Alaskan Husky

Canis lupus

Last updated: September 29, 2022
Verified by: AZ Animals Staff
Image Credit Valmedia/Shutterstock.com

The Alaskan Husky is one of the most common sled dogs in the world

Alaskan Husky Scientific Classification

Kingdom
Animalia
Phylum
Chordata
Class
Mammalia
Order
Carnivora
Family
Canidae
Genus
Canis
Scientific Name
Canis lupus

Read our Complete Guide to Classification of Animals.

Alaskan Husky Conservation Status

Alaskan Husky Locations

Alaskan Husky Locations

Alaskan Husky Facts

Fun Fact
The Alaskan Husky is one of the most common sled dogs in the world
Temperament
Energetic, hard-working, and affectionate
Diet
Omnivore

Alaskan Husky Physical Characteristics

Color
  • Brown
  • Grey
  • Red
  • Black
  • White
Skin Type
Hair
Lifespan
12 – 16 years
Weight
65 lbs

Alaskan Husky as a Pet:

General Health
Energy Level
Shedability
Trainability
Intelligence
Tendency to Chew
Size
Family and kid friendliness
Yappiness / Barking
Moderate
Separation Anxiety
High
Preferred Temperature
Cold climate
Exercise Needs
High
Friendly With Other Dogs
Group
Pure bred cost to own
$1,000 to $1,500 on average
Dog group
Working
Male weight
35-65 lbs
Female weight
35-65 lbs

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The Alaskan Husky is bred to be the ultimate sled dog. They can easily burn 10,000 calories a day in the grueling race.

The Alaskan Husky is an athletic working dog that arose from a cross between several similar yet distinctive breeds. Genetically, it’s a close relative of the Alaskan Malamute and the Siberian Husky. It was later crossed with a few European breeds, including German pointers and the Saluki. Some of these animals even have some recent wolf heritage.

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Capable of enduring harsh climates of the frigid north, the Alaskan Huskies are excellent sled dogs and companions that belong to the spitz group. The spitz dogs are characterized by thick white fur, pointed ears, long muzzles, and curled tails. However, because there isn’t a set breed standard, the Alaskan Husky can come in many different physical permutations and characteristics. They’re bred for speed and endurance, not for looks. As a result, they need to have an efficient gait, a warm double coat, and webbed feet that act as snowshoes. It’s also covered with some mixture of white, black, gray, brown, and even red fur.

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Alaskan Husky vs. Siberian Husky

The Alaskan Husky resembles its Siberian relatives in many respects, including its strength and its friendly behavior, but physically it looks quite different as a result of recent crosses with European dogs. It tends to be slightly larger and leaner than the Siberian Husky with a much wide range of fur colors and patterns.

Alaskan Husky vs. Alaskan Malamute

The Alaskan Husky is not quite as large as the Alaskan Malamute, but it still retains many of the same characteristics, including the athletic body, friendly nature, and intelligent mind.



3 pros and cons of owning a Alaskan Husky

Pros!Cons!
Strong and Athletic
The Alaskan Husky is a great exercise companion and hard worker.
High Intensity
This dog has a voracious need for exercise. It is probably not suited for apartment living.
Friendly and Affectionate
This dog will form a deep bond with its owner.
Headstrong
This dog can be a little stubborn at times.
Intelligent and Trainable
The Alaskan Husky is able to learn lots of different human commands.
Needy
The Alaskan Husky needs a lot of attention from its owner.
Alaskan husky sled dogs ready to go into the Arctic mountain wilderness.
Alaskan husky sled dogs ready to go into the Arctic mountain wilderness.

iStock.com/HenrikNorway

Alaskan Husky Size and Weight

The Alaskan Husky is a medium to a large animal with an athletic body. It has clearly been bred for speed and endurance, but it also needs to be strong enough to pull a sled over great distances. Because there are no breed standards, the Alaskan Husky can come in a large variety of different sizes.

Health and Entertainment for your Alaskan Husky

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Height (Male)23 to 26 inches
Height (Female)23 to 26 inches
Weight (Male)35 to 65 pounds
Weight (Female)35 to 65 pounds

Alaskan Husky Common Health Issues

Despite being generally healthy, with an average lifespan of 10 to 15 years, the Alaskan Husky may be at risk of several health conditions, including hypothyroidism, progressive retinal atrophy, and other common eye disorders, obesity, cancer, a congenital deformation of the larynx (which results in wheezing), and a set of rare metabolic disorders called lysosomal storage disease.

It’s always a good idea to ask your breeder to provide proof or certification that their dogs have been tested for common issues. This will not necessarily stop any health problems from ever arising, but combined with regular checkups at the vet, it will give your dog a better chance at a high-quality life. In summation, these are the most common health problems of the Alaskan Husky:

  • Obesity
  • Eye Disorders
  • Cancer
  • Hypothyroidism

Alaskan Husky Temperament

The Alaskan Husky has many personality traits specifically bred for its original purpose as a sled dog, but you don’t need to be a sled racer to enjoy these fascinating dogs. Because they work together in large teams, Alaskan Huskies need to get along very well with people and other dogs or animals. They form strong bonds with both alike.

Built for speed and endurance, they also need plenty of room in which to run and play, so they are not very well-suited for apartment living. Alaskan Huskies have a curious and playful nature, sometimes shading into the rambunctious. They can even test the patience of the most understanding owner, especially if the dogs feel bored or ignored. They need almost constant mental or physical stimulation to be satisfied. Owners should prepare to spend a lot of time with this dog.

How to Take Care of the Alaskan Husky

The Alaskan Husky is probably not suitable for novice or casual dog owners. They need an experienced and engaged owner who has the time and ability to care for their considerable needs. If you have any other questions or concerns about owning this mix, then you should consult with your vet.

The Best Dog Food for Alaskan Huskies

An active adult Alaskan Husky needs to be fed high-quality food, preferably high in both protein and fat. The amount of food depends on its size, age, and activity level. Given its tendency for hypothyroidism and obesity, owners should limit the number of snacks and opt for a food that helps build and maintain lean muscle through exercise.

Purina Pro Plan Sport, Energy & Vitality Support, High Protein 30/20 Salmon Dry Dog Food & Wet Dog Food has the protein-rich nutritional profile that keeps Alaskan Huskies active and fit.

With a balance of 30% protein and 20% fat, the amino acids in this real salmon food fuel muscle growth while glucosamine supports mobile joints. Additionally, the vitamin A may help keep your Alaskan Husky’s eyes healthy.

Find Purina Pro Plan Sport, Energy and Vitality Support High Protein Dog Food on Amazon or Chewy.

Best Fish Recipe
Purina Pro Plan Sport Performance 30/20 Salmon & Cod Formula Dry Dog Food
  • Purina Pro Plan Sport Performance 30/20 Salmon & Cod Recipe
  • High protein dog food contains 30% protein and 20% fat for lean muscle and metabolism needs
  • Glucosamine and EPA for joint health and mobility


Check Chewy Check Amazon

Alaskan Husky Maintenance and Grooming

These dogs have a thick double coat that will need to be groomed at least once or twice a week to remove loose hair and prevent matting. Once the shedding season begins, you may need to brush the dog once a day. This should be complemented with the occasional ear cleaning, good dental hygiene, and regular nail trimming if the nails start to get out of control.

Alaskan Husky Training

With the speed with at it can learn human commands, it might surprise you to learn that these dogs can be a little headstrong and stubborn. It’s a good idea to start training this dog immediately, as soon as eight weeks of age, when it’s the most malleable and trainable. If you wait until it’s more than six months old, then it’s likely to be more difficult to train. Positive and patient reinforcement methods work best to coax your dog into accepting its training.

Alaskan Husky Exercise

These dogs are not for the faint of heart. This is a strong, athletic dog with amazing endurance. After all, it was bred for the very purpose of pulling heavy sleds through the snow. The dog will require at least an hour of exercise every single day, but slow walks alone will not suffice. This mix needs to engage in plenty of free running, hiking, sports, games, and other strenuous activities. It’s not necessarily a good idea to let your dog off the leash, because it does have a tendency to wander and explore. A fenced yard is very useful to control these natural tendencies.

Alaskan Husky Puppies

As mentioned previously, a puppy needs to undergo training and socialization as early as possible. Starting around 10 to 12 weeks old, doggie classes or daycare are ideal places to familiarize your dog with lots of new faces and situations so it can become a well-adjusted adult. Just make sure your puppy has received all of the necessary vaccines first before it interacts with other dogs. Crate training, though not strictly necessary, is also a good option to deal with early anxiety and house training issues.

Five Alaskan husky puppies looking out from their house.
Five Alaskan husky puppies looking out from their house.

Jana Caposova/Shutterstock.com

The Alaskan Husky and Children

These dogs are a great choice for families with children. Their friendly and playful nature will appeal to people of all ages.

Dogs Similar to the Alaskan Husky

If you’re a fan of spitz-type sled dogs, then you might want to check out the following breeds:

  • Canadian Eskimo Dog – This powerful and athletic sled dog fits the traditional mold of a spitz: it has erect ears, a curved tail, and a thick white coat with a variety of different black or brown markings. However, this breed might be hard to find in the United States. It’s recognized by the Canadian Kennel Club but not the American Kennel Club.
  • Samoyed – Originating from the Samoyedic people of Siberia, this big fluffy all-white spitz was bred for the purpose of herding, hunting, and sledding. Today, these friendly, playful dogs, whose mouth always appears to be arched in a smile, make for great companions in the home.
  • American Eskimo Dog – These fluffy all-white dogs, which actually originated from Germany (but, due to anti-German sentiment during World War I, had their name changed), was bred more as companions than a working dog. They have a bright, upbeat temperament and a smart, playful personality.

Famous Alaskan Husky Dogs

These dogs has become popularized as the dog of choice in sled races. Dallas Seavey, who has won the Iditarod sled race five times, has a team composed of many Alaskan Huskies, including the lead dog on the winning 2021 team, Gamble.

If you’re looking for a good name, then you might want to consider one of the following options:

  • Jack
  • Maya
  • Koda
  • Luna
  • Bella
  • Ghost
  • Zeus
  • Dakota
  • Max
  • Juno

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What's the right dog for you?

Dogs are our best friends but which breed is your perfect match?

X-Small
Small
Medium
Large
Xtra-Large

If you have kids or existing dogs select:

Kids
Other Dogs

Should they be Hypoallergenic?

Yes
No
How important is health?
Which dog groups do you like?
How much exercise should your dog require?
What climate?
How much seperation anxiety?
How much yappiness/barking?

How much energy should they have?

The lower energy the better.
I want a cuddle buddy!
About average energy.
I want a dog that I have to chase after constantly!
All energy levels are great -- I just love dogs!
How much should they shed?
How trainable/obedient does the dog need to be?
How intelligent does the dog need to be?
How much chewing will allow?
About the Author

AZ Animals is a growing team of animals experts, researchers, farmers, conservationists, writers, editors, and -- of course -- pet owners who have come together to help you better understand the animal kingdom and how we interact.

Alaskan Husky FAQs (Frequently Asked Questions) 

What is an Alaskan Husky?

The Alaskan Husky is a strong and athletic mixed-breed dog with a lifespan of some 10 to 15 years. Its rich heritage includes a bit of Alaskan Malamute, Siberian Husky, Saluki, and a few other spitz dogs. Some also even have wolf heritage. The Alaskan Husky is one of the most popular dogs in sledding circuits. However, because they’re bred for speed and endurance and not for looks, there is very little consistency in their appearance, besides their thick coat and athletic physique.

Are Alaskan Huskies aggressive?

Given its size, the Alaskan Husky has a very playful and tender nature. Their pack-like nature accentuates teamwork and cooperation. They cannot afford to be very aggressive or mean.

What is the difference between an Alaskan Husky and Siberian Husky?

These two dogs are far more similar than they are different. Nevertheless, the Alaskan Husky has a lot more European heritage mixed. It has a more slender appearance with a larger variety of different patterns and colors.

Are Alaskan Huskies good pets?

The Alaskan Husky can be a great pet, but only for those who have the time and patience to take care of them. Since they need a ton of mental and physical stimulation, these dogs can certainly test the patience of even the most devoted owner. But these fun, affectionate, loyal, playful, and intelligent dogs are also very rewarding in the hands of the correct owner.

What is an Alaskan Husky a mix of?

The Alaskan Husky is a mix between northern spitz dogs (like the Siberian Husky and Alaskan Malamute) and a variety of European spitz dogs.

What is the cost of an Alaskan Husky?

A new Alaskan Husky puppy from a respectable breeder will probably cost between $1,000 and $1,500 on average. The cost of a truly exceptional dog with an award-winning pedigree will be thousands of dollars; maybe more than $10,000. After all, these are bred to win top races. But if you just want to adopt a dog, then you will probably be paying no more than a few hundred dollars.

What are the key differences between the Alaskan Klee Kai and Alaskan husky?

The key differences between the Alaskan Klee Kai and Alaskan husky are appearance, energy levels, and usefulness.

Sources
  1. Wagwalking, Available here: https://wagwalking.com/daily/10-things-you-should-know-about-your-alaskan-husky
  2. Vetstreet, Available here: http://www.vetstreet.com/dogs/alaskan-husky#overview

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