Exceedingly loyal and filled to the brim with energy, the hybrid breed known as a “Pitsky” has become very popular among those with an active lifestyle. Being a mix of the Pit Bull Terrier and Husky, there’s a lot of room for variation in size and looks.
However, one thing that remains constant about them is their love of exercise and fun. While each dog of this hybrid will have its own distinctive looks and traits, there is still plenty to know about them that might help you find one that matches you.
We’ve put together all the information you’ll need to really discover this lively dog breed. This is for you if you’re looking to become a future Pitsky owner and want to know what you’re getting yourself into, or just cannot resist reading about this unique breed.
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Pitsky: Basic Profile
Friendliness: This Husky Pitbull mix is a combination of two affectionate and loving dogs. As a result, you get a friendly and sociable mixed dog breed. Depending on which parent’s temperament traits the dog takes more from, a Pitsky can be very friendly to everyone or aloof with strangers.
Trainability: The Pit Bull side gives you a highly trainable intelligent dog breed. Due to their people-pleasing nature, they are great with obedience training. On the other hand, Huskies are more stubborn and can be harder to train. However, Pitsky owners will tell you they’re not all that bad.
Grooming: A Pitsky needs all the basic grooming essentials required with most dogs. This includes brushing, bathing, tooth brushing and nail clipping. They do shed and require basic maintenance every other week or so. And if you’re allergic to dog dander, extra coat grooming is highly recommended.
Adaptability: These dogs are not adaptable when it comes to space. Living in a cramped apartment will be difficult for these dogs, so don’t expect them to adapt to such conditions. However, Pitskies are better at adapting to different climates than their purebred parents.
Activity: If you want to keep a Pitsky, be prepared to exercise with your dog. They’re wildly energetic and need enough exercise to fully stimulate their minds and release pent up energy. Failure to do so may lead to a destructive Pitbull Husky mix.
- Height: 19 – 24 inches
- Weight: 30 – 80 pounds
- Life Expectancy: 12 – 15 years
- Dog Breed Group: Mixed breed (Working dogs)
Meet the Parents
Huskies are hardworking and intelligent dogs, originally bred to pull sleigh on treacherous long journeys across miles of snow. With such a job, it’s no wonder they’re so active, agile and athletic. You won’t find too many “calm” Huskies.
Still, the Siberian Husky is one of the most popular dogs in America, according to the AKC. Huskies provide loads of entertainment and it’s safe to say, there’s never a dull moment with a Husky.
American Pit Bull Terrier
Despite claims of Pit Bulls being one of the most dangerous dog breeds in the world, they’re actually quite loving and affectionate. Some owners would even describe their Pit Bulls as “clown dogs” who like to have fun.
Unlike the Husky, Pit Bulls are protective by nature. This helps explain why these dogs sometimes exhibit aggressive behavior. In reality, they’re just extremely loyal dogs trying to protect their owner(s).
Both Huskies and Pit Bulls do love to play hard, however. Pit Bulls can often match the energy intensity that the Husky brings to the table. For this reason, they’re ideal dogs for owners with active lifestyles.
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The Pitsky’s Appearance
The Pitsky is a cross between two dog breeds known for their physical prowess. The American Pit Bull Terrier is known for being a mass of muscle and the huskies (especially the Alaskan Husky) are famous for their work as sled dogs.
As a result, you can be sure that a mix between the two will be a stout canine. Pitskies are dogs that are built from the ground up for lots of exercise and fun.
That being said, there are a lot of factors that go into what exactly they will look like. You’ll find that they can vary quite a bit in size and shape. In other words, your Pitsky will be unique!
Size of a Pitsky
A Pitsky’s height is usually consistent, with a full-grown dog usually reaching between 19-21 inches tall at the shoulder, though some can reach up to 24”. However, their…horizontal size, let’s say, tends to be a little less predictable.
An adult Pitsky can clock in anywhere from 30-80 pounds! However, the majority of Pitskies will fall in the 35-70 pound range. Still quite a spread.
Though meeting the parents of a Pitsky puppy can give you a good idea of its future size, there is a lot of unpredictability. Depending on which genes they picked up more on, you could end up with a lean dog, or a chunky chunky buddy.
Physical Traits of a Pitsky
And the variation continues. For some Pitskies, their ears will stand up, with them looking like they are at attention every minute of the day. For others, they have ears as floppy as a rabbit’s.
One distinctive facial characteristic for this mixed breed is that they can acquire the gene for blue eyes from their husky parent. It’s certainly a special look with these mutts.
This also leaves open the possibility for a Pitsky to have heterochromia iridum, which is the technical term for having eyes of two different colors – a trait some people find mysterious and unique.
The Pitsky’s Coat
Pitskies come in all colors. In fact, there is so much variation to the colors of their coats, that to list all the possible combinations would take up an article in itself.
While you (as far as we know) shouldn’t expect to see any pink or green coats on a Pitsky, you can expect to see all manner of browns and yellows, blacks and grays. All of which, in any combination of shades and patterning. In a word, each Pitsky is a one-of-a-kind dog.
Of course, the coloring of the dam and the sire can lend some prediction to the coloring of the litter. However, if one of the parents is an Alaskan Husky, there will be even more genetic lines at play, as the Alaskan Husky itself is a hybrid.
In fact, some people even think of an Alaskan Husky as more of a type of dog rather than an actual breed due to its diverse genes. Alaskan Huskies tend to be categorized as such more by their purpose as sled dogs rather than any specific heritage.
In addition to a range of coloring, a Pitsky’s coat can be of either long hair (more like that of a husky) or short hair (resembling its pit bull parent).
A short-haired Pitsky actually can be quite an advantage for those who like huskies but live in climates that might be too warm for them.
And the opposite can be true as well for those in colder climates who always had an affection for pit bulls. A Pitsky with a longer coat would feel much more comfortable in chilly weather than with an American Pit Bull Terrier.
The Pitsky’s Temperament
To put it bluntly, this is not an apartment dog. If one word could sum up a Pitsky’s temperament, it would be energetic. Both Pit Bulls and Huskies are known for their high-energy temperaments, and owners agree that this is consistently passed down.
However, this energy does not translate to aggression, but rather a love for playing. And if a Pitsky is loved and trained well, they can be extremely loyal dogs that develop strong bonds with their owners. But getting to that point will take some patience and effort.
Training A Pitsky
The first advice is to start training young. Eight weeks is ideal, but some suggest even younger, as in 6-7 weeks. Nothing serious, but the basics of obedience will need to be there as soon as possible to make later training easier on both you and the dog!
Luckily, Pitskies are very intelligent dogs and tend to respond well to consistent training, meaning you can likely do it yourself without the help of a professional. Of course, temperament can vary from dog to dog. Some may be disinterested.
If something is not working, it’s always good to get the advice and help of a specialist. Huskies can be quite stubborn in some cases, and there is always a chance that this might have been passed down to the Pitsky pup.
Also from the husky side can come a prey drive, or a tendency to see small creatures like rabbits or cats as things to chase rather than to befriend. That said, a good way to get around this is to expose them to small animals early on.
Reward them for positive behavior (positive reinforcement) when they’re with the smaller animals. This way, they can come to see them as companions rather than potential meals.
In general, the best pattern to follow in all aspects of training a Pitsky is to be consistent and firm. It can be tempting to slack, but if you do the dog might begin to assert itself as pack leader, which can serve to set all your efforts back several steps.
However, once properly trained, a Pitsky is an incredibly loyal dog. They will be eager to please their owners and always have their back! And while they will be friendly with strangers, they’re also prepared to protect their owners should a situation arise.
Living With a Pitsky
Pitskies love and need attention. They become strongly attached to their owners, and because of this, they can become stressed if left alone for long periods of time. If you work long hours, this could lead to an unhappy dog and bad (dare i say, destructive?) behavior.
However, for this same reason they make great family dogs. It doesn’t matter who is giving them the love and attention, so long as they get it they will feel secure and safe. And once trained, they are friendly and can get along well with kids of all ages.
This also means that if you are going on vacation, simply hiring someone to come by once a day to feed your Pitsky won’t be enough. The best bet is to have a familiar friend or family member come by for several hours a day to spend time with the dog.
Otherwise, be willing to take your Pitsky to a reputable dog daycare where the dog can get the necessary attention. Without it, their loneliness can manifest itself into depression and even eventual aggression.
A tip to help with this is to start crate training from a young age. Part of the stress from being alone comes from the dog being left unsure of where to be and where it can be safe.
If the pup is taught from a young age that he or she has a safe place where they can feel sheltered and secure, then this can help mitigate the stress from being alone.
But, the bottom line is that living with a Pitsky is a commitment, one not taken lightly. Be ready to give your dog heaps of love and affection and let him or her know that you are there for them.
Exercise and Diet
You might have to cut down on binge-watching Netflix shows if you want to keep your Pitsky happy and healthy. In order to give a Pitsky the right amount of exercise, you’ll be seeing a lot less of your couch, and instead will need to break in those running shoes collecting dust in the closet.
The fact of the matter is, Pitskies like to move. They move a lot. This is great if you’re looking for a dog companion for your morning jogs or weekend hiking trips.
But if you were hoping for a calm snuggle after work…well, you might find a better match in a breed like a Cavachon.
Long walks and a wide, open yard are going to be crucial to keeping a Pitsky in good health. It also doesn’t hurt if they have an equally active dog-friend that can keep up.
Pitskies are handsome, muscular dogs and they will relish the opportunity to show off what nature has granted them. We’re talking upwards of 60 minutes of exercise a day, with some dogs being more than happy to go beyond that.
In the Pitskies mind, the more the better. To be frank, odds might be that you will get tired long before they do. Perhaps the best accessory you could have to match your Pitsky is a pair of comfortable, yet durable sports shoes.
The good news is you don’t have to do it all at once. In fact, your dog might enjoy having its exercise broken up into two periods throughout the day. Something like a walk in the morning and another in the evening.
It would also be a good idea to start looking for a nearby dog park. Walks are great for exercise, but the freedom to run and play in a dog park can give an added psychological boost!
Pitskies are intelligent dogs, and just like intelligent humans, they enjoy putting their minds to work otherwise they might get bored and restless. Thankfully, mental exercise is less time-consuming than what they need physically.
Anything that keeps their focus for about 15 minutes each day should prove enough. This can take the form of obedience training, tricks, dog puzzles or any number of games.
Though Pitskies require both mental and physical exercise in abundance, it doesn’t need to be a chore. And, it shouldn’t be treated as such.
It can easily be incorporated into activities that are fun for both the Pitsky and their owner. For example, frisbee, catch, or learning new tricks all are great examples.
You might have noticed that Pitskies can range quite a bit when it comes to weight, with some Pitskies more than double the weight of others. As such, a dog at thirty pounds will have a drastically different caloric intake from one that tops out at seventy pounds.
Overall, it can range from 600-1400 calories a day. According to Embrace, this breaks down to about 20 – 30 calories per pound of body weight.
So, if your dog ends up nearing 80 pounds of healthy muscle, be prepared to start shelling out cash for dog food to keep her fit and healthy.
But, be careful not to mistake fat for muscle. If you can’t feel your dog’s ribs, there is a chance she is becoming overweight, and you’ll likely need to make some dietary and exercise changes.
In addition to keeping track of calories, to keep a Pitsky healthy you will want to be sure she is getting enough protein and fat.
The daily needs for these are about 1.20 grams of protein per pound of body weight and 0.72 grams of fat per pound of body weight. These are muscular dogs, and they’ll need a steady supply of protein and fat to keep their muscles in shape and their energy levels up.
Health and Medical Needs
As is common for mixed dog breeds, Pitskies generally have health advantages that their purebred parents might lack.
They will be less susceptible to any genetic disorders that might pose problems for purebred pit bulls or huskies. However, life isn’t perfect and there are a few health issues that a Pitsky might run into that are worth being aware of.
With some knowledge, you might be able to treat or prevent them before they become too much of an issue.
Hyperthyroidism in the Pitsky
The symptoms of hyperthyroidism in a Pitsky are much the same as they are in humans. Essentially, their thyroid gland produces an excess of thyroxine which can have adverse effects on a dog’s metabolism.
Some physical signs are an increase in weight loss despite a simultaneous increase in appetite. Also, keep an eye out for any breathing irregularities such as wheezing or shortness of breath.
Right now, the best way to treat hyperthyroidism is with thyroid hormone supplements. Giving your dog the proper dose of supplements can help to restore the balance of hormones in the dog’s blood. So long as that is taken care of, it shouldn’t turn out to be much of a problem.
While rarely serious themselves, untreated allergies can lead to stress and discomfort for a Pitsky. Both parent breeds can be susceptible to allergies, so be on the lookout for any excessive scratching and/or licking around the fur.
If ignored, even minor allergic irritation can lead to hair loss and possible scabbing. So if you notice any odd behavior at all, it’s best to take a trip to the vet to clarify the source of the allergy and take measures to keep the Pitsky comfortable and happy.
This vulnerability comes mostly from the husky side, though both parent breeds have been known to suffer from it. What happens is that abnormal development occurs in the hips, which can lead to some constant pain and even severe loss of mobility.
Though mostly genetic, it can be exacerbated by excessive growth, or overdoing it when it comes to nutrition and exercise. While a Pitsky will love to play and eat, there are always limits to both, so be sure to keep them within the recommended ranges.
As most of the possible health issues for a Pitsky are genetic, it is always crucial to know the parents’ health history if you are considering taking home a puppy yourself.
If there is a chance that the parents might pass something down, it is always better to know and to take preventative measures than to just go in blind.
Pitskies are generally healthy dogs. As such, when their physical and mental needs are well met, Pitskies tend to live between 12-15 years.
So if all goes well you can expect to spend a good amount of time with your furry friend. Always pick a responsible and reputable breeder if you can.
How to Groom Your Pitsky
Prepare for hair! Regardless of whether a Pitsky’s coat resembles a husky’s or a pit bull’s, there will be ample shedding all year round.
Plus, you’ll likely see extra fluff flying around during the spring and fall. Lint rollers are going to become your best friend!
Because Pitskies are known to shed, they are not good hypoallergenic dogs. For sensitive dog owners, check out this list of 55 awesome hypoallergenic dog breeds.
Brushing frequency will largely be determined by the coat length and time of the year. Thicker coats will require brushing more often to keep the hair healthy.
But, this doesn’t mean a short coat can go unbrushed! Short coat or long, brushing will help control the spread of hair all over your house.
In general, we would recommend a good brush through about once a week, all things considered. If they inherit the thick double coat of the Husky, consider brushing at least every other day.
It will help keep shedding under control and can even be a time of bonding between owner and pet.
A good thorough wash will be in order about once every two months. But, if you think your Pitsky could use a bath, don’t put it off!
These dogs love to play, and that can mean they’ll pick up a layer or two of dirt now and then. It’ll happen, especially if they’re outdoor dogs.
In addition to a full bath every two months (unless needed earlier), it is a good idea to clean a Pitsky’s ears about every other week.
And don’t forget their teeth! They will need a good brushing several times a week, especially if you’re feeding them human foods as dog treats.
Is a Pitsky Right for You?
The Pitbull Husky mix comes in all colors and sizes. While some might find such wide variation to not be their thing, those who like a bit of a risk and gamble will probably like the variety. It is pretty much a guarantee that there is a Pitsky who has exactly the looks they are hoping for!
Upbeat and social, these dogs are a match for people who have similar characteristics. Those who like the outdoors and exercise will find a Pitsky to be a perfect partner who can accompany them on runs and in exploration.
If you want a breed that is a little more low-key, then a Pitsky might not fit the bill. A bit stubborn from their husky side, you’ll need to have patience to properly train a Pitsky. But, once you do, you are sure to have a loyal dog who stands by you. It’s just a matter of starting early and being consistent!
If you have a big family or a home that is rarely empty, then a Pitsky will love it. They need attention to feel safe and protected, and the more often you or your family are at home, the better it will be for both of you.
If you work long hours or are often away from home, then be prepared to hire dog sitters or find a good dog daycare center.
All in all, if you’ve got plentiful stores of energy and are ready to share, few dogs will match you as well as a playful Pitsky! They are even-tempered, friendly, and starkly loyal, and they are fantastic companions for those who are ready to keep pace with them!
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