With the current popularity of the Siberian Husky breed, it is easy to believe that they do not receive any level of discrimination in the show ring.
However, if you’re a lurker in online canine forums, you probably came across stories about how Siberian Huskies with a wooly coat are considered highly undesirable by many conformation show judges.
This brings us to the question, what’s so wrong with the wooly coat? Do wooly Siberian Huskies deserve all the criticism being thrown their way just because of their long guard hairs? Are kennel club judges simply being mean?
If you want detailed answers to all these questions, then this guide will surely satisfy your curiosity. Wooly Huskies are an exciting bunch, and this will dawn on you as you progress in reading this article.
What Is a Wooly Husky?
Wooly Huskies are long-coated dogs that deviate from the traditional medium-length coat of the breed. While they look really fluffy, wooly Siberian Huskies are considered undesirable because their guard hairs collect snow and water that can potentially cause injury and irritation.
Although the American Kennel Club (AKC) did not directly mention the term “wooly” in describing the types of unacceptable coats, it is quite clear that they are pertaining to the wooly Husky who have longer guard hairs than usual.
The breed standard mentions “long, rough, and shaggy coats” as faulty, and the wooly Husky falls under these categories. You can easily identify a wooly because their thick fur hides the shape of their body.
Wooly Siberians are not allowed to join conformation shows, but they can still be registered since they are purebreds.
They exist due to a recessive gene carried by both their parents, so it is quite normal to see these dogs with long guard hairs belonging to a litter of medium-length coated Siberians.
Standard vs. Wooly Siberian Husky: What’s the Difference Between the Two Coats of Husky?
The main difference between a standard and a wooly Siberian Husky is the length of their coat. Standard Siberians sport medium-length fur, while wooly Huskies have long guard hairs similar to that of a Collie.
According to the AKC, standard Siberian Huskies are double-coated dogs, but the length and thickness of their coat do not obscure the outline of their body.
They have a soft and dense undercoat that sufficiently supports their outer coat. Meanwhile, their outer coat is smooth lying and straight.
Here’s how a Siberian Husky with a standard coat looks like:
Similar to standard Huskies, woolies also have a double coat. However, their guard hairs or outer coat is undesirably longer than what is expected for the breed.
It takes longer to dry when wet with water, and it doesn’t protect them from harsh weather conditions, especially in colder regions.
And here’s how a Siberian Husky with a wooly coat looks like:
In terms of their other physical features, there is not much difference between the two. They both have erect ears and a brushtail and the males are larger and more muscular than females.
However, because the wooly Huskies have an excessively thick coat due to sporting long guard hairs, the shape of their body is not that pronounced as compared to the standards.
Wooly Siberian Husky Appearance: How Can I Tell If My Husky Puppy Is Wooly?
The main distinguishing feature of a wooly Siberian Husky is the length of its coat. Their undercoat is visibly thicker than what the breed standard allows, and they also have longer outer coats.
Some woolies have longer guard hairs than others due to the texture, length, and density of their coat.
It is typical to see a wooly Husky who looks fluffier than other woolies due to coat variations. After all, no two dogs are precisely the same.
Another known characteristic of a wooly Husky is the feathering around their face, ears, and legs. This feathering also makes their tail look more plumed than the standard Siberians.
As for their coat colors, they also take after the standard and exhibit red, black, gray, sable, white, and agouti shades with or without white markings.
Similarly, their facial features are the same except for the woolly’s feathering around the face and ears. These woollies also share the eye colors of standard Huskies, which are brown or blue.
They may also manifest bi eyes where one of their eyeballs is brown while the other is blue. As for their nose, it is commonly black, liver, or flesh-colored.
Wooly Siberian Husky Size and Weight: How Big Will a Wooly Husky Get When Fully Grown?
Generally, you can expect your wooly Siberian Husky to weigh 45 to 60 pounds if it is a male and 35 to 50 pounds if it is a female.
In terms of height, male woolies stand at 21 to 23.5 inches from the withers, while females may grow up to 20 to 22 inches.
As a general rule, wooly Huskies, much like other Siberians, achieve their full-grown size when they reach one year old.
However, those who have bigger builds and a thicker wooly coat may take 10 to 15 months to stop growing.
That being said, you can only fully identify the growth curve of your wooly Husky if you’ll have them undergo DNA testing.
Are Wooly Siberian Huskies Rare?
Since it is highly discouraged to breed wooly Siberians intentionally, expect that they are much rarer than their standard counterparts.
This means that it won’t be easy to reserve or even find one of these pooches in local breeders or rescues near you.
The rarity of wooly Husky can be attributed to the fact that many show judges do not see them as high-quality dogs.
Now, before you go ahead and deem these judges unfair, you must know that they have justifiable reasons.
Wooly Huskies have long soft guard hairs that do not provide any protection against water and the cold weather. Their coat also takes longer to dry, which is dangerous if they are used as sled dogs.
Thus, breeding them is strictly prohibited especially if they would be used as working canines in colder regions.
Do Kennel Clubs Recognize the Wooly Husky?
As of this day, major kennel clubs have yet to recognize the wooly Siberian Husky because of the faults associated with their coat length.
However, they can still be registered as purebred dogs with the condition that they won’t be allowed to join conformation shows.
Kennel organizations such as AKC highly discriminate against the intentional breeding of these pooches just so their coats can be achieved.
Nevertheless, their natural occurrence in a Husky litter is not viewed as controversial since their thick guard hairs are only a result of recessive genes.
Wooly Siberian Husky Genetics: What Causes the Wooly Coat of a Husky?
As mentioned in passing in the former sections, genetics play a significant role in the rare presence of wooly Siberians.
These dogs have inherited their coat length from an autosomal recessive trait which is passed on by both of their parents.
According to DDC Veterinary, Siberian Huskies may have three possible genotypes that result in their body’s shape and in a variety of coat lengths.
Understanding the differences between these three is the key to figuring out why the wooly coat exists:
- Clear: Siberian Huskies who carry two copies of the normal allele.
- Carrier: Siberian Huskies who have one copy of the long-hair mutation and one copy of the normal allele.
- Affected: Siberian Huskies who carry two copies of the long-hair mutation.
If both of the parents of a Siberian Husky are affected by the long-hair gene, you can expect them to manifest the wooly coat.
Similarly, if one of the parents is a carrier and one is affected, there is a 50% chance that the Husky will have a wooly coat.
The same goes when two Husky parents are carriers, but they do not manifest it in their appearance. They can very well pass it on to their offspring even though they themselves do not exhibit it physically.
Wooly Siberian Husky Temperament: Do Wooly Huskies Make Good Family Pets?
The temperament and overall disposition of wooly Siberian Huskies do not fall far from the standard Siberians. They are also fit to be called classic northern dogs with their stubbornness and independence.
Generally, they thrive on human companionship when they are given firm but gentle training from puppyhood. They are friendly with children and strangers alike although their natural instinct to run can kick in.
They may spend more time running than actually engaging with their owners and housemates.
In terms of dealing with other dogs, they are pretty good at it when raised with them.
It would only be a problem when they are introduced to new pets or animals since they have a high prey drive. You will see them chasing cats or livestock as if they were trained to do so.
Another thing to note about wooly Siberian Huskies is that they can be diggers especially during warm seasons.
They naturally want to create a cool place where they can lie, so expect your backyard to be filled with holes.
If you can deal with all these, then, by all means, go searching for a wooly Husky that you can take home as your pet.
Wooly Siberian Husky Lifespan and Health Issues: Are Wooly Huskies Healthy Dogs?
Wooly Siberian Huskies can live up to 14 to 15 years given proper care as house pets.
However, if your wooly is used as a sled dog, this lifespan may significantly decrease due to the possibility that they’ll freeze while out doing their tasks.
The coat of wooly Huskies takes a long time to dry and this may cause them to suffer from hypothermia when out in a snowy region.
Apart from this, the wooly Husky is also susceptible to various health issues that target the breed:
- Hip Dysplasia: Since wooly Huskies are a reasonably large breed, they may develop hip dysplasia when their joints do not grow properly. To be specific, their balls and sockets do not fit, so they’ll have difficulty walking and running.
- Epilepsy: Epilepsy is also called seizure or twitching. Woolies who exhibit this condition may suddenly jerk, collapse, stiffen, drool, and lose consciousness. Most vets diagnose this through a physical exam, and your dog would be prescribed medicines that shouldn’t be skipped.
- Glaucoma: This is an eye disorder that occurs when there is an imbalance in the drainage and production of fluid in the eyes of your wooly Husky. If not treated early, your dog’s retina and the optic disk will be damaged, which will then lead to loss of vision.
Note that wooly Siberian Huskies that appear healthy may acquire the diseases mentioned above due to their genetics.
You should ask the breeder for necessary health certificates and your dog’s genetic test results to ensure that they aren’t predisposed to these life-threatening problems.
Wooly Siberian Husky Shedding and Grooming Needs: How to Groom a Wooly Husky?
Bringing home a wooly Husky is a big responsibility since they need to be groomed weekly due to their long guard hairs.
These dogs shed moderately twice a year, but you won’t see their loose hairs fall off. Thus, you would need good-quality grooming equipment if you want the process to be easier.
Since the loose hairs of your wooly stay and are held up by their long outer coat, they quickly get matted and knotted.
If you postpone grooming them for a long time, these knotted hairs will get clumped together, which is even harder to brush. You would need to resort to cutting your dog’s fur if this is the case.
To avoid all these, brush your wooly Husky’s coat weekly or as often as you can. This will help remove dead hairs and even dead skin that can bring discomfort to your dog due to their coat type.
You should also brush their tails because they can also be knotted due to their thickness.
Other areas of your wooly’s body that you should focus on are their feet and nails. They may be hesitant to let you clean these body parts, so you have to be very gentle.
Start with checking their back feet for knots since they are less protective of this than their front feet. Proceed to trim their nails while gently talking to them.
Check out this video to see a wooly Husky owner grooming her own dog:
Wooly Siberian Husky Puppy Prices & Expenses: How Much Does a Wooly Husky Cost?
Wooly Siberian Huskies are more expensive than standard Siberians due to the rarity of their thick guard hairs or coat type. Wooly Husky puppies cost around $1,000 to $2,500 while standard puppies range from $400 to $1,200.
Some breeders even go upwards of $2,500, especially if they intentionally bred their wooly Husky. These breeders should be avoided at all costs since they are perpetrators of illegal breeding practices.
Apart from the initial cost of purchasing your wooly Siberian Husky, you would need to buy some essential items when they transition to your home.
These include food, crate, leash, collar, bed, chew toys, treats, poop scooper, urine cleaner, dog shampoo, etc. The cost of these items is around $500 to $1,000 collectively.
You would also need to invest in good quality grooming equipment such as scissors, brushes, and nail clippers which can amount to $300 to $800 in total, depending on the brand.
If you don’t plan to groom your wooly Husky on your own, then expect to spend $75 to $100 for their weekly grooming needs.
Not exactly cheap, I know. So better start researching how to groom your dog on your own by watching YouTube videos or asking a professional to teach you.
Places to Find Wooly Husky Puppies for Sale or Adoption
If you aren’t intimidated by the responsibility of grooming a wooly Husky, then I bet you’re all set to begin your search for a wooly puppy.
Whether you are looking for a family companion or a working dog, I’m here to help! What kind of a dog enthusiast would I be if I won’t lead you to a good breeder?
Here’s a list of Siberian Husky breeders and marketplace you can contact to find wooly Husky puppies for sale:
- AKC Marketplace – Despite not being allowed to join in AKC conformation shows, wooly Huskies are posted on the organization’s marketplace. The complete info of the breeder and the age and gender of the puppy are posted for every interested buyer to see.
- Husky Palace – Husky Palace sells both standard and wooly Huskies in North and South Carolina. This is a family-owned breeding facility, and they’re a member of AKC’s Bred with H.E.A.R.T program.
- Novel Siberians – Novel Siberians has been around since 2004, and they currently sell woolies for $1,000 to $2,000. The cost of their pups also comes with puppy food, transitional blanket, toys, treats, health certificate, AKC registration, and a lot more.
There are also several rescues that you can check out for wooly Siberian Huskies for adoption, and they are the following:
- Free Spirit Siberian Husky Rescue – This rescue located in Illinois has already saved over 3,000 Huskies in 20 years. A good chunk of the dogs they have rehomed are the wooly variety, so you’ll surely find your next pet here.
- Arctic Rescue – Arctic Rescue focuses on saving neglected Siberian Huskies, Alaskan Huskies, and Alaskan Malamutes in Utah for over 20 years now. They occasionally have Huskies with long guard hairs under their care so bookmark their available dogs’ page to check for updates.
- Texas Husky Rescue – Texas Husky Rescue has already rescued approximately 175 Huskies, including woolies, since its establishment in 2009. They’re a non-profit organization, so the adoption fee you’ll pay to adopt a wooly Husky from them will go a long way.
If you want to ace your wooly Husky application with any of these rescues, read our ultimate dog adoption guide!
Frequently Asked Questions
Do Wooly Huskies Smell?
Similar to standard Siberians, wooly Huskies with excessively long guard hairs do not smell despite having a fairly thick coat.
However, there are instances where they may exude some odor, especially when their paws are unwashed, they play in the mud, or they have yeast infections and dental issues.
Do Wooly Siberian Huskies Shed a Lot?
Wooly Siberian Huskies are not heavy shedders, and they only blow their coats twice a year just like their standard and plush cousins.
Despite this, they need constant brushing since their dead undercoat does not drop out unlike the standard Siberians.
For woolies, the hairs they shed are held by the longer outer hairs; that’s why they can form clumps that can be difficult to comb.
Are Wooly Siberian Huskies Hypoallergenic?
Wooly Huskies are not hypoallergenic dogs. They don’t even come close to it due to the shedding tendencies of their coat twice a year.
They also produce danders or dead skin cells which are extremely harmful to people with allergies.
Final Thoughts: Is the Wooly Husky the Right Dog for You?
Wooly Siberian Huskies do exist, and they’re a subject of too much discrimination in the past years because of having longer guard hairs than usual.
However, if you do not plan to use them as a working dog, the issues involving their thick coat shouldn’t matter to you.
They’ll make great family companions and stress relievers because of their fluffy appearance and great temperaments.
Just one word of caution — do not buy a wooly Husky that is purposefully bred to achieve its coat.
This breeding practice is unethical and must be put to a stop. This will only be possible if no pet enthusiasts like you will purchase a dog from these unprofessional breeders.