Siberian Huskies are among the 20 most popular
dog breeds as listed by the American Kennel Club. They are well-loved but often
misunderstood dogs. Here are four common misconceptions along with the truth about
Myth #1: Siberian huskies are part wolf.
Siberian huskies are sometimes mistaken for
wolves because they have a slightly wolf-like appearance and because they have
played wolves on film and television. However, Siberian Huskies, like all other
dog breeds, are distinct from wolves. Though dogs and wolves share a common
ancestry, dogs became separate from wolves at least 10,000 years ago. Some
scientists place this event at more than 30,000 years ago. Today all dog
breeds, from chihuahua to Great Dane to Siberian husky, have 99% of their DNA
in common with each other but not nearly so much in common with wolves.
Myth #2: You can't keep a Siberian husky in warm
While it's true that Siberian huskies were bred
as sled dogs and are comfortable in cold environments, that doesn't mean you
can't have a Siberian if you live where the weather gets hot. Happy Sibes can
be found in Texas, Florida, South America, and Australia. The Siberian's dense
undercoat protects him from extreme temperatures, both hot and cold. In warm
places, Siberians certainly appreciate a climate-controlled house, and they
should not be kept outdoors all the time. Also, because they need their coats
to help regulate their temperatures, Siberians should never be shaved.
Myth #3: Siberian huskies make good
The Siberian's slightly wolfish appearance may
scare some people away, but he's not a watchdog. In fact, Sibes are known for
being friendly with everyone. Most Sibes are welcoming to strangers and quite
affectionate with people they've barely met. If a Sibe barks at someone or
rushes toward that person, it's usually because they want to be petted and to
play. They do not have the protective, guard-dog instincts that many other
breeds possess. There's an often-told joke among Siberian husky owners: If a
burglar breaks into your house, the joke goes, your Sibe will lick him in the
face, demand to be petted, and then show him where to find all your
Myth #4: Siberian huskies need to be dominated.
Hollywood is probably to blame for this
misconception. It figures prominently in the movie Snow Dogs in which the
character played by Cuba Gooding Jr. is told to bite a dog's ear to make the
dog obey him. This is comical in the film, but it is not a good way to deal
with a Siberian. Sibes are affectionate, trusting dogs that respond best to
firm but gentle commands and plenty of positive reinforcement. They are also
intelligent and spirited dogs who may not obey a command immediately or may not
obey every time, but dominance is not the issue. Rather patience and praise for
good work are the keys to training a Siberian.
Don't let Hollywood depictions and popular
misconceptions convince you the Siberian husky is a wolf, a watchdog, or
anything else he is not. These wonderful dogs are actually quite different from
how they're portrayed.