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Is a Siberian Husky Right for You?

Siberian Huskies are beautiful animals, but before you decide to get one, figure out if the two of you are a good match. Huskies require an enormous amount of attention. They are strong-willed animals, and most of them do better with an experienced dog owner. This doesn't mean that you can't have a Siberian for your first dog; it does mean you should know what to expect. Some people consider Huskies stubborn, but it is more accurate to say that they are determined and persevering — necessary qualities in a good sled dog.

Huskies are adaptable to many situations. They aren't one-person dogs but enjoy the company of the entire family, particularly children. They like strangers, too. In fact, if you're looking for a watchdog, get a Chihuahua. Huskies seldom bark at trespassers. They prefer to stand around silently wagging their tails while the thief makes off with the silverware.

Consider the following:

  • Children. Most Siberians are good with and for children; a very few aren't. A lot depends on the nature of the children. Careless and cruel children don't deserve a pet of any kind. Never buy a pet to teach a child responsibility. You're the adult; you have the responsibility of caring for the pet.

• Many dogs who are fine for older children aren't suitable for children under the age of 3, and a young child should never be left alone with a pet, for both their sakes.

• Because many children are allergic to dog hair and dander, prospective Husky owners should get their kids allergy tested before bringing home this shedding breed.

  • Your house. Meticulous housekeepers may not be happy owning a Siberian. These dogs shed a lot and have a reputation for destructive behavior. Much of this reputation is undeserved, but it's fair to warn you that if an extremely clean house is very important to you, owning a Siberian will add stress to your existence.
    Despite their shedding, Siberians are exceptionally clean. They don't have the doggy odor typical of many breeds. They are clean eaters, as well.
  • Climate. Many people often overlook this important consideration. Although you can certainly keep a Siberian if you live in South Carolina, you will need to take extra care and precautions in the summer. As a general rule, the colder it is, the better Huskies like it. If you live in Minnesota and like the winter, the Siberian is the dog for you! However, if you can't take the cold yourself, you may want to match up with a less arctic animal.
  • Exercise. Siberians need a lot of exercise — every day. If you want a Husky, you need to be willing to provide your pet with the high level of activity he requires to keep him happy and healthy. These activities can include regular jogging, playing, swimming, or best of all, sledding. One Husky can keep several members of the family in top condition. Be honest with yourself about how much exercise you can give your dog. If you're not willing or able to give your dog a lot of attention, consider a breed with lower activity-level needs.

A Siberian Husky must be fenced in, or at least exercised vigorously several times a day. Most communities have containment laws, and even where there are none, Siberian Huskies cannot be allowed to roam free. They have a habit of chasing and killing cats, rabbits, and even lambs or calves.

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