The Labsky is a Labrador and Siberian Husky crossbreed. Also known as the Siberian Retriever or the Huskador, this relatively new mixed breed can combine the best qualities of both its parents.
The Husky and the Labrador, two hard-working dogs
As its name suggests, the Labrador Retriever originally helped fetch fish and game for hunters in Canada. Today's Labradors still put in the hours, although they tend to have more domesticated roles, such as guide dogs, service dogs, and therapy dogs. Labradors are happy-go-lucky dogs. They love to take part in family activities, and if trained right, can be especially good with children. They are also highly food-driven, so are very easy to train!
The Siberian Husky
Bred in the harsh climates of northern Siberia, Huskies were also used for hunting, although they became more renowned for pulling sledges. Unsurprisingly, Huskies are strong, athletic dogs with bags of stamina. They are not an ideal dog for couch potatoes! Huskies are independant thinkers, so training requires patience and consistency. They are however, wonderful family pets who have a particular affinity for children.
The Labrador - Husky crossbreed: temperament and personality
This is always going to be a bit of a gamble. Labradors are much more laid-back than the high-strung Husky. Depending on the mix, a Labsky could inherit either of these qualities. Alternatively, these opposing characteristics may balance each other out, and your Labsky will not be too docile or too hyperactive. Huskies love to dig; labradors love to chew. A Labsky can be born with either of these traits, or even both!
Do Labskies need a lot of exercise?
Definitely. The Labsky is a mix of two very active working dogs with extremely high energy levels, and they're not suitable for people with sedentary lifestyles. At the very least, a Labsky will need a 2-hour walk a day, during which it can run off lead and burn off all that excess energy! If not, boredom will soon set in. This can lead to behavioural problems - so don't neglect the long walks and fun games to keep them stimulated.
Training a Labrador - Husky crossbreed
All dogs are pack animals, but the pack mentality is very much part of the Husky's DNA. This can often be passed onto the Labsky, which makes training and socialisation super important. A Labsky won't necessarily start competing for dominance, but a poorly trained one will have little respect for boundaries or house rules.
Luckily, both breeds are highly intelligent and respond quickly to positive training methods. Just remember to start training at an early age, and to be patient. The Labsky can be a bit headstrong, but stay consistent. The long-term rewards will far outweigh the short-term sacrifices.
The Labrador - Husky crossbreed: Grooming and shedding
Labskies tend to shed a lot. This is due to the Husky's thick double coat that protected them from the harsh Siberian climate. Even a Labsky more influenced by the Labrador line will shed much more than your typical Labrador...and Labradors shed a lot too! Shedding usually happens twice a year and if you don't keep them well groomed, your house will be covered in Labsky hair. You'll want to brush your dog once a week throughout the year, and much more frequently during shedding season. You can even purchase special undercoat combs that make grooming much easier.
Labsky health problems
As always, a mix breed is susceptible to any of their parent's medical issues. Common problems for the Husky include:
- Eye infections like conjunctivitis
- Degenerative Myelopathy - a progressive disease that affects the spinal cord
- Laryngeal paralysis - this can severe breathing difficulties
- High blood pressure
- Dental issues
The Labrador is at risk of developing:
- Food allergies and/or seasonal pollen allergies.
- Elbow/hip dysplasia
- Dental issues
- Thyroid imbalance
As you can see, there are a few crossovers, so keep an extra eye out for any condition that affects both breeds.
That being said, the Husky and the Labrador are strong, robust breeds, and the combination of their genes can greatly improve a Labsky's overall health. The life expectancy of a Labsky is between 10-13 years. This is a common range for most designer dogs of this size.
Husky - Lab mix puppies
A genuine Labsky pup will cost somewhere between £300-£500. This isn't cheap, and unless you meet both parents, there are no guarantees that you're buying a genuine Labsky. So be careful when dealing with breeders. Do your research, and always opt for the more experienced and genuine breeders. These are the ones who can produce registration papers - and don't be afraid of asking questions about the puppies and their parents! If these breeders are the real deal, they’ll have all the right answers.
If you're considering adopting a dog for the first time, think carefully before choosing a Labsky. These active, athletic, and strong-minded animals might be “too much” for the inexperienced owner. That being said, Labskies respond extremely well to the right training methods. If you familiarise yourself with the best training techniques and understand the commitment involved, then you could be the proud owner of a healthy and well-adjusted Labsky.
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