Jump to navigation Jump to search

A husky is a sled dog used in the polar regions. One can differentiate huskies from other dog types by their fast pulling-style.[citation needed] When used as a sled dog, they represent an ever-changing crossbreed of the fastest dogs[1] (the Alaskan Malamute, by contrast, pulled heavier loads at a slower speed).[2] Humans use huskies in sled-dog racing. Various companies have marketed tourist treks with dog sledges for adventure travelers in snow regions.[3] Huskies are also kept as pets, and groups work to find new pet homes for retired racing and adventure-trekking dogs.[4]


The word husky originated from the word referring to aboriginal Arctic people, in general, Eskimo, "...known as 'huskies', a contraction of 'Huskimos', the pronunciation given to the word 'Eskimos' by the English sailors of trading vessels."[5] The use of husky is recorded from 1852 for dogs kept by Inuit people.[6]


Nearly all dogs' genetic closeness to the gray wolf is due to admixture.[7] However, several Arctic breeds also show a genetic closeness with the now-extinct Taimyr wolf of North Asia due to admixture: the Siberian Husky and Greenland Dog (which are also historically associated with Arctic human populations) and to a lesser extent, the Shar Pei and Finnish Spitz. An admixture graph of the Greenland Dog indicates a best-fit of 3.5% shared material; however, an ancestry proportion ranging between 1.4% and 27.3% is consistent with the data and indicates admixture between the Taimyr wolf and the ancestors of these four high-latitude breeds.

This introgression could have provided early dogs living in high latitudes with phenotypic variation beneficial for adaption to a new and challenging environment, contributing significantly to the development of the husky. It also indicates that the ancestry of present-day dog breeds descends from more than one region.[8]


A Siberian Husky with heterochromia

Huskies are energetic and athletic. They usually have a thick double coat that can be gray, black, copper red, or white.[9] The double coat generally protects huskies against harsh winters and, contrary to what most believe, they can survive in hotter climates. During the hotter climates, huskies tend to shed their undercoat regularly to cool their bodies. In addition to shedding, huskies control their eating habits based on the season; in cooler climates, they tend to eat generous amounts, causing their digestion to generate heat, whilst in warmer climates, they eat less.[10] Their eyes are typically pale blue, although they may also be brown, green, blue, yellow, or heterochromic. Huskies are more prone to some degree of uveitis than most other breeds.[11] Hunting instincts can still be found in some of this breed today[12]


Husky-type dogs originally were dog landraces kept by the Arctic indigenous peoples.[13]

Examples of these landraces in modern times have been selectively bred and registered with various kennel clubs as modern purebred breeds, including the Siberian Husky and the Labrador Husky. The Sakhalin Husky is a extinct Japanese sled dog related to the Japanese Spitz and the Akita.

The Mackenzie River husky is a dog subtype referring to different dog populations in the subarctic regions of the American state of Alaska and Canada.

The Alaskan husky is not considered a pure breed, but is instead another dog subtype. It is defined only by its purpose, which is that of a highly efficient sled dog.

Alternative activities[edit]

Many huskies, especially Siberian Huskies, are considered “working dogs” and often are high energy. Exercise is extremely important for the physical and mental health of these kinds of dogs and it can also prompt a strong bond between the owner and dog. [14]

Husky sled ride in Rovaniemi, Finland

Since many owners now have huskies as pets in settings that are not ideal for sledding, other activities have been found that are good for the dog and fun for the owner.

  • Rally Obedience: Owners guide their dogs through a course of difficult exercises side by side. There are typically 10 to 20 signs per course and involve different commands or tricks. [15]
  • Agility Training: A fast paced obstacle course that deals with speed and concentration. Dogs race the clock to complete the course correctly.[16]
  • Skijoring is an alternative to sled pulling. The owner would be on skis while the dog would pull via a rope connected between the two. [17]
  • Dog hiking is an wonderful alternative for owners who live near or are able to travel to a trail. [18] The owner travels with their dogs along trails in the wilderness. This activity allows the owner and dog to gain exercise without using the huskies' strong sense of pulling. Some companies make hiking equipment especially for dogs in which they may carry their own gear, including water, food, and bowls for each.
  • Carting, also known as dryland mushing or sulky driving, is an urban alternative to dog sledding. Here, the dog can pull a cart that contains either supplies or an individual. This is also an acceptable way to use a dog's natural incline to pull in an effective way. [19] These carts can be bought or handmade by the individual.
  • Bikejoring is an activity where the owner bikes along with their dog while they are attached to their bike through a harness which keeps both the dog and owner safe. The dog or team of dogs can be attached to a towline to also pull the biker.[20]

In popular culture[edit]

The Home Depot's Husky brand's logo
  • Husky is a line of hand tools, pneumatic tools, and tool storage products, best known as the house brand of The Home Depot.


  1. ^ Schultz, Jeff (28 January 2003). Dogs of the Iditarod. Seattle: Sasquatch Books. p. 41. ISBN 1-57061-292-7.
  2. ^ D. K. (2013-10-01). The dog encyclopedia. Dennis-Bryan, Kim, Baggaley, Ann, John, Katie, DK Publishing, Inc. (First American ed.). New York. p. 103. ISBN 9781465421166. OCLC 859155647.
  3. ^ Neary, Kathleen (2008-01-14). "How Sled Dogs Work". Retrieved 3 June 2015.
  4. ^ Keith, Christie (18 February 2011). "Lessons from a sled dog massacre". sfgate. Retrieved 3 June 2015.
  5. ^ Dictionary of Newfoundland English, by George Morley Story, W. J. Kirwin, John David Allison Widdowson, pg 263, University of Toronto Press 2004, ISBN 0-8020-6819-7
  6. ^ "Definition of HUSKY". Retrieved 2017-08-30.
  7. ^ Freedman, A. H.; Gronau, I.; Schweizer, R. M.; Ortega-Del Vecchyo, D.; Han, E.; Silva, P. M.; Galaverni, M.; Fan, Z.; Marx, P.; Lorente-Galdos, B.; Beale, H.; Ramirez, O.; Hormozdiari, F.; Alkan, C.; Vilà, C.; Squire, K.; Geffen, E.; Kusak, J.; Boyko, A. R.; Parker, H. G.; Lee, C.; Tadigotla, V.; Siepel, A.; Bustamante, C. D.; Harkins, T. T.; Nelson, S. F.; Ostrander, E. A.; Marques-Bonet, T.; Wayne, R. K.; Novembre, J. (2014). "Genome Sequencing Highlights the Dynamic Early History of Dogs". PLoS Genetics. 10 (1): e1004016. doi:10.1371/journal.pgen.1004016. PMC 3894170. PMID 24453982.
  8. ^ Skoglund, P.; Ersmark, E.; Palkopoulou, E.; Dalén, L. (2015). "Ancient Wolf Genome Reveals an Early Divergence of Domestic Dog Ancestors and Admixture into High-Latitude Breeds". Current Biology. 25 (11): 1515–9. doi:10.1016/j.cub.2015.04.019. PMID 26004765.
  9. ^ The Oxford Pocket Dictionary of Current English 2009 online
  10. ^ "Eating Habits of Siberian Huskies". Pets - The Nest. Retrieved 2020-09-04.
  11. ^ Uveodermatologic syndrome, Archived 2012-06-06 at the Wayback Machine
  12. ^ "Agouti Husky Breed Informations And Images". pet animal world. Retrieved 28 November 2020.
  13. ^ Little Wolf, Stephanie. "A Deeper History of the Origins of The Alaskan Husky". Retrieved 3 June 2015.
  14. ^ "Siberian Husky Dog Breed Information". American Kennel Club. Retrieved 2021-04-10.
  15. ^ "Getting Started in Rally". American Kennel Club. Retrieved 2021-04-10.
  16. ^ "Agility". American Kennel Club. Retrieved 2021-04-10.
  17. ^ "Skijoring Is Winter's Wildest Sport. Here's How to Do It". 2018-01-12. Retrieved 2021-04-10.
  18. ^ Gibeault, Stephanie; MSc; Sep 29, CPDT; Sep 29, 2019 | 4 Minutes; Minutes, 2019 | 4. "Hiking With Your Dog: Tips For Hitting The Trail In A Safe And Fun Way". American Kennel Club. Retrieved 2021-04-10.CS1 maint: numeric names: authors list (link)
  19. ^ Apr 24, Penny Leigh; Apr 24, 2015 | 9 Minutes; Minutes, 2015 | 9. "More Sports for All Dogs: Drafting & Carting". American Kennel Club. Retrieved 2021-04-10.CS1 maint: numeric names: authors list (link)
  20. ^ May 13, Gemma Johnstone; May 13, 2020 | 4 Minutes; Minutes, 2020 | 4. "Bikejoring: Is This Adrenaline Inducing Sport Right For You and Your Dog?". American Kennel Club. Retrieved 2021-04-10.CS1 maint: numeric names: authors list (link)
  21. ^ William James Burroughs (2005). Climate Change in Prehistory: The End of the Reign of Chaos. Cambridge; New York: Cambridge University Press. p. 129. ISBN 0-521-82409-5.
  22. ^ "University of Washington Athletics". University of Washington Athletics. Retrieved 4 January 2018.
  23. ^ Arnold, Brandy. "US Colleges & Universities with Dogs for Mascots". The Doginton Post. Retrieved 29 July 2014.
  24. ^ "Husky Athletics and Recreation". St. Cloud State University. Retrieved 29 July 2014.
  25. ^ "Campus Life". University of Southern Maine. Archived from the original on 29 July 2014. Retrieved 29 July 2014.
  26. ^ "UWMC unveils new Husky mascot". University of Wisconsin - Marathon County. Archived from the original on 9 August 2014. Retrieved 29 July 2014.
  27. ^ "Saint Mary's This Week". Saint Mary's University. Archived from the original on 4 March 2016. Retrieved 29 July 2014.
  28. ^ "George Brown Athletics". George Brown College. Archived from the original on 29 July 2018. Retrieved 29 July 2014.
  29. ^ Davis, Tim. "Week 14 - Huskie Athletics Top 100 Moments". Independent Sports News. Archived from the original on 10 August 2014. Retrieved 29 July 2014.
  30. ^ "Operation husky: Sicily - 9/10 July 1943". Combined Operations Command. Retrieved 29 July 2014.
  31. ^ O'Brien, Liam (2012-12-26). "Game of Thrones inspired Huskie craze goes cold as owners give up on dogs". The Independent. The Independent. Retrieved 29 July 2014.
  32. ^ "Pet 'fashion victims' on the rise, warns Blue Cross". Blue Cross. Archived from the original on 29 July 2014. Retrieved 29 July 2014.
  33. ^ "How Game of Thrones Influences Breed Trends". Pet360. Archived from the original on 10 July 2017. Retrieved 29 July 2014.
  34. ^ "'Game of Thrones': Bronn Actor Begs Fans to Stop Buying Huskies That Look Like Direwolves (Video)". The Wrap. April 11, 2019. Retrieved April 14, 2019.