The Siberian Husky is a medium-sized working dog breed.
A beautiful breed of dog, Huskies are independent, athletic, and intelligent. They show a balance of power, speed and endurance.
The personality of the Siberian Husky is friendly and gentle. They are also alert and outgoing. They do not act possessive like a guard dog. They are curious, but they are not usually aggressive with other dogs.
The average lifespan for a Siberian Husky is about 12 to 14 years.
Males are from 53 to 60 cm (21 to 23.5 in) tall at the shoulder and weigh between 20 and 27 kg (45 and 60 lbs).
Females are from 51 to 56 cm (20 to 22 in) tall at the shoulder and weigh between 16 and 23 kg (35 and 50 lbs).
A Siberian Husky has a double coat that is thicker than that of most other dog breeds. It has two layers: a dense undercoat and a longer topcoat of short, straight guard hairs. It protects the dogs effectively against harsh Arctic winters, and also reflects heat in the summer. It is able to withstand temperatures as low as −50 to −60 °C (−58 to −76 °F).
Husky colors come in a variety of shades and patterns. Their standard coat combination is white and agouti, black, grey, red, or sable. However, they are known to come in other colors too.
Pure white is perhaps the rarest coat color of Siberian Huskies. This color, or lack thereof, is a result of the complete restriction of pigment and extension of white over the dog’s entire body.
The Siberian Husky has many different eye colors. They can be ice blue, deep blue, green, gray, brown, light brown, or amber. Some dogs have what they call bi-eyes. Where they will have two different colored eyes.
Siberian Husky tails are heavily furred. When curled up to sleep the Siberian Husky will cover its nose for warmth, often referred to as the “Siberian Swirl”.
The Siberian Husky was originally developed by the Chukchi people of the Chukchi Peninsula in eastern Siberia. They valued it as a sled dog, companion, and guard.
With the help of Siberian Huskies, entire tribes of people were able not only to survive, but to push forth into terra incognita (a term used in cartography for regions that have not been mapped or documented).
They were brought to Nome, Alaska, in 1908 for sled-dog racing.
During the Alaskan gold rush, dogs became a vital part of life in the Arctic regions.
Siberians gained in popularity with the story of the “Great Race of Mercy,” the 1925 serum run to Nome. In the winter of 1925, when a diphtheria epidemic broke out in the isolated town of Nome, Alaska, a relay of dog teams brought life-saving serum from distant Neana. This made dogs Balto and Togo famous. Although Balto is considered the more famous, being the dog that delivered the serum to Nome after running the final 53-mile leg, it was Togo who made the longest run of the relay, guiding his musher Leonhard Seppala on a 91-mile journey that included crossing the deadly Norton Sound to Golovin.
The breed’s popularity soon spread into Canada and in 1930, the American Kennel Club officially recognized the breed.
During World War II, many Siberians served in the US Army’s Search and Rescue teams, further capturing the public’s admiration.
The breed’s popularity continued to grow and now this breed is cherished family pet.
Today, the Siberian Husky is the 12th most popular breed in the United Sstates, according to the AKC.
The breed belongs to the Spitz genetic family.
The original sled dogs bred and kept by the Chukchi were thought to have gone extinct, but Benedict Allen, writing for Geographical magazine in 2006 after visiting the region, reported their survival. His description of the breeding practiced by the Chukchi mentions selection for obedience, endurance, amiable disposition, and sizing that enabled families to support them without undue difficulty.
The Siberian Husky, Samoyed, and Alaskan Malamute are all breeds directly descended from the original sled dog. It is thought that the term “husky” is a corruption of the nickname “Esky” once applied to the Eskimo and subsequently to their dogs.
The story of the “Great Race of Mercy,” is loosely depicted in the 1995 animated film Balto, as the name of Gunnar Kaasen’s lead dog in his sled team was Balto, although unlike the real dog, Balto the character was portrayed as half wolf in the film. In honor of this lead dog.
Modern Siberian Huskies registered in the US are largely the descendants of the 1930 Siberia imports and of Leonhard Seppala’s dogs, particularly Togo.
Huskies were extensively used as sled dogs by the British Antarctic Survey in Antarctica between 1945 and 1994. A bronze monument to all of BAS’s dog teams sits outside its Cambridge headquarters.