Siberian Huskies are among the 20 most populardog breeds as listed by the American Kennel Club. They are well-loved but oftenmisunderstood dogs. Here are four common misconceptions along with the truth aboutthe breed.
Myth #1: Siberian huskies are part wolf.
Siberian huskies are sometimes mistaken forwolves because they have a slightly wolf-like appearance and because they haveplayed wolves on film and television. However, Siberian Huskies, like all otherdog breeds, are distinct from wolves. Though dogs and wolves share a commonancestry, dogs became separate from wolves at least 10,000 years ago. Somescientists place this event at more than 30,000 years ago. Today all dogbreeds, from chihuahua to Great Dane to Siberian husky, have 99% of their DNAin common with each other but not nearly so much in common with wolves.
Myth #2: You can’t keep a Siberian husky in warmclimates.
While it’s true that Siberian huskies were bredas sled dogs and are comfortable in cold environments, that doesn’t mean youcan’t have a Siberian if you live where the weather gets hot. Happy Sibes canbe found in Texas, Florida, South America, and Australia. The Siberian’s denseundercoat protects him from extreme temperatures, both hot and cold. In warmplaces, Siberians certainly appreciate a climate-controlled house, and theyshould not be kept outdoors all the time. Also, because they need their coatsto help regulate their temperatures, Siberians should never be shaved.
Myth #3: Siberian huskies make goodwatchdogs.
The Siberian’s slightly wolfish appearance mayscare some people away, but he’s not a watchdog. In fact, Sibes are known forbeing friendly with everyone. Most Sibes are welcoming to strangers and quiteaffectionate with people they’ve barely met. If a Sibe barks at someone orrushes toward that person, it’s usually because they want to be petted and toplay. They do not have the protective, guard-dog instincts that many otherbreeds possess. There’s an often-told joke among Siberian husky owners: If aburglar breaks into your house, the joke goes, your Sibe will lick him in theface, demand to be petted, and then show him where to find all yourvaluables.
Myth #4: Siberian huskies need to be dominated.
Hollywood is probably to blame for thismisconception. It figures prominently in the movie Snow Dogs in which thecharacter played by Cuba Gooding Jr. is told to bite a dog’s ear to make thedog obey him. This is comical in the film, but it is not a good way to dealwith a Siberian. Sibes are affectionate, trusting dogs that respond best tofirm but gentle commands and plenty of positive reinforcement. They are alsointelligent and spirited dogs who may not obey a command immediately or may notobey every time, but dominance is not the issue. Rather patience and praise forgood work are the keys to training a Siberian.
Don’t let Hollywood depictions and popularmisconceptions convince you the Siberian husky is a wolf, a watchdog, oranything else he is not. These wonderful dogs are actually quite different fromhow they’re portrayed.