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Alaskan Husky: Your Guide to Best Care.

Have you always wanted to adopt an Alaskan husky?  If so, you may be surprised that the “dog” you want isn’t actually an Alaskan husky!

This is because…

Alaskan huskies have many other dog breeds that are very similar in appearance.  At first glance, different dog breeds, such as the Alaskan Malamute, the Alaskan Klee Kai, and the Siberian husky, may appear very similar to the husky but are all separate breeds of dogs entirely.

This is why we wanted to take a moment to discuss the history and origin of the Alaskan husky and cover a few of the differences between these two breeds and their closely related cousins.

Origin of the Alaskan Husky

Alaskan Huskies are real sled dogs; therefore, neither the American Kennel Club nor any other kennel club recognizes them as a 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 call Alaskan husky, Alaskan husky when in reality, they’re probably just a mix of either an Alaskan Malamute or a Siberian husky?

The answer to this question is simple: unlike the Malamute and the Siberian husky, which have been bred to retain specific appearance characteristics, the Alaskan husky has been born to work!

And if…

You’re using this dog for this reason; the last thing you’ll care about in the world 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.

After all, the Alaskan Huskies are also commonly called the “Eskimo dogs” since they originated from the remote Inuit villages in the far northern areas of Alaska, Canada, Siberia, and Greenland.

The personality of Alaskan Huskies

Alaskan huskies are the perfect dog for an outdoorsy 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, mainly If you live in a mountainous area.

Now, if you live…

It may be tempting to get an Alaskan husky on the beach of Florida because they’re so dang cute, but is that really in the best interest of 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 makes one dog produce better than another is what you bring to the table!

So, while an Alaskan husky might be proper for one person, it may not be suitable for another.  Your perfect dog could be a Pug or a German Shepard; who knows?

This 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!”

This isn’t necessarily a problem unless you live in an apartment or are passionate about keeping the best lawn in the neighborhood.  Because if that’s the case, deciding to purchase an Alaskan husky puppy or adopt an adult Alaskan husky from an Alaskan bulky 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 they want to be delegated to the yard without some TLC. You’ll need to give this one some love from when they are a puppy, particularly if you want to keep your husky from getting bored and causing some mischief with all the pent-up energy they will have.

Characteristics of the breed

Since Alaskan huskies are work dogs, and since appearance wasn’t/isn’t a significant part of their breeding process, you’re going to find that they will vary in both looks and coat colors.

That said, however…

Weight and height-wise, there are some consistencies. So if you adopt a Alaskan husky puppy, you can safely assume that it will generally 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 will 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 them a good “brush down” every couple of days, you’ll be alright.

The bad news is…

That Alaskan huskies are challenging to train.  Now we won’t say they’re bad dogs or will attack everything in sight because that isn’t the case.

Alaskan huskies are some of the most loving dogs in the world; they don’t like to listen all the time, which you should be aware of if you’re thinking about adopting an Alaskan husky for the first time.

Possible Health Problems

When you get an Alaskan husky puppy, you should be sure that any Alaskan husky breeders you are considering can give you some documentation about the dog. Without it, you cannot know their genetics and what health problems may arise later in your dog’s life.

The problem is that a vet can’t simply check out Alaskan Husky puppies to rule out any future problems; you need to know the 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 honest answers and genetic testing of your Alaskan husky. Still, we here at IndulgeYourPet understand that this isn’t going to happen for most folks.

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 purchasing your puppy from a “reputable” breeder if you choose to adopt a puppy. ALWAYS be sure that the parents of the puppy you are considering adopting are on-site when deciding.  This way, you can at least see how well the parents are doing, and with some luck, this might be the same for you.

So, what’s an Alaskan husky dog at risk of?

As mentioned, the Alaskan husky is a working dog, not a specific breed, so the health problems aren’t standardized.  This is good because true “Pure Breeds” tend to have more serious medical concerns than those that are a bit “mixed.”

That said, however…

Alaskan huskies 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 does depend on the type of eye problem your husky could develop. We only mention it because it’s essential 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 – mainly, Alaskan huskies. And… If your husky develops this health problem, they will likely need ongoing treatment/medications so it will be a regular expense.
  • Subacute necrotizing encephalomyelopathy – a neurological disease with no cure. And unfortunately, this condition’s diagnosis and treatment can be expensive!

Now at this point, we know what you’re thinking…

“Wow, why would anyone adopt an Alaskan husky when they could develop any 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 considering choosing to adopt a pet very seriously.

It’s also why…

We’ll often recommend that anyone considering purchasing an Alaskan husky puppy also consider buying a Pet Insurance policy simultaneously.  This way, if your little “fur ball” grows up to develop one 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 them.

For more information on who we feel currently offers the “Best” pet insurance policies, please check out our Best Pet Insurance Companies article.

{ 7 comments… add one }
  • René N. August 29, 2020, 4:19 am

    So nothing about how to give it a healthy diet or in general, just life.

    • Jynxed July 12, 2020, 12:59 pm

      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!

    • indulgeyourpet August 29, 2020, 3:16 pm


      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.



  • Aditya November 7, 2020, 10:50 am


    • indulgeyourpet November 7, 2020, 8:44 pm




  • Liam April 27, 2021, 9:40 am

    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 🙄

    • indulgeyourpet April 28, 2021, 6:37 am


      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.


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