Have you always wanted to adopt an Alaskan Husky? Well if so, you may be surprised to know that the “dog” that you really want isn’t actually an Alaskan Husky at all!
This is because…
Alaskan Husky’s actually have a lot of other dog breeds that are very similar in appearance. Other dog breeds such as the Alaskan malamute, the Alaskan Klee Kai and Siberian husky which at first glance may appear very similar to the Husky, but in fact are all separate breeds of dogs entirely.
This is why…
In the following article, we’re going to take a moment to discuss the history and origin of the Alaskan Husky and hopefully cover a few of the differences between them and their closely related cousins.
Origin of the Alaskan Husky.
Alaskan huskies are real sled dogs, and therefore the American Kennel Club nor any other kennel club recognizes them as a true separate individual dog breed.
Or in other words…
According to the American Kennel Club, an Alaskan Husky is simply a “type” of dog, not a separate dog breed in and of itself. On the other hand, the Alaskan Malamute and Siberian husky are both recognized.
So, if this is the case, why do people choose to call Alaskan Husky’s, Alaskan Husky’s when in reality they’re actually probably just a mix of either an Alaskan Malamute or a Siberian Husky?
The answer to this questions is simple because unlike the Malamute and the Siberian Husky which have been breed to retain certain appearance characteristics, the Alaskan Husky has been breed to work!
You’re actually using this dog for this reason, the last thing in the world that you’re really going to care about is what some “dog organization” chooses to call your beloved animal!
You see, Alaskan “mushers”…
Have different concerns than people looking for a “purebred”, for folks living in the remote areas of Alaska where these dogs have originated from, folks are much less concerned about a particular appearance that the dog may or may not have and are much more interested in how well the dog can endure the harsh climates of the area and how well the dog can work and “fit in” with village life.
The Alaskan Huskies are also commonly referred to as the “Eskimo dogs” since they originated from the remote Inuit villages located in the far northern areas of Alaska, Canada, Siberia, and Greenland.
Personality of Alaskan Huskies.
Alaskan huskies are the perfect dog for an outdoorsy type of person or family. So, if you want a dog you can take camping, trail walking, or any other outdoor activity this sled dog could be right for you. Particularly If you live in a mountainous area.
Now, if you live…
On the beach of Florida, it may be tempting to get an Alaskan Husky because they’re so dang cute, but is that really in the best interest in your potential pet?
Or are you putting your desires ahead of what’s best for your dog and possibly setting yourself up for failure right from the beginning.
This is why…
We here at IndulgeYourPet always like to point out that there are a ton of different dog breeds out there, all equally great, but what really makes one dog breed better than another is what you bring to the table!
So, while an Alaskan Husky might be right for one person, they may not be right for another. Your perfect dog could be a Pug or a German Shepard, who knows?
Which brings us to…
Some other characteristics about Alaskan Huskies that you should be aware of if you are considering adopting one into your family.
“Alaskan Huskies love to dig!”
Which isn’t necessarily a problem unless you live in an apartment or you have a passion for keeping the best lawn in the neighborhood. Because if that’s the case, deciding on purchasing an Alaskan Husky puppy or better yet adopting an adult Alaskan Husky from an Alaskan Husky rescue center might not be the best bet for you.
Alaskan Huskies do need ample human interaction. Though they are tough working dogs, that doesn’t mean that they want to be delegated to the yard without some TLC. You’ll definitely need to give this one some love from the time he or she is a puppy. Particularly if you want to keep your Husky from getting bored and really causing some mischief with all the pent-up energy that they will have.
Characteristics of the breed.
Since Alaskan huskies are work dogs, and since appearance wasn’t/isn’t a major part of their breeding process, what you’re going to find is that they’re going to vary in both looks and coat colors.
That said however…
Weight and height wise, there are some consistencies. So if you choose to adopt a Alaskan Husky puppy, you can safely assume that he or she will normally grow up to stand approximately 26 inches and weigh up to around 60 pounds (assuming a healthy diet and plenty of exercise).
Maintenance and training.
When it comes to the maintenance and training of your Alaskan Husky, you’re going to have to take the good with the bad. The good news is that the Alaskan Husky coat is pretty easy to maintain, and as long as you give him or her a good “brush down” every couple of days you’re going to be alright.
The bad news is…
That Alaskan Husky’s tend to be pretty difficult to train. Now we’re not going to say that they’re bad dogs or that they are going to attack everything in sight because that simply isn’t the case.
In fact, Alaskan Husky’s are some of the most loving dogs in the world, they just don’t like to listen all of the time which is something that you should definitely be aware of if you’re thinking about adopting an Alaskan Husky for the first time.
Heath Problems for this dog.
When you get an Alaskan husky puppy, you should be certain that any of the Alaskan husky breeders you are considering can give you some documentation about the dog. Without it, you have no way of knowing their genetics and what health problems may arise later on during your dogs life.
The problem is…
That Alaskan husky puppies can’t simply be checked out by a vet as a way of ruling out any future problems; you need to know their health history and genes of the pup’s parents. Now will this always be possible? Probably not and in theory, you could look to the Genome-Wide Association for some real answers and genetic testing of your Alaskan husky but we here at IndulgeYourPet understand that for the vast majority of folks this isn’t going to happen.
So, what should you do?
Like all things in life, it’s impossible to tell the future and even if you had every test under the sun performed, you’ll still never know for sure what the future health outlook of your pet will be.
That said however, we always recommend that if you choose to adopt a puppy, be sure that you decide to purchase your puppy from a “reputable” breeder and ALWAYS be sure that the parents of the puppy that you are considering adopting is on-site when making your decision. This way you can at least see how well the parents are doing and with a little bit of luck, this might be the same case for you.
So, what’s an Alaskan Husky dog at risk of?
As mentioned, the Alaskan Husky is a working dog, not actually a specific breed, so the health problems aren’t standardized. Which is actually a good thing because true “Pure Breeds” tend to have more serious medical concerns than those that are a bit “mix”.
That said however…
Alaskan Husky’s do have some of the more common problems that tend to affect all dog breeds including:
- Hip dysplasia – this may cost you up to $3500 in vet bills
- Eye problems are somewhat common as well. Now it’s hard to say how much these issues could cost you in vet bills because it really does depend on the type of eye problem your Husky could develop. We only mention it because it’s important to understand that these issues might arise. Particularly progressive retinal atrophy.
- Hypothyroidism – you’ve probably heard about this problem in humans, but guess what dogs get it too – particularly, Alaskan huskies. And… If your Husky develops this health problem, he/she will likely need ongoing treatment/medications for this, so it will be a regular expense.
- Subacute necrotizing encephalomyelopathy – a neurological disease with no cure. And unfortunately, the diagnosis and treatment of this condition can be really expensive!
Now at this point, we know what you’re thinking…
“Wow, why would anyone choose to adopt an Alaskan Husky, when they could develop any one of those conditions?”
Because after all…
Several of those conditions sound a bit scary. And they should, it’s why we write about them. Because remember, we here at IndulgeYourPet take pet adoption very seriously and want to make sure that anyone thinking about making the choice to adopt a pet very seriously.
It’s also why…
We’ll often recommend that anyone who is considering purchasing an Alaskan Husky puppy also think about purchasing a Pet Insurance policy at the same time. This way, if your little “fur ball” grows up to develop on of the previously mentioned medical conditions that we talked about, you won’t need to have to worry about how much it’s going to cost to help treat your buddy, you’ll only need to worry about where you can find the best treatment for him or her.
For more information on who we feel currently offers the “Best” pet insurance policies in the industry, feel free to check out our Best Pet Insurance Companies article.
HUSKIES I LOVE THEM
So nothing about how to give it a healthy diet or in general, just life.
We do have separate articles focusing on a variety of different dog food brands that you may want to take a look at. However, we have to admit that we haven’t had time lately to update these for 2020, we will be doing so shortly.
Many breeders of “mushers” raise their pups on a raw diet, largely eating whatever raw meat is available with a variety of other “people” food like pumpkin, peanut butter (without added ingredients or with just honey) cucumbers, green beans, plain yougurt, and even apples! They should maintain a higher protein diet than many other dogs so long as you plan on them working to build up those muscles! Don’t forget they need more than just meat if you plan on continuing that diet, and that your pup may not want boring dry kibble when he’s used to real chicken. Avoid buying paté style canned foods at first, instead going for foods with whole chunks. A dog won’t starve themselves, but when your puppy won’t eat it can be distressing. Using something more familiar can help ease the process.
I have also heard from several racer breeders that they usually wait longer than normal to neuter their dogs, so as to take advantage of the strength the testosterone brings their muscles, protecting them more from injury or to decrease the chance for issues like hip dysplasia. Unless you plan on breeding them you should always get your dog fixed. If they are not going to be working there’s no risk to having them fixed in the normal age bracket. Due to differences in the ‘breed’ when is the best for your pup can be different. Try to ask about when their parents finished developing (spay/neuter should be done before they completely mature still), or when they would recommend it.
Digging being a favorite hobby can be aided in causing less problems by including in their puppy training “dig” in addition to leave it. Start with a safe place for your dog to dig, such as an unused part of the yard or even a short large Rubbermaid tub with dirt inside (but you should do this part outside, dirt will go everywhere). When he starts digging (burying a bone or meat will draw him right to it) say “dig”, and give a treat. Anywhere else tell him to leave it. When he gets a handle on the box, put one inside, fill it with old newspaper, paper towels, cardboard scraps, etc. If you can stick a fine to medium grain sandpaper at the bottom of the tub it can help keep those nails short. If you tell him dig at this box, he’ll gladly shuffle the pieces in the box. If he’s messy about it a kennel tray underneath the box should catch most debris and offers you a base you can glue it to that keeps your pup from flipping it.
We have even been teaching ours to bury food he wants to store for later in the box. This allows him to satisfy his natural desire to store food in permafrost or snow while also making it easy for us to find bones, bullysticks, or that half a deboned beef broth boiled chicken breast he really loves incase his next meal isn’t as awesome. We check it once a day to keep it clean, and replace the paper strips once a week-ish.
To teach them to bury in the box only we would find him starting to bury something, take the item and walk with it over to his box, drop the object in, and if they dont start covering it immediately showing them what you want yourself usually will result in them eagerly joining you. Praise and kisses and a little offered treat reinforce the behavior.
From there it is a matter of being consistent with ordering “leave it” and rewards when they resist the urge or go dig in their doggy dig box.
I hope this helps!
I hate it when I am reading something written by “expert” dog people and they don’t know that there is no such thing as a “German Shepard”. There is however a German Shepherd 🙄
Thanks for the heads up. We’ve made the corrections that you’ve pointed out. Additionally, we here at IndulgeYourPet don’t believe we ever call ourselves “experts” and we certainly wouldn’t claim to have the best spelling and grammar. All we “claim” is that we love animals and just hope that the information that we provide is helpful to those hoping to learn more.
Sorry we offended you.