Can Huskies Run Long Distances?

Huskies are beautiful dogs and a very popular breed to own. I, myself, love Huskies and as someone who wants an athletic dog, was wondering if they are capable of running long distances. I did some research and this is what I was able to find.

Can Huskies run long distances? Huskies were bred to be endurance runners and pull sleds. This means that they can run very long distances, very quickly with no problem. As long as they don’t get overheated, they can easily reach a speed of 20 miles per hour, and run over 40 miles at a time.

Huskies are amazing dogs and have a history to prove it. If you are interested in learning more about why huskies are such good runners and tips for running with your Husky keep reading.

History of the Husky

How is it possible that Huskies can run so far and so fast? The answer is that it’s in their genes. Huskies are literally bred to run fast and for a long time.

Huskies were originally bred 3,000 years ago in Northeastern Asia by the Chukchi people. They were used as companion dogs and as a way of transportation by pulling sleds. When food and hunting became scarce within the Chukchi people, they would travel hundreds of miles on a sled pulled by Huskies to be able to find resources.

Before the invention of snowmobiles and aircraft, Sled Huskies were the most popular and reliable form of transportation in arctic communities because of their ability to run so fast for such a long time.

Huskies began to gain popularity in the early 1900s with the growing popularity of Sled Racing. This started to bring attention to Huskies, and more and more people wanted to have one. But, the event that really brought the spotlight to Huskies was the Serum Run to Nome in 1925.

In 1925, the town of Nome, Alaska was struck with an awful illness called Diphtheria. Diphtheria is a contagious bacterial infection that causes the infected to have a difficulty swallowing, and breathing and can cause death if not treated.

Unfortunately the Serum that the town needed to be healed was 674 miles away in Anchorage, Alaska. Because of the weather conditions they had no way to retrieve it or have it delivered.

There were 20 teams of Huskies lined up to relay the serum to Nome. It was estimated that it would take about 13 days to get the serum to Nome. The serum was handed over to the last sled dog team and needed to go 53 more miles.

As they began the last 53 miles, a large blizzard hit dropping temperatures even further reaching -50 degrees, with winds up to 50 miles per hour. The team was led by a Husky named Balto, and when the musher (the person directing the sled) didn’t think they would make it, Balto, whose previous job was to deliver supplies to miners, instincts kicked in and led the team to Nome. They arrived 6 days earlier than expected, making it a total of five and a half days.

Balto went down in history as a hero and is still one of the most well-known dogs across the globe. You can find a statue of him at Central Park in New York City, and Anchorage, Alaska.

Balto brought a lot of fame toward Huskies, and their popularity grew even further. They are known to not only be one of the fastest dog breeds, but to also have an endurance that is unmatched and Balto proved this.

They are still ranked as one of the top selling dog breeds in the United States, and the sport of sled dog racing with huskies is still practiced in some places in the world.

The Speed and Endurance of a Husky

As we have learned, Huskies have incredible speed and endurance, but how fast and long can they actually run before it’s too much?

The top speed a Husky can run is 28 miles per hour. According to Canidae.com, this makes them one of the fastest dog breeds.

“The Siberian Husky has a top speed of around 28mph, but the dog is like the Energizer Bunny and will keep going and going. Endurance is the name of the game for a Husky. A team of dogs can maintain an average speed of 10-11 mph and run for hours, covering around 150 miles in a day. They can withstand a harsh winter climate and have great instincts for finding a safe trail under snow and ice.”

Linda Cole

As stated by Linda Cole, Huskies can run for hours at a time, covering up to 150 miles in a day. As long as Huskies stay hydrated, and are in temperatures where they aren’t at risk of getting overheated they will have no problem running for hours at a time.

Below is a chart comparing the world record holder for time running a marathon (26 miles and 356 yards) by Patrick Musyoki, compared to the time it takes a team of huskies to run the same distance.

Human (World Record)2 hours 3 minutes 38 seconds
Husky Team31 minutes 13 seconds

Chart information acquired from PsychologyToday.com

Of course, there is going to be a little bit of error within the chart considering these are world records, not average times, and the Huskies have the disadvantage of being in a team and pulling a sled.

That being said there is still an obvious difference between the two times, showing how fast huskies actually are in comparison to humans.

Dangers of Running with Your Husky

While Huskies can run fast and long distances, this doesn’t always mean they should especially when they are living as a common household pet. Sled Huskies basically train their whole lives to be able to run in those conditions, and while your pet Husky has the ability to get to that level, odds are they aren’t in that condition now.

There can be serious dangers to overrunning your Husky at home.

#1: Causing Your Husky to Overheat

Huskies are very adaptable dogs, and with proper care and accommodations such as shade, shelter, and air conditioning they can live in almost any climate, but you need to be careful when exercising them outdoors.

Huskies are bred to endure extremely cold weather conditions as low as -75 degrees, but they aren’t bred to endure the heat. If taking them running, be sure to bring lots of water, and give them breaks in the shade. Even if you think it’s cool enough outside, it’s probably not. Mushers (leaders of sled teams) get worried about their Huskies overheating in 0-degree weather.

It’s better to be safe than sorry. If you let your Husky keep running, they will, so don’t let the fact that they don’t seem tired fool you. Don’t run for more than 1 or 2 miles at a time, and afterward bring your dog inside, give them lots of water, and give them time to cool down and relax.

If your husky starts to pant excessively, feel hot to the touch, or gets woozy and starts to stumble, those are signs of overheating and should be brought into cooler temperatures immediately. If they collapse, bring them to see a veterinarian immediately, as at that point it could be life threatening.

#2: Causing Physical Damage to Your Husky

As previously stated, your household Husky isn’t as in shape as the Huskies apart of sled teams. By overrunning your Husky, you could be causing them numerous health problems.

Huskies are very susceptible to hip dysplasia. This is a condition that causes changes in the hip joint. It is expensive to treat and puts your dog in a lot of pain.

If you allow them to run great distances regardless of not being in shape you are subjecting them to hip dysplasia and other physical injuries such as joint pain, torn muscles, and more.

A way to avoid this is by working with your dog to get them in shape, before letting them run crazy.

You can do this by slowly building up their muscle and strength. Start by walking them around the block once or twice a day for a few weeks, then work up to a jog, and then a run, then slowly increase the distance as their strength grows.

Don’t just start, expecting them to be able to run 10 miles straight without any other training. They may do it, but not without the possibility of lasting damage.

Even if they are in prime shape, they are still prone to injuries that come with running at the speeds and distances that they are capable of. Accidents are completely unpredictable and happen at any time.

3 Ways to Exercise Your Pet Husky

Huskies are a very active dog breed. They were bred for endurance, and with that comes a lot of energy that needs to be worked off. Huskies are not the type of dog that can sit at home or in a kennel all day doing nothing.

It will drive them crazy and can lead them to focus their energy on more destructive behaviors such as tearing or chewing things up.

Your Husky needs daily exercise. Whether that’s playing a game of fetch with them, taking them on a run, or bringing them to a park to run around. They need some sort of physical activity to keep their energy under control.

Here is a list of ways that you can provide your Husky with adequate exercise daily that don’t include running them long, strenous distances:

#1 Take Them on a Walk

This is of the most common ways to give any dog some exercise. Huskies have a lot of energy and are very active. They get bored staying inside all day doing nothing. Taking them on a walk has many benefits.

It provides them with exercise. A quick 15-minute walk can do wonders for your Husky. It is a great way to get them moving and allows you to get your own exercise in as well.

It’s a great bonding experience. It allows you to spend time with your Husky and creates a trust between the owner and dog. Your Husky will also see the walk as a treat or a reward, and in return be more trusting toward you.

It allows your Husky to have a change of scenery. This can be great for a husky that isn’t able to get out of the house much. It will allow them to see new things and smell new smells.

This is exciting for a dog especially when they spend most of their time in the same environment. It is a healthy little change for your Husky.

#2 Playing Games with Your Pet Husky

There are so many different games that you can play with your Husky that will allow them to get exercise, work off energy and bond with you.

The first game you can play is called tug of war. In this game you have your dog hold onto one side of a toy while you hold onto another and both of you pull trying to get the toy away from one another.

This is a popular game amongst dogs and is a great way to burn off energy. Tug of war is a personal favorite of my dog, and he loves to play it any chance he gets.

If tug of war isn’t your dog’s cup of tea, another game to play is Fetch. This is a popular game to play with retrievers, but Huskies are known to play it as well. This game will allow your dog to run back and forth, and won’t take much work on your end.

Another game is Hide-and-Seek. This may take a little training with your dog, but it is a great bonding game and will also burn energy off your dog. This works by having your dog stay in a spot where they can’t see you while you run and hide.

Once you are hidden call their name once, and they will come and try to find you. This is another game that my dog, personally loves to play and gets a kick out of.

These are only a few options of games to play with your husky, it’s up to the dog to determine what they like to play best.

#3 Taking Your Husky to a Dog Park

Huskies are social animals and get along great with other dogs. By taking them to a dog park, you are giving them a large enclosure to run around freely, which may not be possible at the house.

You are also socializing them, which will, in turn, make them better around other dogs if they haven’t spent much time with dogs. They will enjoy being able to socialize as naturally Huskies are pack animals.

There are many other ways to exercise your husky, these are just a few common ones that don’t take much time and will burn off stored up energy in your Husky. Every Husky is different, you just have to figure out what’s best for you and your Husky.

Related Questions:

What temperatures are good for a Husky? Huskies are very adaptable dogs, meaning as long as they are properly cared and accommodated for they can adapt to most any climate. They were bred to endure extreme cold so they can work and live in temperatures as low as negative 75-degrees.

How early can Huskies start running? Huskies should be over six months old before they start running long distances. You don’t want to push them too hard while they are still growing as this could cause lasting joint damage. Small jogs as they grow are ok, but be sure to consult with a veterinarian about the appropriate exercise intensity.

How long do Huskies sleep? Huskies normally sleep around 14 hours a day. Dogs in general need more sleep than humans do. Huskies are very active and athletic dogs and need a good amount of rest to recharge after a day of activity.

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