If you’re thinking of getting a Husky as your next dog, you may have asked yourself, “Do Huskies shed?”
As an owner of several Huskies throughout my life, I know quite a bit about the breed.
Not only do they look beautiful, but both of my Huskies had beautiful personalities.
My first Husky, named Shakiya (who I owned as a small child), had a beautiful coat of fur, and bright baby blue eyes that you couldn’t miss from a mile away.
He was independent and protective, but still, let me dress him up in crazy outfits daily.
My second Husky, Mateyo, had brown eyes, a thick coat of fur, and was one of the most sensitive dogs I have ever owned.
But what about all of that fur?
So, do Huskies shed?
In comparison to other breeds, the Husky sheds a great deal more. As they blow their undercoat, the dense hairs spread, and it the amount of fur lost is impeccable.
Having said that, there are two different types of Huskies, and their fur isn’t the same. So today, we will take a look at these two different types of husky and compare their fur and shedding levels. We will also answer questions like:
- Exactly how much should I expect my husky to shed?
- Are huskies year-round shedders?
- How can I prevent shedding?
- Is there a point that I should start to worry about how much my husky is shedding?
So let’s get started:
Two Types of Huskies:
As we have already established, there are two different types of Huskies. The first type is the Alaskan Husky, and the second type is the Siberian Husky.
Though these two breeds do share some commonalities, they also have their differences.
The Alaskan husky is not considered a pure breed. It is defined only by its purpose, which is that of a highly efficient sled dog.
Physically, the size difference between the Alaskan Husky and Siberian Husky can be slight.
The Alaskan Husky is slightly larger than the Siberian Husky, reaching up to 26” tall. The Siberian Husky, on the other hand, only stands up to 23.5” tall once in adulthood.
Another main difference between Siberian Huskies and Alaskan Huskies are the eyes. Siberian Huskies are best known for their striking blue eyes.
In some cases, they may also have a condition known as heterochromia,(refer to the image above) wherein they have two different eye colors. Alaskan Huskies, on the other hand, typically have brown eyes.
In terms of fur, both breeds are known for having thick, double coats, though the coat of the Alaskan Husky can sometimes be shorter than that of the Siberian Husky. Both shed heavily.
How Much Do Huskies Shed?
Huskies are a fantastic and loyal breed of dog, but they do come with one downfall – they shed – and they do tend to shed significantly more than other dog breeds.
In fact, first-time husky owners are often quite surprised regarding just how much fur they lose.
During spring, the Husky loses so much fur that dog enthusiasts have actually given a name to it – The “Blow out phase”.
Many first time husky owners panic when this phase takes place, worried that the massive shedding could be a sign of illness.
Don’t panic – it’s not. Significant amounts of shedding are completely normal for both the Alaskan Husky and the Siberian Husky.
Why do Huskies lose so much fur? Because Huskies have long been known to live in colder regions of the world, evolution has provided them with an incredibly thick coat of fur.
To be more specific, the coat of a Husky consists of two layers – an undercoat and an outer coat.
The undercoat is made up of very thick, but short fur. Because this layer is so close to the skin, it helps to keep the dog warm.
The outer layer of fur on a Husky is longer and is designed to shield against harsh weather conditions like sun, cold, heat, or wind.
This double layer of fur allows the Husky to withstand temperatures as low as -75 degrees Fahrenheit. In the summer months, the outer coat also helps to keep them cool.
Given that the Husky has so much extra fur, it’s not surprising that they are heavy shedders.
But exactly how much does a Husky shed?
Exactly how much they shed, however, depends on the season. Which leads us to our next question:
Do Huskies Shed All Year?
The good news for Husky owners is that, unlike many other dog breeds, Huskies do not shed year-round.
Instead, they tend to have one heavy shed during the spring season. Why? During winter, Huskies develop an incredibly thick coat to help keep them warm.
But as the temperatures become warmer, they no longer need this thick coat. In return, they have a “blow out” as spring season arrives.
During this time, a lot of shedding takes place during a short period. Spring blowouts generally last for three to four weeks.
While some Huskies only shed during spring, others also shed during fall. This will be the period during which your Husky will shed its summer coat to grow a thicker winter coat.
During this time, you should still expect a lot of shedding to take place, but it won’t be quite as drastic as that of the spring shed.
How Do You Keep Huskies From Shedding?
While it’s impossible to keep your Husky from shedding, there are things that you can do to minimize the shed:
- Use a High-Quality Dog Food
- Huskies shed seasonally no matter what measures we take, but sometimes they also shed due to food allergies. If you notice that your Husky is shedding more than usual, consider switching to a higher quality of food with more meats and fewer fillers.
- Use a mild shampoo for bathing
- Siberian Huskies and Alaskan Malamutes don’t need regular bathing, but an occasional bath with a mild shampoo can help to loosen dead fur and keep down on fur loss. Just be sure not to bathe your husky over, as this can lead to mild skin irritations.
- Regular Grooming
- The best way to keep down on fur loss around your home is to groom your husky daily. Use a heavy-duty comb that will reach down into your dog’s undercoat and release loose hairs.
- Vacuum your dog
- It may sound crazy, but vacuuming your Husky is a great way to keep down on fur loss and remove dead and loose fur from the coat.
How To Deal With A Blowing Undercoat:
When it’s spring season, and your dog starts it’s “blowout”, you can use all the tips above to help minimize the impact. The best thing you can do for blowouts is to groom your dog regularly.
During the blowout season, it’s recommended that you groom your dog for at least 30 minutes per day.
Other tips for dealing with blowouts:
- Keep your vacuum on hand – not just for your dog, but also for your carpets and furniture.
- Invest in a Rumba. Trying to keep up with your dog’s fur loss is virtually impossible, but a Rumba can help to take some of the work off your hands.
- Teach your Husky to Enjoy Brushing. A Husky that hates to be brushed is going to be difficult during blowout season. Train your dog to enjoy brushing as a puppy – you will thank yourself once it hits adulthood.
- Invest in a good brush. Don’t cheap out when it comes to a brush for your Husky. Look for a high-quality brush that will work on pulling loose fur from the undercoat.
- Most Huskies will blow their undercoat twice a year (before a season change). Brush your Husky constantly during blowout seasons, and at least once a week after that to help keep down on fur loss around the home.
Tip: Never Shave your Husky
Though it may be tempting to shave your Husky during blowout season, you should never do this.
Though you may think you are doing them a favor by keeping them “cool” during the summer months, you could be putting them at risk of serious health issues.
Huskies develop their thick fur coats for a reason, and they are critical to their survival. These coats act to regulate temperature, even during the summer months.
So even though common sense would tell you shaving them will help to keep them cool, it actually won’t. Rather, it could take on the opposite effect, and your dog could end up with heatstroke.
And unfortunately, evolution did not bless Huskies with skin that can handle sunlight. So even on mildly sunny days, direct sunlight on your Huskies bare skin could result in illness, or worst-case scenario, death.
When Should You Worry About Shedding?
Huskies can lose a lot of fur, and sometimes the amount of fur loss can be alarming for first-time Husky owners.
When a Husky goes through a blowout, they can often look very raggedy and patchy, and their hair can usually start to become clumpy, almost as though resembling sheep wool.
In most cases, this is natural and nothing to be alarmed about. But some other things can cause fur loss as well:
- Mites or Insects
So how do you know the difference, and when does fur loss become a concern?
As a general rule, if you feel your dog is in any discomfort, you should contact your veterinarian as soon as possible.
Regular blowouts do not cause itchiness or pain, so if you see any sign of distress, something else may be going on.
Don’t panic if you find that your Husky is losing mass amounts of fur – this is normal and is to be expected seasonally.
Daily intensive grooming is the best option for minimizing the impact around your home.
If at any point in time you feel your dog is in discomfort or pain related to the fur loss, contact your vet to rule out other potential causes.
1. [^] Deane-Coe, Petra E., et al. “Direct-to-Consumer DNA Testing of 6,000 Dogs Reveals 98.6-Kb Duplication Associated with Blue Eyes and Heterochromia in Siberian Huskies.” PLOS Genetics, Public Library of Science, https://journals.plos.org/plosgenetics/article?id=10.1371/journal.pgen.1007648.