SIBERIAN HUSKIES: dogs or wolves?
The belief that Siberian Huskies are a breed of wolves is widely spread. But is this theory a myth that has passed down through the centuries or is it a reality?
Where are Siberian Huskies coming from ?
To find the origins of Siberian Huskies, we have to travel back in time in a legendary Russian region: Siberia.
We found the track of the first huskies thanks to the Chukchi, inhabitants of the extreme Russian East, who used huskies for many purposes:
- To haul the heavy sleds of the inhabitants: strapped together, huskies are physically strong and able to carry heavy loads such as blocks of ice or people on sleds
- Alert the inhabitants: in case of danger or intrusion in the village, the huskies had a role of warning the population
- Look after children: as they are a loving animal, huskies had to watch over children while they were playing and sleep with them to warm them up during cold winters
For the Chukchi people, the true origin of huskies is related to an ancestral legend. Siberian Huskies would be the result of the union between a wolf and the moon. To them, it explains the close appearance between huskies and wolves and their tail with a moon crescent shape.
Siberian huskies became famous thanks to the mythical All Alaska Sweepstake, a sledding competition that was taking place from 1908 to 1917. In 1910, a Siberian Husky crew reached the third place for the first time, competing with crews traditionally composed of Alaskan Malamute only. After that, sled leaders begun to compose their sleds only with Siberian huskies… and their efficiency didn’t have to be proven anymore as they were always winning the competition.
What makes Siberian huskies unique ?
The appearance of Siberian Huskies may be often misleading. Indeed, many breeds look similar and we can confuse them with Alaskan Huskies. The Siberian Husky is also considered as a “dog-wolf” as he shares many features with his cousin, but it is easy to recognise a true Siberian Husky thanks to some details.
Firstly, the Siberian Husky has a large fur, which can go from black to white or brown. As the dog sheds his fur twice a year, it is possible to follow him thanks to his lost hair!
Secondly, Siberian huskies are recognisable thanks to some distinctive features:
- Eyes: they are almond shaped, they can be blue, brown or both colors !
- Body: the body is slim, well proportioned and has a sporty look
- Face: He has a round face that gets sharpened to the level of the nose.
Where to meet Siberian Huskies in Russia ?
Nowadays, it’s very easy to meet Siberian Huskies! We mostly find them in specialized farms (kennels) where they are correctly fed and trained. In these farms, they receive all the care they need, and many visitors are coming to meet them. Such farms are located all around Russia, near main cities, like Moscow or St. Petersburg.
This dog needs to move and to live in large spaces in which he can let off steam. He is not a dog that tolerates confinement and requires at least two hours of activity per day! Sporty by nature, he likes to hike in summer in the wild plains, mountains or forest.
Because of this, dog-trekking is gaining popularity in Russia. The concept: a dog is strapped to you through a special belt, and you go hiking together. The dog is the guide and leads the way! This is a fantastic experience for dog and nature lovers. If you spend summer in Russia and want to try it, do not hesitate to check our dog-trekking tours in Moscow or St. Petersburg.
Siberian Huskies are mostly famous for surviving to very diverse temperatures. With their thick fur, they are used to run in the snow by very low temperatures (sometimes below – 40° C!), and feel better in winter than during hot summers. Their fur protects them from the cold, which is needed for dog-sledding runs. Although they are very resistant to the snow, mushers are more and more equipping them with booties to protect their paws. In Russia, you may find a lot of farms to practice dogsledding, a must-do when traveling in Russia in winter! You can check our dog-sledding tours in Moscow or St. Petersburg here.
So, are Siberian huskies closer to the dog or the wolf ?
Siberian Huskies are definitely not wolves! They are a unique dog breed which shares a true love for human. They have a huge loyalty towards their master. They are very sensitive and perceive their owner feelings. They are very attached to their team and their strength make them the perfect fellow traveller.
If you want to meet Siberian Huskies while traveling in Russia : do not hesitate to contact us!