Our son named our Siberian Husky Haley, after Eminem’s (American rapper) daughter. Haley’s Hungarian name was Helium but we changed it at our son’s request. We have owned her for 2 years and have had an incredibly steep learning curve finding out how to give her (and us) the best life possible. It was not all plain sailing and at one point had serious doubts that we had done the right thing. Now through much trial and error life has become incredibly harmonious between us and our mischievous Haley.
I have put together a list of things that should be taken into consideration when homing a husky. I hope it helps anyone trying to decide if a husky is the perfect dog to introduce into your home.
I have added some photos at the end of this list of Haley our mischievous Siberian Husky.
10 things to consider before getting a Husky
- Huskies are pack animals. Huskies are pack animals, they like companionship but that does not mean to say you need to buy more than one dog. Your husky will consider you and your family as their pack. They love lots of interaction and will follow you around everywhere. Huskies are not ideal for people who work all day and need to leave the home for many hours. They will cry and howl and likely become destructive and destroy your home.
- Huskies need LOTS of exercise. We are lucky and have a huge garden for Haley to charge around and burn off her energy. First thing in the morning she can be seen doing circuits of the garden galloping along so hard the ground vibrates. If you not so fortunate with your outdoor space you will need to take your Husky out walking for at least 2 hours a day, they are extremely high energy active dogs due to their hunting nature and exceptional endurance.
- Walkies. It is a wise rule to never let your Husky off their lead when you are out walking. Huskies are stubborn and have terrible recall skills however hard you whistle or call. Huskies also have a strong predatory nature and will chase almost anything that moves. We discovered this in our garden when the lizards come out to sunbath or the little field mice venture from their hiding holes Haley goes crazy trying to catch them, they are mostly quicker than her hiding until she gives up the chase.
- Husky Companions. Although other dogs can live very well with Huskies, smaller pets or animals like chickens, cats, mice, birds are usually a bad combination. Even if your chickens live outside your dog will never leave them alone and try everything possible to catch them.
- Who is the Alpha? Huskies like to know who the boss is, called the ‘Alpha’. In our family dad is the ‘Alpha’ and his alternating voice tones tell Haley when she has doing right or wrong. It’s a good idea to eliminate bad behavior as soon as it appears. When a husky is bored they will get up to mischief if you do not take control immediately. We NEVER strike her as she has learnt through voice commands if she has done wrong.
- Chewing. Huskies love to chew and they will chew anything. Experts seem to agree that this is due to boredom. The solution is to either train your husky not to chew or to provide plenty of toys for them to chew on. Haley as a puppy chewed almost every shoe in the house, chairs and cushions and seemed to have a fascination with socks. We invested in some indoor chew toys for her which she now exclusively chews. As she spends most of her time outside it is not much of a problem as she has lots of bones and squeaky toys to play with.
- Security measures. Before homing a husky you need to make sure your outside space is totally enclosed and fully secure. Huskies are extremely agile and have strong back legs enabling them to clear 6ft fences. They are also expert diggers so you MUST ensure the bottom of the fences are impassable to your husky. Haly has escaped a few times which meant we had to raise all our fencing to over 6 feet high. It has to be said they are not escaping because they don’t love you it’s just they are inquisitive, adventurous and very independent.
- Howling. Huskies are very vocal, but unusually for a dog they do not bark very often. Instead they howl, or wine and make funny noises as if they are talking to you. Mostly it’s their form of communicating with other dogs or just people in general. We have several mobile food vans coming through our village playing various songs, Haley starts her howling when she hears them, quite funny really. We always know when the vans are coming!
- Coat shedding. Huskies have incredibly thick coats that they shed twice a year, unlike other dog breeds that shed year-round. This is called “blowing” their undercoat in the spring and can take 3 to 5 weeks. This can prove to be a nuisance as there are dog hairs EVERYWHERE! Brushing your husky outside helps a lot. In the summer, Haley’s topcoat helps keep her cool. Whilst in the cold weather, her thick double coat does a great job keeping her warm. Huskies can adapt to most climates but in hot weather you need to have adequate shade and continual water available. Haley loves chewing ice cubes in the hot summer months!
- Expert Diggers. If you are a gardener with pristine borders and beautiful flowers a husky is probably not a good addition to the family. Huskies are EXPERT and inconsiderate diggers with no regard to your precious garden. Haley digs daily, usually to bury bones or just to make a big hole. Many a time I have de-weeded and tilled a flower bed only to find my nice soft soil in a heap 2 foot away and glaring deep hole! I have taken to fencing off my flower beds but when “mum’s away Haley will play”!
We love Haley dearly and through much perseverance and patience have now got a very smart, funny and loving husky. She is a GREAT addition to our home in the Hungarian countryside. We would not be without her.