Showsight Presents the Siberian Husky

Lure coursing. Photos courtesy of Sheila Goffe.

with the RAE title, the highest title pos- sible in rally. Because Siberians are predisposed to run all day, many Siberian owners who compete in agility only choose indoor tri- als, to lessen the likelihood that their dog might take o ff . Th ere are ways to minimize the chance of losing your dog while run- ning an agility course, though no breed is immune to taking a notion to take o ff . I trained my dogs to run to their crates for their jackpot right after running the course, on the theory that if they left the ring, I could yell “jackpot” and have a fighting chance that they’d go to their crate. Th is technique never had to be used, and it did backfire on me one day. My dog Billy landed a jump and was looking straight at his open crate. He decided it was time for his jackpot and left the ring. But he came back and finished the course when I called him, much to my delight. Th is breed does love to work! Siberian Huskies make wonderful fam- ily dogs, and are happiest when they have another furry friend or two. Th ey are his- torically designed to work as a member of a team, and that generally means a team of dogs. Having more than one Siberian lets them burn o ff energy together, and gives them companionship when the family is away at work and school. New owners

of the breed should be aware of several potential issues. Th ey are designed to run all day long, pulling a sled. If allowed to run loose, they will often run away, or as one long-time musher says, “Run to.” Th ey don’t know what they’re running to, but that’s what they’re doing! A fenced yard and willingness to use a leash any time you’re outside of that fence make keep- ing your Siberian safe and at home much easier. Siberians are not watch dogs—they typically are very friendly, and are general- ly good with children. Th ey’re not so good with landscaping—they seem to delight in digging holes. And Siberian Huskies are double-coated, meaning that a couple of times a year, they will blow their thick undercoat. If you are a fastidious house- keeper and like to wear black or navy blue a lot, a Siberian may not be for you. Because of their high energy level, espe- cially in their first two years, an active life- style suits a Siberian Husky well. Siberians are very adaptable and can live in any cli- mate, but in hot, humid weather exercise needs to be done early in the day or after the sun goes down. Th is is an active breed, so some form of exercise—mental and/ or physical—will keep them happier and easier to live with. Puppy kindergarten and basic obedience classes are very beneficial, especially for a first-time Siberian owner.

And especially during their first couple of years, it’s good to remember—a tired pup- py is a good puppy! Siberian Huskies are a generally healthy breed, with eye problems (juvenile cata- racts, glaucoma and corneal dystrophy) and hip dysplasia as the known hereditary issues. Good breeders screen eyes annually and hips after the dog is two years old but before breeding it, so ask to see current eye clearances (SHOR or CERF forms) and OFA certificates showing both parents to be free of hereditary eye problems and hip dysplasia before purchasing a puppy. Once you’ve decided that a Siberian Husky is for you, what will you do with it? If you live in an area with snow in the winter, sledding or skijoring are the natu- ral sports to consider, since that’s what this breed was designed to do. Working your Siberian Husky in harness is good for the body and soul—both yours and your dog’s. As a highly intelligent and athletic breed, the Siberian Husky is happiest when doing what it is bred for—pulling sleds! As a working breed in North America, the Siberian Husky can trace its heri- tage back to the Alaskan Gold Rush and beyond. Leonhard Seppala brought the breed to the limelight in 1925 during the epic e ff ort to rush diphtheria serum by dog team to the snowbound town of Nome,

“This is an active breed, so some form of exercise— MENTAL AND/OR PHYSICAL—WILL KEEP THEM HAPPIER AND EASIER TO LIVE WITH.”

224 • S HOW S IGHT M AGAZINE , M AY 2014

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