Husky – Interview with an owner

Husky – do you fancy owning a clown?

I love a Husky, I think they are beautiful dogs.  They are from the Working Group of dogs and look like dogs should look in my opinion, (a bit like wolves).  They seem so wild and free.  But what are they really like to own?

HuskyLetty says that she knew she wanted an active, larger breed of dog, but wasn’t sure what that might mean until she saw a Siberian Husky and fell in love.  She made contact with a breeder and was invited to go and meet some.

“I found myself at this person’s door and was struck by the fact that it looked an awful lot like a prison, with double gates and an ‘airlock’ type system! What followed was a fantastically enthusiastic greeting by 6 gorgeous Huskies that completely stole my heart.”

Unfortunately Letty was not able to have a Husky straight away as she was living in a flat.  So she very sensibly helped out with the breed-specific welfare run by these breeders.  She learnt all about the fantastic challenges that comes with owning Huskies.

Gus’ journey home

Gus came from a breeder in Romania, bought to become a potential show and stud dog.   Letty fell in love with him from the moment she met him, which was delayed by his time in quarantine.  He turned out to not be suitable for showing, but he was a fantastic working dog and loved running in harness.

“Due to his time in quarantine during his formative years he can’t speak dog very well and struggled being in a big pack.”

HuskyLetty was not able to have him though, so he went off to someone else.  Then about a year later she got a call:

“Gus is coming back to us, he’s in a real state!” By this point I was living somewhere new and my response was “I’m coming to get him this weekend.” There was absolutely no question in my mind that he’d come back at exactly the right point in time and that he was MY dog. But he was skin and bone, was riddled with fleas and had obviously been beaten, because whenever you went to touch him he would cower on the floor.  That’s how I chose my dog, or rather, how he chose me.

An active lifestyle

Letty says that they are quite active people., who like walking, camping and being outside.  Gus fits in with this lifestyle very well.  She says that taking on any dog is going to be a bit of an adjustment, but having Gus has been better than expected.

Gus was 5 years old when Letty got him, so she didn’t have to cope with chewing or the manic puppy stage.  There were some issues with ‘marking’ in the house while he was settling, but they worked through this.

HuskyHe is now 11 years old with spondylosis and suspected hip arthritis so his exercise has been cut down.  She does some training everyday and walk for half an hour a day with Gus, which used to be an hour a day.   Letty also used to run him in harness on the bike in the winter and did an agility class every week.

Husky characteristics

Huskies are most definitely clowns!  Letty says they seem to enjoy making us laugh. They are talkative and will often ague back when you tell them off, many always wanting to have the last word!

They are loving and enjoy cuddles, but not loyal; they’ll snog anyone within tongue reach! They’re a very empathetic breed of dog.

“Gus always knows if I’m down, upset or ill, and he’ll never be far away or he’ll do something daft to make me laugh.”

They are intelligent, but not in the same way as a Border Collie who wants to please people. Huskies have an independent intelligence, they are problem solvers and question askers. This is what they were bred to do.

HuskyLetty says that Gus is pretty chilled and easy-going, which she feels is because of his bad experiences.  Apparently he was as mad as other Huskies before he went to that first home.

Husky challenges

They ARE trainable, but they have to see the point in what you’re asking them to do. Mental exercise is just as important, if not more so, than physical exercise.  But they should also settle when not working, the idea being they conserve energy until they need to run.

Other issues with Huskies:

  • They are escape artists.  They can clear 6ft fence from a standstill and 8ft with a bit of a scrabble.  If they can’t jump over they’ll dig under.  They can jump out of open windows, even upstairs!  Once they’re out, they’re off – they LOVE to run!
  • No road sense, so no off lead walks unless it is a very secure area.
  • They are fabulous landscape artists!  If you like a nice garden and a clean house then a Husky is not the dog for you.
  • There is lots of fur!  Huskies have a double coat with a thick layer of undercoat to keep them warm in -50⁰C.  But it when it comes out, you’ll have fur EVERYWHERE. If you don’t like seeing fur ‘tumbleweeds’ float across your living room, a Husky probably isn’t for you.
  • If you have small furry animals like cats or rabbits and you want them to stay alive, then a Husky probably isn’t for you. Huskies have a very high prey drive; they  can catch birds out of the sky, or next door’s cat.  They will eat what they catch.
  • When bored, they make their own fun, which includes being destructive.  They can eat through doors and stud walls.  Huskies will chew things up astoundingly quickly!  Letty’s sister only got up to answer the door to a delivery man and the sofa was dead when she got back.
  • They will also push the limits unless you are very clear with the boundaries.  Huskies have got a bad reputation for being aggressive of late. Letty has only ever met one truly aggressive husky, the rest are just trying to dominate.  But they can sound intimidating when they’re grumping and grumbling at you.
  • They are very vocal, which may be a positive or a negative depending on your point of view (or how many neighbours you’ve got!)
Hair anyone?

Who should have a Husky?

You must be an active person with plenty of time to spend with your dog. They are not suitable for someone who works full time.  Not suited for someone who doesn’t have much experience with dogs as they will push and push  the limits until they’re telling you what you can and can’t do.

Letty’s advice:

“Research, research, research. Meet the breed. Ask questions. Volunteer. Don’t be set on a puppy, consider an older rescue or rehome. Second hand dogs give first class love.”

As always, I am incredibly grateful to Letty for giving us such a clear insight into owning one of these beautiful dogs.

HuskyAsk for help?

I hope you have enjoyed my insight into owning Huskies?  Please comment and share your views and experiences?  What breed would you like to know about?  Or do you have a breed of dog and would like to share your views on living with your dog?  Please CONTACT ME to let me know?

You are very welcome to CONTACT ME to ask for my advice?  I can help you with a variety of issues and problems around getting a dog and suggestions for tackling training issues.  Go to the What Dog? page for more information on my new service.


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