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Tell me about Husky dogs please ..good pets ?

(35 Posts)
CaptainUnderpants Wed 12-Mar-08 11:36:56

Ok in about 18month times we will proabbly get a dog . Both Dh and I have always wanted a dog , both brough up with labradors.

Have always though about a lab , but now DH is thinking about a Husky .

I know nothing about these dogs nor know anyone who has one .

So pros and cons if anyone out there knows anything .. by the time we get a dog our DSs will be close to 7 & 9 yrs .

I work partime , term time only so it would be left alone for part of the day , we have a big garden and close to good dog walking areas i.e open space smile

diplodocus Wed 12-Mar-08 11:43:56

From what I know (a friend had one) they are quite difficult dogs to manage. They are very "pack oriented" and constantly need to be "put in their place" otherwise they think they rank above members of the family and can get snappy and agressive. Even such things as children getting on the floor to play with them can be seem as the child being "submissive" and therefore below the dog in the pecking order. I'm certainly not an expert but would certainly be very cautious about these dogs with children. Hopefully someone more qualified will come along soon.

CaptainUnderpants Wed 12-Mar-08 11:47:36

Cheers , from what I was reading last night on the web they need to be well trained . As I have no personal experince of the breed I am very cautious about the children .

With labs you are generally on a good bet with their behvaiour .

CarGirl Wed 12-Mar-08 11:52:28

I think the fact they are still used for sled racing etc kind of shows that they need lots of exercise on a par with carriage dog breeds.................!

boudoiricca Wed 12-Mar-08 11:54:57

Huskies are fabulous dogs, but very hard work. We rescued 2 18 month old dogs last year. I adore them, but would NOT recommend them as good family pets.

They are very clever, active, inquistive and sociable. They can also be very stubborn, domineering and can be destructive.

They are bred to run. They are not bred to come back. They are also escape artists extraordinaire. They dig when bored and if they get out of a fenced yard or sneak out of a gate, they will just go. They don't have as strong a homing instinct as other dogs. For this reason you are very strongly advised to never let them off a lead when out. Should they see a cat or something else attracts their attention they will be gone. Sadly ours are never allowed to run free out of the yard as we can't trust them to come back. Some people say huskies CAN be trained to do so, but many experts agree that it's not worth the risk.

They are easily bored and then destructive. Ours mostly live outside (we live overseas) and I work from home most days so can keep them company. If left alone in the house for a few hours, I suspect they would eat the sofa / dig through a wall or similar.

Huskies are also pack animals. Our two have so much fun playing together that I think to try and keep one on it's own would be cruel. They would be so bored and lonely.

We walk / run ours for at least an hour everyday. They have so much energy that they need this. If you can't give them the exercise they need, they will be unhappy and dig, chew, howl etc.

I was also brought up with labs and am amazed by how much huskies are an entirely different dog altogether. There are so many stories of huskies being lost because they've escaped from somewhere or being given up by owners who didn't understand what they were getting themselves into.

If you're looking for a family pet, I would go for a lab / springer, please NOT a husky

samja Wed 12-Mar-08 11:55:16

I was bitten by one when I was a kid. Beautiful, but not really bred for temperament.

magnolia74 Wed 12-Mar-08 11:57:02

Have to agree they are lovely dogs but very hard to have unless more than one and are kept busy.

biglips Wed 12-Mar-08 11:57:20

huskies are happy in a pack so best to get 2

CarGirl Wed 12-Mar-08 11:58:12

The only huskies I've been in close contact with were in Sweden (family friends) - I always wondered why their "pen" was wired underneath and about 10 foot high.......they were beautiful and calm but I think went sleding for at least a couple of hours per day!!!!!

boudoiricca Wed 12-Mar-08 12:01:01

Ours are incredibly good natured. Huskies are not bred to guard and tend to want to be friends with everyone, so don't bark at strangers. However, they are very boisterous and even at 7 and 9 I'd be concerned about kids getting accidentally bowled over.

Obviously there are dogs of different characters within all breeds, and as pack animals with a strong sense of rank, it is possible that they can be more domineering and you do hear stories of aggressive individuals.

CaptainUnderpants Wed 12-Mar-08 12:01:12

Thank you for your replies , shall sit down DH and explain that we will be getting a lab ! smile

LooptheLoop Wed 12-Mar-08 12:05:23

Can only go from personal experience but they are not a dog for the first time owner. The pack instinct is very strong - the only two I knew were both pretty aggressive with other dogs. As I said, this is based only on my limited personal experience and they were both Malumutes (the largest of the huskies).

To get a more rounded view, why not ring their breed society and see if you can go to a show and spend some time talking to owners. I tend to find breed societies are pretty honest about the pros and cons - the last thing they want is to be rescuing unwanted dogs where it hasn't worked out.

Good luck.

boudoiricca Wed 12-Mar-08 12:10:47

"huskies are happy in a pack so best to get 2"

Hahaha! In theory, I agree with you... But this REALLY isn't a decision to be taken quite so lightly.

"Best get 2" - as long as you have an enormous garden, which is fully fenced with wire which extends several feet underground all the way around. Oh, and which you are prepared for it to be filled with holes!

- as long as you are prepared to dedicate at least an hour every day to walking them (preferably running)

- as long as you have the time and patience to understand them and train them and acknowledge that even then they will probably never run free

I won't go on. But so many of these dogs end up lost / in rescue centres / being destroyed because people don't appreciate what they are getting into when they take them on.

Sorry, I don't want to rant, but this is (clearly) something I have strong opinions on!

Threadworm Wed 12-Mar-08 12:12:35

It's really interesting to her from you about these dogs, boudoiricca. They are such striking, beautiful animals and I have often looked at them wistfully. But I always assumed that they weren't really suitable as pets in most households. And from what you say that is certainly right!

boudoiricca Wed 12-Mar-08 12:26:47

They are beautiful! And clever. And funny. And SUCH characters. I truly adore ours. But they are not ideal family pets for most people.

And saying, "best get 2" is like saying elephants are social mammals, best get a herd...

LooptheLoop Wed 12-Mar-08 13:01:36

Completely agree with Boudoiricca - our local dog training club has loads of problems with people who have taken on two puppies at the same time.

LOL at the elephant idea!

boudoiricca Wed 12-Mar-08 13:11:05

I actually agree with having two, in theory, as they are so sociable that keeping one on it’s own would be cruel.

However, deciding to add two huskies to your family is a major life-changing event and not something to be taken lightly.

LooptheLoop Wed 12-Mar-08 13:15:58

What sort do you have out of interest?

I remember seeing a programme ages ago about people who used their dogs to sled in Scotland. Must be a fantastic experience.

boudoiricca Wed 12-Mar-08 13:23:02

They're Siberian Huskies (so a bit smaller than the Malamutes you were talking about). WOuld love to do sledding with them. They're just 2 and we're thinking about trying to get some of bike thing for them to pull, but they're still a little, err..., unruly at the mo!

LooptheLoop Wed 12-Mar-08 13:32:12

Great mental picture!

I recently broke my ankle and some friends suggested I get my Rhodesian Ridgeback to tow me around. As if one broken bone wasn't enough.....

Threadworm Thu 13-Mar-08 11:29:00

Have you tried this? Canicross is the organised sport of running with your dog.

Pixel Thu 13-Mar-08 19:01:32

My sister works at a large vet hospital and there are several huskies on their books (I know because my godson was keen on getting one and sis said "Don't"). None of them (that sis knows of) can be let off the lead and most of them have to wear muzzles because they are not reliable around other dogs.

boudoiricca Sat 15-Mar-08 10:17:16

We do actually have harnesses and waistbelts and bungee leads - it's much for practical for dogs which are bred to pull. But we don't do the organised running events, just head out on our own.

<weirdo dog obsessed emoticon>

cornsilk Sat 15-Mar-08 10:21:50

There is a breed similar to huskies that is apparently a better family pet, but I can't remember the name.

bethoo Sat 15-Mar-08 10:41:33

you cant let them off as they will keep on running adn do not do recall!! they can jump over 6 foot fences and require shit loads of exercise, not suitable for the average house hold i am afraid. there is a similar breed which is taller and leaner and for the life of me i cannot remember the bloody breed!!! they are better, look like a husky and can be let off the lead.

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