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Alaskan Husky Breed Information: Facts, Traits, Pictures & More

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Last Updated: March 5, 2024 | 9 min read | Leave a Comment

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Husky dogs are famed for their athletic ability and good looks. Alaskan Huskies are most well-known for their athletic sled-pulling ability and wolf-like appearance. Though the breed shares genetics with Siberian Huskies and Alaskan Malamutes, the Alaskan Husky has some unique and distinct characteristics from these breeds.

Most of the Huskies we see out and about in the United States are Alaskan Huskies. These athletic pups are very friendly and popular as working dogs and family pets. They are beautiful dogs and draw attention as they pass by.

If you’re considering adopting one of these pretty pups, there are a few things to know first. Sit back, and let me introduce you to the unforgettable Alaskan Husky.

Alaskan Husky
    • weight iconWeight30-65 pounds
    • height iconHeight23-26 inches
    • lifespan iconLifespan10-15 years
    • color iconColorsBlack, White, Tan
  • Child Friendliness
  • Canine Friendliness
  • Training Difficulty
  • Grooming Upkeep
  • Breed Health
  • Exercise Needs
  • Puppy Costs

History

Alaskan Malamute adult dog with snow and mountains in the background.
The Alaskan Malamute is a strikingly beautiful dog often confused for a Husky.

The term Alaskan Husky does not refer to one specific dog breed. Instead, it refers to a type of dog. Alaskan Husky dogs originated in Alaska and share genetics with the Siberian Husky, Alaskan Malamute, and indigenous dogs.

Life in the cold frontier of Alaska required a dog breed that could work hard, stand up to the cold weather, and be strong, hearty, and energetic. Dogs needed to be able to pull sleds to help their owners get around and deliver supplies, medication, and mail. Huskies and other Nordic breeds were a good pick. Breeders wanted them to be a little bit faster and began to crossbreed them with other breeds, including Greyhounds, Great Pyrenees, Anatolian Shepherds, Borzoi, Labradors, Setters, and German Short-Haired Pointers.

Though not an official breed, Alaskan Huskies were bred intentionally, with a specific purpose in mind, which leads to variability among them. However, within the group, dogs all share similar genetic makeup, connecting them to a common ancestor. Huskies, in general, are also referred to as the Chukcha dog. Today, many continue the role of working dogs, while others are kept as pets. Sled racing is a huge sport in Alaska and a fantastic way to see the true power these pups have.

Temperament

Because they are traditionally dogs that work alongside people, Alaskan Huskies are usually quite friendly and get along well with two-legged and four-legged folks. Due to the wide range of genetics involved in creating them, the temperament of these pups can be somewhat unpredictable. Long bred as sled-pulling and racing dogs, they have a lot of energy and require an intense amount of attention from their owners. These doggos tend to inherit the gentle, playful nature Huskies are known for.

These pups are genuine pack animals, so they enjoy being part of the group but can become quite energetic. Their high energy can lead to naughty behavior if they get bored or feel lonely.

Alaskan Huskies can be quite affectionate and are intelligent, alert, and usually pretty outgoing animals. Huskies are generally not aggressive, provided they’re given proper socialization and obedience training. They are known to be loyal, very playful, and strong-willed. Because these pups have such high energy and can be remarkably stubborn, they’re not recommended for first-time or inexperienced owners.

Size & Appearance

Alaskan Husky puppy in grass.

Due to their diverse genetic makeup, Alaskan Huskies can have varying appearances.

Alaskan Huskies are generally medium to large size, depending on their specific genetics. They have a very athletic build, with the wolf-like appearance of other Husky breeds. They typically weigh between 30 and 65 pounds. Both males and females stand 23 to 26 inches tall.

These pups stand slightly taller than Siberian Huskies and are somewhat slimmer. They’re not as large as Alaskan Malamutes but have similar physical characteristics. They generally have erect, pointed ears, brightly colored eyes, narrow snouts, and a friendly smile. Many have fluffy tails. However, due to their unique genetic blend, some can have floppy ears and straighter tails.

Coat & Colors

Alaskan Huskies are double-coated and can have a short or long coat. Their coats generally are not as long and fluffy as the Siberian Husky. The Chukcha coat can come in almost any coat color, including black, white, and tan shades. They can have varying coat patterns.

Grooming

Alaskan Huskies shed regularly and have moderate to high grooming needs. You should expect to brush your pup at least a few times a week, daily, if they have longer, thicker hair. Due to their double coat, they shed significantly more twice yearly during seasonal temperature changes. This process is called blowing their coat.

While shedding will be heavier during these seasons, expect regular grooming sessions and daily vacuuming to keep control of a Husky’s hair. This regular brushing will help remove excess and loose hair, making significant shedding periods more manageable.

There is not much one can do to lessen the amount of hair they will shed; owners must simply be prepared to manage it.

Along with grooming the coat, these pups need their teeth brushed daily and should have regular dental cleanings. Regularly trim your pup’s nails and inspect their paws and foot pads for debris or injury. You should also periodically check their ears for signs of debris or infection and clean them if necessary.

Exercise & Living Conditions

Alaskan Husky Puppy sitting in a scale.
Alaskan Husky dogs will get big so feed them well and start them young with playtime.

The Chukcha pup is one of the most energetic dogs you will ever meet. This is not an exaggeration. They have an exorbitant amount of energy and need a lot of daily exercise, or they will become destructive and misbehave. An Alaskan Husky must run every day, and they are often incredibly skilled jumpers. Because of this, you must have a backyard secured with a high fence or wall. These are not good pets for apartments. They need a lot of room, have high energy, and are loud.

It is not advisable to let your Husky off-leash at any age. These pups are incredibly fast, quite strong, and very smart. If they are allowed off-leash and start chasing after a rabbit, squirrel, or bird, they can cover a great distance quickly, and you may have difficulty getting them back.

They need at least an hour of exercise every day. This exercise must be highly physical. Any kind of Husky needs more than a gentle walk around the block. Take your pup on active adventures like hiking or jogging, and be sure to play highly active games like fetch with them to provide healthy outlets for all that energy.

Training

Alaskan Huskies are quite smart, and they’re also very stubborn. Their intelligence, along with their high energy, makes them very difficult to train. They can learn tricks, basic commands, and tasks quickly. However, Husky pups are also known to be fiercely stubborn. You must start training very early with them. Training begins as soon as your pup comes home. This way, you can establish proper behavior expectations, boundaries, and habits.

Socialization is especially important because this breed is very friendly, so they must understand appropriate behavior around new people, other animals, and new places. They require a skilled, experienced owner. Professional training is often beneficial for this breed.

Positive behavior reinforcement training is the most effective method for these pups. They love to play, so try to keep training fun and work some game breaks in. Or, make training a game so they enjoy it and want to learn more.

Health

Overall, Alaskan Huskies are generally very healthy and have an average lifespan between 10 and 15 years. As mixed-breed dogs, they tend to be healthier than purebreds. However, they are still at risk of developing some serious health conditions.

Hypothyroidism

Hypothyroidism is an endocrine disorder that results in a hormone imbalance. This condition is common among canines. The thyroid malfunction can affect weight gain, energy, skin, and coat health. This condition can be treated with medication to help the thyroid function normally. However, it can often be misdiagnosed before being appropriately treated.

Hip Dysplasia

Hip dysplasia is a condition that commonly affects large breeds but can affect dogs of any size. It occurs during growth and development and results in an abnormal hip joint formation. Dysplasia can lead to dysfunction and pain. Over time, it leads to arthritis and limited mobility. Unfortunately, hip dysplasia can be hereditary and is often found in Husky breeds.

Progressive Retinal Atrophy

Progressive retinal atrophy (PRA) is an inherited eye condition that affects canines. Though it is not painful, it can lead to blindness and will slowly progress over time.

Obesity & Digestive Issues

Unfortunately, Huskies can be prone to obesity and some food sensitivity. Obesity can lead to overuse of joints, body pain, diabetes, and heart disease. This breed can also develop gastrointestinal issues, including recurring diarrhea.

Nutrition

Because the Alaskan Husky is so high energy and physically active, nutrition is incredibly important. These dogs are also prone to developing obesity, so feeding them the best quality food you can, exercising portion control, and not giving in to demands for extra treats and bites of your food is especially important.

Working pups like sled dogs will need more calories than pet Huskies. Be sure to feed your pup accordingly. Large-breed dog food is also a good pick, as it is made to support big, active pups.

Your pet Husky needs a well-balanced diet with high-quality food. You must ensure they get enough protein, carbohydrates, and fats to support their high energy and activity levels. A diet of dry food, fresh food, and wet food is a good mix for this breed.

Protein is especially important, and the majority of it should come from named animal meat sources. Protein supports healthy growth and strong muscles. It is best to feed your dog food appropriate for their life stage: puppy, active adult, or senior.

Breeders & Puppy Costs

A black and tan Alaskan Husky in the woods.
Consider adopting an Alaskan Husky from your local shelter or rescue.

An Alaskan Husky puppy can cost anywhere from about $600 to $1,500 or more. The costs can vary depending on bloodline, breeder location, time of year, puppy age, and health. It is best to work with high-quality breeders willing to provide you with health screening information and allow you to see their facilities and meet the parent dogs.

Because they are a mixed breed, there is a wide range of possibilities in bloodlines. Looking for Husky-specific breeders is an excellent place to start to ensure you get a healthy, well-cared-for puppy.

Rescues & Shelters

Unfortunately, many people often adopt a Husky without thoroughly researching the care, space, and high energy needs Husky breeds have. Their independent and stubborn nature can make them harder to train, and these breeds find their way into shelters and rescues.

If you’re willing to take in an older dog or a dog with some unknown history, a shelter dog is a wonderful way to give a dog in need a great life. Additionally, if you do not want a puppy, an adult dog has fewer training needs than younger pups. Additionally, shelter and rescue pups tend to cost much less than those purchased from breeders.

Check with your local shelter and veterinarian if you want to adopt a Husky rescue dog. You can also look for Husky-dedicated rescues. Spending some time with a Husky dog before adopting one is also advisable to get a realistic picture of how high-energy these pups are.

As A Family Pet

An Alaskan Husky can make a lovable pet and family companion. However, they are not the right dog for everyone. Though beautiful and highly affectionate, these pups require a prominent level of care. They have significant grooming needs, are fiercely stubborn, and are incredibly energetic. They will not mesh well in a home where they do not have active, dedicated owners with time to give them every single day.

  1. Alaskan Huskies are medium to large and require a secure yard with a high fence.
  2. These doggies are highly energetic and require daily exercise, more than just a short walk around the block.
  3. They require regular grooming several times a week and shed significantly year-round.
  4. Huskies are pretty friendly and affectionate. They usually get along with everyone.
  5. They can do well in homes with other animals, including dogs and cats.
  6. With proper supervision and training, they get along very well with children, though they do tend to try to herd them.
  7. Because the Alaskan Husky is prone to obesity, they must have a high-quality, well-balanced diet with portion control.
  8. The breed can be at risk for some inherited health conditions.
  9. You must start obedience training and socialization early, from day one.

These pups share genetics with the famed Nordic sled dogs like Samoyed, Alaskan Malamutes, American Eskimo dogs, and Siberian Huskies. They are bred to be highly active, agile, and loyal. Though these pups may require more commitment, energy, and attention from their owners than other lower-maintenance breeds, they make unforgettable companions. An Alaskan Husky is a great pick if you have an active household and can set firm behavior expectations for your pup.

What To Know About Training Your New Pup

Bringing home a new puppy or adult dog of any breed is a big decision. You must weigh all the factors, including your ability to commit time, energy, and money to your new pup. Once you’ve made the decision, training is critical. New puppies and older dogs in new situations will require much training from the very start. It is essential to establish proper behavior expectations between you and your pup. Stubborn breeds like Huskies need this training right away. Otherwise, they can quickly become out of control or in charge of this situation.

Along with potty training, obedience training for home, on walks, at the dog park, and in other new places is essential. Training your puppy properly is also a surefire way to establish a strong bond between the two of you, which will continue throughout your time together.

Why Trust Love Your Dog

Danielle is a pet owner with over 30 years of experience. She has worked as a professional researcher for many years. She is dedicated to providing the best research and information to help pet owners. She spends countless hours researching the latest developments in pet care, health, food, and training. Danielle works alongside a professional and experienced team to bring the best, most accurate, and recent information to our readers.

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