There is no doubt about it, Huskies are beautiful dogs. With the fluffy coats, distinctive markings, and piercing eyes the Husky is a real head-turner. They are friendly, playful animals who are full of energy and character. It’s easy to fall in love with the Husky.
However, the Husky has particular needs and you should really consider if you have the time, patience, and energy to bring a Husky into your family. If you are a bit of a couch potato then a Husky is definitely not for you. If you are an outdoor person who enjoys going for treks and has the time and patience for a Husky, then yes, a Husky may be a good fit for your family.
Table of Contents
The decision to bring a dog into your life should be well researched and carefully thought about, and a Husky is no different. You need to consider if you have the space for a dog, an outside area is also recommended, the time to train the dog, and the lifestyle to accommodate the dog’s exercise needs.
As well as this you also need to make sure that your finances can cover the expense of the dog’s food, vet bills, training fees, and dog accessories such as leads and harnesses.
If you can answer yes to all of these questions honestly, then there is no reason that a first-time owner cannot have a Husky. Be warned though, the Husky is not for the faint-hearted! If you have never had a dog or really been around dogs before you should strongly consider a more people-pleasing breed.
Although I grew up with dogs, our Husky is our family’s first dog. As the responsible adult for the Husky, it was a real learning curve. Luckily, as a family, we were in the position to be able to dedicate a lot of time and patience to training our Husky.
Every breed of dog has certain traits associated with them, this is because dogs were bred for specific tasks over the years. The Husky is no different from other dogs in this respect. The Husky is a sled dog, bred to pull sleds over harsh winter conditions. The Siberian Husky was also used for herding and would sleep in with the Tribe’s children during particularly cold nights to keep them warm.
Friendly and Playful
The Chukchi Tribe, who originally bred the Siberian Husky, would only ever breed the friendliest and most playful Huskies. This is because pulling is a play trait, there is no other reward than going forward. They also had to be friendly as the Tribe would not survive if the dogs didn’t get along with other dogs and people. They didn’t want fights breaking out between the dogs while pulling the sleds, and they certainly wouldn’t want unfriendly dogs sleeping in with their children.
Cold Winter Weather is best
Siberian Huskies were bred to run, pulling sleds for miles over snow and ice. So the Husky really enjoys running and poor weather conditions don’t bother them. In fact, the colder the weather, the faster they run. You can expect your daily exercise routine to last longer when the weather is bad. Rain, wind, snow, ice, it doesn’t matter what the weather is doing, the Husky will want to go out.
My girl loves bad weather. As the temperature drops, their metabolism picks up and they have more energy, they are in their element! So if you don’t like going out in bad weather, the Husky is definitely not for you! You will need some good all-around weatherproof clothing.
Independent Thinking Dogs
Huskies are very independent dogs, they are truly thinking dogs. This trait was necessary for the Chukchi Tribe. They wanted a dog who would think before blindly following instructions that would endanger the sledding team. A Husky will follow instructions but only if it wants to. If you are after a pet who will instantly obey you, then the Husky is not for you.
As well as being independent, Huskies are also very clever and mischievous. They will goad you and guide you into playing with them. They learn quickly and are easy to train, however, they will lull you into a false sense of security, then out of nowhere will do exactly as they please!
You can never quite let your guard down with a Husky, you always have to be aware of your surroundings and any distractions. If a Husky sees something that looks like it would be more fun than where they are or what they are doing, they are gone to investigate. A Husky is always looking to play and have fun.
Huskies also have a high prey drive. This was necessary for the tribe when food sources were scarce. The dogs would be left to fend for themselves. Like the friendly playfulness, the high prey drive is still strong in the Husky. You have to be careful around wildlife and other small creatures because they will try to hunt them. Huskies can be trained to dampen their prey drive but I still wouldn’t trust my Husky around anything smaller than a cat. We also have a cat as well as a Husky and she had to be trained to be calm around the cat.
Training A Husky
The Husky is a smart dog, you won’t ever see them listed in the smart dog lists but don’t let that fool you. There is a big difference between intelligence and biddability. The Husky is smart and can easily learn things the same way as other dogs. However, once the Husky has learned something it will then choose whether or not to do it.
The knack is finding a way to convince the Husky to follow your instructions. This is where their independent and stubborn streak may show itself. My own Husky’s weakness is cheese. A little bit of cheddar to convince her usually works. Using a high-pitched fun-sounding voice also works, making the training into a game is almost guaranteed to get the Husky to cooperate, they love a game.
There are times when I must have looked like a raving lunatic, especially when she was younger and I was still training her. Jumping around, waving my arms, and laughing, it worked though, she always has to be involved especially if it looks and sounded like fun!
Using positive reinforcement to train your Husky is key. Once they trust you, they are more cooperative and more likely to follow your instructions. Unlike other breeds, it can take a Husky a bit longer to trust you, they are not a people-pleasing breed, they are independent. Once you have their trust and a good bond, the cooperation will be there.
It’s really important to train your Husky. They need to be trained to loose-lead walk, focus on you, not chase small furry animals, and train to recall to you. Because of their inherent traits, it’s important to really focus on these training steps, once you have trained these things, it will allow you to be able to enjoy taking your Husky out and about.
You can find another article I have written about training Huskies here.
How Much Exercise Does A Husky Need
The amount of exercise that a Husky needs will vary depending on a few factors.
- How old is the Husky
- What type of exercise is it
- How much exercise is the Husky used to
- Is it hot or cold weather
How old is the Husky
It doesn’t matter which breed of dog it is, a pup should only be exercised for 5 minutes each month old it is. For example, a three-month-old pup should only be exercised for 15 minutes continuously. This is because their bones and joints are still soft and developing. Over-exercising a puppy can have serious consequences for them, it can cause them to have issues when they are older. Huskies are no exception to this.
This is a good opportunity to teach focus games and brain games. Not only will this tire out your Husky pup, but you are also training them that you are fun and they learn to focus on you. You are building a trusting bond between you. This will be useful when you take your training outside.
An older dog may not want to have a two-hour walk or run, it may be quite happy with a half-hour saunter around a field enjoying a good sniff. It may be that too long a walk is uncomfortable but your Husky is quite happy sniffing and exploring with its nose.
A healthy young adult Husky will want a couple of hours of lead walking, with lots of opportunities to sniff and explore with their nose. At least twice a day. If it’s running or sledding/pulling then you can half this time, and you may find that an hour to an hour and a half of running/pulling is more than enough for them. Especially if there is lots of mental stimulation involved too.
What type of exercise is it
If your Husky is just walking on lead and not getting the opportunity to sniff and explore, then the walk will have to be longer and done more frequently. At least a two-hour walk done two or three times a day. Huskies are smart dogs and need mental stimulation as well as physical exercise. Allowing them to explore and sniff while walking works their brains as well as their bodies.
If your Husky is out on a group walk, interacting with other dogs, running, and playing, you may find that an hour to an hour and a half is enough for them. They are socializing, using their brains, and exercising their bodies. My Husky will sleep most of the day away after a social walk of running and playing with other dogs.
If your Husky is running/pulling/sledding then an hour or two is enough. They will need time to recover between runs. This will also be weather dependent. You don’t want to run your Husky in weather that is too warm.
If your Husky is used to going out for a few hours a day then that is what it will expect. You can reduce the time by adding brain games and training into your routine. Using their brains can tire out a Husky too. Exercise should be about enrichment as well as physical exertion. Huskies are smart dogs and can become unruly if they are under-stimulated.
Is The Weather Hot or Cold
The weather being hot or cold will play an important role in how much exercise your Husky needs. As I have mentioned previously, Huskies thrive in colder weather. So if it’s cold then you should plan for being out and about longer than you normally would be.
In warmer weather, it’s best to take your Husky out early in the morning or late in the evening when it’s cooler. You don’t want to over-exercise your Husky as they run the risk of heat exhaustion or overheating, which can be fatal. An hour or so is plenty and you don’t want them to over-exert themselves.
Are Huskies Ok To Be Left Alone
Huskies are very social dogs and they don’t like to be left alone for too long. It is possible to crate train them and train them to be alone. But if you have to leave them alone for a whole day, I would strongly advise getting a dog walker or doggy daycare for them. Huskies can get quite destructive if they are bored or lonely.
I have to say, my Husky doesn’t like it. She will tolerate a few hours but I wouldn’t go past that. She has been trained to be left alone and she is left with something to do when we do go out. When we get back she is all over us and follows us around afterward.
Are Huskies Good Dogs For First Time Owners? My Conclusion
If you are willing to learn, have plenty of time and patience to devote to training, and love the outdoors, no matter the weather, then a Husky is a good dog for you.
They are such good-natured dogs who are always up for an adventure. I am biased because I have a Husky and I absolutely adore Huskies. Our Husky is our first family dog, and she is such a good girl, most of the time! Just remember to do your research, and every dog has it’s own personality. Good luck on your journey.
I hope that you found this article helpful.