In 2022 alone, Larimer Humane Society has already seen over 60 huskies in the shelter, along with other northern breeds including Malamute and Akita. Bred to run long distances, a husky can run over 100 miles in one day averaging 9-10 mph (according to Huskyowner.com). When they are not given appropriate outlets for their natural needs, such as long runs, sniffing and exploring, group play dates, hikes, etc., they often take matters into their own paws and escape to adventures on their own. If you own a Siberian Husky or are interested in adopting one, there are a few important factors to keep in mind.
Siberian Huskies are a breed of working dog originating in Siberia by the Chukchi people, who valued them as sled dogs and companions. Brought to Alaska in 1909 for sled dog races, they soon became popularized as prized racing dogs and increased their fame by saving the people of Nome, Alaska during the diphtheria epidemic in 1925.
Huskies are popular pets due to their friendly and silly nature, plush coat and markings (often resembling wolves), tendency for blue eyes, and athleticism. In 2019, AKC published an article titled “How Game of Thrones has Impacted – and Hurt – Siberian Huskies.” Written by Mary Robins, she highlights how movies and shows such as Eight Below, Balto, and Game of Thrones have further popularized the breed, while shelters around the world are seeing increases in surrendered and lost huskies. While the national attention sparked a rise of huskies in households, awareness and proper attention to huskies’ needs should be increased as well.
While they make great family pets, many people fall for their stunning looks and often forget that a low-key, couch potato lifestyle may not be suitable for a working husky breed whose intelligence and energy is capable of hours and hours of sledding, day after day. While they are not big barkers, huskies are still vocal, voicing a variety of yowls, chirps, howls, and other adorable noises. Stormy, 704401, has been adopted and returned to Larimer Humane Society twice in the last month and displays typical husky behaviors such as talking, chewing, being high energy, loving to explore, and needing mental and physical stimulation. We are happy to report that she is currently roughhousing and appropriately chewing in her new home!
While every dog is different and not all dogs follow their breed’s typical traits, most huskies require a life of adventure, variety, predictability, and social opportunities. Many times when those needs are not met, they start to exhibit unwanted behaviors. Ask yourself if you are looking for a hiking partner or a couch potato – if you prefer the latter, another dog might be a better fit.
Written by: Miranda Kurtz, Larimer Humane Society Behavior Supervisor