Mixed breed dogs are no better or worse than a purebred dog, and there are lots of deserving mixed breeds that are waiting in rescue centers across the country. There is also a growing trend in ‘designer’ dogs, a purposeful mix of two breeds. In this article, we are going to look at the Pitsky, which is the husky pitbull mix.
If you are buying a mixed breed dog, care should be taken to ensure you have selected a responsible breeder, and you should also consider whether the mix will be an appropriate fit for your lifestyle.
There are no guarantees on temperaments and characteristics with any dog, they are all individuals, and much also depends on how they are socialized and trained; but having an understanding of both of the breeds being crossed can help you get a better idea of what you may end up with.
When referring to ‘Pitbull’ in this article, we are talking about the breed that is most commonly associated with this term; the American Pit Bull Terrier. When people refer to Pit Bulls, there are a number of breeds that are often lumped into the same category, including Staffordshire Bull Terriers, the American Staffordshire Terrier and other bully breeds like English and American Bulldogs.
The name Pit Bull now often has unfortunate unfair negative stigmas attached to it, largely as a result of the fact that it relates to powerful breeds that have often been raised by irresponsible, and sometimes even cruel, owners that use them for fighting, or as a status symbol.
The American Pit Bull Terrier (APBT) was originally thought to be the same dog as the American Staffordshire Terrier or Staffordshire Bull Terrier, and these powerful dogs were used for bull baiting and dog fighting in the 19th century in the United Kingdom.
When some enthusiasts wanted to focus on developing them as companion dogs, the Staffordshire Bull Terrier became a specific breed in the 1930s, and the AKC recognized the American Staffordshire Terrier in 1972.
Responsible breeders now focus on developing their traits as affectionate people loving dogs, rather than the fighting dogs of days gone by. Although the breed still has an unwarranted bad reputation amongst some circles, there is a growing awareness of their positive attributes, and they are becoming increasingly popular companion dogs. They are also popular when being cross bred with other pups, like the labrador.
Siberian Huskies have a radically different history. They are often regarded as one of the most ancient dog breeds in the world. Their more recent specific history links them to being bred to provide transportation and warmth and companionship for traditional tribes living in Arctic Siberia.
They were noticed by visiting Alaskans, and they then brought them into the United States in the early 20th century, and they continued to be used as sled dogs, in a working and competitive capacity.
The breed was registered with the American Kennel Club in 1930. In the following decades, their popularity has slowly grown, and they are now considered to be one of the most popular breeds in America. The AKC ranked them as the 14th most popular breed in 2018.
Huskies are also popular picks for other designer dog breeds like the huskador which is a husky mixed with a lab, the pomsky which is a pomeranian and husky mix, or even a Horgi which is when you cross a Husky with a corgi.
As with any mixed breed, you could end up with a unique and quirky looking dog. You can expect a medium to large sized, muscular dog. Both breeds are strong, with the APBT particularly so, they are both very athletic with plenty of stamina, and they tend to be in a similar weight range of around 35 to 60 pounds.
You are also not going to have a dog with a long coat that needs lots of grooming to keep mats and tangles at bay. They will likely be shedders, though. Huskies are notorious for excessive moulting with a very thick double coat, and although the APBT has a much shorter, single coat, they do still moult also.
Your Husky Pitbull Mix could end up an unusual coloring too. Huskies tend to be grey and white, but they can also come in brown and white, sable and white, and red and white. They are even sometimes purely black or white.
APBTs, on the other hand, come in an even wider selection of colors including black, white, fawn, brown, red, blue and brindle.
A Husky Pit Bull Mix will generally be a breed that enjoys the company of humans. They are both known for being affectionate with people, the APBT particularly so.
This breed is often referred to as the ‘Nanny Dog’ because they usually have a strong bond with their families, they act as protectors and comforters and, despite their size, they tend to be very tolerant and gentle with children.
It is always important to remember though that, even the most tolerant dogs should be allowed their own space, and children should behave appropriately around them. Any dog can be pushed to their limits, and a bite from a breed with such powerful jaws could be devastating.
Dr Sophia Yin has produced a simple, clear and helpful infographic, along with some additional guidance for introducing dogs and children.
While Huskies are known for being generally very affectionate too, they are also often extraordinarily boisterous and sometimes even hyperactive. If the mix has more husky characteristics, they may not be best suited to a home with young children, who they could easily accidentally knock over.
Both breeds usually have a strong prey drive and may not be best suited to a home with small furries. Careful introductions and management may be required if you do want to try to have them living with cats.
Huskies are often referred to as the Houdinis of the dog world. They are master escape artists and, if they want to roam, they have been known to scale 6-foot fences or dig under them with ease. A very secure garden and careful supervision would be recommended.
The American Pit Bull Terrier, while usually very good with people, can sometimes be aggressive towards other dogs (a legacy from being bred to be fighters).
Sometimes they can be fantastic with dogs in their own house but not so good with dogs they don’t know, sometimes they may be best suited to living in an only dog household. Early socialization and ongoing training can also make a big difference in terms of the likelihood of getting along with other dogs.
Neither breed is likely to make a good guard dog. Their general affection towards humans means they are more likely to want a cuddle from the mailman than to guard against him.
Both breeds are known for being smart and quick to learn. They both respond well to positive, force-free training methods.
Huskies are known for having a stubborn, independent streak though, so patience, consistency and ongoing training should be expected.
They are also a breed that is known for their desire to roam, and they generally don’t have the best recall. If you do want to give them off leash freedom, then you will need to be prepared to put a lot of time into their recall training. Some never get total freedom outside unless it is in a secure field or on a long line. If this is the case, then you should make sure that they get extra long walks, lots of enriching sniffing opportunities, time to explore on a longer leash, and lots of training exercises.
The American Pit Bull Terrier is known as a breed that can suffer from separation anxiety if left for long periods regularly. Because they bond so closely with their family members, they often struggle when left alone. You may need to spend extra time building up the length of time they are left, and they should be provided with lots of enriching treat toys and given plenty of exercise to keep them tired – mentally and physically.
Both breeds, particularly the APBT, have strong jaws and are known for being chewers. This is another reason why they need to be appropriately enriched, and they should have access to lots of very tough interactive chew toys.
If your Husky Pit Bull mix is not keen on other dogs, you may need to work on a counter conditioning and desensitization program to allow them to understand that other dogs mean good things and that they don’t need to feel threatened or scared of them. It also teaches them that a less aggressive reaction will be rewarded.
You may also need to do some training to get them used to wearing a muzzle, in some States Breed Specific Legislation requires APBTs, and mixes of the breed, to wear one when out in public spaces.
A Husky Pit Bull Mix will likely be best suited to a home that leads an active lifestyle. Both breeds are known for being athletic, driven and high energy. They are not generally going to be a dog that will be satisfied with one or two short walks around the block or to the local park. This could end up leading to them being under-stimulated and, consequently, exhibiting problem behaviors.
Huskies are known for loving to run and are often involved in the competitive sport of Canicross (running with your dog pulling out front on a specially designed harness). The APBT is no slouch either, and they make great competitive sports dogs too if they are given the opportunity.
While this mix is not going to need expensive trips to a groomer for fancy haircuts, they are one that is likely to leave your home pretty hairy. If they inherit the dense double coat of the Husky, you should be prepared for annual blow outs when hair gets everywhere.
During this time, they would benefit from a daily groom with an effective deshedding tool like the Furminator. You will also need to keep on top of the vacuum cleaning. Outwith molting season a good brush out a couple of times a week will likely be sufficient to keep the Pitsky’s coat and skin in good condition.
Both breeds are generally known for being pretty healthy, although there are several inheritable conditions that each breed is associated with.
If you are buying a puppy, ideally you will want to find a breeder that has had mum and dad health checked to ensure that there is a lesser risk of these conditions being passed on.
Your Husky Pit Bull Mix could inherit conditions from either parent, and it is worth being aware of what some of the more common conditions they could be prone to are.
Eye Problems: The breed is associated with a number of eye problems including cataracts (although this tends to be as they grow older and it is possible to correct this with surgery), corneal dystrophy (although it does not majorly impact on the quality of life), and Progressive Retinal Atrophy (PRA). Although PRA does lead to eventual blindness, dogs can still live a very high quality of life if they are given the right support to help them adjust to this change.
Hypothyroidism: An underactive thyroid is more commonly seen in huskies than in many other breeds. This disease can be well managed with medication once it has been detected. Signs that your dog may have this condition include rapid weight gain, a deterioration in skin and coat condition, and general fatigue.
Hip Dysplasia: This is a condition that develops as a result of the hip socket forming abnormally. It usually gets progressively worse and, in serious cases, sometimes surgery is conducted to help increase movement and alleviate pain.
Skin Allergies: The breed is particularly associated with problems with allergies and skin conditions. They can be prone to developing Canine Atopic Dermatitis, and environmental allergies can aggravate this. Usually, this is a lifelong condition that will require careful management to help minimize flare-ups occurring. This can include regular medicated baths, use of special allergy sweaters when out on walks, and eliminating potential allergens from the immediate environment.
Allergy testing is becoming more widespread, but most dermatology specialists recognize that the results are often inaccurate or inconclusive. In severe cases, hyposensitization therapy can be performed by a specialist vet to try to eliminate the allergic reaction. This involves your dog being injected with the suspected allergen in tiny doses regularly over some time to help them develop immunity.
Like the Husky, the APBT is also associated with developing hip dysplasia and hypothyroidism.
All dogs, no matter the type, should be fed a high quality and appropriately portion-controlled diet, and a Husky Pit Bull Mix will be no exception.
If they are an extremely active dog, possibly involved in dog sports like Canicross, then an extra effort should be made to ensure that their food provides them with enough calories and appropriate nutrients for their lifestyle.
Finding a Half Husky & Half Pitbull Mix
It is a sad fact that Pit Bull and Pit Bull mixes are one of the most common dogs to be found in rescue shelters across the country. This is in part due to the number of people that take them on for the wrong reasons, and also in part due to the unfair stigmas that surround them, and, of course, because of Breed Specific Legislation placing restrictions and rules on ownership.
Don’t overlook these dogs in the shelter though, their loyal, affectionate natures mean APBTs, and mixes of them, can make wonderful family pets if given the right home, training and socialization.
If you are buying a puppy, while there are no accredited registered breeders for Husky Pit Bull Mixes, it is vital that you do your research.
The increase in demand for unusual crossbreeds means that there are plenty of unscrupulous backyard breeders and puppy mills out there looking to make a fast buck. Dogs are often kept in horrendous conditions, without proper socialization, health care or even the right basic nutrition.
Always make sure that you get to see pups with their mum in a safe, home environment. Don’t agree to meet someone in a car park to pick a puppy up!
Your pup should be at least eight weeks old and fully weaned before they get to come home to you, and they should have had a vet check and paperwork from there to confirm their age.
If you are looking for a dog that will enjoy leading a very active lifestyle and will be steadfastly loyal and affectionate with their family, then the husky pitbull mix could be the right dog for you. They may not be best suited to a home with young children given their potential strength and exuberance.
You may also have to be prepared to put in extra work on training, particularly when it comes to recall.
While your Husky Pit Bull Mix could get on well with other dogs, you should be prepared to make careful introductions, and they may be best suited to being the only dog in the household for you to shower all your affection onto.