Whether you’re a serious runner training for your next marathon, an amateur looking to get into better shape, or a Husky owner trying to figure out the best way to burn off your dog’s energy, a great way to motivate yourself to hit the pavement is with a dog who loves running as much as (or more than) you do. Huskies have thick coats and can pull sleds over long distances in the snow, but are Siberian Huskies good for running?
Yes, Siberian Huskies are good for running. Although they are not considered sprinters, Huskies possess unparalleled stamina and endurance. That’s why with the right training and weather conditions, Siberian Huskies make perfect companions for long-distance, endurance runners. If well-conditioned, Huskies can run up to about 125 miles per day. This compares to the average pet Husky who can run about 10 to 20 miles a day. Huskies are able to exercise and put physical stress on their bodies for consecutive days without needing a recovery period when they are very fit.
All Siberian Huskies are born with innate running potential. However, without the proper training and conditioning, even a Husky will struggle to run long distances. Plus, a Husky’s age and the weather can all come into play when it comes to a dog’s running abilities. To learn more about where the Siberian Husky gets its unique stamina and endurance from and to find out how you can make the most of your Husky’s natural potential, keep reading.
Why You Can Trust Me
I have over 10 years of experience researching and writing pet-centric content for veterinarians. Plus, I’ve owned dogs my entire life. I currently have a Siberian Husky named Bogie. The two of us live in Western Montana, a place known for its wide-open spaces and seemingly endless opportunities for trail running. So, are Siberian Huskies good running dogs? Mine certainly is.
Bogie loves to run. He can run much farther, longer, and faster than I can, and he does all of this with a partially numb front paw that was injured when he was a stray puppy. I expected it to slow him down, but when it comes to running, sprinting after a tennis ball, or chasing rabbits in the backyard, Bogie never seems to tire. Apart from the occasional tumble, his floppy paw hasn’t slowed him down yet.
Are Siberian Huskies Good for Running?
Yes, Siberian Huskies are one of the best breeds for running – especially when it comes to running long distances.
The American Kennel Club places Siberian Huskies in the top ten dog breeds for runners because they are excellent endurance runners. In average physical condition, an adult Husky will have no problem keeping pace with a human runner who’s in excellent shape. Huskies make excellent companions on trail runs and marathon training (but not in hot weather) and you can even do cross country running with your Husky through Canicross events in your area.
Although they aren’t the fastest sprinting dogs, they possess immeasurable stamina and endurance. Intended to pull sleds loaded with goods and people across the vast distances of snowy Siberia, Huskies have been bred for thousands of years while being selected for their stamina, endurance, energy, and work ethic.
Scientific studies have shown that, over countless generations, the working breed has actually adapted a unique ability to run for hours without experiencing muscle fatigue and soreness like people and other animals do. As a result, the Husky’s stamina and ability to perform day after day, despite enduring physical stress, is unparalleled by any other dog breed.
Can Siberian Huskies Run Long Distances?
Thanks to their clever ancestry, Siberian Huskies are born with the potential and the will to run long distances for days on end without growing sore or tired. But as a Husky owner, you need to take a couple of steps to activate this innate trait.
Just like a person who has not trained will struggle to run the same distance as a well-conditioned, cross country, endurance runner, Huskies require training, conditioning, and a performance-oriented diet to achieve top levels of endurance, too.
In peak physical condition, the breed’s unparalleled level of stamina allows them to cover astonishing distances.
How Far Can Huskies Run in a Day?
The best measure of the Siberian Husky’s long-distance running abilities is the world-famous Iditarod race.
The team of Huskies that holds the record for completing the 1,000-mile-long trek in the fastest time ran about 125 miles a day (with breaks for meals and sleep) for about eight days straight.
Of course, this is an example of how far Huskies can run when they’re physically fit, selected for racing, are in perfect condition, and are performing in their favorite kind of cold weather.
Huskies that were not bred and trained specifically to be sled dogs won’t be able to match the performance of specially bred and selected members of the breed. Huskies, in general, also don’t perform as well in warmer temperatures. Read our guide on keeping your Husky cool in the warmer months.
However, the average Siberian Husky pet that hasn’t received special training or conditioning can still cover fairly impressive distances. On average, a pet Husky – without any special conditioning – can run between 10 and 20 miles a day. That’s a lot better than the average human couch potato.
How Fast Can a Siberian Husky Run?
Siberian Huskies are bred for stamina and endurance, but they are not for speed.
At a full sprint, a Husky can reach up to about 28 or 30 miles per hour, which is about average for any large dog breed.
You can expect a Husky to run even more slowly when the temperature is above about 60°F because the breed is not very tolerant of heat.
When Can You Start Running with Huskies?
When you adopt a Husky puppy, it’s only natural to feel anxious to start running right away. Husky puppies, however, shouldn’t begin running until they’ve finished developing.
Most Huskies will be fully grown and reach maturity at around one year of age.
Starting to run before a Husky has finished growing can put unnecessary stress on the dog’s joints and ligaments. As a result, this can harm the dog’s development and permanently limit the dog’s abilities.
Before you start a running regimen with your Husky puppy, be sure to schedule a physical examination and get your veterinarian’s approval.
Can Huskies Run in the Heat?
Huskies can run in the heat, but it’s not advisable.
Siberian Huskies are a cold-weather breed and have a thick double coat that keeps them insulated and warm in extremely cold temperatures. As a result, they struggle to stay cool in warm weather and are prone to heatstroke – this is despite shedding their heavy coats as summer approaches.
Huskies should not exert themselves when the temperature is above 75°F and/or when the humidity is high. Read our guide on keeping your Husky cool.
If you do go out with your dog on warm days, here’s my advice:
- Limit your activity
- Schedule runs for early morning or late evening when it’s coolest outside
- Be sure your dog has access to plenty of water and shade along the way during the run.
Before You Run with a Husky, Consider These Tips
Before you decide to take your Siberian Husky out for a run, there are a few do’s, don’ts and other considerations to think about first.
- To keep your pet securely on the leash and avoid injury, invest in a chest harness and leash that’ll secure to a running belt.
- Be sure your Husky is well-trained to walk beside you before running with him.
- Check the temperature and humidity. If it’s hot, choose a route near the water or go swimming instead.
- Be able to recognize the signs of heatstroke in dogs and be ready to get emergency veterinary care fast.
- To avoid injury, warm-up before you run every time you exercise.
- Bring treats and enough water for you and your Husky – plus a collapsible bowl.
- Check with your veterinarian to make sure your Husky is fully developed and healthy enough to begin exercising.
- Make sure your Husky has all the necessary vaccinations to protect against any contagious diseases present in the areas where you’ll be running.
- Get a veterinarian-recommended preventative to protect your Husky from parasites like fleas, ticks, and heartworms.
How to Train Your Husky to Run with You
Huskies are sled dogs at heart, which means they naturally want to pull a sled. And they can even pull you on a bike. The downside is they’re often guilty of pulling on a leash. Like other dogs, Huskies also tend to cross back and forth in front of their walker.
Before you run with your Husky, you’ll need to train him to walk properly on a lead.
Adult Husky Training
Use positive reinforcement training to encourage your Husky to walk on a leash at your side.
Keep a pocket full of training treats on the side of your body where you want your Husky to run.
Encourage your dog to walk alongside you and after every few successful steps, offer him a treat.
Be sure to correct unwanted behaviors like leash pulling or crossing.
Gradually, increase the number of successful steps before rewarding your dog, and soon you’ll be walking happily and ready to pick up the pace.
Husky Puppy Training
Huskies puppies shouldn’t start running until they’re fully developed.
While you wait for yours to grow, you can start slowly by training your puppy to walk beside you on a leash.
You can safely take your Husky puppy walking for one to two minutes per week of age. So, if your puppy’s 12 weeks old, then you can walk for 12 to 24 minutes. Start slowly and work your way up.
Once your puppy’s fully grown, he’ll be a pro at walking on the leash and ready to learn to run.
Want more information?
We’ve written a detailed guide on how to train your dog to be a running partner.
Do Huskies Need Variety in Their Exercise Regimen?
A part of caring for any dog is providing daily enrichment to keep them mentally alert and entertained.
Enrichment can be provided by varying your Husky’s daily exercise routine. Huskies love to run, but there are plenty of ways they can burn off energy, have fun, and bond with you.
On a hot day, you can take your Husky to swim. Be sure to check natural bodies of freshwater for signs of dangerous blue-green algae first. Want a good swimming workout for your dog? Read our article here.
Mix up your running routine by working with your Husky and learning to bikejore or skijore. These activities are a favorite for Huskies because they use bikes or ski sleds to mimic the sled pulling that Huskies were bred for.
Huskies also have a strong prey drive. You can help them satisfy their desire to chase with games of fetch, frisbee, or flyball. For fun games of fetch, read our article on the best outdoor toys for dogs.
Are Huskies Good Off-Leash?
Huskies are notorious for running away. They have stubborn personalities that make them difficult to train and a strong prey drive that compels them to chase small animals. As a result, a strong-willed
Husky can’t always be trusted off-leash. Unless yours aced his recall training, a Husky is best kept on a leash or in a fenced area.
When Not to Run with Your Husky
Huskies are talented runners, but this doesn’t mean that running with one is always a good idea.
Running is not safe for Husky puppies, elderly dogs, or sick dogs. You should only start your Husky on an exercise regimen with your veterinarian’s approval.
No matter how healthy your dog is, it’s not safe to run with a Husky in high heat or humidity, as this will put your dog in danger of suffering heatstroke.
Walk First and Then Get Ready to Run
Once your Husky is fully grown and has mastered walking on a leash, you can begin picking up the pace.
Soon, you’ll both enjoy bonding as you hit the pavement, beach, or trails together on countless runs.
Want more information about Huskies?
- How big will your Husky get? Find out here.
- Ever thought wolves and Huskies are related? We did! Here’s what we found out.
- Want to know why Huskies have blue eyes? Read this article.
- Want to know the other eye color combinations for Huskies? Read about them here.
- Bikejoring: training your Husky to pull a bike.
- Does yout Husky howl? Find out why here.
- Is your Husky at its ideal weight? Find out here.
- Read our 6 tips on how to raise a Husky.
- Looking for a buddy for your Husky? Here’s our list of recommended dog breeds.
- Indoor or outdoor dogs? We investigate the Husky dog breed here.
- Want to tell the difference between a Husky and a Malamute?