The Alaskan Husky – The Breed for You! An Alaskan Husky is similar looking to a Siberian husky. The major difference between the two is the colour of their eyes. Where the Siberian husky has blue eyes, the Alaskan husky can have brown eyes. The Alaskan Husky does not have any specific characteristics, as all their characteristics depend on the breeder. Most Alaskan Huskies are bred for work or sports. In fact, the Alaskan Husky is not a breed of dogs, but merely a type.
Alaskan Huskies are bred from spitz type breeds, which gives them their signature build and elongated snout. Their ears are peculiarly pointy on the top and their coat can be any colour or patters. Alaskan Huskies are adorable looking, and do not often become ferocious. They are people friendly and relatively tolerant of other dogs as well. When kept with other dogs, the Alaskan husky makes friends quickly and becomes naughty with his companion. This is an energetic dog and his athletic needs require to be met in case he is to be kept home.
These dogs were originally bred for sports such as sledging or skijoring. They are also adept at sprinting short distances, and freight pulling. They are medium sized dogs that weigh between 20-50 pounds when fully grown and nourished.
Many people ask and wonder at whether or not Alaskan huskies can be kept inside the home. The answer to this is that yes, they can be kept at home as domestic pets. However, the underlying condition is that the dog should not be left to his own devices very often. The characteristics of the breed are energetic and playful. This means that if you leave your husky contained in your home, be prepared for the worst. Huskies especially like company. These dogs, like all other breeds, become loyal companions, who when tied up in the backyard alone, do not take well to restraint. They become loud and whine enough to let you know that they are upset and require attention.
Some trainers describe Alaskan Huskies as escape artists that like to run about freely. So leashing them and leaving them in a fenced backyard is also not the best idea. They are jumpers and can easily scale a picket fence or an underground extended fence. A Husky will always be a runner and will require significant amount of time to be dedicated to physical exercise so as to allow their energies to be spent.
Alaskan Huskies make for perfect pets to hikers, mountaineers and backpackers.
As a type of dog, the Alaskan Husky is easy to train and prefers to be in team environments. Positive reinforcement and incentives can be used to train your Alaskan Husky. They are truly single minded dogs and can be rigid when it comes to giving up play time or snacks, but with adequate training, Alaskan Huskies can find their place in our world.
Mushers in the Canadian and Alaskan region bred the Alaskan Husky for numerous reasons. They required a dog that could pull logs, deliver supplies in the snow and cold, transport sledges and compete in races. The breeding process was started on Inuit breeds and extended to Siberian huskies, greyhounds, pointer dogs etc. These combinations were used to create certain particular characteristics which were required such as gait, speed, stamina and good bone structure, and size or thickness of the coat.
Alaskan Huskies also have shown signs of breeding with Shepherds and Salukis, as well as some European breeds.
On a cold night out in the snow, an Alaskan husky might be your best choice. These dogs are loyal, show their affection adequately, have great instincts in the wild, and best of all, they love to cuddle and snuggle close to their humans. Alaskan huskies are team players and enjoy staying in packs. They are friendly and adorable, and jump on people to show how much they like them.
Are you planning to get yourself an Alaskan husky? Here are some points about their personality to remember before making a commitment you cannot honour:
- Alaskan Huskies are energetic beyond belief.
- They do not take well to being leased and restrained.
- Once left in the open, an Alaskan husky will not be afraid of roaming far.
- They are adventurous and prefer to spend their energies on physical outlets.
- They can jump up pretty high, and cannot be contained by any run of the mill fences.
- They love food and will go to any extent to get some if need be.
- Alaskan Huskies can also be great hunters, if only they weren’t so friendly!
So if you are someone who regularly trains for marathons and have access to a large enclosed space for running and playing to your heart’s content, bring home an Alaskan husky and let them delight you.
Training an Alaskan Husky
Aside from all the regular ways and manners of training a dog, that is, by using incentives to make them do an action, giving them love and praise when they do something good, and a talking down when they do not follow instruction etc. raising huskies may require some foresight. Bringing a puppy home is a big responsibility as they require as much attention as a child would, and maybe more, since a dog cannot communicate as well as a human child.
Here is a fairly helpful timeline of training your Alaskan Husky puppy from the day you bring him home:
5-8 Weeks Old: This is the ideal time to begin training your Alaskan husky puppy. Do not let the puppy grow into an unruly toddler pup by not training him and directing him to acknowledge the discipline of the household he is a part of. Once a puppy is allowed to roam free to his own desires, it becomes difficult to later rein them into the routine required. By this time, the puppy should be able to recognize his master’s voice, his own name, and basic yes and no commands.
10-12 Weeks Old: At this age, the husky should be placed in a puppy kindergarten classroom setting wherein a professional trainer can teach him how to live in a home. This can also be done at home by hiring a private trainer, or by training the husky yourself. Remember, do not use violence with your puppy. This will make them resent you, and make them more inclined to not listening to your commands.
9 Months Old: At the 9 month mark, an Alaskan husky is traditionally pushed to train for sports and sled pulling. This is when the prowess of the Husky is developmentally strong and mouldable into the characteristics required. The training routine of a husky training for the races or a job is strict and includes hours and hours of practice, as well as a special diet.
2 Years Old: A two year old husky is generally considered the right age for competing. This means that at this stage, your Alaskan husky will have the strength to give a horse a run for his money. By this time, a husky can be adequately trained to be a loyal companion, a guard in the nights, a superb snuggling buddy against the cold, and one hell of a runner!
Size and Weight
To look at, Alaskan Huskies are medium sized and do not grow more than 50-60 pounds in weight. Female Alaskan huskies only grow to a maximum of 55 pounds, while males tend to grow slightly bigger. However, racing huskies and sled dogs can grow to 80 pounds as well.
Colour and Coat
Their resemblance to the Siberian husky and that genetic pool makes them leaner and smaller, but with a more pronounced tuck-up. The coat of an Alaskan husky can be any colour, but varies between short and medium in length and thickness. These dogs require coats to be thicker so as to allow them to survive the cold slightly better. The main reason, though, for the short coat is the need for them to effectively dissipate heat while racing.
The qualities of a Siberian husky or an Inuit dog of having stronger paws and sturdier protection from abrasion are subordinated in Alaskan huskies, but this is compensated by their ability to run fast. For this reason, Alaskan Huskies may require to wear protective gear on their bellies as well as their paws.
The racing ability of a mid-distance running Alaskan husky is 20-250 miles, while for long distance runners it is 50-1000 miles.
These dogs have excellent reflexes and are very disciplined. They are clean dogs, and can be trained to swim as well. They are not good at retrieving, but have excellent vision and a strong sense of smell.
An Alaskan Husky’s average lifespan is 10 to 15 years.
Genetically, the Alaskan Husky does not come from the healthiest gene pool. This breed faces health problems which are often associated with singularly purebred dogs. These include:
- Progressive Retinal Atrophy – Herein a bilateral degeneration of the retina occurs in dogs as well as cats, causing progressive loss of vision which concludes in complete blindness.
- Hypothyroidism – Where an underactive thyroid gland does not produce the amount of thyroid hormone required, leading to inability to stand the cold, loss of stamina, constipation etc. in dogs.
- Deformation of the larynx – This causes the husky to wheeze with every breath they take.
- Eating Habits – Since Huskies were bred to not be picky eaters, in urban settings, they are most prone to be garbage divers and can eat almost anything.
Other than these genetic diseases or defects, an Alaskan husky, like any other breed, needs to be vaccinated and given their shots in the correct dosage. Try to have your puppy inoculated against canine parvovirus, canine hepatitis, parainfluenza, distemper, coronavirus and rabies.
Most puppy training schools, kindergartens etc. require the puppy to be up to date with his inoculations before entering into a classroom setting. This also is a great reason to plan your dog’s medical record, and maintaining it to be kept up to date.
So far, we have seen that Alaskan huskies are not a breed of dogs, but simply a type of dog. The characteristics and personality traits of this dog largely depend on the genetic pool that has been mixed to breed him. Fundamentally, we can say that an Alaskan husky inherits the traits of his parents.
When getting home an Alaskan husky, make sure to ask the breeder to disclose the hip scores of the puppy’s parents. Check whether their score totals to an Excellent, Good or Fair score assigned by the Orthopaedic Foundation for Animals. The Canine Eye Registry can be contacted to make sure that the eyes of your pup are healthy.
These small checks of whether the puppy’s lineage is friendly or ferocious can help in determining the behaviour of your puppy and must be given a thorough check if the dog is being brought into a family setting where he is expected to interact with children.
The Alaskan Husky is a medium sized dog, but it has great running prowess and is as athletic as it comes. They require to be kept fit and running for most of their lives so that the genetic defects in them do not take precedence over their stronger characteristics.
Many different methods are used to train and keep healthy an Alaskan husky. These include:
- Harnessing the husky to a vehicle other than sleds
- Making snow trails for the husky to cross
- Building a hurdle or obstacle course for the dogs to attempt
A professionally running husky requires up to 6 hours of training per day, tied to a sled, five to six days a week. This increases to even twelve hours of training closer to their races, with breaks of three and six hours at a time.
Sled racing is a sport that spans days, and huskies are given rest of up to twenty-four hours within the race.
Grooming a Husky can be a task if the puppy is not made used to bathing and being cleaned or brushed. Here are some tips on how to groom your Alaskan Husky:
Brush Often: The only way to guarantee a soft and supple coat for your husky is to brush out the hair and untangle them often. This does not mean that you never stop combing their coat, as this may encourage shedding and hair fall. However, brushing their hair once a day is a reasonable amount.
Shampoo to Clean and Soften: Use a special dog shampoo on your Alaskan husky. Try to find a breed that makes shampoos exclusively for Huskies as this will be better suited to their skin and fur.
Clipping or Shearing: Do not clip your husky’s coat. Sometimes, the shedding can become unnerving and you will find hair in the most unexpected of places. This is no reason to shear the hair off your dog as they require this coat to protect themselves from extreme climates.
Shedding: While your Husky sheds, you can use undercoat brushes and fur thinning brushes. These can be bought at your local dog article shop, or vet’s office. Do not over shear your husky.
Bathing Your Husky
Your Alaskan Husky will require to be bathed once every month if he is being kept in an environment which is relatively free of dirt, for instance, a home environment. However, running and training makes your husky more prone to ticks as they stay outdoors more, insect bites and rashes from brushing against surfaces. In colder regions, Husky dogs do not require a regular bathing schedule. These dogs are conscious enough of their hygiene.
Finding Your Alaskan Husky
You can find yourself a trusty husky companion via many routes.
Purchase from Breeder
If you are going to a breeder in order to purchase a puppy, make sure to check the reliability of the breeder. Ask him the questions you think are relevant, and check to see whether the breeder is someone you can rely on for sound advice on your pup or not. A breeder who is too eager for you to take the puppy home may be up to something.
Call for the health records of your pup before purchasing. These records will show you whether the pedigree of your dog is what the breeder claims, whether all inoculations are up to date, and whether the puppy suffers from some disorder or disease already.
If you are looking to adopt a husky from your local shelter or dog adoption centre, you will have a few additional responsibilities. These will include you taking the time to have your dog medically checked for anything from ticks and lice, to ear infections, bone health and additional disorders which show up with age.
Make sure you are aware of the commitment you will be required to put into your Alaskan Husky so that you do not have to abandon or give away your dog.
What are you waiting for, then? Bring home an Alaskan Husky, and brighten your lives up!