Cute, quirky and with 100% canine characteristics (nothing lap dog-ish about this breed) the miniature Husky is a small package with a big personality.
Indeed, the miniature husky is the equivalent of a Siberian husky that shrunk in the wash, as they both share an identical genetic make-up.
But just like an atom, small doesn’t mean lacking in punch, and this is one pint-sized dog that is no pushover and benefits from an owner experienced training bigger dogs.
Indeed, the prospective pet parent of a miniature husky puppy should make themselves familiar with the character traits of their big brother, the Siberian Husky.
If tales of the latter’s escape antics leave you feeling flustered, then perhaps a mini husky dog isn’t for you.
To understand what you’re taking on with a miniature husky, let’s start with a quick look into the origins of the miniature husky.
1. The Origins of the Mini Husky
Have you ever looked at something and thought it could be improved by being smaller (Your smart phone perhaps?).
Well, this is what happened in the case of the Siberian husky
In the 1990s a breeder called Bree Normandin decided it would be convenient to have a smaller sized version of the full-scale husky.
Rather than introduce the genes of a smaller breed, such as happens with many of today’s designer dogs, Bree carefully selected only the smallest purebred huskies and bred them together in order to miniaturize the breed.
Over successive generations, only breeding from the smallest examples, a perfectly formed mini version of the original husky came about.
They are complete in every detail to the originating breeds, just much smaller.
Indeed, as they genetically identical, the Kennel Club recognizes the mini husky as a variant on the Siberian husky, just a size variant.
Of course, this does make Huskies become accessible to more people.
Since the larger Siberian husky requires plenty of space you might assume the mini needs less space, which is partially true.
However, do not be deceived into thinking that the mini-huskies smaller size means they do not need exercise, because nothing is further from the truth.
The crucial message to digest is that the mini husky has the character and temperament of the Siberian husky, which at times can be extremely demanding as we will uncover in due course.
2. Miniature Husky Vital Statistics
When it comes to miniature husky size, height and weight, there is an arbitrary line between what is considered miniature and what is a full-sized Siberian husky.
To be considered a mini, a full grown miniature husky should:
- Stand less than 12 – 16 inches at the shoulder
- Weigh less than 18 – 35 lbs. for boys and 30 lbs. for girls. (This has the interesting twist that an overweight mini Husky might accidentally become a full-sized Siberian husky as the result of a large meal!)
The average mini husky often lives into their teens with an expected life span of around 12 – 14 years.
This means you can expect your fur-pal to live a long and active life. Yeah!
3. Miniature Husky Coat Care
One of the most eye-catching features of the miniature husky are their distinctive coat its delightful markings.
What’s not to love about those darling eyebrows that make the dog look permanently surprised?
These tend to frame eyes that are deep chocolate brown or striking pale blue.
Indeed, this breed is often has bi-colored eyes, meaning one may be a different color to the other. Most unusual!
They come in a variety of colors from black ranging through white and the shades of gray in between, such as silver or platinum.
That coat is amazingly thick and dense, all the better to protect him in a harsh climate.
However, their coat care is good news: bad news when it comes to grooming and shedding.
The good news is that on a day to day basis it requires little care, as the coat is largely self-cleaning and is harsh enough not to knot up.
However, the bad news is that when they shed, they shed big time and you’re liable to be ankle deep in drifting fur and keep finding hairballs in the corner of the room for weeks afterwards.
Specialized deshedding tools such as the Furminator can be helpful.
These help penetrate a thick double coat to draw out the shed undercoat.
When used twice a week you can accumulate an impressive amount of fluff and fur that would be otherwise shed in the house.
A few words of warning.
Deshedding tools often have a sharp blade and when used incorrectly can damage the skin.
Be sure to follow the instructions closely, and restrict use (no matter how addictive) to twice a week only.
If this sounds like the dog for you, the average mini husky price is around $400- 500.
4. The Miniature Husky’s Character
OK, you’ve fallen in love with the mini Husky’s cute looks, but before you sign on the dotted line, be sure their character is a perfect match for your lifestyle.
These dogs may have the word “miniature” in their name, but there’s nothing reduced sized about their personality.
Outgoing and Friendly
Let’s start with the good stuff.
These little guys are big on loyalty and are no fading violets.
They are outgoing and love to mix with people, even with strangers (as long as the dog was properly socialized as puppies.)
Indeed, their love of company can leave you feeling a little left out as they temporarily forget that you are the hand that feeds them and opts to play with someone else.
However, this means they aren’t clingy, and readily adapt to a changing environment.
Another consideration is their love of human company means they don’t like being left.
If you work long hours during which the dog will be left alone, then you’d better be prepared for the dog trying their paw at interior design, by chewing and digging at the fixtures and fittings.
Kids and Mini Huskies
Mini huskies love company, including that of children.
However, when treated roughly or pulled around no dog is 100% reliable and you should expect the dog to fight back.
Therefore it is essential to teach your children how to handle the dog firmly but with respect.
Involve youngsters in training classes and show by example the correct way to handle a mini husky.
Even so, never leave a dog unattended with children, to be on the safe side.
Not a Great Guard Dog
Their friendly disposition to people and lack of aggression, means they make good family pets (as long as the kids aren’t rough with them, in which case like any dog they may retaliate).
But of course this isn’t a great trait if you’re wanting a guard dog.
These fur-balls are more likely to make friends with a burglar, than bark at or bite them.
Active and Athletic
Remember how the miniature husky is a smaller version of their genetically identical big brother, the Siberian husky?
This means these action packed little fellows are totally up for a day’s activity and love to run, chase, pull, tug, dig…in fact you name a physical activity and they’re up for it.
This is great for the family on the go who need a dog that can keep pace, but it’s not so great if you need a dog that will be content with a 20-minute walk twice a day.
Know that you will need to put effort into tiring your dog out and commit to two long, energetic runs a day.
If this thought leaves you feeling faint, then a mini husky is not the dog for you.
Another trait that has husky owners rolling their eyes, is the huskies love of free running.
This makes them the consummate escape artist, with even fenced yards not being foolproof as the dog may try to jump the fence to get away.
This wanderlust also applies to their recall, with the dog becoming seemingly deaf as you call him off leash to return to your side.
The answer could be keeping him on a longline, and if this isn’t your idea of fun, then think again about a mini husky.
An under-exercised mini husky is liable to find their own fun, such as digging up the garden or chewing the house.
But the negatives aside, exercise is good for your dog as it stimulates mind and body.
Oh, and because of the huskies hardiness they are equally happy to run come rain or snow…it’s sun and heat you need to be wary off.
In hot weather, consider teaching your dog to swim (not all are natural swimmers so be cautious at first) as a great way to burn off energy and stay cool.
Of course there are ways to wear your husky out, rather than yourself.
These involve fostering a love of chasing and retrieving, such as playing fetch or catching a Frisbee.
Feeding the Mini Husky
When it comes to appetite the mini husky is the polar opposite of breeds such as the Labrador or Beagle.
The latter breeds have no self-control when it comes to calories and when left with an open food bin are prone to gorging themselves until physically sick.
However, the mini husky is expert at portion control.
This skill stems back to the Siberian husky and how they were bred to do maximum work on minimum food.
The result is that a mini husky that isn’t hungry is liable to turn his nose up at food.
Likewise, when he’s working hard he’s going to up his calorie intake.
However, a word of caution.
This appetite control doesn’t mean that your mini husky won’t get fat.
If he’s internal setting is out by only a few calories a day, over the weeks months and years this leads to a net weight gain.
And once those extra pounds are there, that same economy of metabolism makes them very difficult to shift again.
Even though your dog isn’t greedy, always be vigilant as to how much fat cover they have, and if those ribs start to become difficult to find under a layer of insulation, then cut his food back there and then to avoid further weight gain.
Also know that mini huskies are notoriously stubborn.
If they become bored with a food, dislike how it feels in the mouth, or associate it with feeling ill, then they’ll likely refuse to eat it ever again.
With this in mind, if your mini husky is ill, try offering a different food so that he doesn’t go off is regular diet once he’s fully recovered.
Some mini husky owners have learnt by experience that leaving food available all the time and allowing it to dry out, considerably reduces its appeal.
Be sure to offer set mealtimes and remove uneaten food after 10 – 15 minutes.
In addition, reduce the risk of boredom by adding fresh vegetables to the food to keep it interesting.
And the last word on feeding.
Never exercise your husky immediately after feeding.
The weight of food in the stomach makes it more likely to swing from side to side and increase the risk of the serious condition, bloat.
5. Health Problems Linked to the Miniature Husky
Individual dog breeds have come about by selectively breeding individuals together who share the same characteristics.
It is by doing this that we have dogs so diverse at the towering Great Dane or the tiny Chihuahua.
However, this selection process has a downside in that it also accentuates any genetic faults the parent dogs have.
In practical terms this means that most pedigree breeds are prone to certain inherited diseases, because the genes coding for the problem have become increasingly concentrated over the generations.
Unfortunately, the mini husky is no exception.
Those health issues most prevalent in the mini husky include
- Hip Dysplasia: This is a malformation of the hip joints such that the ball of the femur doesn’t move smoothly in the cup of the pelvis.
This leads to inflammation and pain, and over time a physical deterioration of the hip joints.
A dog with hip dysplasia is liable to develop premature arthritis, and may well become the equivalent of a disabled dog at an early age.
Once a dog has hip dysplasia the condition can’t be cured but only managed, with pain relief and surgery.
It is better by far to avoid the problem in the first instance.
To do this means sourcing a mini husky from a breeder who screens her dogs for hip dysplasia and has the documentation to prove it.
Even this is no guarantee of a problem free dog, but does go some way to reducing the risk.
- Glaucoma: One of the most distinctive features about the mini husky are those distinctive eyes.
Frequently pale colored, and not necessarily of a matching color, the husky’s eye are often hauntingly beautiful.
However, they can also be their weakness.
Huskies are prone to a serious eye condition called glaucoma.
This is where pressure builds within the eye, causing it to enlarge.
In turn this can cause the lens to slip out of place and also damages the light-sensitive layer, the retina.
Prompt treatment is essential or blindness may ensue, and even then it may not be possible to save the dog’s sight.
- Congenital Cataracts: Another eye problem is congenital cataracts.
This makes the lens become cloudy at an early age, and has a similar effect to wearing a pair of sunglasses inside on a dark day with the lights off.
Because these cataracts develop at a young age, they can have a big impact on the dog’s quality of life as they impede his vision.
In short, the mini husky owner is well advised to take out pet insurance.
Whilst the above problems cannot be cured, there are treatment options that will improve quality of life.
However, these are specialist procedures and come with a price tag that reflects this.
6. Training a Mini Husky
Know that your mini Husky shares all the characteristics of independence and wanderlust of his big brother the Siberian husky.
You may think you’ve trained your dog to have perfect recall, but where the husky is concerned there are no guarantees.
If something catches his interest he’s liable to ignore the recall and do his own things…with possibly catastrophic consequences.
The moral of the story is to plan for the worst and keep your dog on a longline when exercising in unfenced areas.
The husky is an intelligent dog, but that’s part of the problem in regards to training.
He learns well enough but then choses to exercise his discretion as to whether he obeys or not.
With this in mind, start straight away when it comes to house training, as bad habits learnt early can be particularly difficult to shift.
7. Potty Training
Start potty training the instant you bring your new fuzz-ball home.
Take him straight outside to the toilet spot and let him sniff around.
If he happens to toilet, give him lots of praise, and hey pesto, his training has started.
Successful potty training is a combination of two elements: Prevention and opportunity.
The prevention part is all about stopping him form toileting in the house so that he doesn’t lay down scent markers which he later returns to as his toilet area. To do this:
- Watch the puppy like a hawk indoors. As soon as he shows signs of sniffing to toilet, whisk him outside to the toilet spot.
- If watching him is difficult, keep him on a collar and leash looped over your wrist. When he’s on the move to toilet he’ll alert you with a tug on the wrist.
- In the event of an accident, it’s pointless to tell him off after the event. All you’ll achieve is making him fearful of you. Instead, thoroughly deodorize the area so there’s no scent to draw him back again.
- When keeping him on a leash isn’t practical, then pop him in a crate. Take him outside every half an hour, so he gets an opportunity to stretch his legs and toilet. Then follow the instructions for “opportunity”.
Now for the positive part, giving him the opportunity to earn a reward.
- Take him to the toilet spot every 30 minutes, immediately after he wakes, and after meals.
- Stay with him but avoid the temptation to fuss or play with him. Remember he has a job to do so don’t distract him.
- When he obliges, heap praise on his head and give him a treat. Then he’ll link relieving himself to rewards, and start saving up his offerings to spend them for treats.
Remember, when training your mini husky pup, use reward-based training methods.
This means rewarding the desirable behaviors so pup is eager to repeat it and earn a treat.
This creates a happy learner who is eager to please and self-motivated, which in turn means the perfect family pet for active people.