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In addition to their dramatic antics and love of snow, huskies are famous for their friendly and loving nature. But even though huskies are so social with those around them, it’s only natural for husky owners to wonder if some signs of affection are getting lost in translation. How do huskies show affection?
Huskies are very loving dogs who will show affection towards family and strangers alike. Ways that huskies show affection to their loved ones include behaviors such as licking and following you around. Huskies are often highly vocal toward those they care about.
This article will go into depth on why and how huskies show affection, as well as cover some frequently asked questions about husky affection. We’ll also explore some of the ways you can show your husky that you care and deepen your bond.
Are Huskies Affectionate?
Huskies are about as affectionate of a breed as there is! The American Kennel Club rates this breed as 5 out of 5 in terms of affection level, making them a “lovey-dovey” breed.
The main reason behind their high degree of affection is their origin. Historically, huskies were bred by the Chukchi people as an all-around working dog several millennia ago, but in more recent centuries they have become specialized as sled dogs. As both a family dog and a dog that was expected to thrive in a pack situation, huskies are incredibly social and communicative to those around them.
This communication may come in the form of regular vocalizations when they are frustrated or trying to get your attention, but often huskies spend their days expressing love to their pack in a variety of ways.
Who Do Huskies Show Affection To?
Generally speaking, huskies are very friendly dogs who will show affection to almost anyone, even complete strangers. Most socialized huskies will gladly lick or play with people and dogs they have just met, and getting a husky to be a guard dog is practically impossible.
That said, huskies have a strong idea of who is and is not in their pack, and will treat their pack-mates differently than outsiders. As a member of your husky’s pack, you can expect a higher degree of attention and affection than a stranger would receive.
11 Ways Huskies Show Affection
Now that you know how affectionate huskies are, you may be wondering how they show their affection. Huskies use a variety of behaviors common to all dogs, such as licking or wagging their tail, but they also have breed-specific signs of affection such as vocalizing.
1. Licking You
Huskies lick for a variety of reasons. For instance, you may taste salty to your husky after a workout, or they may use the sensation of licking to calm themselves down. More often than not, however, huskies lick and groom their loved ones as a way to show affection!
This common dog behavior is thought to be an extension of puppy behavior, as puppies lick their mothers’ faces to request food. As an adult, however, kisses are just a way for your husky to show they care.
2. Vocalizing to You
Huskies aren’t usually the sort to issue warning barks, but that doesn’t mean they aren’t an incredibly noisy breed. Huskies are bred to work in large sled groups, often consisting of as many as 18 members.
The best way for a husky to communicate with their pack-mates is through sound, so if your husky regularly talks to you, they probably consider you a key member of their pack!
Depending on your husky, they may bark, howl, yip, or even “talk” by mimicking human intonation. Huskies have been known to mimic the intonations for “I love you,” and even if they don’t know exactly what the words mean, the intention is still there.
3. Tail Wagging and Bum Wiggling
Without the ability to talk, you would think that dogs wouldn’t have very much to say. However, dogs are constantly communicating with us and each other with a variety of physical cues.
Dogs heavily use their tails to communicate fear, anger, and happiness, all based on the movement and positioning of their tails. In particular, dogs are known to wag their tails when they are excited or even frustrated.
As research has shown, tail wagging is an automatic process for dogs, with tails wagging in different directions depending on the specific feeling. But as complex as all these cues can be to decipher, it’s usually pretty straightforward when your husky wags their tail– they’re excited to see you and love you! And depending on the dog, they might wiggle their bum or entire body as well out of excitement.
4. Following You Around
Huskies are an energetic and playful breed with an agenda of their own. Sometimes that agenda is full of digging holes, and other times it’s running laps around the yard. But in the rare instance their agenda includes following you around, it’s a true sign of love and devotion.
Huskies are not typically the sort of dog to remain at the heels of just anyone, so a husky that follows you around is one that enjoys your company more than anything else.
5. Making Eye Contact with You
In most non-human species, eye contact is not a good thing. In fact, in the case of our closest primate relatives, making prolonged eye contact is a downright threat. Wild canines such as wolves and foxes use eye-contact to communicate somewhat, but the tendency to stare in humans’ eyes is uniquely doggie behavior.
Although some dogs may retain the use of eye-contact as a threat from their wolf ancestors, most dogs look in our eyes to communicate or bond with us. In fact, recent studies have shown that when humans and dogs look in each other’s eyes, both parties secrete a hormone known as oxytocin.
This hormone, also referred to as the love hormone, is responsible for bonding between mother and child as well as maintaining the bond between romantic partners and friends.
In other words, when a husky looks in your eyes, it is expressing a deep sense of love.
6. Jumping on You
It may be annoying or inconvenient at times for your husky to jump on you, but the gesture itself is rooted in love. When a husky jumps on you or puts their paws on your shoulders, they are trying to get closer to your face to properly lick and greet you.
You can reduce this behavior in a number of ways, such as leaning down to meet your dog or teaching them to sit before they can get attention. But if you receive the occasional fur and paw marks on your clothes, just know it’s an act of love!
7. Cuddling with You
Despite what you may expect, cuddling doesn’t come as naturally to our canine companions as it does to us. For many dogs, hugging and close cuddling are unnatural and uncomfortable sensations that they will avoid no matter how much they enjoy your company.
On the other hand, many huskies are willing to show their affection by snuggling up against you- especially in bed. Whether or not a husky is a fan of snuggling is all about the individual husky rather than the breed themselves, but there are always things you can do to encourage cuddling a bit more.
Like the sweet video below shows, many huskies will gladly spend all night cuddling with you in bed if you let them.
8. Laying on You
As far as many huskies are concerned, any dog can be a lap dog if they try hard enough! For as uncomfortable and awkward as it may be at times, your husky laying on you is actually a way of showing affection. When your husky lays on you, they are trying to touch you as much as possible as well as ask for pets.
If you aren’t a fan of being turned into your husky’s favorite resting place, you can discourage this behavior by giving them a cozy spot right by you instead.
9. Bringing You Toys
Huskies are not bred as a retrieving breed, so bringing toys and food to their owner doesn’t come instinctively like it does for say, a Labrador. That said, it’s not uncommon for huskies to bring you their favorite toy as a sign of affection.
Perhaps your husky brought you their toy to play with, or perhaps they know it will make you happy to see it. No matter the exact cause, huskies usually bring their owners toys as a way to show their love.
10. Listening To You
For many breeds, obeying commands is an instinctual need. German Shepherds or poodles practically require instructions as much as they do food or water, after all! Huskies, on the other hand, are infamous for their stubbornness and desire to do whatever they want whenever they want.
So in the rare instance a husky does listen to you, it means they genuinely respect and love you. That said, ignoring your commands doesn’t mean your husky doesn’t love you. Instead, it means you have the opportunity to foster a training relationship with your husky.
11. Showing You Their Belly
There’s a reason that rolling over is a common appeasement behavior (AKA submissive behavior) for dogs– the stomach is a very insecure area, as it is a poorly protected region filled with sensitive vital organs. Rolling over isn’t necessarily a sign of fear or submission, however– when a dog exposes their stomach to you and allows you to touch this sensitive area, they are often expressing a great degree of vulnerability and trust toward you.
It’s very common for dogs to be unwilling to roll over spontaneously or on command, so when a husky goes belly-up, it shows they truly trust you!
What ISN’T Affection
With all the ways that huskies show affection, you may be surprised to learn that us humans can often mistake problematic behavior for signs of love. The below behaviors are some examples of common things that are often mistaken as displays of affection.
Small amounts of licking may be a classic sign of affection, but if your dog is licking you non-stop, it may have another cause. Stressed or bored dogs are known to engage in repetitive behaviors, like pacing, excessive digging, scratching at walls and carpets, and of course, licking.
Whether their paws, a blanket, or your legs are the target of this licking, it often indicates negative emotions rather than affection.
Any dog who loves you will miss you when you aren’t there, but the amount of stress a dog shows when you are gone doesn’t necessarily reflect how much they love you. Instead, separation anxiety is the discomfort that results from a dog not knowing how to keep themselves soothed, comforted, and entertained.
Often, this is mixed with insecurity from a dog that cannot trust that you will come back. Leaving a husky unable to cope without you there is often just as destructive to their psyche as it is to your house.
As with separation anxiety, jealous behavior is often considered a cute sign of how much your dog craves your attention. While it’s true dogs DO experience jealousy, aggression toward other animals and pushiness is a matter of insecurity rather than love.
In a 2014 study on dog jealousy, puppies were shown to only become agitated with their owners played with fake dogs rather than any other object in the room. To the researchers, this indicated that the agitated behavior resulted more from a sense of competition than a fear of divided attention.
A dog that truly loves you and is confident in your bond should learn to not see other dogs as a potential threat to your relationship, and aggression resulting from jealousy should not be encouraged.
Are Male or Female Huskies More Affectionate?
A dog’s adult personality is a complex combination of nature and nurture, with every dog being a unique individual.
Some husky owners report that their female huskies are temperamental, but protective and easy to train, whereas their male huskies are affectionate and playful. In theory, these behavioral and personality differences can be attributed to differences in hormones between males and females.
That said, there aren’t actually any studies that support these claims. There have been slight behavioral differences noticed, but much of this may just be due to gender stereotyping.
Additionally, the hormonal differences that are regularly cited as causing different personalities in males and females are minimal in spayed and neutered dogs.
Whether you want a male or female husky is entirely your preference, but if you’re looking for a more affectionate dog, you should pay attention to the individual rather than their biological trait alone.
How Do Husky Puppies Show Affection?
For the most part, the ways that huskies show affection do not change very much throughout their lives. Husky puppies lick, and cuddle just as much– if not more– than adult huskies, after all. But there are two major ways that husky puppies show affection that adult dogs do not. These include two things puppies are famous for– peeing and chewing!
As the owner of any puppy can tell you, they pee. A lot. This is due to a combination of factors, like their smaller bladder and not fully developed bladder muscles.
But while frequent peeing is just part of life for a young husky, it can also be a sign of love in some circumstances. More specifically, a husky puppy who is over the moon to see you might be unable to hold their bladder due to the excitement.
This simultaneously sweet and messy behavior is thankfully one that puppies grow out of.
Chewing on Your Things
For a puppy, pretty much anything and everything around them is a possible chew toy. But if you were a puppy, you would chew too! Not only does chewing relieve much of the pain associated with teething, it’s just an excellent way to learn about the world and objects around us.
With a whole house full of things to be chewed, why would a husky puppy choose to nibble on your belongings specifically? Dogs have an incredibly sensitive sense of smell and are able to detect your scent on objects you use. Puppies may decide to chew on your things simply because they smell like you.
How Do Huskies Show Affection to Animals?
For the most part, huskies show affection to other animals in a similar way as they do us. A husky’s best canine or feline friend is sure to receive plenty of licks and tail wags, for instance. That said, there are a few ways huskies show love to other animals that they do not do to us.
Butt-sniffing is a classic greeting between dogs, as sharing a whiff of one another can reveal information such as age, gender, and even mood. Touching noses is a ritualistic greeting more commonly observed in cats, but it’s also quite common as a greeting for dogs. Between dogs, this greeting is often followed by licking the other dog’s eyes or ears.
Finally, huskies are able to rough-house a bit more with other dogs and play a bit differently with them than they can us, which is why huskies often do well with a companion dog.
How to Show Your Husky Affection
There are so many ways that your husky can show you affection, and luckily there are many things you can do to indicate your love to them. You can show your husky affection through physical touch or activities geared toward their interests.
The easiest and most common way to show your dog affection is simply to pet them. Petting is thought to mimic licking and grooming behaviors in dogs, making it a clear way of expressing love.
Plus, petting is actually shown to be good for your health, as studies have shown that petting a dog significantly reduces stress hormones like cortisol. Most dogs appreciate their head, shoulders, neck, and chest being rubbed, but typical huskies will gladly take any sort of petting.
Play with Them
The exercising and socializing are two basic husky needs, so why not combine the two? One of the best ways to bond with this fun-loving breed is by joining them in a vigorous play session.
Taking 30 minutes out of the day to focus on your dog is an excellent way for the two of you to reinforce your bond and have plenty of fun in the process.
Whether you’re playing fetch, tug of war, chase, or even hide-and-go-seek, your husky is sure to enjoy every minute of spending time together.
Considering just how stubborn of a breed huskies are, training them can be quite a challenge. That said, if you have the time and patience to work with your dog, then your bond will benefit.
Work and training that taps into a husky’s natural desires to pull, such as canicross or bikejoring, can be very rewarding for huskies. Of course, even good old-fashioned obedience training is great fun for you both!
Just be sure to keep training sessions short so your husky doesn’t get frustrated and to be extra determined and patient with this breed.
Petting is a universal means of showing your dog affection with physical touch, but whether your husky loves or despises cuddling is up to the specific dog. It is unfortunately quite common for dogs to be uncomfortable with being hugged and not express it, and it’s even worse if they do!
Snuggling should always be on your pup’s terms, and it’s important not to make your dog uncomfortable by forcing them to stay near you against their will. But if your husky enjoys cuddling and regularly initiates it, clear off a spot on the couch or bed for them to join you. That is, if you’re willing to deal with all the fur!
Huskies are a truly social breed which care deeply about those close to them. With all this love they have to offer, it makes sense that huskies are so eager to share their love in so many different ways.
Many of the ways huskies show affection are easy to pick out, like licking or cuddling with us, but there are some sweet gestures that are often overlooked, like bringing us toys or simply obeying commands.
All dogs require love, attention, and affection, but husky owners in particular need to go out of their way to make sure they are attentive and receptive to all the acts of love from their dramatic pups.