Huskies are outgoing and energetic dogs with a mischievous side to them. Nicknamed the “dog with a thousand expressions,” Huskies are comical dogs. But with such a nickname, is it possible that these dogs are actually aggressive and dangerous?
Huskies are not inherently dangerous dogs. And according to a CDC report, Huskies aren’t even the top 5 most dangerous dogs by bite fatalities. Huskies are responsible for about one fatality per year. However, their lively temperaments and large size do not make them the most kid-friendly dogs either. It’s very possible a Husky can unintentionally knock over a small child.
Dog behaviorists will agree that essentially every dog has the potential to be a “good” or a “bad” dog, but it depends on various factors. These factors can include genetic predisposition, life history and of course, upbringing.
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Table of Contents
- Dog-Bite Related Fatalities in Huskies
- Understanding Husky Temperament
- Huskies Can Potentially be “Dangerous”
- Preventing Aggressive Behaviors in Siberian Huskies
- Dealing With a Siberian Husky
- So, Are Huskies Dangerous Dogs?
Dog-Bite Related Fatalities in Huskies
This Centers for Disease Control (CDC) report has the breakdown of dog breeds involved in fatal human attacks over a period of nearly 20 years (from 1979 to 1996). During that time, there were more than 300 human DBRFs.
They named Rottweilers and Pit Bull type dogs specifically for being “involved in more than half” of the dog-bite related fatalities in 1997 and 1998.
The study also notes that “at least 25 dog breeds have been involved in 238 human DBRFs during the past 20 years.” Specifically, referring to the decades of the 1980s and 1990s.
More recent data about human DBRFs from 2005 to 2017 show that “canines killed at least 433 Americans.” As you may have guessed, Pit Bulls and Rottweilers sit atop the list of breeds that caused the most fatalities.
On the other hand, Huskies are at number six in terms of fatalities, responsible for 13 fatalities. This accounts for just 3% of the total fatalities.
By properly training your Husky from a young age and avoiding abuse, you’re likely to end up with an affectionate and friendly Husky.
Understanding Husky Temperament
The story of the Husky goes thousands of years back. As a matter of fact, the word “husky” is a contraction of “Huskimos.”
Huskimos is how the word “Eskimos” was pronounced by old English sailors. As a result, Huskimos refer to the aboriginal Arctic people.
The Siberian Husky originated from northeastern Siberia, where it spent most of the days and nearly entire life pulling heavy loads.
They are a medium-sized ‘working dog’ famously known to have crossed the Bering Straits to reach Alaska during the Nome Gold Rush of 1909.
Huskies in the Household
Huskies may possess some serious sled-pulling swag but that’s not the only thing this breed possesses. Siberian Huskies are sweet, affectionate and loyal. Plus, they love to cuddle!
Don’t let their wolf-like blue eyes or appearance fool you into thinking that these wonderful dogs are anything but fully domesticated canines.
These native dogs from Siberia are naturally pretty comfortable in extremely cold regions and environments. As a matter of fact, they don’t do too well in warmer climates – as you can imagine.
And having spent centuries pulling sleds for generation after generation, Huskies make wonderful jogging buddies today.
Thanks to their remarkable endurance and stamina, you’re likely to quit first. Just make sure they don’t overheat if you’re running in the sun.
Huskies Can Potentially be “Dangerous”
No matter which dog breed you own, there can be potential dangers and pitfalls to owning the dog, especially if you have small children. But with older kids, they’re great playmates.
According to owners, here are the reasons why Huskies can actually be dangerous to adults, small children and other pets (especially with cats).
Size of the Husky Matters
Huskies are mid-sized dogs and have nowhere near the heft of the largest dogs in the world. But that doesn’t mean they can’t potentially be dangerous.
Siberian Huskies are of ‘medium build’ and range in weight from 45 to 60 pounds for males and 35 to 50 pounds for females.
Whether intentional or not, they have the ability to knock over small children and seniors. Given the liveliness of these dogs, it’s very possible they will.
One Husky owner tells us:
If you have a household with small kids, you better have trained them prior to letting them interact! My husky loves nothing more than to play, which includes jumping on people!
Keep in mind that Huskies are not inherently aggressive dogs. But there is a difference between aggressive personalities and aggressive behaviors.
Jumping on the fragile is definitely an accident or mishap waiting to happen, especially with a dog as large as the Husky.
Energetic Personality Can Unintentionally Hurt Others
According to the AKC, Huskies are outgoing and mischievous. Combine this with that fact that they were bred to pull sleds for 100 miles a day, and you have an “ultra-hyper dog breed.”
These dogs are Iditarod racing dogs, meaning they compete and run about 1000 miles within a span of a week – even with one mandatory 24-hour rest.
So now you have a good idea of how energetic these dogs can actually be. They have a seemingly unlimited amount of energy at times.
One owner from Reddit describes her Husky, saying:
Every owner knows Huskies are hyper dogs, but no one is actually ready for it until they meet one. Be prepared to attempt to keep up.
The problem with a dog that has too much energy is that they can potentially release all that pent up energy on humans or other animals.
If you can’t provide your Husky with the recommended amount of physical and mental exercise, aggressive and destructive behaviors can show.
Metabolism Mysteries of Siberian Huskies
“Before the race, the dogs’ metabolic makeup is similar to humans. Then suddenly they throw a switch—we don’t know what it is yet—that reverses all of that,” animal exercise researcher Dr. Michael S. Davis told the New York Times.
“In a 24-hour period, they go back to the same type of metabolic baseline you see in resting subjects. But it’s while they are running 100 miles a day,” according to this article.
But the days of pulling loads and sleds are over for Siberian Huskies.
These days Siberian Huskies are often companionable pets living in apartments. If they don’t get enough walks and exercise daily, they may create a mess inside your home should you leave them alone.
Preventing Aggressive Behaviors in Siberian Huskies
If you’re still considering bringing home a Husky but concerned about their aggressive tendencies, have no worries. With the proper training and preparations, you can have a calm and obedient dog.
The best ways to prevent your Husky from developing aggressive tendencies is to start obedience training and socialization at a young age.
Acknowledge the Aggression in the Husky
The worst thing that you can do as a husky (or any dog) owner is to ignore aggression. This is especially common with owners that have young dogs (puppies).
Because Husky puppies are small and “can’t cause serious damage,” some owners are likely to ignore this type of behavior.
The problem is, Huskies grow extremely quick. Once they reach adult-size, they can cause real damage.
If they’ve been conditioned to think that behaviors such as jumping on people is “okay,” then it’ll be rather difficult to train this behavior out of them as an adult.
Any sign of aggression should be addressed and stopped immediately, despite the age of the dog. It may be cute while they’re small, but not so much as a 60 pound canine.
Teach Your Husky Obedience Training
Obedience training is a good practice with any dog and not just Huskies. By teaching and engraining certain commands, you’ll have more control over their actions.
Some excellent and useful commands include stop, down, sit and no. All of which, may come in handy when preventing a potential mishap.
As soon as your Husky gets a little too aggressive with a child or pet, tell them “stop” or “no” immediately to communicate the bad behavior.
I want to note that Huskies are notoriously independent and stubborn dogs. It may take them longer than other dogs to learn commands, but with patience it can easily be done.
For obedience training, you should always be using positive reinforcement. Don’t “punish” them for aggressive behaviors. Instead, reward them when they’re being friendly and calm.
Socialization Training is a Must
One of the best things you can do to prevent potential aggressive tendencies in your Husky is to provide plenty of socialization. You’ll want to start this as early on as possible.
Socialization puts your Husky in situation where they get to interact with all types of people and animals. It’s when they learn that people and animals are generally friendly and good.
One Husky owner highly recommends socialization:
Any dog can be aggressive with anyone if not socialized properly. Of course, lots of training and energy outlets too as they are very stubborn, hyper pups. But they’re the best dogs if you have the time and patience to work with them!
You’ll want to start as a puppy and socialize your Husky as soon as 3 weeks of age. According to the Humane Society, the dog’s biggest window for learning is between 16 and 20 weeks of age.
It’s in this small timeframe that your Husky will be able to experience all the sensations of the world without becoming scared or fearful of the stimuli.
Fortunately, there are so many ways to socialize a Husky. You can start with obedience school and continue weekly socialization at doggie day camps.
Dog parks are a great way for puppies to meet other dogs and their owners. I’d highly recommend bringing them on the weekends if possible.
Socialization is actually more important for larger, active dogs. So make sure you find every opportunity to provide this for your Husky.
Physical Exercise May Keep a Husky Calm
Given the tremendous amount of energy that the Husky has, are you really surprised they need physical activity?
As with all hyper dogs, providing them with plenty of daily exercise is one of the best ways of preventing destructive or aggressive tendencies. Both of which, can potentially lead to a dangerous dog.
It’s why these dogs are also recommended to be living in a large enclosed space, such as a backyard. If you have another active dog, then a playmate is also a huge plus.
Unfortunately, some owners decide to just leave these dogs in a small enclosure without bringing them on daily walks or jogs. Situations like this are when these dogs become “dangerous.”
Mental Stimulation is Essential in Huskies
Due to the personalities and temperaments of these dogs, mental stimulation is highly recommended for a happy Husky. Not enough can also lead to destructive behavior and a dangerous dog.
Mental stimulation can come in many forms. For example, obedience training is the most common method of providing dogs with this form of exercise.
Other forms of mental stimulation can include dog puzzles, hide and seek, smart toys, word recognition training and more.
Here are just a few of my dog’s favorite puzzles:
- Nina Ottosson Dog Puzzle – This is a classic dog puzzle with a twist. Simply hide your dog’s favorite treats and they’ll figure out how to get it. Your Husky will absolutely love this!
- StarMark Bark-A-Lot – This bobble toy is essentially a food dispenser for your Husky. You can also provide mental stimulation by making your dog work for their food!
- Outward Hound Hide & Seek Plush – The Outward Hound plush is my dog’s favorite toy. Sit back and watch your Husky figure out how to get to the little critters in the toy.
It’s okay if you don’t pick any of the recommendations. However, it’s important that you find something for your Husky that can stimulate their minds.
Provide your Husky some mental stimulation and he’ll become a happy and calm pup.
Dealing With a Siberian Husky
They are not the most social of dog breeds nor as dangerously territorial as some other breeds. Still, it takes some persistence on your part to train them.
Siberian Huskies will have a streak of independence and stubbornness. So, it’ll take firm and gentle training from their puppy days to train Siberian Huskies well.
This can grow bothersome over time for your neighbors, especially if you are an apartment dweller. If you live in an apartment, here are better options.
Siberian Huskies are usually friendly with humans, kids as well as other dogs, especially those dogs that they grew up with. If you let them grow up with your kids, then they’re more likely to show affection around them.
Remember that not all Huskies will be the same. Temperament is a mix and result of heredity, genetics, training and nurturing.
Socialization is so important for Siberian Huskies and the quote given in the next paragraph applies quite well to Siberian Huskies:
There are no “good dogs”: Take your dog for walks, find some kids to play with it, take it for rides in your car, expose it to loud noises. Take your dog out in the world and find new stuff to see, smell, hear, and feel. The more stuff your dog can experience, the wider the array of situation will be where it will feel comfortable.”
Lack of sufficient awareness about the temperament of Siberian Huskies often leads to their abandonment. Hence, potential owners of Siberian Huskies should perform sufficient due diligence before bringing one home.
So, Are Huskies Dangerous Dogs?
Studies attempting to determine the most aggressive dog breeds show somewhat surprising results. However, Huskies are not found to be among the most aggressive dog breeds.
Pit Bull Terriers, Akitas, Jack Russell Terriers, Chihuahuas, Beagles, and Dachshunds (that’s right) make the cut based on aggression toward other animals, humans-other-than-owners and owners.
The Canine Behavioral Assessment and Research Questionnaire (C-BARQ) gives insights into the most aggressive dog breeds in terms of both stranger directed aggression and unfamiliar dog directed aggression.
The study included many breeds, including the Siberian Husky. It identified Dachshunds, Jack Russell Terriers, German Shepherds, Chihuahuas and English Springer Spaniels as among the breeds who show most aggression towards unfamiliar dogs and strangers.
On the other hand, Doberman Pinschers are among the 10 most aggressive dog breeds with a tendency to show aggression towards strangers. Pit Bulls and Boxers are among the dog breeds in the Top 10 list of breeds with a tendency to show aggression towards other dogs.
So the answer is no. Huskies are a type of high-energy working dog who have pulled sleds in the old days but have now adapted to living in a modern, technological environment.
They’ve adapted to being pets and their appearance or closeness to wolves is quite misleading. The wolf-like look doesn’t mean wolf-like temperament.
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