Huskies were bred to pull sleighs of cargo in the Arctic. The full name of the breed is “Siberian” Husky. Therefore, this tells us that the Husky breed can survive extremely cold temperatures. But how cold can Huskies tolerate and why can Huskies survive such low temperatures? Read on to find out.
How Cold Can Huskies Survive?
Various sources state different answers to this question. The range that is most commonly cited is from between minus 50 to minus 60 degrees Celsius or 122 to 140 degrees Fahrenheit.
So in other words, very cold indeed!
Learn more about: Are Huskies Considered An Aggressive Breed?
Why Can Huskies Survive Such Low Temperatures?
Huskies have been selectively bred for thousands of years to be able to endure the cold. They have several traits that make them suitable dogs for colder climates.
The Husky has what is referred to as a “double-coat”. This double coat is made up of an undercoat and a guard coat. The undercoat traps air inside the fur, to keep the dog warm. The guard coat ensures that the warmth of the undercoat is not compromised, by making rain and snow slide right off!
Surprisingly, despite having all that fur, Huskies are low shedders for most of the year, instead having a big blow-out twice a year to drop the excess fur. If you live in a warmer climate, this blow-out will happen more often.
This ability to shed fur more or less often depending on the weather makes this breed quite adaptable regarding temperature. Surprisingly, Huskies can cope quite well in warmer environments.
Another feature that makes the Husky able to survive the coldest of conditions is the paw pads. A Husky has a layer of fat on each paw pad that heats up, keeping their feet warm and enabling them to withstand standing, walking, and running on snow and ice! Added to this is the paw’s design, which makes the Husky’s weight spread evenly on the snow so that they do not sink into it. Plus, they have lots of thick fur between their toes to keep the cold out.
Another adaptation that the Husky has been selectively bred for is the shape of its eyes. They are almond-shaped and elongated. The eyes have very thick lashes too. The reason for this is so that the clever Husky can squint as much as it needs to in a snowstorm, yet still be able to see. The lashes catch the snowflakes, keeping the eye itself clear.
And finally, the ears of the Husky are also designed to keep the howling icy Arctic winds out, and away from their delicate ear canal. Like the rest of the body, Husky ears are full of thick fur to keep out ice and snow.
Do Huskies Feel the Cold?
Now, just because a Husky can tolerate the cold, does this mean that they do not feel the cold?
Well, just like any other animal, yes Huskies do feel the cold.
One clue to this is the tail of the Husky.
It is super thick, erect, and curls around slightly at the tip.
If you ever watch a Husky sleeping in the cold, you will notice that this thick, furry tail is curled around the sleeping dog’s nose. This is to keep the frost off its snout and to keep its face warm while it sleeps.
Which does go to show that Huskies DO feel the cold!
Do Huskies Like the Cold?
Similarly, just because a Husky can handle the cold, does this mean that it actually LIKES the cold?
Up to a certain point, yes. Of course, your Husky will love a run in a cold climate. Many breeds of dog do!
Keeping Your Husky Outdoors
But if your Husky is going to be housed outdoors, and you live somewhere very cold, you should provide your Husky with a dog dry house, and adequate warm bedding. Some dogs love to pull their bedding out and rip it up – this is normal behavior, yet irritating for owners. So to avoid this frustration, try to tie the bedding down somehow.
Do not forget that when a Husky is doing the job for which it was bred – to run through snow pulling a sled with people and cargo – they are burning up loads of energy and this keeps them warm. This is just like a person feeling hot when they are out jogging, even if it is wintertime.
But if your Husky is stuck in a backyard and not moving around much to generate heat, then of course they are going to feel the cold and experience some degree of discomfort.
They also run the risk of developing frostbite and even hypothermia. So keep a close eye on your Husky if you live in freezing temperatures and the dog is outdoors.
You should be able to tell by your dog’s behavior if it is uncomfortable outside – the Husky will likely scratch at the door, whimper, and stare at you until you let it come in!
Having said that, if a Husky is in the prime of its life and it is healthy, then it will probably enjoy spending at least part of the day outdoors.
- Huskies have been bred to withstand extremely low temperatures, and can tolerate temperatures as low as 50 to 60 degrees Celsius 122 to 140 degrees Fahrenheit;
- They shed their coats twice a year; sometimes more if they live in a warmer climate. Expect lots of fur to drop!
- Huskies can handle to cold because they have a double coat – the inner coat keeps them warm whilst the outer coat keeps them dry;
- Other Husky features that make them able to live in the cold include their paw pads, their tails, and their ears;
- Huskies will wrap their tails around their snouts when they sleep, which is a sign that they do indeed feel the cold;
- Just because your Husky can handle to cold does not mean it should be left outside in freezing temperatures for extended periods, otherwise, it may get frostbite or hypothermia – remember that working Huskies are on the move and keeping warm through exercise whereas household pets are not;
- To that end, a good-quality dog house with adequate bedding should be provided to keep your Husky warm and dry if your Husky cannot come indoors.