LIVING & PLAYING WITH SIBERIAN HUSKIES
By Sandy Weaver Carman
A ccording to AKC reg- istration statistics in 2013, the Siberian Husky is the 14th most popular dog breed in America. Could it be because the puppies are so adorable? Could it be because the people who get one gener- ally get one or two or eleven more? Could it be because this is an amazingly versatile breed? Or could it be all three? Whatever the reason or reasons, Siberi- ans have been gaining in popularity for the past decade, and the people who love them are discovering sports they never knew existed. Siberian Huskies excel in the con- formation ring, where owner handlers out- number professional handlers, and both appreciate the wash and wear coat. Sibe- rians excel at agility competition, which combines their love of teamwork with their innate athleticism. Th ough some believe the breed is hard to train, a positive train- ing method that harnesses their desire to work as part of a team is a wonderful way to train Siberians. You’ll find them earning top scores in obedience, rally, and agility competition, and also doing well in track- ing and Coursing Ability Test. But there are many other ways to enjoy life with your Siberian Husky, and this article will give you just a few fun ideas. Before we get to the dog sports you may not be as familiar with, let’s talk about
Siberians in conformation, obedience and agility. Th e breed was recognized by the AKC in 1930, twenty-eight years after first being imported from villages in Siberia. Th e first Siberian to win Best in Show at an AKC all-breed show was CH Bonzo of Anadyr, and that happened in 1955. To this day, there’s only been one Sibe- rian to win Best in Show at Westminster, and that’s CH Innisfree’s Sierra Cinnar in 1980. Siberians are admired by judges for their soundness of movement and steady, if sometimes silly, temperament in the ring. Th ough many trainers dismiss Siberi- ans as dumb or stubborn, quite the oppo- site is true, as evidenced by the number of advanced titles earned by Siberians. Th ere are 2 OTCH Siberians and 22 MACH Siberians, with one PACH thrown in for good measure. Th ere is also at least one tracking Champion. Th ose performance titles go in front of the Siberian’s registered name, like a conformation Championship, illustrating the importance that AKC puts on them. One Siberian team, Michelle Zenorini and her bitch Rachel, have the highest-level MACH in Siberiandom, a MACH10. Th at means they’ve achieved the requirements for a MACH (20 days where they qualified in both Standard and Jumpers and 750 speed points, earned by time under the course time on qualify- ing runs) ten times over. Th ere’s no rally Championship, but there are 32 Siberians
Lure coursing. Photos courtesy of Sheila Goffe.
“Though some believe the breed is hard to train, A POSITIVE TRAINING METHOD THAT HARNESSES THEIR DESIRE TO WORK AS PART OF A TEAM IS A WONDERFUL WAY TO TRAIN SIBERIANS.”
S HOW S IGHT M AGAZINE , M AY 2014 • 223
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