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The Alaskan Husky is similar to the Siberian husky but they have some differences but first let us take a look at huskies in general. A husky is a sled dog used in the polar regions for conveying loads over the snow or ice. Sled dogs have been utilized in the Arctic for at least 9,000 years and were very important for transportation in arctic areas. Huskies can easily be told apart from other dog types by their swift pulling-style.
Huskies represent a dynamic crossbreed of the fastest dogs(the Alaskan Malamute, by contrast, pulled heavier loads at a slower speed). On a lighter note, huskies are not only used for transportation but also in sled-dog racing, and sometimes they are also kept as pets.
The “Alaskan Husky” is a term generally and widely used by mushers(that is, a person who moves around by dogsled, especially in a race) and people who fancy dogs, to describe a racing sled dog typically found in the northern dog yards of Alaska and Canada.
History of the Alaskan Husky
Honestly, the Alaskan husky is not considered a pure breed dog but is instead another special type of dog included within a more general type. It is defined only by its purpose, which is that of a highly efficient sled dog, its job, and performance rather than being defined by its appearance.
In actual terms, the Alaskan husky is basically the Siberian Husky on steroids. These guys were bred from Siberian Huskies in order to create a more physical and hardworking Husky and to promote their muscle growth.
The Alaskan husky is a mongrel most commonly used in dog sled racing. The first dogs arrived in the Americas over 12,000 years ago; however, people and their dogs did not settle down in the Arctic until the Paleo-Eskimo people over 4,500 years ago and then followed by the Thule people, over 1,000 years ago. Both bearing origins from Siberia.
In 2015, a study using a number of genetic markers pointed out that the Alaskan husky, the Siberian Husky, and the Alaskan Malamute share a close genetic relationship with each other and were also related to Chukotka sled dogs which originate from Siberia.
In North America, the Siberian Husky and the Alaskan Malamute both had maintained their Siberian lineage and had contributed significantly to the Alaskan husky, which showed evidence of crossing with European dog breeds that were consistent with this breed being created in post-colonial North America. The Alaskan Husky was essentially the Siberian Husky on steroids.
These guys were bred from Siberian Huskies in order to create a more physical and hardworking Husky.
The modern Alaskan husky reflects over 100 years or more of crossbreeding with other dog breeds like the English Pointers, German Shepherd Dogs, Inuit Husky, Border Colie, Salukis, and more to improve its performance. Alaskan Huskies are a mix of many dogs.
Now and then, but not frequently, the Alaskan huskies are referred to as Indian Dogs, because the best ones are believed to come from Native American villages in the Alaskan and Canadian interiors. Alaskan huskies do not really look like the typical husky breeds they originated from, or like each other.
There are no breed clubs for Alaskan Huskies, and they are not recognized by any kennel clubs because of the wide variation in their appearance and other characteristics, but the Alaskan husky’s future nonetheless is not threatened because if its continuous popularity as a working dog.
The Alaskan Husky is a type and not an actual breed. There is no breed standard for him; each breeder selects for the qualities that are most important to him or her.
There are two genetically different varieties of the Alaskan husky. We have the sprinting group and the long-distance group.
Appearance and size
Due to the wide range of crossbreeding and variation of the Alaskan Husky as stated above, it would be difficult to give a definite description of the appearance of an Alaskan husky but in general terms, they are a medium-sized dog, with some bearing close resemblance with a small, lean Siberian Husky.
Their usually short to medium-length coats can be any color or pattern, and they may have the wedge-shaped head of a spitz breed or a face with a longer muzzle depending on which breed they originate from. They can be a solid color or multi-colored, usually gray, black and white, but sometimes brown, cream, or red. Alaskan Huskies are built for different types of sledding; some are built for moving heavy loads.
They are also called freighters while some are sprinters, built to go quickly over short distances; and some are built to run long-distance. Alaskan Huskies which have been developed for hauling heavy freight may be more heavy-set and stocky in appearance than the ones developed for speed.
On average, male Alaskan huskies measure around 64 cm (25 in) at the withers and weigh 18–27 kg (40–60 lb), while female Alaskan huskies average 59 cm (23 in), and tend to be quite a bit lighter than the males at 16–22 kg (35–48 lb). It is ideal that they do not weigh more than 55 lbs because that can seriously compromise their speed, resilience, and endurance.
Alaskan huskies usually have a larger and leaner body than the Siberian Husky and their coat can be short to medium length, with a very heavy, thermal undercoat, while the Siberian’s is always medium length. Most Alaskan Huskies have brown eyes.
Taking care of an Alaskan husky is relatively easy as they do not require much grooming. Whenever they are not active, they spend much of their time cleaning themselves, and if kept in the company of other dogs, will indulge in mutual grooming, as they would with their pack. Their coat is said to be self-cleaning, as dirt and dust do not usually stay on to it for any length of time.
You can brush the Alaskan once or twice a week to remove dead hair. Alaskan huskies usually shed heavily twice a year, and during that time you’ll want to brush him or her more than once or twice a week to keep the loose hair under control.
The only other grooming your Alaskan would need is regular nail trimming, ear cleaning, and dental hygiene. Introducing a grooming routine to them when they are still puppies would minimize stress, for both dog and owner because when they are older, they would be able to put up a fight, should they so wish.
Good dental hygiene is also important for dogs, and once-daily brushing with an appropriate brush and toothpaste is an excellent habit to develop in pups to prevent any form of dental disease and tooth loss in older dogs.
Another very important thing to note is under no circumstance should you try to or actually shave an Alaskan Husky. It might seem like you will be alleviating the heat the Alaskan Husky feels when it gets hot, but actually, you will only put the husky at risk of sunburn and take away its ability to regulate its body temperature (a task their under layer is in charge of).
Generally, Alaskan Huskies are fun to be with. Alaskan Huskies are known to be calmer than their cousins, the Siberian Husky and the Alaskan Malamute. Given that they get their exercise needs met, they are generally mellow dogs who will be happy to settle down with you at home.
An Alaskan Husky is typically affectionate and has an instinct for snuggling since that’s how he keeps warm out on the trail with his sled mates. Alaskan huskies are pack dogs, therefore, excellent team players, and when they jump up on you, it’s because they want to make friends. For this reason, they are good with children, however, they have boundless energy, and have a tendency to jump on people of excitement and they are not a very good choice for the elderly, infirm, or those with really young children.
They have been grown and developed as a pack dog, and so they do not tolerate isolation well. An Alaskan Husky, if neglected, is expected to entertain himself, is likely to howl, dig, chew, and generally cause all sorts of trouble. This Northern dog is not the right choice for a watchdog because he rarely barks and is more likely to sniff a stranger in curiosity than attack him.
Alaskan Huskies are actually very gentle creatures and are good with slightly older children but the other family pets may have to be moved up to different living quarters in the house as Alaskan Huskies tend to be overly curious about small animals.
Having an Alaskan Husky means having a companion who is lively, yet also subdued at times, playful, intelligent, and easygoing. They do best with a yard and enough space in the home as they are very active, even when indoors too.
Their personality is really as different as their other features, but it is also fair to say that most are mischievous, and life with an Alaskan Husky is much less frustrating when they are kept in close proximity, exercised well, and not neglected.
Perhaps due to their hybridization, Alaskan Huskies tend to be quite healthy and can live for up to 15 years or more. However, certain strains are at risk of some health problems that affect the purebred, and it is good to be aware of these so that you can treat your dog if need be.
These health concerns can include Lysosomal storage disease, Eye problems (including progressive retinal atrophy), Hypothyroidism. Keep it in mind that after you’ve taken a new Alaskan Husky into your home, you have the power to protect him from one of the most common health problems: obesity. One of the easiest ways to extend an Alaskan Husky’s life is to keep it at an appropriate weight.
Also, it is important to note that the Alaskan Husky cannot live in very hot climates. This is perhaps not a surprising point, given that they hail from Alaska, a place where temperatures can drop as low as 80 degrees below freezing (-62.2°C).
Training and Exercise
It is almost impossible to satisfy an Alaskan Husky’s desire and need for exercise apart from being used as a sled dog. These dogs have been bred and selected for speed, strength, and endurance, and as such need long hours of exercise. They are not advisable to be with you if you are holding down a day job as it might be very stressful for you to match up an Alaskan Husky’s exercise needs after a long day at work.
At a minimum, they need around two hours or more of vigorous exercise daily to satisfy their physical and inherited behavioral needs. A dog that possesses such a high level of energy needs a high-energy owner, so think twice and reconsider getting an Alaskan Husky if your idea of exercise is a quick stroll around the block. If they are not sufficiently exercised, they are very prone to weight gain, destructive behavior, and excessive vocalization.
Alaskan Huskies are somewhat easy to train and very intelligent animals. But it is a good idea if you begin to train your Alaskan straight away. They need a firm and persistent approach with correction when appropriate. It is essential to consider crate training.
The biggest challenge in training is that Alaskans really just want to be always active rather than sitting still and paying attention. They are amazingly intelligent and they are able to learn many basic commands even at 8 weeks of age.
It is important you show strong leadership with your Alaskan Husky from the word go because they can sometimes have a stubborn streak; you could tell them to do something and well, if they don’t feel like doing it at that moment, they may not obey. All in all, Alaskan huskies need a lot of exercises and are easy to train.
Why you should get an Alaskan Husky
You should get an Alaskan Husky if you are a keen athlete in need of an exercise companion because they can go on and on for miles and have a high level of endurance. They are usually very healthy and don’t require a high level of grooming as they don’t shed often.
Where to get an Alaskan Husky and Price
You can adopt an Alaskan Husky at a much lower cost instead of buying one from a breeder. The adoption cost of an Alaskan Husky is around $300 in order to cover the expenses of caring for the dog before adoption.
The best way to adopt an Alaskan Husky would be through a rescue that specializes in Huskies. In contrast, buying Huskies from breeders can be expensive. Based on their breeding, they usually cost anywhere from $600-$1,500.