If you are looking for a mischievous and playful companion with stunning good looks, you may have come across the Red Siberian Husky.
You may be surprised to learn that the Red Siberian is not actually a separate breed, rather a particular color variation of the Siberian Husky which is sometimes produced when both parents carry a particular recessive gene. Whatever the cause – it’s a beautiful outcome.
Another beautiful variation is the White Siberian Husky.
We’ll be looking at the Red Husky in more detail. As a working dog they have very particular needs and are not suited to every household, so read on to find out more about this impressive animal.
Red Siberian Husky – Overview
The Red Siberian Husky is a medium-size breed with a long history of partnership with man, from herding reindeer in the tundra of Siberia to pulling sleds in Alaska, and now a family pet with a penchant for sports, this is a dog with a lot of character and spirit.
With tenacious drive, a mischievous and affectionate character, and handsome good looks, this is a much sought-after dog. However, his intelligence and independent streak, coupled with strength and a lot of energy make this breed a bit of a handful, and not well suited to every potential owner.
Red Siberian Husky – Vital Stats
Red Siberian Husky – History
It’s known that dogs similar to the Husky were working with man in North-East Asia as long as 4000 years ago. They were used by the Siberian Chukchi people living in the tundra for pulling sleds of provisions as they moved around, and for working and protecting their herds of reindeer.
Well-loved for their team spirit, their strong desire to work and their loyalty and beauty, they were prized by the Chukchi and with their thick double coat and bushy tail (which they wrap over their nose and eyes as they sleep), they were well adapted to survive in the extremely cold climate and harsh weather common in the area.
In the early 1900s a Russian fur trader brought a team of Siberian Huskies to take part in a high-stakes sled race. They did so well that teams were regularly used from then on, and Huskies were also widely used to pull sleds in the Alaskan Gold Rush in the early 20th Century.
The occasion that really brought the Siberian Husky to the world’s attention though, and cemented their place in the hearts of Americans, was during the diphtheria epidemic in Alaska in 1925.
In a 600-mile trek through the wilderness from Nenana to Nome, a team led by a Husky named Balto heroically delivered the serum medication so desperately needed. This story is so famous that it was made into a movie, and Balto is immortalized as a bronze statue in Central Park, New York City.
In 1938, the Siberian Husky Club of America was founded, and the breed was recognized by American Kennel Club. It is now the 14th most popular breed in the USA.
Red Siberian Husky – Appearance and Size
Described as a medium to large breed, Red Siberian Husky females are between 19 and 23 inches in height and weigh from 35 to 50 pounds. Males are larger, usually between 20 and 24 inches tall and weighing from 45 to 60 pounds.
Red Siberian Huskies are not actually a separate breed. They are just a variation of coat color in the Siberian Husky. Both parents must carry the recessive gene for the red coat color for some of the puppies to have the red, sable, or copper color fur.
Hidden beneath their thick, dense, double coat is a powerful, athletic build. They have a graceful stance and lithe movements. Their faces are made more expressive by their beautiful almond shaped eyes, which come in a range of colors including amber, brown or shades of blue. Their ears, covered in a very soft fur, are triangular and stand erect on the top of their heads.
A long, bushy tail finishes the look. When working, or relaxed, the tail hangs down, but it will curl up when he is excited.
Red Siberian Husky – Personality
The Red Siberian Husky is full of character.
The first thing you need to know is that, as a working dog, the Husky has a lot of energy. They need to be given a lot of exercise and a job to do or a purpose to prevent boredom from setting in, leading to either the demise of your furnishings, or an escape attempt. A natural Houdini, you do need to think carefully about both keeping them occupied, and how you will contain them.
Playful and mischievous, they can be a little free-spirited, exerting their own will if they get the opportunity. They require an experienced owner to get their training right and exert themselves, or the Husky will take the opportunity to push the rules and do as they please.
The Siberian Husky is one of the least aggressive large breed dogs. In fact, they would make a terrible guard dog, as they are so friendly, including to strangers, that they would probably welcome any potential intruder with a wagging tail and a smile.
The Siberian Husky is a vocal dog, but more likely to howl and “talk” than bark, a form of communication which they’ve hung on to from their wolf ancestors.
Because the breed is so friendly and playful, they are great with children, thoroughly enjoying both games and cuddles. Do stick around though, as they can sometimes get a little too boisterous and start knocking the smaller ones over.
The same cannot be said for other pets in the home. The Husky has a very strong prey drive and when this kicks in, they will dart after the smaller animal, thinking it’s a great game! While this prey drive can be reduced by thorough and early socialization, it is part of their natural temperament so there are no guarantees. It’s best to avoid keeping a Husky with smaller pets.
Red Siberian Husky – Grooming
The Red Siberian Husky is provided with a thick double coat to help them survive in very cold temperatures. There is a dense undercoat to protect them from the cold and then longer guard hairs, which protect their skin.
Despite this profusion of hair, for most of the year they don’t require all that much grooming. A brush a couple of times a week is adequate, and they shouldn’t be bathed more than once every couple of months, unless they’ve been rolling in mud. Not only do the natural oils in their fur repel dirt, but they are also known to clean themselves fastidiously – like cats!
They should not have their hair trimmed or shaved either, as it doesn’t grow continually.
However, twice a year, for about three weeks, the Siberian Husky will shed their coat. Vast amounts of fluff and hair will fill your home and cover your clothes. To help this process, they will need to be brushed daily at this time. If you live in a climate without big seasonal variations, you may find that this shedding is not twice, but spread out throughout the year instead. In addition, non-spayed females may shed more frequently as their hormone levels fluctuate.
In addition to grooming their fur, you will need to regularly brush their teeth or make use of dental chews to maintain oral hygiene.
Ears should be checked for any dirt of infection, and paws and nails will need to be looked over regularly and claws trimmed.
Red Siberian Husky – Feeding
To begin with, you should feed your puppy with the same puppy formulation and mealtimes that their breeder has been giving them. A sudden change of diet can cause problems for their gastric system.
At around the age of 8-10 months, gradually switch to an adult formulation. While the Husky is not fully mature at this age, maintaining a puppy diet too long is believed to increase the likelihood of hip dysplasia in later life.
As a very active dog, the Red Siberian Husky will need a nutritious, high quality and well-balanced diet, preferably with a high proportion of protein. You should consider a raw meat diet or a high quality kibble formulated for active dog breeds.
You’d be surprised how little the Husky needs to eat for their size. This is possibly because on long sled trips they would need to travel long and fast with as little weight as possible. Their food intake should be spread out to two or even three meals per day. This not only keeps them interested, but also helps to prevent Bloat (see Health, below).
When the weather is very warm, you might consider providing some cool treats, such as cubes of frozen chicken stock.
Red Siberian Husky – Exercise and Training
The Red Siberian Husky is both free-spirited and energetic and they need an owner who has the experience and skill to put in the time and effort needed to both train them properly and ensure that they get enough exercise. This is not a dog well suited to novice dog owners.
To begin with, the Husky will need a good two hours of exercise every day. This is vital to prevent boredom, overactivity, and destructive behavior. If you have the opportunity, getting your dog involved in mushing will give you and your pet enormous pleasure and play to his strengths, but he will also adore running and other active pursuits.
Plenty of space to romp, free play and interactive games will also keep your dog busy, indulge his playful nature and give plenty of mental stimulation.
In terms of training, it is vital that this begins early and is consistent and firm. The Husky can be independent and opportunistic, and if they sense that rules can be bent, for example they are sometimes allowed on the bed and sometimes not, then they will attempt to test all the rest of the rules to see how flexible they might be and you soon have a dog that rules the roost!
Two important things to teach your dog are recall and leash training. With his strong prey drive and mischievous nature, it is definitely best to keep your dog on a leash when out and about, but if you do ever let him off the leash, he MUST have an impeccable recall.
Training should be positive, with lots of treats and praise. Despite their stubborn nature, as an affectionate working dog, they love to accomplish tasks and be praised for it. You will need to revisit your training regularly throughout your dog’s life, whenever you sense that they are pushing the boundaries.
Red Siberian Husky – Health
This is a relatively healthy breed with few health problems common in the breed. Here are a couple of things to look out for:
Watch out for cataracts – clouding of the lens which will make vision blurry and cause problems with night vision. If left untreated this can lead to blindness. Other eye issues can also affect the breed, such as corneal dystrophy and glaucoma.
Bloat is an excess of gas in the stomach which the dog finds it difficult to get rid of. It often comes about when they eat too much too fast, drink too much just after eating or even exercise too soon after eating. It is believed to be worse with a grain-rich, rather than protein-rich diet.
The buildup of gas can lead the stomach to twist, pressing on blood vessels and reducing flow to the heart, and can even be fatal. After eating, signs to watch out for are a listless and uncomfortable dog with a faster than usual heartbeat.
It is believed that the traditional diet of the Siberian Husky was rich in fish, and therefore had quite high levels of zinc. If they are deficient in this mineral it will manifest as dry skin, fur loss or skin sores. If needed, your veterinarian will recommend a zinc supplement.
Frequently Asked Questions about The Red Siberian Husky
Can I keep a Red Husky in an apartment?
Not if you want your dog to be happy. This is a highly active breed of dog and in an ideal world would have free access (through a dog-door) to a well-fenced yard, so he has space to roam.
As the Siberian Husky has a strong prey drive and a propensity to boredom and therefore escape attempts, your fence should be around six feet high and buried in the ground. Ideally, you will provide a sandbox for your dog to dig in too and provide a range of interesting toys to keep him occupied.
Are Red Siberian Huskies part wolf?
No. Though they are one of the more wolf-like dogs in appearance, they have been pure-bred for many hundreds of years. Other dogs with a wolf-like appearance are the Alaskan Malamute, the Tamaskan, and the American Alsatian.
Will a Red Siberian Husky be okay in a warm climate?
Siberian Huskies are adaptable and as long as they get plenty of shade and water, they are usually okay even in warm climates. The best thing to do is to acquire your dog from a reputable breeder near you, where the parent dogs and the pups will already be acclimated to the warmer weather.
Huskies are doing well in all sorts of places from Alaska to South Africa to Florida.
Is a Red Siberian Husky good with young children?
As with any dog, the earlier you can socialize them the better, and you should never leave any dog and small child unsupervised – it’s not necessarily that the dog will attack, but often that the child does not understand how to behave with the dog and will inadvertently frighten or hurt them.
However, Siberian Huskies are not aggressive and will generally get along with everybody. The only danger they are likely to pose is to knock the child over in their exuberant play.
Final Thoughts: Is a Red Siberian Husky the Right Fit For Your Family?
The Red Siberian Husky is an incredible breed.
First, you have the stunning good looks. Any Siberian Husky will turn heads, but the red, copper, or sable coats of the Red Siberian Husky are even more eye-catching and beautiful. The thick coat and elegant yet powerful physique and graceful movements make this dog a talking point.
Next, you have the personality. The Red Siberian Husky is friendly, playful, spirited, and energetic. While certainly not for the faint-hearted or inexperienced, this is an exciting dog to work with and you will certainly never be bored in the company of a Red Siberian Husky.
If you are thinking of getting a Red Siberian Husky, have you thought about potential names? Check out this article for some ideas.
A few cautious reminders to finish off with. This is not a breed for beginners. The spirited energy of the Siberian Husky means that you need:
- Experience in consistent and regular training
- An active lifestyle – you need to be out with your Husky for at least two hours every day, all year round, whatever the weather and however you feel.
- A well-fenced yard – the breed needs space to roam, but also a high prey-drive and a propensity for escape.
- No smaller pets – that high-prey drive will not end well for the family cat.
However, if you can offer a Red Siberian Husky all four of those items, then you can look forward to a long and happy partnership to what is without doubt one of the most stunning dog-breeds available. Fun and adventure await!