The Siberian Husky
The Siberian Husky was used by the Chukchi Tribe in Siberia as transport, conditions were harsh & the dogs needed to withstand low temperatures using very little energy, but they were still expected to travel vast distances at a fairly fast pace. The dogs also needed to be good natured to enable them to be used in large teams to carry heavy loads.
Sled dogs have been used since the late 1800's by miners, trappers, mail carriers & explorers; they were used to reach the North Pole in 1909 & the South Pole in 1911.
The first organised sled dog race was in 1908, the first "All-Alaskan Sweepstakes" race was 408 miles following telegraph wires from Nome to Candle, the prize $10,000, an unbelievable amount of money at that time.
The most famous race in the history of the Husky was in 1925, when a fatal epidemic of diphtheria broke out in the village of Nome. The Eskimo population had little immunity to the disease, and the best Mushers were given the fastest teams available, some of which consisted of dogs, borrowed from different owners. 20 Mushers covered the 674 miles, the first setting off at 11pm on January 27th & the last one finally arrived in Nome on 2nd February at 5.30pm, just 5 days 71/2 hours later.
The Siberian first came to England in 1967 from Norway.
The breed today is not so different, they still love to run & organised races take place most weekends between October & March.
They are also at home in the show ring and have had Championship status since 1986.
The Siberian is the smallest of the sled dogs with males between 21-23 ½" at withers & Weighing 45-60lbs & females between 21-22" & weighing 35-50lbs & although the Siberian can be a scavenger, you need to keep them to a very strict diet as they can be prone to upset tummy's.
They are intelligent & quick to learn, but that does not mean they are obedient. They will weigh the situation up & if they think you can make them do what you ask, they probably will if not they probably won't.
They have NO guarding instinct & love everybody.
They bore very easily & require constant stimulation; otherwise they can become very mischievous & destructive. They are very energetic and require lots of exercise, the best being running in harness, which they love.
They can be stubborn, strong willed & bloody minded, and as far as they are concerned their Human family is part of their pack. You must be the pack leader, giving guidance & teaching them how to behave.
The Siberian is a natural running dog & needs a secure home environment, this means 6ft fencing so that they can't jump over, a concrete base so they can't go under and hopefully if they don't see anything more exciting on the other side of the fence they won't go through. (You will be amazed just what they are capable of).
For the same reason a Siberian can NEVER be let off the lead, if they do get loose, they may not stop if they get to a road or train line, so the chances of them getting hurt or killed is quite high. They are also very good hunters so are not good with livestock or any small furry animals.
The Siberian coat can come in virtually any colour & with any markings and although they do not moult continuously, when they do, you really know about it. They do not have the usual doggy smell & are said to be hypoallergenic.
Eye colour in the Siberian is also very varied, blue, brown & amber are all allowed, so too are Bi-eyes (two different coloured eyes) & split eyes, where the same eye consists of two colours.
The Siberian is usually very healthy, but does suffer from eye problems, the worst being hereditary cataract & pre disposition to primary glaucoma. Needless to say the parents of any prospective pup should be tested for these defects & be clear. This does not guarantee that the pups from these parents will be clear themselves, but does improve the chances.
The parents should also be Hip scored (0 being perfect & 106 being the worst) the average for the Siberian is 7, which is very good.
Reputable breeders will not mind you asking to see the parent's results.
Be warned if this does not put you off, the Siberian is a very addictive breed and most owners end up with more than 1.