A few informational facts about Siberian Huskies
- Siberians have a very pack oriented brain. They do not like being alone; they need companionship - either human or another dog. They get bored easily and will do whatever they want to entertain themselves. Daily exercise is a must - A tired Siberian is a happy Siberian.
- Siberians dig, period! This is a trait bred into them going back to when the Chukchi tribes began breeding them. In the summer the tribes released all the dogs allowing them to feed themselves by hunting in packs. The dogs that survived the summer season returned to the villages when the snow began falling and food grew scarce. The digging instinct stems back to this. They could hide food to be eaten at a later time, and they could dig a small den to curl up in to sleep during any type of weather conditions. You may be able to train them to dig in only one area, however this requires constant training and a high level of commitment to it. All of our dogs are contained in an area in which they are allowed to dig to their heart's content.
- Siberians should never be off a leash when walking and must have a secure safe contained area. Siberians have the need to run. Our dogs are exercised daily and on several different paths through the woods.
- Siberians are very expressive dogs; they moan, whine, talk, and sing (howl). They will bark on occasion, but it is usually just another form of communicating to you that they want something. Most of our dogs are vocal.
- Siberians are a very clean dog and do not shed dander created by oils in the skin. Dander causes body odors in dogs, so Siberians are free of body odors. A Siberian should not be bathed on a regular basis, as this will dry out their skin. Using dog wipes is a great way to clean a dirty area, and this will not cause skin irritation. They will blow their coat's 1 to 2 times per year depending on the climate. The density and profusion of the Siberian coat amazes everyone, and during shedding season the dog will release extravagant amounts of coat that can fill bushel baskets. Even though I have experienced this event several times, I still have a hard time believing that one dog could actually have that much hair. My best advice is that you make a habit of brushing your dog at least 2 times per week. This will not stop the full blowing of the coat, but it can make it a little less work for you during that time. I recommend using any type of brush that removes the undercoat or you can book a salon day for your Siberian and have a professional take care of the issue. Also NEVER EVER SHAVE a husky! This will work against how their coat grows and will cause them to shed even more.
A bit of history....
- The Siberian Husky was developed over a period of around 3,000 years by the Chukchi and related peoples of Siberia, the breed was developed to fulfill a particular need of the Chukchi life and culture. In one of the most inhospitable climates in the world, the Chukchi relied on there dogs for survival, as they were a remarkable tool of ingenuity. In teams as large as twenty or more, they could travel out over the ice; sometimes covering as much as 100 miles in a single day allowing a single man to ice-fish and return with his catch. The large size of the team minimized per-dog pulling power, while smaller frames maximized endurance and low energy consumption.
- The Chukchi economy and religious life was centered around the Huskies. The best dogs were owned by the richest members of the community, and this is precisely why they were richest members of the community. Many religious ceremonies and iconography was centered around the huskies. According to Chukchi belief, two huskies guard the gates of heaven turning away anybody that has shown cruelty to a dog in there lifetime.
- Tribe life revolved around the dogs. The women of the tribe reared the pups and chose what pups to keep, discarding all but the most promising bitches and neutering all but the most promising males. The men's responsibility was sled training, mostly geldings were used. Huskies also would act as companions for the children. A family's dogs slept inside when the temperatures at night were measured in terms of the number of dogs necessary to keep a body warm (ex. "two dog night, three dog night." )
- When winter came, all dogs were tied up when not working, but the elite unneutered dogs were allowed to roam and breed at will, this insured that only the very best would produce offspring. In summer, all dogs were released and allowed to hunt in packs; they would only return to the villages when the snow returned and food grew scarce. This primitive hunting instinct can still be found in the breed today.
- In the nineteenth century, the Soviet troops were sent on a mission to open the area to the fur-trade. When the Soviets opened free trade with the Chukchi, then known as the "Apaches of the North," they also brought with them smallpox which decimated the Chukchi people.
- The Soviets also affected the Chukchi way of life by trying to obliterate the native husky. They wanted replace it with a gene pool that would produce a much larger freighting dog thought to be more effective for their own fur-trading practices in the region. The Soviets even went so far in 1952, as issuing an official proclamation that the breed we now call the Siberian Husky never really existed, but long before the Soviets managed to relegate them to this category, the reputation of the little Chukchi dogs had already spread throughout the world around the turn of the twentieth century. Polar exploration was capturing the world's attention and adventurers came to the yearly Markova Fair on the Siberian peninsula where tribes of the area came to trade. This gathering also included the surviving Chukchi and other dog-breeding tribes, such as the Koryak (all of whom probably had some part in the pool of animals that eventually became the Siberian Husky). This allowed the original Siberian Husky lineage to live on as we know it today and spread to other countries.