Are Huskies good with kids?


Are Huskies good with kids?

Huskies are a very common dog breed in the US. They got a boost in popularity a few years ago through the series Game of Thrones. Searching for dogs that looked like the dire wolf, many prospective dog owners turned their attention to Huskies. They look adorable, are always up for fun, have incredible eyes and are not likely to be biters

One question many families have is of course: Are Huskies good with children? Let’s look at what you can expect of your Husky when it comes to interacting with kids.

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husky and girl on a blanket

Are Huskies good dogs for children?

From my experience of working with thousands of families as a dog trainer I can say that there is no dog breed that is an inherently “good” dog for children. How well dog and child relationships develop will always depend on the families’ management, supervision and training plan.

Kids cannot raise dogs themselves

Some parents think of getting a Husky puppy for their kids to learn “responsibility” or to have a “playmate”.

Do not do this. 

Unless the parents want the dog and are prepared to care for and train him, getting a dog because of kids is a really poor idea. It always ends with the children getting bored or tired of the dog or finding other hobbies. A Husky will live for 12+ years – it is unreasonable to expect an 8 year old child to make the commitment to care for a dog daily until his or her 20th birthday!

A Husky who is raised by a child alone will suffer from boredom and lack of structure, exercise and training. Do not forget that they are high-energy working dogs. No child can adequately fulfill their needs for mental and physical stimulation. In addition, Huskies are not smart dogs in the sense of easy-to-train.

Even if you intend to share some of the responsibilities around your dog with your kids, make sure that you as the parent are the main caregiver and supervise the interactions.

husky with kid

Huskies are high-energy dogs

Huskies are very energetic and active dogs. They may appear as if they had too much caffeine – pretty much all the time. They can knock toddlers over easily and unintentionally hurt little children.

While your Husky may not be mean, he is still a large dog who is capable of throwing kids of balance if he crashes into them.

Many families realize that they cannot meet their Husky’s need for exercise and activity. Unless you are a very active family with a large property, it might be impossible to fulfill the needs of both your dog and your kids. If you spend your afternoon driving your kids to soccer or volunteering at their school, taking your Husky out and training him sufficiently will be difficult to impossible.

Huskies are very friendly with kids

The good news is that Huskies are very social and friendly dogs in general. A Husky is unlikely to be reactive or try to go after a kid. These dogs are not easily scared or startled.

Out of all dog breeds, Huskies are some of the most outgoing ones. They enjoy to meet and greet new people, including kids. A Husky would love to be involved at parties, bbqs or get-togethers. If you have a social lifestyle and con involve your dog into it, a Husky is perfect!

At sled dog races, mushers often invite the spectators to come and greet the Huskies in between runs. They love the pets and attention from big and small people alike.

sled dogs with children

Supervising your dog with kids

You should never leave your kids unsupervised with your Husky (or any dog, for that matter). The younger your kids are, the more strict you have to be about this. Kids can have unfortunate ideas and cause discomfort or pain to a dog in a matter of seconds. 

In my career as a dog trainer I worked with a family whose 3 year old had pushed a pencil into their dog’s anus as the mom left the room for a couple of minutes. Of course, even the most gentle dog cannot be expected to tolerate this and not escalate the situation. 

While an 8 or 10 year old can stay alone with a dog for a while, toddlers and babies should never be left unsupervised, even for small amounts of time.

The better you are about managing the interactions between your children and your Husky, the better their relationship will be!

Can Huskies play well with kids?

Huskies love to play – with pretty much anyone! They bark in excitement and race around as soon as there is the opportunity for playtime.

Huskies can generally play well with kids as long as you pay attention to some key points:

  • Your kids should not play a game with the Husky in which they appear to be “the prey”. You should not let your Husky chase them.
  • Instead, make the playtime about your kid and Husky “hunting together”. You can for example hide treats and then have your child point them out to the Husky!
  • Your Husky should not play with kids when he is highly excited. Maybe he is alone at home and bored during the day. When you come home at night is not a good time to let him play with your kids! He will have way too much energy. Instead, let them play together when your Husky is already a bit tired so his energy level matches your kids’ better.
  • You should give your child detailed instructions for all care activities, such as feeding or brushing your Husky.
  • Teach your kids proper behavior around dogs. This means no pulling or poking dogs, no running after dogs and no taking things away from the dog!
northern dog and child

The Bottom Line

Huskies are generally friendly, outgoing and social dogs. They are unlikely to be skittish or reactive towards children.

However, this does not mean they are ideal dogs for families. Huskies are a very high-energy breed that requires daily mental and physical exercise. If you do not provide this, your Husky can and will show undesired behaviors.

Many families with children struggle to keep their Husky well-exercised and make time for training and working with him. If you already have a busy family life and your kids are participating in sports or need you to volunteer at their school, don’t get a Husky. The chance that you will not be able to fulfill his exercise needs is very high.

Even if your Husky is very friendly, especially small kids should always be supervised when they are around your dog. Teach them rules for respectful interactions. If your kids are unpredictable and rude, your dog might take disciplining them into his own hands – and you will not like it!

Making sure that your children treat your Husky respectfully is an important step towards building a great child and dog relationship.

Note: There are some rare types of Huskies that are less suitable to be around kids. Always inform yourself about your chosen breed and its qualities as a family dog!