Hailing from Eastern Siberia and later exported to Alaska, the Siberian Husky is a dog with a decorated past. A breed of true antiquity, the Siberian Husky falls within the Kennel Club's 'working' breed group, having been utilised over the centuries in a number of sporting fulfillments. From heavy freighting to sled racing and search and rescue, the Siberian Husky has done it all, being prized by the Chukchi Tribe as an all-purpose working dog in its early existence. In the mid-1900s, Admiral Bynd used a group of Siberian Huskies to transport him in an expedition of the Antarctic, recognising the breed's unparalleled ability to endure long periods over dangerous terrain. A bronze statue commemorates the efforts of sled dogs in Central Park, New York; during a diphtheria epidemic in Nome, Alaska in 1925, a team of Siberian Huskies were called upon to deliver life-saving medicines back to the village, venturing miles over treacherous land surfaces. The Siberian Husky was recognised by the AKC in 1930.
Perhaps the most characteristic trait of the Siberian Husky is its dense and woolly double coat, recognised in colour variations of white, grey, sable, blue, black and sometimes red, usually with piebald markings. The double coat serves to protect the breed from extreme cold for better endurance, whilst aiding its camouflage in hunting and tracking as its origins were that of the snowy white Siberian flats. Due to the nature of its coat, hair is continually shed so regular grooming is essential. The breed is further characterised by its proportioned body, high-set ears and proud expression. They are known to chase smaller animals, including cats and farm livestock, and are not usually compatible with other dogs.
Whilst not known for its intelligence, the breed is instinctive and will follow its eyes and nose when led. Like the Alaskan Husky, the Siberian has a high energy level and benefits from wide, outdoor spaces in which to exercise and play. Affectionate and tactile, the breed craves human attention and has a large capacity for love and loyalty towards its master and family. The ideal breed choice for the active family or dedicated sole owner, providing its exercise, mental stimulation and companionship needs are met; if these are not met, the Siberian Husky is likely to prove destructive and boisterous within the home. The average Siberian Husky will weigh 16-27 kg depending on its gender, with a life expectancy of 12-15 years when shown the appropriate care.
Whilst being generally healthy, resilient and long-lived, the Siberian Husky is susceptible to several genetic conditions. These include optical disorders ranging in severity, to orthopedic problems associated with elbows and hips, and various skin complaints. Gastric problems are also largely documented in the breed, with a number of cases proving fatal.