Would a Siberian Husky Be a Good Family Pet?

Updated on September 03, 2014
C.B. asks from Palatine, IL
29 answers

We have three children - 9, 7 and 3 1/2 - and would like to add a puppy to our family. This will be our first family pet and we're leaning towards a husky. I'd love to hear any pro's and con's that you can think of about huskies. Also, if you would strongly suggest another breed, I'd like to hear that as well along with your reasoning. Thank you so much!

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So What Happened?

Thank you so much to everyone for offering your thoughts on this! After reading them all, I'm confident that a husky, although adorable, is not the right fit for our family. I am a stay at home mom and will be home all day with the puppy but a distance runner, I am not. We've started researching other breeds online and have plans to head out to a local shelter tomorrow with the whole family to see a variety of breeds. Thank you again!!!

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answers from Anchorage on

Do you have a huge yard? Do you like to sled, hike, run, or are you otherwise extremely active in a way that the dog could participate in? Huskies need a ton of exercise, and if they don't get it and get bored they can be overly energetic and cause damage to a home.

6 moms found this helpful


answers from Denver on

probably not the best choice... like to escape, and play rough, are huge, and needs ltos of training. I agree w/ the recommendation of a shelter dog - 1-2 years old. I love the hearding dogs (border colle, australian shepherd mixes... ) they are very protective of the family and usually amazing w/ kids. Although ALL DOGS are LOTS of work! What you invest in training and attention will show in the dog's behavior. Best of luck!

5 moms found this helpful


answers from Lakeland on

Please do some research about different breeds and which are good family pets. Husky's are beautiful but very high maintenance, they shed so much and enjoy hunting small animals (birds, rabbits, etc.).

4 moms found this helpful

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answers from Phoenix on

I have known several huskies throughout my life, and they have all been great dogs. However, they are a more challenging breed in several ways. They are bred to be working dogs, so they are very, very high energy. They are meant to be WORKING every day, so they have to be energetic to do their job. That said, if you do not focus their energy, it can be used for evil! That is where you get destructive behavior like chewing or digging, escaping, etc. I have heard that Malamutes can be a bit more chill. We had Norwegian Elkhounds growing up- they have a similar sled dog look, with the curly tail- and they were great dogs. Very loving and family-friendly. But they also had the issue with tons of fur- they have an under coat to keep them warm in cold weather, like huskies and other "sled dogs," and that coat sheds horribly.
My very best suggestion, as the daughter of a veterinarian, is to go to several shelters with the whole family and meet a wide range of dogs. Before you go, decide some basics- how much time do you have to give to the dog right away, do you have people in your family who want a running buddy, etc, so you have a basic template for the shelters. Do you want a high-energy, chase a frisbee all day, come hiking every weekend and running every evening dog? Or a 15-minute walk and snuggle on the couch dog? Or something in between?
Then find a dog that fits you. You might be surprised! My first dog as an adult was a Neapolitan Mastiff rescue. I had never even heard of the breed, but it was love at first sight and that girl was just about the best dog ever. Having gone with many friends to pick out a dog, it is a really great experience. There are definitely "chemistry" elements to choosing your perfect new family member. Restricting the breed can limit options you didn't even know were perfect for you :)

9 moms found this helpful


answers from Salinas on

Great, beautiful dogs but every Husky I've known was a fence jumping, long distance running, Houdini with more energy than a wolf.

They just love to roam and they are huge. As a first family pet with children as young as yours I wouldn't do it. They also shed like crazy.

My husband and I took care of a friend's Husky for an extended time while in our early twenties. You could have built another dog with the fur that came off that sweet girl. Not something I would want to deal with at this point in my life!

7 moms found this helpful


answers from Portland on

I would not get a puppy of any breed if I had children that young. Training a puppy takes consistent, daily training and near constant awareness of their activity. I suggest that a puppy is more difficult than a baby.

My family has successfully adopted older dogs from a shelter. The shelter staff has helped us find dogs that suited our family's needs. An older dog that is already mostly trained or one that is young enough to train but is past the puppy stage.

One of those was a Siberian Husky/Samoyed mix which fit well in our family. He was mellow, definitely an adult when we got him. We lived on a farm at first and he had the run of the outdoors. He did adapt to city living when we moved but that wasn't the best environment for him. I doubt he'd done well if he'd been younger.

And he often escaped in the city. He really needed more room to run off his energy. His tail did knock things around. And we could not put food on the table unless someone would guard it. One holiday he snatched a roast of the pan sitting on the oven door when my Dad briefly turned his back. Fortunately we weren't squeamish. Dad chased him, grabbed it back, wiped it off and we ate it. I still chuckle at the antics we experienced.

5 moms found this helpful


answers from Atlanta on

Does your family participate in marathons and triathlons? If not, a Husky is not the dog for you. They are high energy dogs.

I love Husky's. They are beautiful dogs and very smart. If this is your first dog EVER??? NO. You need a mellow breed. Mastiff's are mellow - HUGE - some can weigh 150lbs. They DO NOT run around a lot.

Smaller dogs like Miniature Pinchers and Chihuahua's are not small kid family dogs either.

Talk to a rescue organization, tell them about your lifestyle and hobbies and find a dog that works within those parameters. Do not just bring any dog home. You need to go together as a family and find that one, that special one that fits your family.

5 moms found this helpful


answers from Erie on

I worked in a pet store when I was in college (I'm no expert, but I did have a responsibility to make sure people were well suited to care for the specific breed they wanted and often helped people pick one out), and if there was one thing I learned, it was that the best way to choose a breed was to read a book about different breeds of dogs. Cats are pretty much all the same, but each dog breed has it's own needs, and each one also has a job. Decide what you want for your family. A lap dog? A work dog? A guard dog? A fetching dog? Do you want a dog you can leave for most of the day if necessary or one you take with you when you go on vacation? Shelties are good dogs for families with wide open spaces, but they need a herding job to be happy. Retrieves need to play fetch, a lot. Labs need a lot of exercise. Small dogs can't be left alone a long time. Many are barkers.

I knew one family with a Husky when my kids were young. It was hard spending time in their home, the dog was like a bull in a china shop, they lived in the city and couldn't possibly exercise him enough.

5 moms found this helpful


answers from Muncie on

According to your location, the weather would be fine. I would NOT recommend one if you had lived in AZ or CA. As is, you may want to look into routine summer grooming to clip your pup's fur short for the heat, also they SHED when the weather changes. Some owners choose to groom outside and just let the fluff fly for the local birds.

They are HIGH energy dogs. They thrive best when they have places where they can run. They are also very strong and LOVE to PULL. Your children may not be able to ever walk their dog and you are more then likely going to be the one walked when you take pup out. A chest harness is best, NO collar and leash.

They are beautiful and loyal. They can be CRAZY smart and need to be stimulated or they might get into trouble trying to entertain themselves. They aren't small dogs for sure, but if you have the property and house space, all is good. They have coffee table cleaning tails, thick and strong. Knick-knacks are at risk. You have a 3 year old, so your home could be ready. I would recommend to anyone that they toddler proof their home if they plan on a husky.

They can be noisy, not barking, but howling/singing and "talking". Take a look at Youtube for huskies, you'll see.

I grew up in Florida and some family friends were breeders,I worked for them in the summers. I also lived in Alaska for several years and did the Iditarod every year I was there.

5 moms found this helpful


answers from San Francisco on

Totally agree with Hell on Heels. Huskies are beautiful, very smart, very HIGH ENERGY dogs. They need to run, a LOT, every day, and not just around the back yard. Not a good fit for busy families with young kids, as young kids get bored with pets pretty quickly. Please go to the library and check out some books on different breeds, there are so many wonderful, mellow and sweet breeds out there! And of course check out the local shelter, plenty of sweet dogs there as well.

5 moms found this helpful


answers from San Francisco on

Unless you're a distance runner and are willing to take the dog running daily, I would say that this is not going to be a good fit for you. Any dog that is high energy and a working dog (Husky, Border Collie, Australian Shepherd, Malamute, and so on) is going to want to do what it was bred to do. Huskies want to run and run and run. So unless that's what you want to do, too, this is not the dog for you. Also, Huskies are known to be a little tricky to train, especially if you're not an experienced dog owner. Being that this is your first dog, maybe go with a breed that's a little more laid-back.

Something like an English Sheepdog might appeal to you if you are dead-set on a big dog (still fluffy, still great with kids, significantly lower energy, easy to train). If you would consider a smaller dog, look into the Cavalier King Charles Spaniel. They get to be about 20 pounds, are sturdy enough for young kids to play with them, are very easy-going, and can be tired out by chasing kids around the yard. We have one, and after a decade of owning Boxers (another breed I would not recommend - they're dumber than a box of rocks, slobbery, high-energy, tons of health issues), we adore our Cavalier! He's a smart, fun little guy, not yappy, and a great playmate for the kids.

5 moms found this helpful


answers from Washington DC on


I'm sorry - the only person who can answer this question for YOUR FAMILY is a rescue organization or a breeder.

Huskies are HIGH ENERGY dogs. They are PACK dogs...they are not like any other breed - these dogs were bred for TEAM work and PACK life. They can get big. Huskies need = MUST HAVE - an "ALPHA" - that means someone who commands AND LEADS not just plays. This means a lot of intense training and one-on-one time. Since they are "pack" dogs? You will find they will find their place in the pecking order. So training MUST be consistent...

Husky's are like German Shepards and are prone to his dysplasia. It is an expensive surgery.

here's a link for you

Here's another link

I have a pit bull/boxer mix. I am the Alpha in the house. I am home with him every day. I am the leader, he knows this and does NOT challenge me. He knows his place in the pack because we have taught him his place in the pack. He is the perfect dog for us. He is now 4 years old. We adopted him when he was 10 weeks old. He house trained him, leash trained him and taught him how to do steps (yes, many dogs need to be taught this! LOL!)

You need to talk to a rescue foundation and you need to have ALL of your family with you when you find a FAMILY dog. You need to understand the breed and know what your family life is like.

Dogs ARE part of the family.
If you are NOT going to be there during the day - especially if they are a puppy? Not fair to the puppy to be crated or left alone all day. I know there are plenty of dogs who are fine home alone....this is NOT something you enter into lightly.

Good luck!

4 moms found this helpful


answers from Las Vegas on

I had a husky for nearly 16 years. I loved her so much! She was sweet, loving, loyal, protective, very smart, and so much fun.

BUT…….her name should have been Mischief! I was single (most of that time) and had no kids then. She was my kid. Huskies LOVE their people and want to be with them all the time! They get into trouble when they are alone and/or bored. Like getting into the pantry, opening containers and boxes of EVERYTHING and scattering and smearing all of it around the entire kitchen right before you are leaving for an out of town trip kind of trouble.

They like to steal food, too. I recall one holiday Sahsa running down the hall with a loaf of French bread she nabbed from the counter. She hid with it behind a couch and devoured most of it before I could stop her. My mom was not amused.

Huskies are built to run. They have crazy energy!!!! She and I would walk for miles, and she'd never tire. You have to be able to walk a husky a lot or have a safe, fenced place they can run. And I mean really, really, safe. They can dig under and jump over lots of average fences and get into trouble with traffic. They are not traffic-smart because they just want to run!

Additionally, you would have to ensure the kids didn't accidentally let her bolt passed them out of the house and into the street. They do that, even with adults, so I doubt with how young your kids are they would be able to keep the dog safe.

Huskies also act like puppies for the first several years of life. They like to jump on you and your guests upon greeting, and they chew like crazy! Doors, woodwork, your favorite shoes, wallets, just about anything. Of course, you can train them to chew only on their toys and provide lots of rawhide type chews, but you do have to put the time in to train. Again, not sure you have that kind of time with three little ones.

I see you live in Palatine. I have family who live there, so I'm very familiar with the whole city. If you live in an average Palatine neighborhood, I'm thinking no for a husky. Even if your yard is fenced, it may not be enough to keep a husky safe. So many busy main roads. Your kids aren't old enough to handle and help with walks with this high-energy breed.

The hair is also an issue. You have to vacuum all the time. You probably already do that with three little ones, but it's different. Husky hair is course and straight and finds its way into everything. Even after vacuuming, I'd go over everything with a roller tape to wrangle the stubborn hairs stuck to furniture, carpets, and clothes.

Sad to say all this because I love huskies. They are so loving and so much fun, but they probably aren't the best fit for your family at this time.

I'd vote for a shelter dog. There are so many that need loving families.
Good luck with your search!

J. F.

4 moms found this helpful


answers from Denver on

I adore huskies but don't think they are best with kids, or as a 1st dog. For kids as young as your youngest, I recommend golden retrievers highly, but I also suggest you get an older dog, like Marda P below, and I'd get it from a rescue organization, not a shelter. Good rescue organizations will check YOU out first, then you visit with the dog in the home where it's being fostered, then it visits in your home (and stays if it's a match). The best thing here is that it saves a LOT of heartache, because the people who foster these animals are rarely delusional about the animal's temperaments, and will steer you towards a dog that suits your family and lifestyle. Many will not adopt to you if you have children under 4 or 5, but some will.

So - as much as huskies are awesome, I think a golden makes a better "1st dog" for a home with kids. They can be goofy and energetic, and they need a lot of exercise too, but they are sweet and eager to please.

4 moms found this helpful


answers from New York on

Maybe with older children. Not with younger kids. These dogs require a lot if care. Need a lot of room to excercise, run. I would go with a more child friendly dog personally.

4 moms found this helpful


answers from San Francisco on

I can tell you this - the dog is going to grow MUCH faster than your 3.5 yo. So be prepared for the little guy/gal to get knocked over ALOT. Also, you need to be sure you have a big enough house and yard to accommodate a dog of that size. And please consider the hair thing - it is a HUGE problem, especially when you have a 3.5 yo who puts things in his/her mouth. You will have hair all over the floor, furniture, your clothing - you name it, it will be covered in hair. I also think it's cruel to have one of those dogs in a hot/humid climate so please also consider the comfort of the dog year round.

4 moms found this helpful


answers from Santa Barbara on

No, not a good pet with children. The ones we had were never scary or biters, just too much to handle. They played too rough.

We had a couple as a kid and they always knocked over me and my friends. I recall lying to my teachers and parents (i'm surprised CPS was not called on my family with all the marks). One of our sweet siberian huskies knocked me into fire and soon after he was given to a single construction worker who would have the dog run fast miles with him and pull him on a skate board. I was about 7 years old and loved the dog, yet my parents must have thought he was no longer safe to have around us kids.

They are so beautiful though.

I lean towards German Shepherds, yet know I am not in a place to handle one.

Boxers are wonderful with children.

There is also a reason Labs and Golden Retrievers are so popular with families.

4 moms found this helpful


answers from Los Angeles on

I had O..
They're very independent. Kind of like having a car--but a dog.
Mine was not very kid friendly. She was a major chewer. Extreme puppy chewing. They're down the dog intelligence list at about #40. But the are sly. Can be sneaky.
(I know people that have huskies that are quite loving with their kids.)
The hair is 24/7/365. I vacuumed EVERY day.
Still...I miss her! 😜

3 moms found this helpful


answers from San Francisco on

We had a Husky and I agree with much of what others have said.

Purina has a "Find the best dog for you" section of their website:

It might help you decide :)

3 moms found this helpful


answers from Cleveland on

English mastiffs. Most mastiffs are named gentle giants. They are large dogs and grow quickly but they are well behaved and very very gentle. I will own a mastiff one day. I know if quite a few people that have new borns and older mastiffs and they are so gentle to the babies that'd be my first recommendations

3 moms found this helpful


answers from Chicago on

I am not going to look at the other answers just yet. There are good and bad reasons to have a Siberian huskey. First of all they are adorable and sweet.In our case she chewed up the entire couch and dug holes in the yard.
Next they love love love to be outdoors. So we have an absolutely gigantic yard and she would jump the fence! She loved to run, run, and run. We put her on a run, but that seemed cruel. We finally realized we had to get her a different location (we live near a busy highway). He was just outside escaping and was hit by a boy probably just got his license. The boy was hysterical. The dog was fine but I knew we couldn't keep her; My son and I turned her over to a place and cried and cried and sobbed oh it was horrible. We loved her. The good news is she was adopted by a family a few minutes later and they had an extremely high fence around the yard.So that is my story. waaa still feel sad.

3 moms found this helpful


answers from Beaumont on

An idea...there are rescue sites for every breed of dog. I would seek the Siberian Husky rescue site nearest you. . They will tend to be in larger cities. They know their dogs personalities WELL. Explain your needs to someone there as well as your concerns. They will know which of their dogs fits your needs.

2 moms found this helpful


answers from Jacksonville on

Hmm. I agree that a Husky may not be a good fit. But you didn't mention what you are looking for in a dog. Can't really make any recommendations without knowing your lifestyle in general. SAHM, with 3 kids... ok... but what do you do, how do you live?
You aren't a distance runner. Does that mean you aren't active outdoors at all, or just that you don't run marathons? Do you boat, swim, go to the gym regularly but not have free time outdoors hanging out in the yard? Do you sit quietly and read and play board games with the kids, or do you get loud and crazy, and spend time outside playing in the sandbox or riding bikes?
Are the older kids in organized sports so you are in/out a lot? Do you plan to take your dog with you to those events? Could you?

Do you plan to allow a dog on your furniture? Have it in the house at all or only outside? (I don't recommend sticking a dog outside. They are pack animals and are very social and need to be a part of your family social unit day in/day out. That just won't happen if they live outside.)

I don't know the answers to the above questions.
But, if you are looking for a larger breed, GSDs are fabulous family pets. They are smart. They are great with children (if they are raised with them and socialized properly--not unlike any other dog in this respect). They are loyal. They can be very quiet indoors. They can run and play outside for hours without any apparent fatigue. They shed. Like crazy. But they are wonderful, loving, intelligent family members and companions. As with any dog, you need to properly train and social them. Unlike with some other breeds, they are so intelligent that if you are not careful, they will train you instead. Do your reading and research. No matter what dog you decide is a good fit for your family. You will need to have a plan for training and socialization.
Good luck. And happy additions to your family in the not so distant future.

(btw, our daughter had just turned 3 when we brought home our 10 wk old GSD baby. They grew up together.)

2 moms found this helpful


answers from New York on

We got our boxer when the kids were 5 and 2, and she has been wonderful with the kids. Great family dogs.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Chicago on

We don't have any pets and I'm not well versed in breeds. I'm being pushed to get a dog. I met someone with a Golden Doodle and fell in love. It was so good with my kids (10,8, 7) and doesn't shed much, also very obedient.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Minneapolis on

We have a purebred German Shepherd Dog - a European Working Dog. I love her! She is now 5 and gentle, fun, well-trained and smart. I take her for a 3 mile run or hike or to a dog park almost every day. She has a back yard to run in. She is great with kids of all ages. She sheds a lot. And, the first two years or more she needed a lot of guidance and training. She went to a 2-week "bootcamp" at the breeders and that helped a lot. My ex is a large man with a larger voice and was able to be the "pack" leader. He is also retired and is home most of the time with her. She tends to be protective around other dogs and needs an aware hand on the leash, just in case. My 12 year-old daughter is very capable of being out with her.

Friends of ours with three boys have a Labradoodle and they are GREAT "busy family with kids" dogs. They are gentle, don't shed, are big enough to handle kids' play. Goldendoodles also. Or a Lab - not as smart but loving and good family dogs. Or, a mixed breed rescue dog but only after asking a LOT of questions of the rescue place about behavior and why it was surrendered. And time visiting to observe how it is with your children.

I don't always trust the "stories" told in order to place a pet from a rescue place. I've been burned with cats with bad behaviors, even as an experienced cat owner. So, that route can be great, just be aware. And, I'd go looking for possibilities without the children along...

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Washington DC on

probably not. huskies are beautiful, but they are very very busy, and need lots of exercise and socialization. you have the numbers to give it, but not the experience. i'd start off with a quieter, less needy sort of dog. and you might want to think about adopting an older dog who doesn't need to be housebroken, at least for your first dog. puppies are a LOT of work, even for experienced dog owners.
good luck!


answers from Kalamazoo on

We have a Malamute (similar to Husky) and they are NOT first time owner dogs. As others have said, they are high energy and they are pack animals. Our malamute does not really like other dogs, especially little ones, and she often kills critters in our yard - possums, bunnies, ground hog, moles, squirrels........you get the picture.
I would strongly, strongly suggest a nice lab mix pup from the shelter. When picking from a litter, go with the most submissive one. :) they make good pets, especially for first timers! and check into obedience classes near you - they don't train the dog, they train you!!! worth every penny! A well behaved dog makes everyone happier. good luck!



answers from Baton Rouge on

Huskies are high-energy working dogs. Working dogs that don't get a chance to work become neurotic. Unless you are going to have a lot of time to devote to letting this dog burn off energy, I would suggest a more laid-back breed.

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