If you were to imagine a dog that looks like a Siberian Husky but in an entirely different color palette, you might be thinking of the Alaskan Husky. The name Alaskan Husky refers to a type of dog rather than a specific breed and each breeder of Alaskan Huskies breeds selectively for the traits that are important to him or her. Overall, the Alaskan Husky is an intelligent and active breed that thrives as a sled dog or simply when given a job to do.
The Alaskan husky is generally a healthy dog. Some strains are prone to genetic health problems similar to those found in purebred dog breeds. These may include PRA, hypothyroidism, etc. Dogs with a congenital deformation of the larynx, termed “wheezers”, occasionally occur. This disorder typically causes the dog to make a wheezing noise when breathing. The defect is suspected to be genetically linked. Theories of common exterior traits among “wheezers” abound, but are conflicting and undocumented. Because Mushers have selectively bred Alaskan Huskies to not be picky eaters, Alaskan Huskies are prone to be garbage eaters in urban settings. This tends to cause frequent stomach and bowel issues in urban Alaska.
Alaskan Huskies tend to vary as greatly in personality as in color and appearance. However, generally speaking, the Alaskan Husky is a very affectionate dog. There are several types of Alaskan Husky, varying in disposition and appearance due to the variety of breeds used to create them according to their intended function. Ameri-Indian Alaskan Husky is a focused breed type that shows strong family focus as well as being multi-functional disciplined, reflecting the dogs once owned by Native Americans. Alaskan Huskies, like Siberian Huskies, tend to wander. Alaskan Huskies are generally very good with other dogs and gentle with people. They are ferocious eaters and can be food fixated. The coat of Alaskan Huskies is self-cleaning. They can be trained or encouraged to be active swimmers. They don’t take to retrieving naturally. Due to the inclusion of sight-hound in their genetic make-up, Alaskans can have very good vision and a strong nose. Alaskan Huskies can sometimes possess a strong prey drive.
Because the Alaskan Husky was bred to pull a sled, these dogs have a great deal of stamina – they are able to run for hours on end and they do best when given a job to do. These dogs are highly active and very playful, so they require a great deal of daily exercise. In addition to physical exercise, these dogs are also highly intelligent and they require plenty of mental stimulation to keep them occupied.
Because the Alaskan Husky is a highly intelligent breed, he typically responds well to training. Start training your husky as early as possible to head off the development of problem behaviors – if you wait too long to start training your dog could become willful or headstrong. Positive reinforcement training methods are recommended for this breed and it is best to keep your training sessions short and fun so your dog doesn’t get bored.
The Alaskan Husky is a friendly and playful breed – he is also affectionate and loves to cuddle with his owner. These dogs do have a great deal of energy and require a good deal of daily exercise – a simple walk around the block will not be sufficient. In addition to physical exercise, these dogs also require a great deal of mental stimulation to keep them from getting bored. If your Alaskan Husky doesn’t get enough physical or mental stimulation, he is likely to develop problem behaviors. It is also important to note that these dogs can jump as high as 6 feet, so they need to be watched carefully when kept outside because they have a penchant for escaping.
Today, Alaskan Huskies may be hound crosses, husky types, or a combination of both. They also range in size and build depending on the use of the dog, whether for racing or for working. A working sled dog may be 50 to 80 lbs and a racing sled dog may be 35 to 60 lbs for a male or female. The old-time village dogs were bred to imported Siberian dogs, and more recently to European dogs.
Racing sled dogs vary greatly in type, and may contain purebred pointer or hound to the modern Eurohound, a sprint dog that is unmatched for winning sprint races and is a predominantly black-colored combination of husky and German Shorthaired Pointer. Alaskan huskies intended for distance racing will compete 50 to 1,000 miles, where as mid-distance dogs compete 20 to 250 miles. Many of them retain the much-sought-after thick coat, balanced bodies, and tough feet of other northern breeds. Alaskan Huskies with hound or pointer bloodlines may sometimes wear booties and coats during races due to shorter and thinner coat, and less hardy feet.