As with any breed of dog, you should be seeking a lifetime commitment, so you should first research the breed to make sure that it will fit your lifestyle. There are a number of considerations that we like to make potential puppy purchasers aware of before they ‘dive in’ and get a pup for which they aren’t prepared. Siberians are not always the best breed for everyone!
- Wanderer – This breed should never be trusted off-lead. They will run and they won’t come back when you call them. Don’t be fooled into thinking that you can train them to stay in your yard. The many people who have tried and no longer have their dogs can attest to the risk associated with this impossible task.
- Houdini Lives – Siberians are escape artists and need a SECURELY fenced in yard if you want to let them off a leash.
Over – They can jump or climb most fenced in areas. Six feet is the recommended height to have. If your dog is a climber, you may need a roof for your kennel.
Under – They will also very easily dig out underneath the fence, so it is recommended that if the fence is not placed upon concrete then something should be buried along the perimeter of the fence in order to properly contain them.
Through – Leaving them in a yard or kennel unattended for great lengths is not appropriate for this breed as they are highly intelligent and they will find a way out. If the fence is made of a weak guage of chain link that isn’t securely attached, they can push the fence up or chew through it. This can also occur with wood.
No other alternatives – Because they are sled pullers, tying your dog out is not appropriate as not only will they escape, other neighborhood dogs then have open access to him/her. Underground or ‘invisible’ fences are also not effective for this breed.
- Green Thumb – They instinctively dig and will leave large holes, even trenches, throughout your yard.
- Kirby vs. Hoover – Do you own a good vacuum? Twice a year, Siberians do what is referred to as “blowing coat” where they lose the bottom layer, or undercoat. Sometimes they will not do this during the puppy years, but once they do, it is a mess. Just a note: we only adopt dogs to homes where they will be inside members of the family, so if cleaning up a lot of fur twice a year is an issue, we would suggest looking at a different breed.
- High Voltage – This is a high-energy breed, especially for the first two years of life. They are not suited for people who won’t provide any exercise opportunities for the dog or leave them in a crate for long periods of time. We do recommend crate training however, if your work schedule has you away from the house for much more than 8 hours a day, you will come home to a very anxious puppy!
- Who’s the Boss? – Because the Siberian is a pack animal, they will establish a hierarchy, or ‘pecking order’ for dominance. Puppy kindergarten classes and general obedience classes are highly recommended for proper socialization and training. Consistency with training is extremely important.
- Snack Time – This breed has a high level predatory instinct and they will hunt cats, birds, and other smaller animals. Of all of our Siberians who have been raised here, even from puppy-ages, in the company of a house cat, only one can be left in the house alone her! The rest would hunt her in an instant.
- An Apple A Day – This is a relatively ‘clean’ breed in that they only have two MAIN health concerns – the hips and eyes. Hip displaysia is a problem in many moderate-to-larger sized dog breeds. Although the prevalence is not too high in Siberians, people should still be selective and purchase a puppy from people who have the hips checked on the parents through the OFA (Orthopedic Foundation for Animals). Cataracts, corneal distrophy (CD), and some other eye defects are huge problems for the breed. People should only purchase puppies from breeders who have yearly eye exams performed on the parents by a canine opthamologist (ACVO). These health screenings can reduce the risk of purchasing an unhealthy puppy, however, it does not guarantee that problems won’t occur. With this in mind, prospective owners should purchase puppies from breeders who offer a comprehensive written health guarantee.
- Too Hot to Trot? – Siberians have two layers of coat – a top-coat (guard coat) and a thick insulating undercoat, which they lose twice per year. As with any pet, you must use common sense! If it is very hot outside, the solution is simple.don’t have the dog outside for extended periods. We only adopt our dogs to inside homes. Getting a dog for the purpose of tying it outside or leaving it in a kennel is inappropriate. So, having the dog outside for extended periods should not even become an issue. However, if you do opt to take your dog outside with you, make sure he/she has adequate shade and water when the weather is hot. The top-coat on a Siberian, especially reds, can bleach out, burn, or lighten up due to over exposure to the sun.
- Are Siberians good with kids? – As a general rule, yes; however, that suggestion is also dependent upon many factors including socialization, health, background, and temperament of the dog, as well as whether or not your children have learned to respect the dog. All dogs have teeth, no matter how behaved they may seem!