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Alaskan Husky Dogs

 
                                    
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Hello,

I just lost my dear pal (german shepherd dog) recently.  I am looking around at other breeds.  I don't plan on getting anything until Spring.  Does anyone have any experience with Alaskan Huskies?  I have looked into other Husky breeds before, but have heard that they are quite aloof.  I would like something for protection and to guard the house (but not extremely aggressive where he will kill everything he sees!).  I do lots of hiking so I thought this breed would like that.  Anyone know of the pros and cons to these dogs?

Thanks for any info.
 
Brice Moss
Posts: 700
Location: rainier OR
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if it was me I'd go to the pound and pick the mutt that seemed to have the right attitude, I don't like or trust dog breeders in general.

husky's are wonderful but they are very wolf like they need tons of high speed exercise and shed a ridiculous amount in spring, they are also healthier if they stay out of the house which often resulting in them not receiving enough attention to keep you being the alpha firm in their minds, and then sometimes they challenge you.
Bottom line I only recommend them to folks who spend hours a day outside with their dogs if you do you'll never have a better dog IMO unless of course you take the plunge and find a malamute to which everything above applies plus they are smarter than your neighbors honor student I had a half breed from one of my friends malamute bitch when I was a kid and he is the one dog I still really miss
 
Kathleen Sanderson
Posts: 985
Location: Near Klamath Falls, Oregon
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My experiences with huskies have mostly been negative, but I know a lot of people like them.  One of my brothers got a young adult malamute and brought it home one time and it promptly killed our kitten so fast none of us were able to react fast enough to stop it.  Found another home for the dog where there were no smaller animals and she did fine, but I wouldn't trust them for a minute with my chickens or our cats.  Had a stray husky show up here and kill a chicken a few years ago, and it was eyeing my goats (and big enough to have jumped into their pen).  Thankfully it was friendly with humans so I was able to catch it and read the tag on the collar and get it home. 

The other bad I know about huskies comes from sled dogs that are tied out in dog yards all the time, which wouldn't apply to what you want, but I'll mention it anyway.  A young boy I went to school with in Alaska was badly injured when he got between two of the huskies in their dog yard that were fighting (obvious no-no).  And I have a friend who used to raised very nice Siberian Huskies, and raced them (in Alaska) -- she wouldn't allow her young daughter to go to the dog yard without an adult.  But then, she also had a house Chesapeake Bay Retriever that wasn't trustworthy with small children (and would kill her own puppies when they started walking around and bothering her -- never could figure out why my friend bred that dog). 

They also don't usually have good recall off-leash, as they are bred to run, rather than for close working with people and for obedience.  The killing small animals would be because they often had to help hunt for their own food up until quite recently.

All in all, not my favorite breed, although they are beautiful dogs.  And would certainly make a good hiking companion.

Kathleen
 
jacque greenleaf
pollinator
Posts: 488
Location: Burton, WA (USDA zone 8, Sunset zone 5) - old hippie heaven
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Another note about northern sled dogs - you'll need to make sure they have a cool hangout spot in the summer, otherwise they get seriously uncomfortable.

The dog I still miss after 20+ years was a Samoyed. I think Sammys are more friendly and outgoing than most sled dogs. Stormy adored kids and would never have hurt one. However, no shoe was safe from him, and he collected them from the neighbors.
 
Jami McBride
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Location: PNW Oregon
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My aunt had a beautiful husky/malamute mix when I was young.  It was great around people, and never acted a bit interested in any other animals, but when no one was looking.... it was discovered that this sweet dog killed their - lamb, gerbils, kittens, cats a bird (no one could figure out how the dog got it out of the cage) and then started in on neighborhood pets.

It was a wonderful summer spent, as we all made the trip up to Alaska 1969, where a native gal answered my aunts ad for the dog.  Once the dog was gone, things stopped dying.  This dog never ate anything just made the kill, and no one ever witnesses the dog in a act, very spooky.

Lesson learned 
 
                                    
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OH MY!  This is not the feedback I was hoping for!  But, I kinda had an idea (thanks for your honesty).  The killing of small animals scares me.  I have a min pin and also chickens.  Hmmmm, I guess I should really think about this and look into other breeds.  I guess I would not mind a mutt.  The personality is the most important.  I would not mind at all going to the local shelter, but I am opposed to all the vaccines that they fill the dogs up with.  It is not healthy and it is overkill for their immune systems.  It has been proven that dogs, like us, do not need yearly boosters because it stays in their systems anywheres from  7 yrs to a lifetime.  They are suspecting many illnesses are coming from this.  That and the dogfood, which is another story.  We had a half german shepherd half husky dog that lived to be 17 before my parents put her down.  We were not constantly vaccinating her.  Well I got off on another direction.....Thanks for your tips and any additional ones!
 
Kathleen Sanderson
Posts: 985
Location: Near Klamath Falls, Oregon
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I more or less agree with you about the vaccinations.  I have only had my dog vaccinated for rabies, since that's required for licensing and licensing is required here -- also, when he was a pup and we were living in New Hampshire, there was a serious problem with rabies in the area, so had him vaccinated for his sake and ours.  He's only ten but has outlived all but one of his litter-mates -- all the others have died of cancer.  He does get commercial dogfood as part of his diet, part of the time, but for quite a bit of his life (including the first year or so) has eaten healthier things, and even now I always add some goat milk or kefir to the dog food.  He's still in pretty good shape, although is slowing down a bit.

Without knowing more about your situation, it would be difficult to advise on what kind of dog you ought to get.  For me, my next dog will probably be a Great Pyrenees or an Anatolian Shepherd, and either of those make good hiking companions.  They are protective but can be taught to leave small animals alone -- they are livestock guardian breeds and are often used to protect livestock, including poultry.  They do need to be trained for it, but most of them do well with the training.  But, they are BIG dogs.  Pyrs shed profusely (we had one many years ago, and for four years after she died, I was still finding four-inch-long white Pyr hairs in things!), and can suffer in extreme heat.  They are also prone to be escape artists and wander (which is how we lost that female -- she got hit on the road, as they have no car sense at all), and if left outdoors at night, will annoy the neighbors with their barking.  This isn't nuisance barking, it is their way of protecting their charges, but it's just as annoying to the neighbors as nuisance barking.  Being a giant breed, they are also prone to be short-lived (and some strains have health issues that you'd need to ask about).

Anatolians are shorter-haired and supposed to be longer-lived.  I haven't had one (yet), but I believe that in most respects they are pretty similar to the Pyrs as far as wanting to range more territory than they are given, and barking at night. 

You might look into farm collies and English Shepherds -- my current dog is a farm collie.  He's 3/4 English Shepherd and 1/4 Collie, a beautiful dog and extremely intelligent.  He's never killed anything in his life, but is protective of me and the house.  He's a good watchdog, but doesn't threaten visitors and doesn't bark excessively even if he's outside overnight (he's usually inside, but not always).  He does shed a BUNCH, though, as he got the Collie coat (the English Shepherd coat is more moderate and easier to care for).  You could do a search and get a bunch more info on this type of dog -- there are a few people still breeding the old-fashioned farm collie, and they generally don't charge huge prices for pups (and sometimes have an adult dog to re-home).  Transportation might be the biggest cost unless you happened to live near a breeder, which will usually be someone with a working farm. 

Kathleen
 
Drew Carlson
Posts: 31
Location: Zone 5a Southern Wisconsin
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I would like to point out that it seems like any topic that involves dogs has one common miss-conception. This has to deal with the common statement "this type of dog loves to kill small animals" or some type of behavior issue. What people need to realize is that while different breeds have different energy levels and size, their behavior is not set in stone for each breed. I had a friend who had two huskies that were absolutely fine around small animals such as chickens and cats. The problem is not that the type of breed loves to kill these animals but that the people have not properly trained the dogs. Just my two cents.
 
Jami McBride
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Awh... the old genetics vs environment question -  I can agree with you to a point, but....

While it is true that training will go a very long way toward giving us the characteristics we desire, one cannot hope to train the energy out of a board collie, for example.  And then there is the issue of time/money - I'm sure if you have the money to hire Cesar Millan one could get most everything they desire from their dog.  But how much time can each of us devote to the amount of training it would take to get a dog to act against it's breeding?

I agree that breed is not a guarantee of behavior in every case, however it is a strong indicator for sure, and one that should not be ignored unless one is a dog trainer at heart.

Training is a good point to bring up - and the amount of time we plan to devote to the training of our dogs. 
 
kent smith
Posts: 211
Location: Pennsylvania
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We have or inherited a German Shepard / husky male from my son. We got "bear" when he was 1 1/2 years old. for his first 6 months he had lots of training and attention, but then my son started a second job and bear was left alone all day long. So when he came up here he was a wild puppy. the first week here in the mountains, he was attached by a mountain lion. OK all of this is to explain his behavior. After a couple of months here he went from a wild dog that chased our cats to a dog whose main trait is to be well behaved and obedient. He wants to please people and his main trait is to be a good dog. However, I have never seen a dog that is afraid of everything thing including the dark and loud noises. the other thing is he shedds every month of the year, but we live at 9500' elevation, so our weather and perpetual winter may have messed that up. He is a great dog, loves everyone, want to do the right thing evertime. He is now 13 years old and is getting old and achy, but he is my best buddy.

after we move we would think about getting a similar puppy. Good luck.
kent
 
                                
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I had a purebred Alaskan Husky when I was a kid.  She was nice, but she killed my rabbit        She was not a "man's best friend" kind of dog. 

We just put down our 14 year old German Shephard / Yellow Lab mix a few months ago (a shelter rescue puppy) - he was the best dog in the world (he was also nick-named "Bear".  His best friend died from cancer last April - she was awesome too - she was a Pitbull / Lab and who knows what else (also a rescue puppy). 

If you loved your Shephard, I'd go with another one or a Shepherd mix.  Actually, any rescue / mutt is good as long as you get it when it is a puppy.
 
Walter Jeffries
Posts: 1085
Location: Mountains of Vermont, USDA Zone 3
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If you want a working dog for a farmstead or homestead would not suggest getting a pound dog. They are in an artificial environment where you can't tell if they'll be good on your farm. They are very unlikely to have the right upbringing, exposure to livestock, etc.

My suggestion would be to find a pup, young dog or even an older dog from a working farmstead where the dog has had exposure to ideally similar livestock since birth and the parents show the behaviors you need. This gives you the best chance of getting what you need.

There is a huge difference between just any old dog and a working farm dog doing livestock guarding and herding. Just like there is a huge difference between a city slicker and a rural homesteader. Different skills. Different life experiences. Different instincts. Yes, an old dog can learn new tricks but first you're going to have to untrain the old tricks. I train and have a lot of experience with this. Sometimes you get lucky.

Our dogs are a pinch of German Shepherd, a pinch of Black Lab and a lot of Other. See: http://flashweb.com/blog/tag/dogs to find out what they look like. Some people think Husky. Mostly they're other.

I wouldn't want to homestead or farm without them. Dogs and Thumbkins fit together, well, like hand and glove. We scratch their back and they watch our ass.

Cheers

-Walter
Sugar Mountain Farm
Pastured Pigs, Sheep & Kids
in the mountains of Vermont
Read about our on-farm butcher shop project:
http://SugarMtnFarm.com/butchershop
http://SugarMtnFarm.com/csa
 
Kathleen Sanderson
Posts: 985
Location: Near Klamath Falls, Oregon
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Walter, I've been doing some reading at your blog and am pretty impressed with your dogs.  They do look like they might have some husky in them, possibly even wolf.  But if they do what you need them to do it doesn't matter what their ancestors were! 

Kathleen
 
                    
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We have a Malamute, he is the reason why I have to keep my chickens locked in their coup.
He is also the reason why I had to buy my neighbor replacement chickens.
 
                      
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i lovedd my hucky dearly he too was bored not enough time to run him .. he was very alert and only barked once in his life at some one in the yard so this is a plus alas that is the only time it barked .. and thats thru encounters with unleashed dogs in his ~75 foot run skunks porcupines etc etc etc lol .. yes this included cats that crossed his path

but lok on you tube there is one wolf/mute that's getting tore up by their Himalayan cat soo basically if some one has one raise it with non food animals and correct it quickly. ie a radio collar when your hidden in a upstairs window .. if it 'fixates' on the chickens etc give it a nip on the collar.  but this goes for any dog.
also is as mentioned climate.. if your not in the north by NO means get a cold weather dog ie insanely furry anyone with a husky in say texass needs to be chained in their yard in summer in a fur coat for a day. 
 
                            
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Sticky-Burr--love that you have a Hucky! One of my family members has had one for several years. I thought she was the only hucky in the world.

re: Alaskan Husky Dogs... traditionally these dogs fended for themselves during the summer months, then worked during the winter months. I personally think they are gorgeous dogs and pretty close to top of my favorites list. Alaskan huskies are "mutts", not purebreds. As such, their behavioral tendancies can vary quite a bit. To avoid a lot of heartbreak, I would want to have a temperament evaluation done to check level of chase/prey drive, etc. Also, these typically are not stay at home, sit around the house and look pretty dogs. Huskies tend to have a bit of wanderlust and many will run for the sake of running. IF they happen to be running through someone's farmyard and livestock runs, it really adds to the fun to make a couple of kills along the way.....

There are huskies who are farm dogs, but few and far between.. with a lot of tragic stories in the middle.

Adversive collar training isn't always as easy as it sounds and there is a wee bit more to it than just putting a collar on and zapping a dog when they have bad thoughts. With some dogs, zapping them can build drive......

I've known a lot of dogs who will carry on through a shock collar as if it wasn't there.
 
                      
Posts: 18
Location: TN
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Most huskies have a high prey drive. It isn't their fault and it cannot be trained out of them. You can get lucky and find one that is not typical of the breed, but taking that chance probably isn't worth it. They howl a lot too. Its beautiful to my ears but maybe not others'. LOL

All of mine loved killing chickens, moles and other small animals. They couldn't be trusted unattended around cats and small kids, either.

They go and keep going when left off leash. They also jump and climb high. You CAN train them to come when called but they do not "retain" that training as much as say a poodle, GSD or lab. They conveniently "forget" when it suits them, lol. 

Huskies are absolutely big old hams though! They love to talk to you and you can SEE when they're smiling on the inside. They can be aloof, yes but they love owners than love them. Watch out, they like to pull your hair ties off and bite your fanny when you bend over! LOL

You HAVE to be firm with them in training. Never let them think they have a chance to dominate you.

They are not bad dogs, just not good dogs around tempting situations.

And yes, they shed enough for a fur coat for you! LOL

As companions, huskies are grrrrrrrrrrreat! Around livestock ...not-so-much.

I used to breed them so know a lot about their behavior.
 
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