Given the rounds of comical husky videos making the rounds on social media, you wouldn’t consider huskies to be dangerous. How could these adorable fluffballs, with their uncannily human verbal mannerisms and clownish expressions, present any sort of danger?
However, studies show that huskies could be among the world’s most dangerous dog breeds, with many insurance companies adding them to their lists of risks.
Is this bad rep just a result of bad luck and misunderstanding, or is there some truth to the claim?
Here’s what you need to know about huskies and the breed’s potential danger.
Huskies and Danger: What the Numbers Say
Numerous studies point toward huskies being a dangerous breed.
For example, a study that analyzed dog bites between 1979 and 1998 showed that huskies were responsible for mauling 15 people to death in the period.
This was backed by Hill and Associates, a Philadelphia-based legal firm.
Another study by Dogsbite showed that in the 13 years between 2005 and 2017, huskies caused 3% of the 433 dog-bite-related deaths, which amounts to 13 deaths out of 433.
While other dog breeds such as pit bulls and Rottweilers had worse statistics to their credit, that doesn’t discount the fact that huskies caused quite a few casualties and ranked seventh out of twenty breeds on the list, especially when among hundreds of other breeds that didn’t cause even a single death in the study period.
Additionally, Dogsbite’s study only accounted for dog-bite-related fatalities; the case may have leaned even more strongly against huskies if non-dog-bite-related fatalities had also been considered.
But if huskies are not dangerous by nature, what makes them dangerous at all?
Why a Husky Could Be Dangerous
Huskies have a ton of positive characteristics, such as:
- Being friendly towards and not excessively suspicious or cautious of unknown people and strangers.
- Being extremely sociable, given their background as pack animals, and very playful.
- Craving company, both human and animal, again due to their pack-dog nature.
- Being affectionate and lovable, with cuddle time going highly appreciated.
However, like any dog, huskies also have their share of undesirable features. While some of these may be a result of their personalities, some of them are a result of external characteristics such as irresponsible breeding, abuse, trauma, and unsuitable environments.
Here’s a breakdown of the factors that could make a husky dangerous.
Huskies were bred to be work dogs that pull heavy loads across challenging terrain. It only makes sense that they would have a physique to match, helping them accomplish their primary purpose.
Even if most huskies are not longer sled-pullers today, their genetic makeup still results in dogs that are medium to large-sized, with males being bigger and heavier.
Such a physique comes with a certain amount of inherent power and strength, one of which is the strength of their bite—huskies bite at a force of 320 psi (wolves bite at 406, for context), which can easily cause the breakage of bones, let alone tearing flesh.
Coupled with their playful nature, agility, and energy, a husky’s physical characteristics can be quite dangerous to those who can’t handle them, such as small children and other small pets.
Huskies love play-fighting with their pack mates (in the case of house pets, their families)—this is in their nature because of their previous pack lives, and it is, by no means, wrong.
However, they may not be able to perceive the strength of their playmate, recognize their own strength, or know when to stop, which can lead to injuries even when the husky is being playful.
In a horrifying case, a husky, in an attempt to stop the baby from crying, grabbed the baby with its jaws just as it would have done with a pup. As you can guess, this led to the baby’s death, which the husky had no way of knowing.
Additionally, the wolf-like appearance of the breed may throw off certain factions of the population.
Huskies are highly active dogs with excellent stamina and seemingly endless reserves of energy to aid their affinity for physical activity.
Therefore, even as pets, huskies need sufficient mental and physical stimulation, failing which the pent-up energy could lead to aggressive, destructive behavior.
Such behavior is a sign of the dog’s frustration, which is begging to be let out in any form—usually, the destruction of anything around, regardless of living or non-living.
Just a walk once a day won’t cut it; at least an hour, once in the morning and the evening, is the minimum exercise requirement for your husky, but always keep an eye out for signs of overheating.
A Stubborn and Independent Nature
Huskies have a stubborn streak, which makes training them quite a challenge. These dogs have a strong mind of their own, only doing things as and when they want, unlike other breeds that are eager to please.
While this is something to respect, it also means that huskies are hard to control and you can never be 100% sure that your husky can be trusted to remain in control and well behaved.
Also Read: Can Huskies Be Service Dogs?
Abuse and Trauma
If you’ve adopted a husky that’s displaying dangerous behavior, abuse and past trauma could lie at the root of the issue.
Dogs that have been subjected to a harsh past are aggressive, unmanageable, and dangerous. You never know what could trigger aggression in the dog unless you’re well acquainted with its past.
If a puppy’s parents had any disease, there’s a high chance that the pup will also have it.
Insufficiently stringent laws and the desire to capitalize on the current demand for huskies have led to quite a bit of irresponsible breeding, which has resulted in sick puppies and dogs with behavioral issues stemming from these.
Adopt; if not, shop responsibly from a rescue center instead of a puppy mill or a breeder. If your pup is from a breeder, the least you can do is get its DNA checked for any inherited genetic diseases, which will at least give you the chance to prepare, should there be any issues.
Preventing Aggression in Huskies
Proper training and socialization from your husky’s puppy days will give you a better chance at dealing with and managing your Sibe. Early training is even more paramount in a stubborn breed like huskies than it is in other breeds.
The stubbornness also means that you’re going to have to exercise tons of patience to train your husky, but patience and commitment will go a long way in ensuring successful training.
Firmly establishing yourself as the alpha will also motivate your pupper to listen to you and also help it feel safe and secure.
Lastly, don’t make an exception for bad behavior even once!
Training your husky may continue well into his or her adult days; your adult dog could pick up unhealthy habits that need to be corrected, so stay consistent.
And, of course, if you’ve been paying attention, you’ll know that you need to give up absolutely any dream of making a guard dog out of your husky!
Are Kids Safe around Huskies?
Huskies love playmates and hence, love being around children. They’re not possessive either.
However, as mentioned earlier, the size and strength of these dogs could be harmful to small kids. A husky could unintentionally, easily knock over a small child.
Additionally, if not properly trained and socialized, huskies may not know how to behave around small children.
Therefore, it is advisable not to leave small kids alone with huskies.
When it comes to older children, huskies are excellent playmates, but biting should be strongly discouraged.
Also Read: Are Huskies Good Guard Dogs?
Huskies are not inherently dangerous dogs, but a range of external factors and some needs might result in a dangerous dog, especially in the wrong house.
Huskies are high-maintenance dogs and need families that can meet their needs. There are too many heart-breaking cases of huskies being put down or abandoned simply because they were misunderstood or improperly trained.
Therefore, if you’re planning to bring home a husky, remember that it’s going to be quite a 14-year-long investment of your energy and time, and only welcome a husky into the family if you can be the parent the dog needs.