Miniature Husky | Introduction To This Unique Breed
Long a popular breed of dog, the Siberian Husky has recently had a remodel. Meet the Miniature Siberian Husky!
The Siberian Husky has long been a favorite canine breed. Strikingly beautiful wolf-like markings with a fabulous temperament, many dog lovers never go back to anything else once they have had a Husky.
However, as a medium to large dog, Huskies can be too much to handle for some pet owners. In recent years some Siberian Husky breeders have been downsizing to make a more compact version of this very lovable breed.
The Miniature Siberian Husky (MSH for short) is still considered a pedigreed Siberian Husky if it comes from registered parents. It is not a separate breed. For some though, size matters, and this little charmer has become a popular choice for those that want all the personality without the bulk.
This review will give you a comprehensive look at this fun breed to help you decide if this is the dog for you!
To understand the history of the Miniature Husky we have to look at the full history of the Siberian Husky.
Like the Samoyed and Alaskan Malamute, the ancestors of the Husky were used for hunting and sledding by indigenous people throughout the northern hemisphere. These so-called Eskimo dogs were bred to be particularly well adapted to the cold conditions of Siberia, Alaska, Canada, Labrador, Greenland and Baffin Island.
The Chukchi people of northeastern Asia are credited with developing the specifics of the Husky breed. Originally they bred dogs to aid with hunting reindeer. These dogs were likely heavier in weight than the modern Husky breed. However, as the climate became warmer, the Chukchi people became more nomadic, moving their entire camp to follow their primary food source.
With the change in the lifestyle of these native people, their values in their dogs changed as well. They prized a more lightweight dog with high endurance that could be used as a sled dog in packs as large as 20 for moving heavy loads across long distances.
In addition, the pups of these dogs were raised at camp by the women and children of the tribes. Thus, they were selectively bred to have excellent temperaments with young people and are prized to this day for having playful, non-aggressive personalities. The gentle nature of Huskies remains one of the defining characteristics of the breed that stands out from the other sled dog breeds.
The breed became known in the America’s in the early 1900’s when they were used for competing in dog races as well as for working sledding dogs. Their duties included delivering mail, gold prospecting and enabling exploratory expeditions over the tough terrain of North America.
Because they are smaller and more lightweight than other sledding dog breeds, Huskies came to dominate in long distance dog sledding races popular in the early decades of the 1900’s.
They became famous world-wide after a lifesaving mission in 1925. Several teams of mushers and their K9 teams worked together in relay fashion to travel over 600 miles to deliver a lifesaving anti-toxin to Nome, Alaska during a deadly diphtheria outbreak. Gunner Kaasen and his lead Husky dog Balto were the ones to cross into Nome with the medicine and a statue was erected to commemorate them in Central Park, NYC.
Huskies were recognized by the American Kennel Club in 1930, around the same time that Siberia closed exportation of the breed. The breed has been a popular one in America, staying in the top 15 most popular breeds for several years.
Breeding Miniature Huskies is relatively new on the scene. The goal has been to capture all of the endearing qualities of the Siberian Husky in a smaller package. Mini-Huskies are not crossbred or hybrids. They are simply the result of selective breeding for smaller size for the purpose of companion and family dogs that are more manageable for modern lifestyles.
Ideally, a Miniature Husky has retained all of the excellent temperament qualities of the Siberian Husky. Chief among their stand out qualities is a jovial temperament prone to starting games with a high tolerance for new people, places and things.
Always ready for adventure, yet gentle in nature, Miniature Huskies make excellent pets for families with small children or those with active lifestyles. In addition, they are usually very good with other dogs, preferring a game to squabbling over toys or getting caught up in dog-dog aggression.
Even though they are smaller in stature than regular Siberian Huskies, they do require just as much exercise since they are the same exact breed, only smaller. Plan on regular trips to the dog park or other outdoor adventures to keep these beautiful and playful dogs content and balanced.
This is a very intelligent canine. You can expect a dog that is easy to train as long as you keep training fun and brief, particularly for pups. Because they are both easily bored and have a mischievous independent streak, Miniature Huskies can become frustrated or distracted if training goes on too long or is too repetitive.
It is also important to use positive training methods with your Miniature Husky. Too much correction will quickly make your pup realize that training just isn’t fun. For Huskies, fun is the name of the game!
Another stand out feature of this breed is that they are surprisingly clean. In an almost cat-like way, most Huskies will spend time each day cleaning their fur, making them one of the more fastidious dog breeds.
If well exercised and mentally stimulated, Miniature Huskies can be left alone safely. However, it is recommended that you crate train them to keep them from getting destructive if bored.
In addition, if you plan to keep your Miniature Husky in a fenced yard, you will need a very durable fence indeed. Like their larger siblings, these K9s are known for being adventurous escape artists that are prone to follow the fun whenever they can.
The AKC breed standards for Siberian Huskies are restricted to males under 23.5” and females under 22”. They tend to weigh between 25-60 pounds.
There is no breed standard for Miniature Huskies since the AKC does not recognize them as a separate breed. However, breeders tend to try to keep their mini’s around 15-20 pounds lighter and almost half the overall height of typical Siberian Huskies.
Being relatively new to the dog world, MSH’s are still fairly variant in size range. If you want to be sure that your pup will be small when fully grown, be sure to work closely with a reputable breeder and get some information on their previous litters and breeding program.
Coat & Appearance
Luckily the many different faces of Siberian Huskies are preserved in the MSH lines. Unique head patterns and eye coloration are both to be expected in the miniature lines. A gorgeous wide range of colors from black to white and just about anything in between is allowed in the AKC breed standard.
Like other dogs bred for cold climates, Huskies have a double coat. In the Fall and Spring Huskies have a major molt. In the Fall, a thick and downy undercoat will start to grow, triggered by colder weather. It will push out some of the dead fur and some special grooming will be required.
In the Spring, encouraged by a warmer climate, the undercoat will shed, coming off in huge patches. While it is a hassle for a few days to a week, most Husky owners find that good undercoat brush used outdoors followed by a “blow out” with a hair dryer will do the trick.
Other than the twice annual major undercoat shedding, Huskies require very little coat maintenance. However, do keep in mind they do not do well in very warm climates due to the ever-present undercoat. In addition, it is not ethical or practical to shave them for warmer weather since their coat provides protection from the sun’s rays. They are better suited for colder or temperate climates where getting to a cool spot is always an option.
Health & Life Expectancy
The two major health issues with Siberian Huskies are hip dysplasia and a few different congenital eye problems. However, both are relatively low occurring issues in this overall healthy breed.
There is not enough data yet to know if the smaller Miniature Huskies might lower the risk of hip dysplasia, a defect that tends to plague larger dog breeds more than others. Make sure that your breeder can show good records of long health for their dogs before purchasing to be more confident in the health of your MSH.
The Siberian Husky has a 12-15 year life expectancy. Again, since MSH are so new, a good body of data on life expectancy is not available. However, we can expect the same (or longer) life expectancy since smaller dogs do tend to have longer life expectancies as a general rule among canines.
Overall Pro's & Con's
- Huskies are relatively quiet, and lean towards talky or yodeling types of noises over barks. This can make them good for apartment living as long as they are getting out and about for plenty of exercise.
- Multi-dog households and families with smaller children will appreciate that MSHs tend to get along with both very well.
- Both trainable and adaptable, Mini-Huskies make excellent travel companions for folks who love outdoor adventure.
- Other than a semi-annual shedding event that lasts about a week, you will find MSHs to have minimal needs for keeping a sharp and clean, well-groomed look.
- You will need to provide your Mini-Husky with plenty of exercise since this working dog was bread for a high energy lifestyle.
- Good diggers and jumpers, Huskies in general are not the best breed for spending time outdoors unattended. Expect holes in the lawn and a possible escape if you go this route!
- These are not the best dogs for off-leash exploration unless you are a very experienced trainer. A high prey drive, insatiable curiosity, and the ability to wander off a long distance makes this breed prone to getting into trouble if allowed to roam.
- If you are looking for a dog that can thrive alone during the work week, this is not a good choice. They are far too intelligent and have high social needs and would prefer to be surrounded with family or other dogs. They will suffer if left alone too long or often.
Difference Between A Miniature Siberian Husky & Alaskan Klee Kai
Any informative article on the topic of Mini Siberian Husky's must make note of some differences with a very similar looking dog, sometimes mistaken for a MSH. The Alaskan Klee Kai is actually a completely different dog breed, despite looking very much like a very small Husky.
In fact, the Alaskan Klee Kai, or AKK for short, is a dog that has a mix of Siberian as well as Alaskan Husky, American Eskimo Dog and Schipperke. This mix was refined to develop a breed that would look like Huskies but make great companion dogs and have a smaller stature than their sled dog relatives.
The breed is recent, tracing back to a single breeder, Linda S. Spurlin in Wasilla, Alaska starting in the early 1970’s. The breed was not stabilized until 1988 and is still not recognized by the American Kennel Club as of this writing. However, the United Kennel Club and American Rare Breed Association have both endorsed the breed.
Here are some of the main differences between the AKKs an MSHs to keep an eye out for:
- AKKs tend to be more cautious and alert in new situations, around new people as well as other dogs.
- AKKs tend to be significantly smaller than Mini-Huskies, the standard allowing only between 13-15 inches for AKKs.
- AKKs are not as good with children as MSHs since they have a more nervous temperament.
- AKKs are a very rare breed in somewhat high demand. They are expensive and reputable breeders can be hard to find. On the other hand, several long-time responsible Siberian Husky breeders are producing the miniature variety these days.
Not for you?
If you have decided that the Miniature Husky is not for you, but still love the look of the breed, check out our informational pages on the Rottsky if you are looking for a sturdier version of the Husky, or our page on Wolf Like Dogs for other breeds that have that characteristic look. Please feel free to leave a comment if you want to join in the conversation!