In recent years, Siberian Huskies and other sled dog breeds have grown in popularity in some part to their frequent appearances on film and TV like Eight Below or the epic Game Of Thrones where they doubled as 'Direwolves'.
In Tameside, they can be seen more and more as they find homes across the borough, but don’t be fooled thinking they are like any other dog.
Although they can look fierce and a little scary to some, Huskies aren’t a good breed if you are looking for a guard dog. They are friendly to strangers and a good affectionate family dog - scrolling on YouTube you’ll find lots of videos of children interacting and owners’ babies being introduced to them.
They also need a lot of exercise being a working breed, so if you were thinking they just need to pop out for 10 minutes to do their business then think again. Exercise is definitely a key thing to bear in mind, apart from breaking up boredom, it’s important for the dog’s health.
Speaking of boredom this is one key thing to address. These are intelligent breeds that enjoy lots of stimulation with exercise, toys and play. Where there is little exercise or activity the dogs are notorious for chewing, digging and causing damage.
Huskies can also be particular where food is concerned, a sensitive stomach is one thing new owners find when they get their dog – and raw feed is often an answer for this. These dogs are also pack animals and although a single one can flourish with an owner or family, you’ll find quite a few people with two or more.
In Ashton, Stuart and Julie Hibbert have four dogs and we asked how they got introduced to the breed.
“Stuart always wanted one and we spotted a litter in a hairdressers window in Wales in 2012 and that was how we got our first dog Jacob,” said Julie (pictured).
“We did some research when we came back from Wales on the breed and I was horrified at some of the stuff like destroying your house and that they can escape which prompted us to get another to keep Jacob company.”
We asked them what they feel are the good and bad points of being a Husky mum and dad.
“They are an amazing dog, so loving, keep you fit and of course they are beautiful. But you need to be aware they are shedders, there is always a constant loss of hair through the year. Although some can be good off lead, the majority, I’d say, would get distracted by other dogs, cats or small animals and run away.”
Because of what’s mentioned above some people find it difficult to adapt as a Husky owner and you’ll find them popping up at dog rescues. Two of Julie and Stuart’s dogs are from rescue.
“We got Kobe - who was one of the first puppies they had rescued - from 8 Below which is a Husky rescue charity when he was 20-weeks-old,” she said.
“In that short space of time, he had been through five homes. When we got Willow, she was in a bad state, all skin and bone, and she took a lot of work to build her up. I’d say if anyone was thinking of getting a husky and they did all their research then consider a rescue dog.”
After lockdown there is an expectation that once people are back at work that dogs will start appearing in rescue centres across the UK. Huskies will no doubt be amongst them so if you can give a dog a second chance of a forever home please think about them.