Dog Breeds Dog Health

Do Huskies Shed? – The Owner’s Guide to Husky Shedding & Grooming

Huskies shed quite a lot, and are considered one of the heaviest shedding dog breeds.
Written by Tracey

Siberian Huskies are the “dogs with a thousand expressions.” They’re fierce working dogs with a silly and sometimes mischievous side. But if you plan to bring a Husky home, the shedding can be a real concern, especially for allergy-sensitive owners.

So, do Huskies shed? Huskies are heavy-shedding dogs. And according to Dr. Becker DVM, Huskies are some of the heaviest shedding dog breeds in the world. Largely thanks to their double coats, a Husky will shed year-round and excessively during spring and fall.

These dogs are consistently on the top of all heaviest shedding dogs list. But there are reasons why this is. We’ll discuss why they shed so much, and ways you can minimize Husky shedding to enjoy a more comfortable living situation.

RECOMMENDED: 55 Hypoallergenic Dog Breeds

Why Do Huskies Shed?

Almost all dog breeds shed to a certain extent – perhaps with the exception of true hairless dog breeds. Even some breeds we consider hypoallergenic will shed, though not nearly as much as a non-hypoallergenic dog.

But what is it that makes Siberian Huskies one of, if not the heaviest shedding dog in the world? Everything from the purpose of their jobs, to their double coats and how the coat adjust to the seasons, all are top reasons why Huskies shed so much.

Bred for a Thick Coat

Siberian Huskies, as you may guessed, originated from Russia. As a matter of fact, they were originally bred by the indigenous Chukchi people, who lived in the northeastern region of Russia thousands of years ago.

This region is adjacent to Alaska, where temperatures can reach a staggering negative 50 degrees. Furthermore, Huskies were bred to work outdoors, provide companionship and pull sleds for several miles at a time.

Siberian Huskies were originally bred for thousands of years to be in the Arctic. When you see them out in the snow, you realize how much happier they are. 

– Mikeyo43 (Reddit user)

The only way dogs are able to efficiently work in such harsh cold climates is if they have thick warm coats to protect them. And, that’s exactly what the Siberian Huskies have. Without thick coats, these dogs may literally freeze to death.

With that said, the near-unbearable temperatures have led Huskies to develop what’s called the double coat. As given by the name, this means a second layer of thick fur, which in turn, leads to more shedding.

Husky’s Double Coat

So what exactly is a double coat? It’s as it sounds – a coat that consists of two layers of hair or fur. However, Siberian Huskies are not the only dog breeds to have this type of coat. They’re special dogs, but not like that.

There are at least 70 recognized breeds that sport double coats. As a matter of fact, almost all the heaviest shedding dog breeds all have double coats. So, it’s not really a coincidence that this coat leads to heavier shedding.

The Husky’s coat is made up of an “undercoat,” which is an inner layer of short dense hair. It has a wool-like texture to it that you can feel if you run your fingers through their coats. And just like real wool, it’s a great insulator and keeps your Husky warm in the cold.

On the exterior of the coat, Huskies also have a “top coat.” It’s made up of much longer hair we call “guard hairs.” As the name suggests, this layer will protect your Husky from all the other harmful elements in the environment (water, debris, etc.).

Primarily thanks to their double coats, Huskies are able to pull sleds for several hours in the worst of conditions. Though unfortunately, the double coat means more shedding – or twice the opportunity for shed fur.

Husky’s Seasonal Shedding

About twice a year, most dog breeds will begin to shed more than usual. Some dogs tend to experience “excessive” shedding. That said, seasonal shedding is much worse for Huskies and other double-coated dogs.

Not only are Huskies intelligent and adaptable dogs, but apparently their coats are too. In other words, their coats will shed heavily during spring and fall in preparation for an upcoming change in temperature and season.

Huskies blow their coats twice a year. At around 2 years you’ll see the full blow happening and it really looks like another full dog is shedding from your dog.

– Sidbuttmo (Reddit)

When spring rolls around, the Siberian Husky will shed its winter coat to grow a lighter coat in preparation for summer. That’s because having a winter coat during summer would make it incredibly hard for them to survive in many places.

Similarly, when fall has arrived, your Husky will shed his summer coat and grow out his thicker winter coat. The lighter summer coat wouldn’t be able to protect them from harsh temperatures in the arctic region. And as such, this shedding cycle continues.

Dogs release allergens into the air in the process of shedding. So if you’re allergic to dogs, or rather dog dander (dandruff), then your spring or autumn allergies could get real bad with your Husky. Extra grooming and cleaning may be needed.

Poor Nutrition & Husky Shedding

Excessive shedding in Huskies can occur for multiple reasons – often related to health issues and conditions. In addition to a change in seasons, malnutrition can cause your dog to shed more than usual.

Dogs, as with humans, need the proper nutrition to maintain a healthy lifestyle. They need enough carbohydrates, protein, fiber, among other vitamins and minerals. In fact, Roy Cruzen DVM says that a poor diet is the number 1 reason for excessive shedding.

People go to discount stores, buy a 40-pound bag of cheap food, and then see their pets’ shedding increase.

– Roy Cruzen DVM

Not only can a poor diet lead to a change in behavior (personality) and a loss of energy, but the dog may also lose patches of fur. If this happens during an unusual period, it’s time to consult with your veterinarian immediately.

Make sure you’re feeding your Husky high quality dog food and treats to prevent shedding. It should cost around $4 per pound of quality dog food, according to Roy Cruzen. Also, fruits and vegetables are okay in moderation. Just make sure dogs can eat it first!

How Much do Huskies Shed?

We already know that Huskies shed a lot – and even more twice a year. But just how much do they actually shed? There’s no definitive answer to this as some dogs shed more than others, despite being the same breed.

So, we decided to ask real Husky owners this question. We surveyed the popular Husky Subreddit and other dog forums. Here’s what the owners had to say:

Real Owner Answers

1. Huskyblue says Heavy:Husky shed a lot. Owners must be willing to give up certain things in life, including dark-colored clothing and a clean house. Welcome to your new life.”

2. Floridahusky says Heavy:I have two Huskies and they both shed quite often. Plus, they need brushed at least twice a week and furminated too.”

3. Dividenhusky says Heavy:When people told me these dogs shed a lot, I didn’t really think it could be THAT bad. I was wrong…you have been warned.”

4. Savioronalaska says Heavy:You need to brush your Husky at least every other day. They have so much fur that it would be unwise to slack on it.

5. Jimbotreehugs says Heavy:My Husky sheds so much that it’s not unusual to see fur tumbleweeds rolling around the house with the fan on.”

6. Gezzir says Heavy:Is shedding really ever truly out of season for a Husky though? Shedding season for a Husky is year round.

7. Buckeyegal923 says Heavy:I’m a new home/pool owner, but an old husky owner. I really didn’t think things through before I brushed my Husky outside with a breeze. I think I’ll be skimming the pool for hours now…

8. Shippingmammals says Heavy:Huskies shed constantly. However, twice a year they’ll blow their coats out and you can literally pull handfuls of fur off them.”

9. Slyguy9766 says Heavy:Does climate dictate how much a Husky sheds? I’m asking because my Husky will only shed twice a year and not so much year-round. Also, I live in the UK where it’s mostly cloudy and rains.

10. Erivincaravan says Heavy:Anyone that tells you their Husky rarely sheds is lying or doesn’t actually own a Husky.”

Dealing with Husky Shedding

Unfortunately, there’s little we can do to change the Husky’s ability to shed at a rapid pace. Still, there are ways you can minimize the Husky shedding.

The best way to keep shedding in check is with coat maintenance. As such, most of the tips will revolve around grooming. A well-kept Husky coat will be less likely to shed all over the home. Here are the top tips for dealing with the shedding:

Brushing a Husky

If you’re not a fan of brushing dogs, then you probably shouldn’t be owning a Husky. These dogs need a lot of brushing, which may be time consuming. Not only can brushing minimize shedding, but it also keeps their coat from matting.

Twice a year, during their blowing coat seasons, they should be brushed at least every other day. And if you can, I would suggest brushing them every day during this period. Though, this really depends on your individual dog.

But any other time, Huskies only need to be brushed once every few days. At the very least, you will need to brush them once a week. It’s not terribly hard to do, but can save you more time with cleaning up after the dog.

With double coated dogs, I highly suggest you look into the Furminator De-shedding Tool. It’s an owner-favorite and tons of people swear by it. Within the Reddit community, Husky owners love it and some can’t live without it.

This brush was practically made for double coated dogs, or so it seems. The brush is great at reaching the undercoat of your Husky, thus getting out all the loose short hairs. However, we don’t recommend this for single-coated dogs.

Just check out the thousands of raving reviews and you’ll see why so many dog owners love this brush. I highly recommend you check this out at Amazon. And if you use this to brush your Husky, let us know how you like it in the comments!

Bathing Huskies

Taking regular baths is probably needed more with a Husky, especially if they frequently play or roam outside. These dogs are playful and mischievous, so rolling in dirt mud and diving into the pile of leaves are all part of their charm.

While frequent baths are good, you do not want to bathe your Husky too often. This doesn’t mean you should neglect bath time, but the less the better (in most cases).

The coats of Huskies have important oils that protect them from elements of the world. If you wash them too frequently, you’ll be washing this away before they can fully recover all the natural oils in their coats.

With that said, you’ll want to bathe your Husky at least once every three months. At the most, you can bathe them every other week, though I don’t recommend this.

The most popular choices for dogs are oatmeal-based shampoos. Here’s just a few of my top picks for shampoo:

  1. Pro Pet Works All Natural Oatmeal Dog Shampoo – Made from all natural oatmeal, this shampoo is also made in the USA too! It’s one of the best shampoos out there and frequently recommended by vets. I have personally used this for my dog.
  2. Earthbath All Natural Dog Shampoo – This time-tested shampoo has been on the market for a while with raving reviews. I haven’t tried it (plan to try very soon), but all I hear are great things.
  3. Paws and Pals Dog Shampoo – My sister’s corgi uses Paws and Pals and she loves it! Paws and Pals may not be the most popular, but they’re a very reputable company. Her corgi is always soft and fluffy, so it works!

When picking your dog shampoo, it’s important that you find one that’s as natural as possible. A dog’s skin is very sensitive, so don’t even think about using human shampoo!

Indoor & Outdoor Husky

As we mentioned, these dogs tend to shed more depending on the season. However, there are factors that can cause variation in timing. For example, the weather condition and sunlight exposure can affect how much a Husky will shed.

In other words, the shedding cycle of your Husky will most likely be influenced by whether it’s an indoor or outdoor dog.

For outdoor Huskies, they will experience the typical shedding cycle with heavier shedding during spring and fall. On the other hand, indoor Huskies are a little more unpredictable with their shedding.

Some can experience typical shedding cycles, whereas others may just have consistent year-round shedding. It also depends on how often your indoor dog spends outside every day. For example, “indoor dogs” that spend most of their day outdoors may shed like outdoor dogs.

Are Huskies for Me?

As long as you’re fine with the shedding, then a Siberian Husky is the perfect companion and family pet for active owners. Not only will you have to deal with consistent shedding, but also with their hyperactive personalities and energetic temperaments.

Huskies are more work than you think. One owner called it a second “full time job.” Combine the grooming routines and the daily mental and physical stimulation, you’ll be spending a good amount of time with your Husky, daily.

It’s not necessarily a bad thing, you just need to be aware of the time commitment. Novice dog owners often don’t realize the commitment and end up giving the Husky to shelter. But if you have patience and time, you should definitely get a Husky!

Heavy shedders or not, these dogs are amazing and spirited companions that can seamlessly fit into just about any family. Their love of humans make them decent companions for older kids, though they need plenty of socializing.

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About the author

Tracey

Tracey J is a licensed vet tech. With over 5 years of veterinary technician experience, she's dedicated her life and career to dogs. When she's not studying or working, she's taking care of her Mini Australian Shepherd - Olympus!

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