One of the best things about huskies is just how social and affectionate they are. But as humans with lives outside of our dogs, this is a double-edged sword. As a pack-oriented breed, huskies are prone to boredom, depression, and separation anxiety whenever their pack isn’t around. Having a canine companion can go a long way in keeping your husky comfortable and entertained when you’re not at home.
Even if you can be with your best friend 24/7, having another dog around is still beneficial to help fulfill all your husky’s intellectual, emotional and social needs. Plus, nothing can replace a playmate with four legs instead of two.
Huskies can get along well with almost any dog as long as they are properly introduced, but some breeds just make more sense than others. So, which dogs are the best companion dogs for a husky?
Huskies are best paired up with similarly sized working breeds that share their high energy, intelligence and playfulness, such as German Shepherds and Labradors. The best companion dogs for a husky are also easy-going and obedient to balance out a husky’s reactive and stubborn tendencies.
We’ll go over what makes a husky tick to figure out which traits work the best with a husky. We’ll also go through some of our suggested companion breeds and how to best introduce a new dog to your house.
Husky Personality and Temperament
In order to properly understand what breeds go well with a husky, it’s important to understand what exactly a husky is like. Ancestors of the modern husky have been bred for nearly 10,000 years as sled dogs, and many of the traits they were bred for are still deeply engraved in the breed.
Throughout their history, husky breeders have emphasized friendliness and a social nature when choosing their dogs. After all, sled dogs don’t work alone, and a proper dog team can’t function if everyone isn’t working well together. As a result, huskies are outgoing, gregarious, and full of affection for everyone they meet.
Huskies have an instinctual need to be around others, whether they’re canine or human friends.
Energetic and Playful
Speaking of sledding, a husky wouldn’t do much good on a dog team if they couldn’t run for hours on end. Even our household huskies have a seemingly endless supply of energy to burn. After all, the American Kennel Club has rated huskies 5 out of 5 on energy level as well as 5 out of 5 on playfulness. Pretty much, the only time a husky doesn’t want to play is when they’re sleeping!
Huskies aren’t known to be a drooling breed, but that doesn’t mean husky owners aren’t prepared to deal with plenty of slobber all over their faces. Huskies are one of the most loving breeds out there, and they have just as strong of a desire to share affection with their loved ones as they do playing or running.
Cuddling tendencies depend on the individual dog, but a trusty lint brush is a husky owner’s best friend for a reason.
One of the traits that truly sets huskies apart from other breeds is their tendency to communicate vocally. This strange trait is a relic of their specialized origin– after all, what’s the best way to communicate over a large distance? Just as mushers use audio cues like mush and gee, huskies use howling, barking, and yipping to communicate with one another and stay coordinated. Some think this makes huskies dramatic– we just think it makes them talkative!
The headstrong, determined nature of a husky is admirable when running in heroic relays, but in day to day life they’re just plain stubborn. Huskies know exactly what they do and do not want, and at times it seems like huskies don’t want to do something just because we want them to.
Do Huskies like Other Dogs?
With a friendly disposition, lack of territoriality, and playful nature, huskies are predisposed toward loving other dogs.
Generally speaking, huskies are social animals that crave having a pack. Although humans can provide them with plenty of socialization, having another dog around as a play mate or napping buddy is irreplaceable to many huskies.
That said, there is no guarantee that two dogs will be fast friends or ever get along for that matter. Some huskies may crave the spotlight a bit too much, and other dogs may not be able to put up with a husky’s theatrics. When it comes to picking a companion for your husky, it is important to consider not only breed but also the individual dogs themselves.
Traits To Look For in A Companion Dog for A Husky
Although a well-socialized husky can get along with almost any dog, there are certain traits and characteristics that can determine if a breed is a suitable companion for a husky.
Huskies have successfully cohabited with all sizes of dogs, but significantly smaller breeds are not recommended as companions for huskies. While many small breeds have the energy and playfulness to keep up with huskies, keeping the two together can create some safety issues.
Huskies have a strong prey drive, and in the unfortunate event a little dog is thought of as prey, they can be the victim of plenty of husky harassment or worse. Even a husky with good intentions can accidentally harm a smaller pup by playing too rough or pawing at them. Additionally, a husky can easily become frustrated with the natural limitations in a small dog’s speed and stamina.
Outside of their daily naps, huskies are about as energetic of a breed as they get. It’s important that your husky’s best bud is able to keep up with them and participate in the same activities. If you’re lucky, the two can help wear each other out and be partners in crime whether it’s time to go for a run or jump in the water!
Some breeds, like bulldogs and greyhounds, are content to spend much of the day dozing off. Others, like boxers, would happily spend the entire day playing non-stop. The best companion for a husky is one that can provide them with something we can’t– hours upon hours of puppy playtime.
For as much fun as they are, huskies can be frustrating. What other breed can throw a 15 minute tantrum over a simple command? A husky’s combination of stubbornness, high energy, reactivity, neediness, and vocal tendencies all make for a breed that can drive almost any dog wild.
The best companion for a husky is one that is naturally easygoing and not one to get upset when your husky inevitably throws themselves at them.
Obedience training and dog sports are some of the most rewarding things you can do with a dog. But due to their natural stubbornness, many huskies don’t get to enjoy these activities as much as they could. In fact, just getting a husky to listen to basic commands can be a challenge.
Having an obedient, eager-to-please dog can help offset much of a husky’s headstrong tendencies. Plus, seeing another dog receive praise for listening can be strong motivation for an otherwise ambivalent breed.
Although they may be independent at times, huskies are ultimately an incredibly social breed. They will gladly bark and howl their way into the spotlight, so an ideal companion for this attention-hog should be willing to step to the sidelines every now and then.
Us husky owners know just how smart our pooches are, but unlike many other breeds, they don’t typically show it in the form of complex tricks or commands. Instead, if these dogs aren’t kept mentally stimulated, they are liable to create their own fun, often at the expense of others.
Having a companion to keep your husky on their toes can go a long way in keeping them entertained, and another intelligent breed won’t let your husky get away with too many tricks.
Best Companion Dogs For A Husky
1. Labrador Retrievers
Labrador retrievers have been the most popular dog breed since 1991, and for good reason– they’re a friendly, energetic breed that are as easygoing as they are playful.
This combination of traits works very well with huskies, as Labradors are eager, similarly sized playmates for them, as well as a laid-back companion who will patiently endure a husky’s roughness and happily step away from the limelight when needed.
Additionally, Labradors are highly obedient and intelligent, so you don’t have to worry about your husky picking up bad habits from this loyal breed.
2. German Shepherds
In many aspects, German shepherds have a lot in common with huskies. Both breeds are full of energy, have an intense work drive, are highly intelligent, and are of similar size and weight. But as someone who has owned both of these breeds, I can tell you that everything else about them is like night and day.
While huskies are independent goofballs that adore everyone they meet, German shepherds are reserved, stoic dogs that want nothing more than to please their beloved few.
With similar and complementary traits, these dogs make a surprisingly well-balanced pair. If you’re lucky, your husky might teach your German Shepherd how to be a bit goofier, and your German Shepherd can help you rein in your husky.
3. Border Collies
As a fellow working breed, border collies are just as playful and full of energy as huskies are. They’re also incredibly obedient and trainable. In fact, according to canine researcher Stanely Coren, PhD, in his book, The Intelligence of Dogs, border collies are the most intelligent breed of dog out of over 130 listed breeds.
With such a clever and mischievous nature, it’s unlikely a husky would get bored of this playful companion.
However, with the potential to weigh as little as 30 pounds, border collies can be a bit on the small side compared to huskies. As long as both dogs are close enough in size and your husky isn’t excessively rough, these playful fluff balls can easily be a match made in heaven!
4. Alaskan Malamutes
From an outside perspective, huskies and Alaskan malamutes are indistinguishable. Both dogs are big, fluffy, love the snow, and (often) have the same color scheme. But as owners of these breeds know, huskies and malamutes are actually quite different.
While they share a love of running, malamutes were bred to carry heavy weight for short distances as opposed to a husky’s light weight for long distances. This makes malamutes a less playful and more easy-going breed on average.
This comparatively mild-mannered breed is heavier than a husky, at a whopping 75 pounds for females and 85 for males, so it can easily handle a bit of roughhousing. If you’re lucky, they can also encourage your husky to take some ferocious naps as needed.
That said, both breeds are infamously stubborn, so having one of each is recommended only for the most patient of owners.
5. Australian Shepherd
Who would have guessed that a dog born and bred as a ranch-hand in the old west would have so much in common with a dog from the Arctic? While they may be on opposite ends of the obedience spectrum, huskies and Australian shepherds share a common love of work, play, and running.
This similar energy level and agility works well for these breeds, just as their similar size and playfulness does. Plus, Australian shepherds are famously trainable, and with luck this perky breed’s obedience may rub off on your husky a bit.
6. Golden Retrievers
The golden retriever is an elegant, recognizable breed that is a household name. It is known first and foremost for its loyalty, desire to please, and highly social nature.
Golden retrievers are famous for their patience and calmness, and this temperament coupled with their slightly larger and sturdier size than a husky means that rough play can be easily tolerated by them. Golden retrievers may not be quite as playful as huskies, but this energetic breed can gladly keep up with a husky when play time rolls around.
7. Standard Poodles
When I say poodle, you may think of a tiny, prim and proper dog that couldn’t handle the rowdiness of a husky. But unlike their toy counterparts, standard poodles are large (as in 45 to 70 pounds) dogs bred first and foremost for sport. This German retriever has plenty of endurance and energy to keep up with your husky, as well as the patient, agreeable nature to tolerate a husky’s infamous moods.
Plus, poodles are known for their very light shedding, which is sure to give your vacuum a bit of relief as long as you can handle their grooming requirements!
In terms of appearance, the nimble and elegant husky is about as much of a far cry from the beefy, bullheaded boxer as it gets.
But beneath the surface of both dogs lies a quirky, mischievous personality with a love of goofing off together. Both of these seemingly opposite breeds are very socially inclined, meaning it is easy for the two of them to become best buds.
Huskies and boxers are excellent playmates most of the time, but there is an unfortunate catch. It may be difficult for your husky and boxer to exercise or play outdoors together for too long. As a brachycephalic breed, boxers are prone to heat exhaustion and can easily overexert themselves on hot days. Additionally, this single-coated breed can’t tolerate the cold very well either.
But if you have a large house or live in a particularly mild climate, boxers and huskies can be the best of friends.
Why Not Another Husky?
One husky is great, so why not have two? If you’re up for the challenge, a pair of huskies can be like peas in a pod. It’s only instinctual for huskies to be with other Northern dog breeds– the Iditarod requires 16 of these dogs per team, after all!
Huskies have very loud, strong personalities and having two or more of them in the same family will amplify these traits. With multiple huskies, simple vocalizations can turn into full-on howling and screaming sessions, like in the below video:
Of course, your household is a bit different than a full-time sporting team, so it’s understandable if you can’t handle the exercise requirements of a full-on husky crew. Many of our other recommendations emphasized breeds that could counteract some of the more extreme traits of huskies, after all.
But if you are a big fan of the breed and have plenty of time, energy, and space to commit to having multiple members of a demanding breed, a full husky pack can be rewarding for everyone involved.
How to Help Your Husky Get Along With Other Dogs
Luckily for husky owners, their pups are strongly predisposed toward liking other dogs. Much of preparing your husky to get along with other does is a matter of tapping into these natural instincts as well as teaching your dog to mind its manners.
Socialize Early On
For some breeds, such as the chow chow, socialization is an ongoing process that requires plenty of effort and care. In the case of the Siberian Husky, meanwhile, it’s a simple matter of introducing your husky to other well-mannered dogs at an early age in a controlled environment. It’s key that all of these early experiences are positive ones so that your husky learns to associate other dogs with having fun.
Early socialization is important due to a puppy’s critical period. A critical period refers to a specific time span where a social animal learns specific skills, such as language or imprinting. In puppies, the critical period where they learn most of their doggie social skills occurs from 3 to 12 or 14 weeks. Therefore, it’s most advantageous to begin socializing your husky prior to 3 months of age.
Of course, not all huskies come home as puppies. Even if you adopted your husky at a later age, it’s still very possible to teach them to get along with other dogs. It may be a bit more time-consuming in this case, but having your husky be able to be around other dogs is equally important and rewarding.
Establish a Training Relationship
Huskies are certainly stubborn, but that doesn’t mean they don’t respond to positive reinforcement. Developing a training relationship with your husky is not only useful for developing your bond, but it can be very helpful when it comes to getting along with other dogs.
Enrolling your dog in obedience school or enlisting the help of a certified trainer are incredibly useful tools, but it’s still very possible to use positive reinforcement training on your own.
How does this play into getting along with other dogs, you may ask? Commands like “wait,” “down,” or “lay” can be used to deescalate a situation where a new dog is nervous, and having a shared training session is an excellent way for two dogs to establish common ground. Plus, it’s just a good, enriching experience for your husky.
Meet in A Neutral Place
As a breed, huskies aren’t known for being territorial. In fact, they’re downright embarrassingly friendly at times, treating complete strangers like lifelong friends.
Even so, it’s still a good idea to introduce two dogs on “even turf” rather than one dog going to the territory of another. This neutrality can help smooth over any potential issues of territoriality that may otherwise arise in either party and get both dogs in the correct mindset to meet their new best friend!
Use Leashes and Supervision
The process of introducing two dogs is one that requires a lot of care and supervision. Some dogs may be best buds right out of the gate, but most dogs need to establish a sense of trust early on.
First impressions are important for dogs, and having leashes on both dogs is a good safety measure no matter how friendly they are. Leashes can be used to gradually introduce two dogs and ensure that an eager husky doesn’t jump all over their future play-mate.
In the rare and unfortunate event that an early encounter goes sour, having your dogs on leashes can quite literally be lifesaving.
As a true pack animal, huskies benefit from having a canine companion in the household. While any breed can keep your husky company, larger dogs with a similar energy level make for excellent playmates. Of course, every individual dog is different and no two dogs are guaranteed to get along. On the other hand, seemingly polar opposites may wind up being the best of friends.
No matter the breed, it’s important for any dog to be socialized properly and for safety measure to be taken when introducing any unfamiliar dogs. It may be time-consuming, but your husky will thank you for it!