Siberian Huskies are smart, cunning, and intelligent, so many owners and future owners often ask me whether they make good service dogs. This is an understandable question, with a surprising answer.
The only service role that Siberian huskies suit is being a service sled dog. Apart from that, a different breed is better off acting as a service dog. The stubbornness of huskies could make them unreliable in important situations.
After a lot of research I have found out exactly what makes a good service dog, and you may be surprised at how Huskies match up…
What Makes a Good Service Dog
To understand if a husky would be a good service dog, we need to know exactly what makes a good service dog, and the different types of service dogs there are.
Service dogs are trained to provide assistance and help with certain tasks for their owners.
A few well-known examples of service dogs would be a Labrador helping a wheel-chair bound person open a door. Or it could be a German Shepherd leading a blind person across the road. These dogs are performing a task to help their owners.
So what qualities make a good service dog:
1. Confidence – Service dogs need to be confident and carry out a task in moments of stress. The opposite of having confidence would be a dog that gets anxious quickly.
2. Intelligence – Service dogs have to be particularly intelligent and have the ability to solve problems quickly. Some tasks that service dogs need to perform are complex so this is an essential trait.
3. Friendliness – After all the whole point of most service dogs is to take care and look after their owner. A dog who is loving, loyal and affectionate is needed to make it as a service dog. Any dog that is aloof or overprotective may make a good guard dog, but not a service dog.
4. Being Calm – Service dogs often have to be in public helping their owners. This means many distractions can arise all of a sudden like dogs running up or cars driving by. A good service dog needs to remain calm and collective in sudden moments of stress.
5. Work drive – Service dogs need to love to work. The type of work will vary greatly on the type of service dog you are talking about, but regardless of the type, the work ethic needs to be good.
6. Capacity to Bond – Like friendliness, it’s important the service dog shows a lot of love and companionship to their owner. The whole point of service dogs is to look after the owner. Some of the more independent breeds (shhh… huskies) may not work well here.
What Are The Types Of Service Dogs?
There are many different types of service dogs and each requires a different amount of the qualities we spoke about above.
Some service dogs will be in public areas more than others, so these specific service dogs need to be very good at being calm. Some other service dogs may need to work hard pulling heavy loads, so a good work ethic is more important here.
Here are some of the different types of service dogs:
1. Guide Dogs
2. Mobility Assistant Dogs
3. Hearing Dogs
4. PTSD Dogs
5. Emotional Support Dogs
6. Rescue Dogs
7. Medical Service Dogs
8. Sled Emergency Dogs
Can Huskies Make Good Service Dogs?
Now we know the typical qualities found in most service dogs, we now understand why Huskies do not actually make good service dogs… apart from one.
Unfortunately, despite huskies being an intelligent breed, they are very stubborn and independent. Due to this, you could not rely on a Husky to act accordingly in an emergency, or even perform a basic task.
Also, huskies can become anxious and do not do well when they need to be patient or left alone. This makes them not the calmest of breeds, another important trait needed by most service dogs.
Huskies are in fact very loving and affectionate and make superb companions. However, the one thing stopping them from being an emotional support dog would be their inability to keep calm. Huskies are a high maintenance breed and need constant support from their owner, this is not the best combination for someone who needs emotional support.
Huskies make great sled dogs and are frequently used to transport goods and people across the snow in emergencies. We don’t for sure but this is not a very common type of service dog and may eventually stop.
Huskies Do Make Good Watch Dogs
Siberian Huskies do in fact make good watchdogs, not technically considered a service dog but this is still useful for any pet owner.
The goal of a watchdog is to simply alert an owner of someone else’s presence, for example, someone comes into your property and your dog barks.
Firstly Siberian Huskies look like wolves (makes most people apprehensive), secondly, they ARE VOCAL, there’s nothing more your husky will love to do than make a noise when they see someone new. Most huskies do not really bark but howl instead.
Do not expect your husky to be a good GUARD dog. Your husky will howl like mad at the sight of a stranger, but as they get closer, all your husky will do is try to lick their face-off, not bite it off!
Siberian Huskies are so friendly and non-suspicious that they are known to befriend almost anyone even if they’ve never seen them before.
Other breeds that make good service dogs
Perhaps the most well-known service dog is the labrador retriever. Labs are extremely friendly, easily trained, obedient, smart and have a strong bonding capacity.
Labs are particularly great at providing support for mobility-impaired owners who need help being guided or assistance opening doors or retrieving items. This is partly due to the labrador’s instinctive ability at retrieving.
German Shepherds are most commonly used as guard dogs but they can also make great service dogs too.
These intelligent dogs can be trained easily and are extremely obedient. They usually create strong bonds with their owners and are very well-behaved in public.
Similar to the lab, the Golden Retriever is one of the friendliest and gentle breeds. This breed is commonly used as emotional support service dogs and PTSD service dogs due to their ability to love and care for their owners.
On top of this, Golden Retrievers are easily trained and very intelligent.
Boxers are often overlooked as service dogs but they have amazing qualities for most types of service dog. Boxers are one of the most intelligent breeds and can be trained easily.
Despite their somewhat frantic energy tendencies, they are are very friendly with strangers and are great with children.
The Border Collie is actually considered the No.1 most intelligent breed in the world. They make fantastic service dogs and are also very friendly with adults, strangers, and children.
Border collies do need to be exercised thoroughly or they may misbehave so this might not suit some types of service dog.
Siberian Huskies are an amazing breed, that is smart, friendly and very affectionate. They make great family pets and can be the perfect breed if you need them to work pulling sleds in cold conditions
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