SIBERIAN EDUCATION: THE SIBERIAN HUSKY
The Siberian Husky Club of America, Inc., the AKC-recognized national breed club, is vitally interested in helping every potential dog owner find the breed ideally suited to his particular tastes and requirements. Above all, we want every Siberian Husky puppy to be placed where he will be appreciated for his special qualities. Therefore, we feel it is advisable to tell you just what a Siberian Husky IS and ISN'T.
The Siberian Husky is, and has for centuries been, a purebred DOG -- not a wild, half-wolf, cross-bred creature, as the uninformed may suggest. The breed was originally developed by the Chukchi people of northeastern Asia as an endurance sled dog. In 1909, the first large numbers of these Chukchi dogs were brought to Alaska to compete in the long-distance All-Alaska Sweepstakes races, and the Alaskan dog drivers quickly recognized the ability of these huskies from Siberia.
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. The heroic endeavor earned national prominence for the drivers and their dogs. One of these drivers, Leonhard Seppala, brought his team of Siberian Huskies, descendants of the original imports from Siberia, to the United States on a personal appearance tour. While in New England, he competed in sled dog races and again proved the superiority of Siberian Huskies over the native dogs. The New England drivers and pioneer fanciers acquired foundation stock, earned AKC recognition for the breed in 1930, and founded the Siberian Husky Club of America in 1938.
The Siberian Husky has a delightful temperament, affectionate but not fawning. This gentle and friendly disposition may be a heritage from the past, since the Chukchi people held their dogs in great esteem, housed them in the family shelters, and encouraged their children to play with them. Today, it is charming to observe the special appeal that Siberian Huskies and children have for each other. The Siberian Husky is alert, eager to please, and adaptable. His intelligence has been proven, but his independent spirit may at times challenge your ingenuity. His versatility makes him an agreeable companion to people of all ages and varying interests.
While capable of showing strong affection for his family, the Siberian Husky is not usually a one-man dog. He exhibits no fear or suspicion of strangers, and will greet guests cordially. This is not the temperament of a watchdog, although a Siberian Husky may unwittingly act as a deterrent to those ignorant of his true hospitable nature. If he lacks a fierce possessive instinct, he also lacks the aggressive quality which can sometimes cause trouble for the owner of an ill-trained or highly sensitive guard dog. In his relations with strange dogs, the Siberian Husky displays friendly interest and gentlemanly decorum. If attacked, however, he is ready and able to defend himself, and can handle the aggressor with dispatch.
The Siberian Husky is a comparatively easy dog to care for. He is by nature fastidiously clean and is free from body odor and parasites. He is presented in the show ring well-groomed but requires no clipping or trimming. At least once a year the Siberian Husky sheds his coat, and it is then, when armed with a comb and a bushel basket, that one realizes the amazing density and profusion of the typical Siberian Husky coat. Some people feel that this periodic problem is easier to cope with than the constant shedding and renewal of many smooth-coated breeds.
Chewing and digging? Siberian Huskies have been known to do their share. The former is a habit that most puppies of all breeds acquire during the teething period, and it can be curbed or channeled in the right direction. Digging holes is a pastime that many Siberian Huskies have a special proclivity for, but in this, too, they may be outwitted, circumvented, of if you have the right area, indulged.
The Siberian Husky is noted as an "easy keeper," requiring a relatively small amount of food for his size. This trait, too, may be traced to the origins of the breed, as the Chukchis developed their dogs to pull a light load at a fast pace over great distances in low temperatures on the smallest possible intake of food.
There is one final characteristic of the Siberian Husky which we must point out -- their desire to RUN. There are many breeds of dogs which, when let out in the morning, will sit in the front yard all day. Not the Siberian Husky. His heritage has endowed him with the desire to run and his conformation has given him the ability to enjoy it effortlessly. But, one quick lope across a busy street could be the last run that he enjoys, ever. Because of this, we strongly urge that no Siberian Husky ever be allowed unrestrained freedom. Instead, for his own protection, he should be confined or under control at all times. Sufficient exercise for proper development and well-being may be obtained on a leash, in a large enclosure, or best of all, in harness. If you feel that it is inconvenient or cruel to keep a dog thus confined, then the Siberian Husky is not the breed for you.
In addition to the Siberian Husky, there are two other Arctic breeds, the Alaskan Malamute and the Samoyed, recognized by the American Kennel Club. These three recognized breeds are to be distinguished from the various cross-breds known collectively as Alaskan huskies. The term "husky" is a corruption of the nickname "Esky" once applied to the Eskimos and subsequently to their dogs. The Siberian Husky is the only recognized breed in which this word has become part of the proper name.
In recent years, the registration figures for the Siberian Husky have risen sharply. The SHCA is deeply concerned about this rapid increase in breed popularity, and does not wish to see the demand for Siberian Huskies result in a sacrifice of the breed's high quality. To help maintain this quality, the SHCA recommends that prospective buyers contact SHCA members in their area who are listed in the Referral Directory, a copy of which is available from the Club's Corresponding Secretary. These breeders are pledged to adhere to the breed standard, to uphold the Code of Ethics, and to conduct themselves with good sportsmanship in all breed activities. By patronizing reliable breeders, the buyer is assured of dealing with knowledgeable people who are in a position to give the purchaser correct information and counseling during all stages of his dog's development.
The Siberian Husky Club of America, Inc., whose membership consists of breeders, sled dog racing enthusiasts, exhibitors, and fanciers, has never lost sight of its primary objective. It remains dedicated to the preservation and perpetuation of the Siberian Husky as a sound, capable, and natural breed, whose characteristics of mind and body make him not only a beautiful dog and a willing worker, but also a devoted and delightful companion.
Last update of this page: 11/96
© 1996, Siberian Husky Club of America, Inc.