About the Breeds

Siberian Husky


Siberian Huskies are working dogs, bred for extremely strenuous work hauling sleds in very difficult terrain and weather conditions. If you do not have time to exercise this dog, or to keep it adequately occupied, if you do not have time to be a companion, to form a pack-bond with this dog, this is not the breed for you. He/she will demand attention and will get it, one way or another; this dog will not be content to stay outside in the yard while you have fun inside. If you do not provide it with an occupation, it will find one, and you may not like the method chosen.


Siberian Huskies RUN and ROAM. There just is no other dog with such a gypsy instinct; they cannot be trained NOT to run, any more than a retriever can be taught not to retrieve, or a Border Collie not to herd. This makes them excellent travel companions; however, this also means that your Siberian will travel on its own if given the chance. Siberian Huskies are ESCAPE ARTISTS! A Siberian will climb fences, leap fences, dig under fences, wriggle under gates, slip through doors and windows, slip out of collars and harnesses...all in the name of an opportunity to explore the world – and get into whatever trouble it can find: hit by moving traffic, as it has no street sense whatsoever. It will also be an easy target for dog-nappers and dog-abusers, as it is very gentle and friendly. More than any other breed, the Siberian Husky MUST BE EITHER ON A LEASH OR IN A WELL-FENCED AREA AND SUPERVISED AT ALL TIMES! Your call to “come” will fall on deaf ears when the motivation and instinct to run is strong enough. The Siberian Husky does not respect the momentary discomfort and ‘zing’ from an electronic containment system, and the size of your acreage is not a natural barrier or deterrent to a dog that is bred to run long distances at moderate speed without tiring.


Siberians are not watchdogs! They are not inclined to give even warning barks upon approach by a stranger, no matter where they are, not even in their own homes. They are far more likely to lead an intruder to the biscuit box and offer the family silver in exchange for a treat. Ordinarily, your most extreme danger from a Siberian is being licked to death.


Siberians shed their coats twice a year. The hitch is that each shed lasts six months. It waxes and it wanes, but it continues all year. There will be an intense period of shedding to get the thick winter coat out in the spring, and another slightly less intense period in the fall to prepare to put on the winter coats. If you value neatness at all times, then . . . don't adopt a Siberian. If you can tolerate fur all over the house and in the very air you breathe, then you are a candidate for a Siberian in your home.


Siberian Huskies DIG. If your lawn and flowers are the joy of your life. . . don't get a Siberian. They dig holes to cool off in the summer, but they also dig to form nice cozy nests in the snow. It doesn’t matter to them if there isn’t any snow -- instinct says, “Dig!!!”


Siberian Huskies are strong, stubborn, independent and rambunctious. The other way to say that is that they are powerful, persistent, smart and full of energy and stamina, desirable traits in a sled dog, but not in a house pet unless you train the dog well. Training a Siberian Husky can be an exercise in patience. They do not react well to coercive means of training, but they need a strong and intelligent owner who will be alpha (leader). If you are not physically strong, you will have to be strong in character. If you cannot be the alpha of the pack, the Siberian Husky will take over and make life miserable. That doesn’t mean the Siberian Husky cannot be trained to be a polite and relatively calm house dog, but only IF it gets adequate exercise, companionship and training.

Written by Lois Leonard and Cheryl Dawson and used with their permission.

So...You Want a Siberian Husky?
Siberian Huskies: What's Good About 'Em, What's Bad About 'Em



Norwegian Elkhound

“The Norwegian Elkhound is characterized by its boldness, agility, intelligence and a gregarious nature.  A bit of a clown, Elkhounds are dog extroverts. They are affectionate and good natured with adults and children alike.  Because they have been bred to act as independent scouts for hunting, close obedience work is not their forte.  Although quite trainable for basic obedience they rarely display the slavish desire to please that one might find in other breeds (the Golden Retriever for instance).   Elkhounds usually need a tangible payoff for their work.  Food will do while faint praise will not. They must be stimulated and motivated to perform superior obedience work.  Theirs is a partnership with humans.  With this in mind they make wonderful companions." quoted from the NERR website

Do You Really Want to Own a Norwegian Elkhound?
Norwegian Elkhounds: What's Good About 'Em, What's Bad About 'Em



Alaskan Malamute



“The Alaskan Malamute is a large and powerful dog with a thick double coat designed to protect it from even the harshest weather conditions. Colors vary from black and white to various shades of gray, seal, sable and red, all with white legs, underbodies and parts of face markings. The only allowable solid color is white. Eyes are brown, never blue.

The Malamute is a physically tough breed with enormous strength that can easily knock over a child during play or drag its owner around the neighborhood unless it is properly trained and has learned its own strength. All dogs should be under complete control of their owners at all times, and large dogs especially have to be taught to be gentle during play and that the person on the other end of the leash is in control, not the dog. The size and strength of the full grown Malamute must be seriously considered since you will have to devote much time and energy to proper training and socialization for this dog to be the "gentle giant" it is known to be.

The thick double coat is shed out once or twice per year, and this is referred to as "blowing" the coat because of the vast amounts of wool that accumulates in the dog's living area. If you hate to vacuum or have allergies, the Malamute may not be for you.

In spite of the Malamute's appearance, it is not a guard dog. This breed has been bred from the beginning to trust people and to work tirelessly for anyone, not just it’s owner. The Eskimos, who were the earliest breeders of this dog, shared all of their property which included the dogs, so the instinct to guard property has not been bred into the dog. To try and train a Malamute to guard your property and be suspicious of strangers would confuse the dog and could present a potential danger. If you are looking for a guard dog, please look for a breed that was bred for this function.

As much as Malamutes like people, they tend to dislike other dogs, especially dogs of the same sex. Because this dog is a natural hunter and survivor, small animals including cats, may be looked upon as prey. Some Malamutes are known to live harmoniously with cats, but many will not tolerate the presence of a feline.

Malamutes are bred today with all their original instincts intact, and this has to be appreciated. Since the Eskimos needed dogs that could sense or recognize dangerous conditions and make their own decisions. This sometimes means that they must disobey their handler's commands. Malamutes have a strong independent nature. These dogs have been bred to be thinkers and decision makers. This trait has been carried over even today and can present a challenge in obedience training. This is a breed that learns quickly, but becomes bored easily. Training is best approached positively and with a sense of humor to keep the dog interested. Malamutes are not considered the easiest dogs to obedience train, but may excel with proper training.

Alaskan Malamutes make excellent pets if you are interested in any outdoor or winter activities like sledding, skijoring, hiking, backpacking, and weight pulling. If you love a big dog that is independent and you don't mind the hair, the Malamute may be right for you.”

Quoted with permission from the IAMRA website.

Is the Alaskan Malamute Right for You?
Alaskan Malamutes: What's Good About 'Em, What's Bad About 'Em