The Great Alaskan Husky: What You Need to Know

Last Updated on April 25, 2023

Ever seen a dog that looked just like a Siberian Husky with a different coat color? That was probably an Alaskan Husky.

Alaskan Huskies are known for their prowess in pulling sleds. More than that, these canines are loyal and loving, so they’ll make the perfect addition to most families.

Want to get to know the Alaskan Husky better? Read on and find out more.

The Alaskan Husky’s origin

Alaskan Husky giving a man a high-five
Source: @lihkolas_husky / IG

The Alaskan Husky is a type of Husky and not its own distinct breed.

This canine was bred primarily to be a working dog, specifically for use in sledding.

This mighty dog was developed by mushers or human dog sled racers from the different native Inuit dog breeds.

Some of these breeds include the Siberian Husky, Alaskan Malamute, Eskimo dog, German Shorthaired Pointer, Border Collie, German Shepherd, Inuit Husky, and the Greyhound.

The bloodlines used depends on a breeder’s particular purpose. So if the breeder wants a sled dog for racing, he may breed together a purebred Pointer and a Siberian Husky.

In 2015, it was discovered that – despite their differences – the Alaskan Husky, the Alaskan Malamute, and the Siberian Husky all had similar genetic markers and were close relatives of the Chukotka sled dogs of Siberia.

The Alaskan Husky quickly gained popularity in the racing dog list because of his fantastic speed. Most Huskies that are seen in sled dog races today are Alaskan Huskies.

What does an Alaskan Husky look like?

Alaskan Huskies are larger than Siberian Huskies, but they have a leaner build. Unlike their Siberian counterparts, these Alaskan canines usually have brown eyes.

These crossbreeds have long legs, a deep, broad chest, and a curled up, bushy tail over their backs. Many of them tend to be wolf-like in appearance.

Alaskan Husky standing in a forest path and looking to the side

These Huskies can have coats in a wide variety of colors, including gray, white, black and white, blonde, orange, brown, red, or cream.

Their coats are short to medium in length and never long. Their short coats help in the dissipation of heat when they compete in races.

They have heavy undercoats and a more substantial top coat to give them protection from the elements while pulling a sled.

How big does this Husky get?

The adult male Alaskan Husky has a typical weight between 40 to 60 pounds (21 to 25 kg), while the adult female weighs around 35 to 55 pounds (17 to 19 kg). Both genders have an average height of 23 to 26 inches at maturity.

Get a better idea of how big this dog can get through this video:

A loving dog with a laid-back nature

Alaskan Huskies have a calmer demeanor than their Siberian Husky and Alaskan Malamute cousins. They are good-natured and friendly towards people they are familiar with.

Curious about strangers, these Huskies are more likely to sniff at unfamiliar people rather than bark at them.

The Alaskan Husky can be a good family dog. He is affectionate with people and other dogs and is known as an enthusiastic cuddler. He loves the company of his human family and is known for jumping on people out of affection, not dominance.

This crossbreed has a gentle nature, which means that he can be trusted around kids.

This dog rarely gets aggressive, but it is still best to supervise interactions between young children and your pet. This ensures that no untoward incidents occur and nobody gets hurt.

Do Alaskan Huskies bark?

Alaskan Huskies are reliable at pulling sleds and are excellent on the racecourse, but they are not great watchdogs. These hybrids are not fond of barking; they may just look at strangers rather than bark to alert you of potential threats.

However, like their Siberian cousins, these dogs love to howl. They may howl for a number of reasons:

  • He wants to get your attention.
  • Dogs may howl as an expression of separation anxiety.
  • Your Husky may be responding to triggers in its environment, like a new piece of furniture at home or an ambulance passing by outside.
  • Dogs howl to vocalize pain or discomfort.

How to train the Alaskan Husky

Close-up of a brown Alaskan HuskyAlaskan Huskies are intelligent and responsive to training.

Some of them can have a stubborn streak, though, due to their natural independence.

You must establish yourself as the pack leader and be firm when training an Alaskan Husky; otherwise, they can become headstrong and mischievous.

For best results, these canines should be trained as early as puppyhood. As young as 8 weeks old, the Alaskan Husky is ready to learn basic commands.

Training sessions should be kept short to keep him curious and interested in learning new things.

Positive reinforcement works best for this Husky. Like most dogs, they respond better to praise and treats compared to punishment.

A word of warning, though – training this dog will involve some hard work, patience, and consistency.

The Alaskan Husky should also get plenty of socialization, especially while it’s still young. Take the time to introduce him to other pets in the household.

Once he’s had his vaccinations, take him to the dog park so he can play with other dogs and enjoy some off-leash playtime.

Getting your Husky to listen to you

Before beginning any training with your Alaskan Husky, make sure that you have established yourself as the alpha or the pack leader. It should be clear to your Alaskan Husky that you are in charge and that your authority is not to be challenged.

Here are a few do’s and don’ts to follow as the alpha:

  • You must always be the first one to come in and go out through the door.
  • The leader should always eat first. Feed your dog only after you are finished with your meal.
  • Make your Alaskan Husky move out of the way instead of circling around him.
  • Do not pay attention to your dog whenever he demands it. Set the rules and give him your undivided attention only when you see fit.
  • Your Alaskan Husky should have his designated sleeping area. Never allow your dog to sleep in bed with you.

With consistency and firmness, your Alaskan Husky will eventually learn to listen to you as the pack leader and training him will be much easier.

How much exercise does the Alaskan Husky need?

The Alaskan Husky was bred for sled pulling, and, for this reason, they have a fantastic amount of stamina.

These canines are playful and extremely active, so they need a lot of vigorous exercise daily. They also need a lot of mental stimulation because of their intelligence.

The Alaskan Husky needs at least an hour of exercise every day. Your dog’s daily workout routine should include two 20 to 40-minute brisk walks or an hour of jogging. If you like cycling, let him jog alongside your bike on your trips around the neighborhood.

You can have your Husky participate in sports such as sledding and skijoring, as these will further help him burn all the energy he has and keep him stay fit and healthy.

This canine will excel in sports such as agility, obedience, rally and herding. These activities will give him the opportunity to work out both his body and his brain.

Alaskan Huskies pulling a sled across the snow
Source: @barbara.alaskanhusky / IG

Your Husky will enjoy some backyard playtime just as much, but make sure your yard is prepared for your dog. These canines are notorious for being escape artists. They’re accomplished jumpers and diggers.

Keep your dog contained on your property by building a smooth wooden fence at least 6 feet tall built around your yard. Smooth wood is the best option for a fence, as a Husky won’t be able to climb the material.

Make sure your dog doesn’t overexert himself, though, especially on warm, sunny days. It may cause overheating in your Alaskan Husky and may later lead to serious health issues.

When you’re not out walking your Husky, you can keep him busy with some brain games like hide and seek and treasure hunts. Puzzle toys and chew toys will also help fill this dog’s need for mental stimulation.

What health issues can this Husky have?

Alaskan Huskies are prone to a variety of health problems, especially those that are common in their parent breeds.

Reputable breeders will health-screen their puppies and inform you of any health issues your puppy is prone to so you can adequately prepare for these conditions.

Some of the health conditions that can affect Alaskan Huskies include:

  • Hypothyroidism
  • Skin problems
  • Hereditary deafness
  • Congenital malformation of the larynx (causing wheezing sounds when breathing)
  • Lysosomal storage disease
  • Progressive Retinal Atrophy
  • Obesity
  • Hip dysplasia
  • Juvenile cataracts
  • Corneal dystrophy
  • Uvedermatologic syndrome

Your Husky is also susceptible to Alaskan Husky Encephalopathy, which is an incurable brain disease that presents in puppyhood. This condition causes neurological issues due to the dog’s inability to properly process thiamine in its food.

How long does the Alaskan Husky live?

The Alaskan Husky has an average lifespan of 10 to 15 years. You can help extend your dog’s life by taking him to the vet for regular check-ups, giving him the proper diet, and making sure he gets sufficient exercise.

You can also save yourself from the expenses and heartache of an unhealthy, short-lived dog by getting your pup from a reputable breeder.

What should an Alaskan Husky eat?

Alaskan Husky lying on the couch with a destroyed chew toy
Source: @miathealaskanqueen / IG

Alaskan Huskies are agile, high-energy dogs, and they need high-quality foods rich in calories to sustain their energy levels.

An adult Alaskan Husky requires at least 1100 calories daily.

Senior Alaskan Huskies need 1000 calories while active Huskies – like those who pull sleds or participate in races regularly – need at least 1800 calories every day.

Aim to give your Alaskan Husky a diet that contains at least 22% protein and 8% fat.

The high protein content will keep your dog’s joints healthy and promote healthy muscle development, while the fat content will help the Husky maintain its energy levels.

A healthy Alaskan Husky should have a diet that includes fruits, vegetables, meat, and fish, especially salmon. These dogs will take well to the fish, which is what many sled dogs in Alaska eat.

Avoid giving your dog raw salmon, though, as it can contain small bones and parasites.

You can also feed your Husky high-quality dog food. Give him 3 to 4 cups of dry dog food split into two meals. Your dog should also have fresh water at all times.

Aside from meat proteins, many commercial brands of kibble can also include plant proteins such as lentils and peas, which your Husky will benefit from.

Try not to feed your Alaskan Husky puppy the following foods:

  • Foods rich in wheat, skim milk powder, whey, and milk
  • Salty food
  • Garlic
  • Onions
  • Macadamia nuts
  • Raisins and grapes

How often should you feed your Husky?

Your Alaskan Husky puppy should be fed three times a day. When he reaches full maturity (after about a year), you can cut down the frequency to two meals daily.

Alaskan Husky dogs are not big eaters. They usually won’t eat when they are not hungry. Feeding them two hours before exercising should be enough to sustain their energy and stamina.

Grooming your Alaskan Husky

Alaskan Husky standing on a balcony with its paws up on the railing
Sourec: @ellenls53 / IG

The Alaskan Husky has a self-cleaning coat so he’s usually easier to groom compared to other breeds.

This dog sheds moderately and needs brushing about two to three times weekly.

During the shedding season, though, expect massive shedding and blow-outs, when large fur clumps fall out.

You need to brush your dog’s coat daily during this period. Be ready to use the vacuum cleaner more often, too.

Bathing an Alaskan Husky should be kept at a minimum. This dog does not get stinky and will get by with once-a-month baths. Make sure to use vet-approved dog shampoo when bathing your canine.

His teeth need to be brushed daily or at the least two times weekly. Use a dog toothbrush and toothpaste and start the habit while your Alaskan Husky is still a puppy so he can get used to the routine.

Nail clipping can be done once a month. You can clip them yourself, but be careful not to cut them too deeply to avoid hurting your dog.

Your Husky’s ears should be inspected once weekly for any signs of irritation, redness, infection, and wax build-up. Clean your puppy’s ears using a vet-approved cleanser and a couple of cotton balls.

How much will it cost to own an Alaskan Husky?

There are some costs to consider when you decide to have an Alaskan Husky puppy as a pet. For starters, there’s the price of the Husky puppy itself.

Alaskan Husky puppies from a top racing line can cost anywhere from $10,000 to $15,000 each! On the other hand, a healthy Alaskan Husky pup without a racing pedigree from a reputable breeder costs around $1,000 to $1,500.

Initial costs on accessories such as a crate, collar, leash, carrier, bedding, and bowls may cost around $220.

Some medical procedures like spaying or neutering, shots, blood tests, a physical examination, microchipping and deworming will cost about $290, depending on where you live. Annual medical costs like shots, flea and tick prevention, check-ups, and pet insurance would be at $485.

Yearly costs for high-quality dry dog food and puppy treats would be around $235, while other miscellaneous expenses like toys, basic training, and a license are about $265 a year.

Alaskan Husky lying down outdoors and looking away
Source: @life.with.alaskans / IG

Where to get your new Husky

You have a couple of options if you want to take home an Alaskan Husky. If you want an adorable Alaskan Husky puppy, your best bet is a breeder.

Not all breeders were created equal, though, so you’ll have to do some research to find a trustworthy breeder. The right breeder can give you documentation or certification that his puppies and the parents have been health-screened.

You also want to choose a breeder who’ll have no hesitations in letting you come over for a visit. The puppies should be living in a clean, spacious environment and they should be spending time with their littermates and parents.

Here are a few reputable breeders to look into:

  • Points Unknown (Minnesota)
  • Good Dog

Don’t have the time to house train a puppy? You also have the option to adopt an Alaskan Husky. Adopting a dog is usually much more affordable. With luck, you may also be able to take home an older dog that’s already been house-trained and knows the basic commands.

If adoption is for you, check out these rescue organizations and shelters focused on Huskies:

  • Northern California Sled Dog Rescue (California)
  • Heartland Husky Rescue (Oklahoma)

Is the Alaskan Husky the right dog for you?

The Alaskan Husky is a friendly dog with a calm nature.

He loves spending time with his family, and he’ll have a laid-back attitude around kids.

This playful, high-energy breed loves adventures, so he’ll make an excellent companion for people with active lifestyles and outdoors enthusiasts.

Want a canine buddy who’ll go jogging with you every day? This Husky will be up for it.

However, you must consider that the Alaskan Husky is a moderate to heavy shedder, so he might not be the right dog for people suffering from allergies to dander.

He also howls a lot, so be prepared to get complaints from your neighbors about the noise.

Do you own an Alaskan Husky? Share your thoughts on these gentle creatures in the comments section below!


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