The Siberian Husky was originated by the Chukchi people of northeastern Asia as an endurance sled dog. When changing conditions forced these semi-nomadic natives to expand their hunting grounds, they responded by developing a unique breed of sled dog, which met their special requirements and upon which their very survival depended. The Chukchis needed a sled dog capable of traveling great distances at a moderate speed, carrying a light load in low temperatures with a minimum expenditure of energy. Research indicates that the Chukchis maintained the purity of their sled dogs through the 19th century and that these dogs were the sole and direct ancestors of the breed known in the United States today as the Siberian Husky.
Shortly after 1900, Americans in Alaska began to hear accounts of this superior strain of sled dog in Siberia. The first team of Siberian Huskies made its appearance in the All Alaska Sweepstakes Race of 1909.The same year, a large number of them were imported to Alaska by Charles Fox Maule Ramsay, and his team, driven by John "Iron Man" Johnson, won the grueling 400-mile race in 1910. For the next decade, Siberian Huskies, particularly those bred and raced by Leonhard Seppala, captured most of the racing titles in Alaska, where the rugged terrain was ideally suited to the endurance capabilities of the breed.
In 1925, the city of Nome, Alaska, was stricken by a diphtheria epidemic and supplies of antitoxin were urgently needed. Many sled dog drivers, including Mr. Seppala, were called upon to relay the lifesaving serum to Nome by dog team. This heroic "serum run" focused attention upon Siberian Huskies, and Seppala brought his dogs to the United States on a personal appearance tour. While here, he was invited to compete in sled dog races in New England, where the sport had already been introduced. The superior racing ability and delightful temperament of Seppala's Siberian Huskies won the respect and the hearts of sportsmen from Alaska to New England. It was through the efforts of these pioneer fanciers that the breed was established in the United States and that AKC recognition was granted in 1930. Many Siberian Huskies were assembled and trained at Chinook Kennels in New Hampshire for use on the Byrd Antarctic Expeditions. Dogs of the breed also served valiantly in the Army's Arctic Search and Rescue Unit of the Air Transport Command during World War II.
Siberian Huskies are one of the most entrancing breeds due to their unique look and friendly disposition. But before you fall in love with the looks there are some things you should know about the breed. They are definitely wonderful pets and very intelligent however, they are not right for every family.
Siberians are very intelligent.
Siberians are very loving and make excellent companions.
Siberians are great for athletic people and enjoy hiking, walking, jogging, and just about any other activity.
Siberians are clowns and keep you laughing all the time!
Siberians are attractive dogs with a wild look.
Not so Redeeming Qualities
Siberians are very intelligent and get bored easily.
Siberians love everyone and will greet a burglar with the same enthusiasm as they do you! Because of this they are poor watchdogs.
Siberians can NEVER be trusted off leash. Even the most well trained Siberian will take the opportunity to "run free" if given it. This is a deadly situation that you must NEVER allow a Siberian to be put in.
Siberians have a high prey drive. They may kill small animals including cats.
Siberians are escape artists. Some are worse than others and some require a literal fortress instead of a fenced yard.
Siberians dig period. I have never found a solution to this problem. They just do it and you cannot stop them! If you cannot live with this, then look for a different breed.
Siberians are very pack-oriented. They cannot tolerate long periods of isolation. If you work long hours you will need to get your dog a companion or look into a different breed.
Siberians shed a HUGE amount of fur twice a year. If you value a spotless home this may not be the breed for you.
The Siberian Husky as a Companion
The Siberian Husky makes a wonderful companion. They thrive on attention, and long walks in the park. Most are good with older children. The only danger with very young children is that he Siberian may be so eager to play with the child they may knock it over in exuberance. Siberians love to go anywhere with their owners.
The Siberian Husky as an Obedience Competitor
It used to be that if one wanted to show a dog in obedience it was recommended that one purchase a Golden Retriever, Labrador Retriever, Border Collie, Shetland Sheepdog, German Shepherd, or an of the many breeds labeled as "intelligent". However, now that trainers are using more positive methods of motivation they are discovering that most breeds can do obedience and do fairly well. There are more and more people exhibiting Siberian Huskies in obedience. There are people who are getting High In Trial at all breed trials with their Siberians. So, it can be done!
Some dos and don'ts:
DO establish yourself as pack leader early. This will make the training easier. A dog who does not respect you will not want to do what you ask.
DO use positive motivational training as much as possible. Only use corrections when the dog understands what you are asking.
DO keep you training sessions short and upbeat. Use a lot of play and silliness.
DO find a toy or treat that your dog would just die for and use it as a bonus reward for when he/she does something extra special.
DON'T bore your Siberian with too many repetitions of the same exercise. Once they do it right once, quit.
DON'T expect too much too soon.
DON'T train if you are in a bad mood. That bad mood goes right down the leash to the dog. They will know it.
DON'T correct your dog out of anger. You are correcting the behavior not the dog.
DO HAVE FUN! Training your dog is supposed to be fun. If you are not having fun, you should look back and re-evaluate your goals.
The Siberian Husky is the only purebred dog still competitive on today's race circuit. Any Siberian or medium to large size dog can be trained to pull. Whether it be to pull it's owner on skis or inline skates, a small team for recreation, or to race for fun or be competitive.