The Siberian husky is an ancient and steadfast breed that may have grown alongside humans for thousands of years. Developed in Russia by an indigenous people known as the Chukchis, these canines were employed to drag provisions behind them, enabling the Chukchi people to thrive in an inhospitable environment. This breed was developed not only to transport property and people but to live peacefully and happily in the Chukchi household. This has resulted in a friendly, enthusiastic breed with exceptional stamina. The thick double coat that keeps the Siberian Husky warm in freezing temperatures requires frequent grooming, although bathing is less frequently required. Although their wolfish appearance may be somewhat intimidating to some this breed is frequently too friendly to play the role of guard dog.
Siberian Huskies were developed by an indigenous native tribe in Russia known as the Chukchi people, at some point in prehistory. The original Siberian Huskies or their ancestors were probably used to hunt, and at some point, they began to pull the sleds of the nomadic people they lived with, allowing them to travel farther and more quickly. They were an integral part of the Chukchi people’s everyday lives and were bred to be not only energetic and enduring but also to be companionable. In the early years of the 1900’s Siberian Huskies were brought to Alaska to be entered into the All Alaska Sweepstakes race, and they excelled. Several of the teams made up of Siberian Huskies won the yearly competitions before they were canceled due to the entry of the United States into World War I. It was in 1925, well after the races had been canceled, that these sled dogs made their best-known contribution to American history. That was the winter of that year that a diphtheria epidemic hit the small town of Nome, an epidemic that put everyone in the region at risk, around 10,000 people. In order to deliver the Serum to villagers, twenty sled drivers and over one hundred dogs, the majority of them Siberian Huskies, undertook the grueling 658-mile trip to pick up the needed medicine in a town known as Nulato and bring it back to Nome. A trip that should have taken twenty-five days was made in just under six, and it was made in unbearable conditions. Drivers sometimes ran alongside the sleds to keep warm, they endured severe frostbite to the face and hands to get the serum to Nome, and at least four dogs died on the journey. The last leg of the journey had Gunnar Kaasen driving the team, but it was the dogs that brought the serum home as the conditions made it impossible for him to see even the two dogs closest to the sled. Balto, a mixed breed of Siberian Husky decent and the highly talented lead dog of the last leg of the journey, received the greatest public acclaim, but it is important to remember all of the dogs that ran tirelessly in this race for survival. It was shortly after this, in 1930, that the Siberian Husky was recognized by the AKC and they are the 12th most popular dog breed as of this writing.
The husky is a graceful working dog of medium size, well-furred and somewhat compact. They sport erect, triangular ears and a tail with a fox-like brush shape. The tail typically hangs down or trails behind, but when the dog is alert or at attention, the tail is carried over the back in a sickle shape. The medium length muzzle is slightly tapered, and the almond shaped eyes come in blue, brown, or one of each, all with a keen expression. The standard Siberian Husky colors as listed by the AKC include agouti, black, gray, red, and sable all with striking white features on their face, chest and underbelly area, legs and parts of the tail, as well as all white. Siberian Huskies that sport alternate colors are not uncommon, however, and some may be born all black, or with various combinations of black, white, tan, copper, and brown that are not listed as being standard.
This breed was bred to be active, and they require a great deal of vigorous activity in order to maintain their health and vigor and your sanity. Huskies that do not get the proper amount of exercise or mental stimulation tend to become rambunctious and destructive at home. The coat of a Siberian Husky requires regular brushing, at least once a week, during the majority of the year. During the spring, and to a lesser extent the fall, this becomes a daily requirement as the dog sheds extremely heavily during the change of seasons. They should not be bathed more than once a month if possible, as excessive bathing can cause the animal’s skin to dry out. It is important to take the thick coat of the Husky into consideration when you do bathe your animal if the undercoat is not fully rinsed and dried it can lead to damaged skin and can even cause mold to grow near the skin if it is left wet for too long.