identification that – unlike a collar – cannot be removed.

MOST Siberians would prefer not to sleep in a normal dog kennel – they would rather lie on top of it. Whilst they are Arctic dogs, they do require shelter from the elements in the form of a good sturdy house. The house should have a flat roof so they can perch themselves there to watch the world. However keep the dog house away from any fences, as this will become a launching pad to an escape route.

SIBERIAN Huskies are a very social, pack-oriented breed. This is a breed that always does well when there is another dog, or a regular human presence, in the house for company.

LEFT to their own devices alone in a backyard, Siberians can become very destructive. These dogs will channel their energy into rearranging your pot plants, digging a few trenches, stripping a few trees, not to mention jumping up and down on the roof of your car! This is destruction ‘Siberian Style!’

THIS may well create difficulties if the whole family is working away from home during weekdays. Apart from the possibility of unwanted yard remodelling, Siberian Huskies left alone for long periods are likely to be much more persistent at finding a way to escape their confinement if not housed securely, alternatively they may bother the neighbours with hours of incessant howling in frustration.

THESE are general trends; not every Siberian Husky fits the mould. If you will be expecting to leave the dog alone for a good amount of time each day, there are several possibilities to consider in planning for this.

ONE possibility is to have two dogs so they keep each other company. There is no need for the other dog to also be a Siberian Husky – two different breeds will keep each other company quite happily. One of each sex are more likely to get along harmoniously – two dogs or two bitches may compete for dominance within their pack hierarchy.

ANOTHER option is to seek the advice of your pup’s breeder in choosing a puppy who has shown more of an independent nature – ie. is more comfortable being alone for periods of time and not constantly seeking the company of its litter mates. (This will obviously have necessitated some careful observation of the litter over time by the breeder – and your confidence in the breeder to advise you with this selection.) This won’t guarantee you will be problem-free, but at least you’re starting out by maximising your chances.

A third possibility is, rather than buying a young puppy, to adopt an older re-homed dog from a previous home where they are used to being alone for periods of time.

OTHER options are to find a way to stagger working hours such that your pup is not left by itself for long periods of time – especially in the first few weeks of coming to live with you, or getting a friend or neighbour to check in on the dog if you have to leave it for several hours.

ONE last thing to consider – if your Husky will be left on its own for long hours during the day, you will need to spend a hefty amount of time with him when you return to the house in the evening. Unless you’re planning to spend several hours outdoors on each and every cold winter evening, this will pretty much discount the possibility of an outdoor-only existence for your dog. A Siberian Husky will be most unhappy if left alone all day and then ignored in the backyard when you get home at night.

TRAINING your Siberian Husky will be a very challenging experience. They are extremely intelligent, stubborn, energetic and their ears are ‘painted on.’ You must be ready for the unexpected. Siberians have a will of their own and will not care how long or how loud you yell. They must want to do as you ask.

TRAINING should start when the dog is young. You should work to establish the rules of the house early and make sure that the puppy knows that you are in charge. For example, if you do not want the dog on the bed as an adult, do not allow it as a puppy and never give in, even once, or the dog will think that all rules are flexible. The rule of thumb is that if you train a dog to do something, expect him to do it. Therefore, if the puppy learns that certain things are allowed, it will be difficult to train them not to do them as adults.

IT is best to enrol in a puppy training class (or puppy kindergarten training as they are commonly known) soon after your dog is home and has all of its vaccinations. This training is good for the dog and for you as the owner, as it will help you understand your new puppy and establish you as the pack leader very early in the puppy’s life which is important with this breed. Once you have completed the puppy class, and have been working with the dog for a few months, a basic obedience class is in order.

MANY owners will complain that their dogs act perfectly in class, but will not obey at home. This breed is intelligent enough to differentiate situations very well, and will apply different rules of behaviour for different situations. You must stay on top of the dog and maintain control, which is easier to do while the dog is of manageable size than with a stubborn, energetic adult that has been allowed to get away with undesirable behaviour for a long time.

PROVIDING reward by way of food treats is often successful as they are very responsive to food. Make lessons brief and enjoyable, animate your voice. If one method doesn’t produce the desired effect, try another, don’t give up. Don’t hesitate to ask advice from a professional trainer.

SIBERIAN Huskies will naturally pull on the leash – again this is their natural instinct. To train a Siberian to heel will be a great challenge.

YOU must remember that your Siberian Husky is a working breed. Their heritage gives them the ability to run effortlessly and because of this they must never be allowed unrestrained freedom. Since a Siberian is a working dog, it must be given something to do. Be prepared to undertake obedience training for at least ten minutes every day in the backyard, aside from the normal doggy school. Exercise your dog on leash every day and spend time playing in the backyard with the family. If you think it is cruel to keep a Siberian confined and under control at all times, then this breed isn’t for you!

CHEWING is not uncommon for the Siberian Husky, especially young ones when teething. They will drop their puppy teeth usually between 4–6 months. This is the time they will really enjoy a chew toy, so give them one before they pick one you will not approve of. Use something safe that they can’t break off and swallow, Kong toys are great for this.

DO not leave your Siberian unattended in your car – seat belts and fixtures in the car will be chewed. Have your dog restrained in the car at all times and his mouth out of reach of things to chew. Heat also plays a part in the rule of not leaving your dog in the car alone.

DIGGING the odd hole, or three, or four, is something the Siberian Husky has a proclivity for. This too, may be outwitted, circumvented, or, if you have the right area, indulged.

SIBERIAN Huskies will dig a hole in the summer to get to the cooler ground below, or in the winter after a run to snuggle down and keep warm and conserve energy. This is a survival instinct from their past – they curl up in holes for warmth and to shelter themselves from the winds and blizzards of Siberia.

A Siberian will landscape your yard, Siberian style of course. He will pull out plants, chew pots and the like. Avoid heartache and plan your landscaping with great detail. Have a separate area for the dog, or plan your garden around your dog.

A solution can be that you give your Siberian a place to dig. A plastic child’s wading pool filled with sand can help your Siberian become more content and less destructive. You may bury a bone or treat in a sandpit area to train the Siberian to dig in that spot. Whatever you do, digging probably will never be eliminated totally. Do keep an eye on your Siberian if you go down this path so they do not eat large amounts of sand.

ALSO most Siberians love to play in a water-filled child’s wading pool on a hot day. They will cool off by dipping their feet in and some even like to lay in the water.

SIBERIAN Huskies are very social creatures and believers in social order. A Siberians social system is a pack with a well defined pecking order. The leader of the pack is the alpha dog, or top dog. The leader gets to go first in everything, and other dogs respect the leader’s wishes. Any dog that challenges the alpha’s authority gets a swift physical reminder of where they are in the pack order.

IN your family, the Siberian Husky considers all as alike – both dogs and humans. If you don’t assert your own place as the pack leader, your Siberian will quite happily fill that vacancy. Many dogs fit easily into the lower levels of their human and dog pack and don’t make waves. However there are some dominant Siberians around who will challenge your every move, unless you are an absolute alpha dog. Siberian Huskies respects an owner who is the ultimate boss of the pack, and look to that owner for leadership and guidance. If you step off your perch as alpha dog, you will have a dog that is unruly, disobedient and a nuisance to live with.

YOU can encourage your dog to become the alpha dog – over the whole family – without even realising it. You treat your dog as equal to you and not as a subordinate. You give them special privileges, like sleeping on the couch or bed. You don’t train your dog, and you let them get away with disobeying commands. In a real dog pack, only the alpha dog would get this kind of treatment. This makes the dog feel more dominant and in total control of the humans. Siberians are extremely clever at sensing when you are not in control and they will immediately take over. This behaviour is totally unacceptable and you will have to take immediate steps to become the alpha dog again which, if let go, will become a very long road of challenging training and probably a lot of upsetting times.

JUST remember if your dog respects only one person in the family, the Siberian is still being dominant and you must take steps by way of training to have the dog returned to his place at the bottom of the human family pack order, not at the top or somewhere in-between.

FOR us to become alpha leaders we must show an air of confidence, dignity, intelligence, gentle but firm and consistent training. A dog can sense this attitude almost immediately. Stand up straight and walk tall. Don’t ask your dog to do something, tell him in a firm voice.

A Siberian rarely barks – they prefer to whine or moan and will hold their head high and produce a beautiful howl. If the howl persists the neighbours may get upset – they are a rather vocal dog. A Siberian Husky will rarely alert you when strangers are around, and they are certainly not watch or guard dogs.

SIBERIAN Huskies have a strong prey drive, and generally do not get on well with cats and other small furry animals (rabbits, guinea pigs, ferrets, etc) and birds. A puppy Siberian Husky may present no obvious threat to these other animals, only to turn predatory after a couple of years as they mature.

OF course there are always exceptions to a general rule – the author of this section owns two Siberians who have lived in harmony with cats for several years. However they were brought as young pups into an established cat household, and certainly wouldn’t show significant inhibition at chasing after a strange cat or other small (non-dog) animal outside of their household. The Siberian Husky that can peacefully co-exist with cats and other small furry animals is a rare dog indeed!

IT must be emphasised that prey drive and aggression are often confused but completely different concepts. A Siberian Husky may be absolutely friendly and accepting of people and other dogs, both those known well and total strangers, yet without a moment’s thought chase down and kill a possum running through their yard at night.

PREY drive is simply an innate hunting behaviour learned over many hundreds of generations in harsh arctic conditions, where Siberian Huskies were often kept on a lean existence. This was especially so over summer when the Siberian tribes had no use of sled dogs and often turned them loose to hunt for themselves. Because the prey drive is instinctive and cannot be ‘unlearned’, no amount of training is likely to effectively suppress this desire.

OF course, prey drive behaviour is not appropriate to modern urban living, but the dogs don’t know that! The only solution is to not let the opportunity present itself – keep your Siberian Husky away from these other animals at all times.

INEFFECTIVELY managed predatory behaviour can be the cause of much misery when a Siberian Husky is allowed to escape and kills or maims another person’s pet. The dog can’t be blamed for this – it’s just obeying its natural instinct. Be aware and don’t allow the situation to arise in the first place!