Husky Lab Mix (Siberian Retriever): The Best Of 2 Breeds
For a lot of people, a Labrador Retriever represents the perfect dog. Yet some may say that you can build upon such perfection. The husky lab “designer dog” and its show-stopping eyes may provide proof of this latter mindset. But is this stunning hybrid pooch ideal for you?
What Makes the Husky Lab Mix So Special?
Like a lot of the modern-day "designer dogs," the Husky Lab mix doesn't have a clear-cut origin story. It is thought, however, that the hybrid first came upon the scene within the last two decades. It's been around long enough to have its own specialized name, as it's typically referred to as a Siberian Retriever.
Although the pinpointed genesis of the Siberian Retriever may be unknown, we can learn a lot about them by looking at their parental breeds, the Siberian Husky and the Labrador Retriever. To be sure, we can see the physical influences both breeds have on the look of the hybrid.
The most striking feature a Siberian Retriever may have is their eyes. If they have the proper genetics culled from the Husky side of their lineage, they’ll be looking at you lovingly with big, beautiful blue eyes. It’s also completely possible for the dog to have one blue eye and one brown eye – something that is prized in some circles.
Even if you get a Siberian Retriever with two brown peepers, you’ll still see a few physical traits associated with the Husky. For instance, the hybrid’s tail tends to take after the Husky’s genetics and curl upward. It’s also possible that the dog can have the distinctive black and white coat typically associated with the husky mix.
For the most part, though, the Siberian Retriever’s appearance tends to lean on the Labrador side of things. While some hybrids could carry the Husky’s pointed ears, most of them feature droopy ears like a Lab. The dog also tends to have a Lab’s triangular shaped head.
Overall, the Siberian Retriever is a dog that’s built for sturdiness. A typical hybrid weighs between 40 to 60 pounds and will stand approximately 25 inches tall. What’s more, their long legs and long, webbed paws are designed to absorb the kind of active, high-energy lifestyle they’re hard-wired to seek out.
What’s a Siberian Retriever Like?
If you take a look at the parental breeds of a Siberian Retriever, you can get a bead on what this hybrid brings to the table regarding personality. First and foremost, this is a working dog. However, it's important to understand the type of working instincts the hybrid may pick up from their intermingled bloodline.
Labrador Retrievers were initially bred in Canada to be a balanced dog. By day, they were working dogs that helped fishermen and hunters retrieve their prey. By night, they were loveable companions that enjoyed the company of families.
Siberian Huskies are nearly legendary for their hard-working abilities. They were bred to work in teams to pull sleds, something that still manifests today through athletic events like the famous Iditarod dog-sled race. While Huskies were bred to also be a family dog that got along with kids, they also possess a strong pack mentality.
The Siberian Retriever culls some of the more impressive traits from these breeds. They’re extremely intelligent, and they can be trained to become athletes, work as guide and service dogs, or work with military and police.
The hybrid also has a pronounced gentle side, and they have a reputation for being an affectionate, loyal companion that has a vested interest in whatever activity the family may be doing. This is also a dog brimming with patience, which makes them a smart choice for those with small children in the home.
The hybrid’s gentle nature also manifests itself through its barking patterns. Unlike the talkative Siberian Husky, this dog tends to be considerably more docile and won’t make a whole lot of noise. With that being said, the hybrid does have a strong protective streak and will use their bark to guard loved ones if they deem it necessary.
A Look at the Siberian Retriever in Action
A Siberian Retriever is a pretty breathtaking dog to watch in action. As this video demonstrates, the hybrid’s combination of sleek appearance and boundless energy makes them a joy to watch as they romp around. Because of the dog’s work instincts, you’ll have plenty of opportunities for your buddy to put a smile on your face like this.
What You Need to Know About Living with a Siberian Retriever
A Siberian Retriever is loaded with energy that must be expelled to keep him happy. This shouldn’t be too much of a surprise considering he comes from two breeds known for possessing strong work ethics. Two long daily walks and a routine trip to a dog park or an open space are essential for this breed’s disposition.
Because of his loyal streak and interest in doing whatever you’re doing, you can make your Siberian Retriever part of your own exercise regimen rather easily. Your buddy will enjoy going for a jog or hike with you, and will even jog next to you while you cycle. This hybrid also enjoys a good swim now and then – a trait directly lifted from its Lab roots.
Providing stimulation for your Siberian Retriever doesn’t stop at giving him physical outlets. The sheer intellect the hybrid possesses means that you need to also provide them with ways to keep them mentally sharp. Failure to do show could lead them to boredom, which could lead to destruction in your home – especially since they’re prone to digging.
This act of mental stimulation can go beyond the realm of merely giving him a puzzle toy or a tennis ball to fetch if you’re willing to train. The athletic bent of the hybrid allows it to be capable of excelling in several advanced canine athletic activities, from Frisbee to flyball. Such antics may draw a crowd, which is something the socially-inclined dog will enjoy.
Because the traits of loyalty and companionship run deeply within the veins of a Siberian Retriever, this is a hybrid that’s prone to develop separation anxiety. If left alone for long periods of time, the dog could end up trying to cope with its loneliness through destructive behaviors. If your lifestyle causes you to be away from home for large chunks, this is not the dog for you.
How to Train Your Siberian Retriever
The Siberian Retriever’s combination of pedigree and intellect can be a blessing and a curse when it comes to training. On one hand, the hybrid’s smarts allow them to pick up on training very quickly if training is done properly. On the other hand, they could develop a headstrong nature, particularly if you allow their “pack leader” instincts to manifest.
To quell this, it’s important that you train a Siberian Retriever in a gentle yet firm manner that lets them know that you are the alpha dog or pack leader. If you do so, their tendencies to become loyal will kick in and they will fall in line with your training.
You may find you and your Siberian Retriever butting heads a little during times of inclement weather. Even though the hybrid loves to swim, it hates the rain and has a tendency to stay cooped up indoors when it’s wet outside. This could potentially be an issue when it becomes time for them to do their business.
How to Handle a Siberian Retriever’s Grooming Needs
The grooming needs of a Siberian Retriever tends to be on the low to moderate side of things. While the breed may shed quite a bit during certain points on the calendar, a good daily brushing will help to minimize the amount of hair left behind.
Of course, you’ll need to handle other basic grooming needs like you would with any other breed. This would include brushing their teeth at least three times a week, cleaning their ears weekly, and clipping their nails when they get too lengthy.
The Healthiness of a Siberian Retriever
Because the Siberian Retriever is a relatively new dog, they haven’t been associated with any major health concerns. However, they could inherit tendencies to develop conditions associated with their parental breeds. Some of these include eye problems, skin conditions, dysplasia, and epilepsy.
How Much does a Siberian Retriever Cost?
Typically, a Siberian Retriever will cost you anywhere between $300 and $800, partially because the demand for the hybrid isn’t as high in comparison to other designer dogs. Keep in mind that this figure doesn’t include the other costs associated with dog ownership, such as licensing, shots, neutering, and food.
A Dog for the Whole Family
If you’re an active family whose version of “on the go” implies getting outdoors rather than going from business meeting to business meeting, the Siberian Retriever is an exceptional dog to consider. Gorgeous, full of energy, and incredibly loyal, these wonderful pooches will stop at nothing to please you. What more could you ask for from a dog?
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