The Sakhalin Husky is a close relative of the more famous Siberian Husky. They are similar in appearance and temperament. Unfortunately, the beautiful Sakhalin breed is now extinct.
Sakhalin Husky Facts
The Sakhalin Husky was a treasured breed. It recently became extinct, but it still has close relatives who are alive and thriving today. They originated on the Sakhalin island.
The Sakhalin is a medium sized dog. They have luxurious double coats, which keep them warm in freezing conditions.
Like Siberian Huskies, they have a wolf-like appearance. They had almond shaped eyes, which could be brown, green, yellow, or blue. Each eye can be a different color, like the Siberian Husky as well.
They are typically darker in color than the Siberian. They are typically dark gray, cream or brown, and typically have patches of black as well.
The Sakhalin population declined during the 20th century. In the early to mid 1900s, it was popular in Russia and Japan, where it worked as a sledding dog. It was well-suited to the harsh climate, like other arctic breeds.
The beginning of the end happened in 2011. There were two purebred Sakhalin Huskies surviving in Japan. Their names were Hana and Kuma. In 2015, there were 7 present on the breed’s native island of Sakhalin, which gave the breed its name.
Sergey Lyubykh was the last remaining Sakhalin breeder. He died in 2012. Before his death, he stated that there wasn’t enough genetic diversity to continue breeding these beautiful pooches.
Rather than risk genetic defects due to improper breeding, the breed was allowed to become extinct.
The Sakhalin Husky is no longer with us, but they do have some well known relatives. Arctic breeds descended from a dog that existed 10,000 years ago. Further back, they share ancestry with the Taimyr wolf, a predecessor of today’s wolves. Geneticists believe that modern wolves and ancient dog breeds are two branches of the Taimyr family tree.
Of course, they are close cousins of the Siberian Husky. Other related breeds include the Alaskan Malamute, the Greenland Dog, Samoyed, and the Canadian Eskimo Dog.
The Sakhalin originated in Sakhalin, Russia. There was a large population, relatively speaking, of people with Japanese ethnicity. In 1949, many of these individuals relocated to Hokkaido. When they moved, they took their beloved Sakhalin dogs with them.
Sakhalins have accompanied explorers to Alaska and the South Pole. They were used during World War 2 by the red army. This was short lived, because the Sakhalin had an expensive diet of salmon.
Many were killed after the war. The largest reason for this was because they consumed massive amounts of salmon. Russia declared that they were more expensive to feed than horses. Russia had a thriving fishing industry, and made great profits exporting salmon.
It’s unclear why they didn’t simply change the diet of the Sakhalin to something less expensive. They are omnivores, after all. This means they live on a diet of both plants and animals.
This was the beginning of their population decline. In 1958, they accompanied a Japanese expedition to Antarctica. The research team had an emergency evacuation, and had to leave the dogs behind.
They expected to return for the pooches in a few days. Unfortunately, weather prevented them from doing so. 15 dogs were left tied up at the station. A year later, a new team arrived, and found two of the dogs still alive.
Sakhalin Husky Price
Since the Sakhalin Husky is extinct, there’s no price information available. We can take a look at the price of related breeds, however.
The Siberian Husky costs between $400 to $3,000, with an average price of $1,000. The Alaskan Malamute typically costs $500 to $3,000. Those from prized bloodlines can cost $3,500.
Sakhalin Husky Rarity
The Sakhalin Husky is more than rare. There are no Sakhalin Huskies left in the world.
Sakhalin Husky Life expectancy
The Sakhalin typically lived for 12 to 14 years. This is similar to the lifespan of related breeds. The Siberian Husky, for example, has the same lifespan.
Sakhalin Husky Size and weight
The Sakhalin Husky was slightly larger than most Huskies. It ranges from 22-26 inches tall. The Siberian Husky, on the other hand, reaches 20-24 inches in height.
It weighed between 66 and 88 pounds. Siberian Huskies, on the other hand, weigh 35-60 pounds.
Like most breeds, females are a bit smaller than males.
Sakhalin Husky Health
There’s no information about the health of the Sakhalin Husky. However, we do know the conditions that their closest relative, the Siberian Husky, is prone to.
Sakhalin Huskies may have an increased risk of eye disorders. This includes PRA, or progressive retinal atrophy. This disease causes the eyes to go blind, usually at 2 or 3 years old.
Cataracts are another concern. Cataracts cause a film to form over the eye, which impairs vision. Cataracts typically occur in dogs, and humans, in old age. Huskies can develop juvenile cataracts, which happen when the dog is young.
Huskies are also prone to arthritis. This causes joint swelling, stiffness, and pain. If your dog has arthritis, they may have difficulty moving, particularly early in the morning.
Arthritis can’t be cured, but it can be treated with medication. Exercise can also help reduce the symptoms of arthritis.
Huskies are also at an increased risk of epilepsy. Epilepsy can be caused by brain injury, toxin ingestion, or metabolic disorders. Primary epilepsy, however, doesn’t have a clear cause. Huskies develop primary epilepsy at a higher than average rate.
Seizures cause your dog to lose muscle control. They may fall down, kick their legs, and drool. They may also lose control fo their bladder and bowels.
Seizures typically last from 30 seconds to 5 minutes. Primary epilepsy typically develops between 6 months and 3 years old.
Bloat is a condition that every dog owner should be aware of. It occurs when the gas in your dog’s system can’t be released through burping or passing gas.
As food digests, more gas forms. If it’s not released, the pressure continues to increase. This can cause the stomach to twist, which is fatal in half of cases, even with veterinary treatment.
The symptoms of bloat include intense stomach pain, and swelling or bloating. Gagging or retching without productive vomiting is also common. If your dog experiences bloat, immediate medical care is essential. Bloat can be fatal within a few hours of symptoms beginning.
Sakhalin Husky Behavior/Characteristics
Three words can sum up the personality of the Sakhalin Husky. These are independence, loyalty, and intelligence.
The Sakhalin is known to be affectionate and friendly when well trained. They get along well with strangers and other dogs. They are pack oriented, like other Huskies.
They are very independent and intelligent. These are necessary characteristics for sled dogs. They must be able to make decisions quickly, often without input from their owner.
They need lots of time with their families. If they don’t get enough attention, they will likely become destructive. They tend to chew or dig when they are bored or lonely. They may also develop obsessive tendencies, which can cause them to scratch, lick, or howl excessively.
How to care for a Sakhalin Husky
Caring for a Sakhalin Husky is similar to caring for other high-energy aortic breeds. They need lots of exercise, proper training, and grooming.
The Sakhalin Husky began their domestic lives pulling sleds. They have an incredible amount of energy and endurance. This means they would require high amounts of exercise. It’s thought that they needed a few hours of exercise each day.
This is also true of other sledding dogs, like the Siberian Husky.
If they don’t get enough exercise, they would become destructive. They had a tendency to dig or chew items when they didn’t get enough physical activity.
In addition to physical activity, these intelligent dogs require plenty of mental stimulation to keep them from becoming bored. This could be accomplished by giving them a job, like pulling a sled.
Other ways to increase their mental activity include playing games and teaching them new tricks or commands.
Double coated breeds like the Sakhalin Husky need regular grooming. It’s best to brush them, and similar breeds, daily. Begin by brushing their undercoat, and then their topcoat. Use a comb to remove tangles, and then use a paddle brush to remove shed hair and dirt from their coat.
Double coated breeds also shed twice a year. This allows their coat to adjust to changing temperatures. Brushing them daily during this time can reduce shedding and the amount of time the process takes.
Genetic research has revealed that the Sakhalin Husky had a preferred diet that is different from most dogs. In fact, arctic breeds have a genetic adaptation that allows them to eat a diet very high in fat, including seal and whale blubber, without ill effects.
Most dog breeds are not well suited to a high fat diet, but the Sakhalin Husky can eat fatty foods with no concern. The diet does not lead to heart disease or pancreatitis, which are concerns for most non-arctic breeds.
There’s another unrelated Arctic predator with this adaptation. The polar bear.
Of course, this doesn’t mean you should feed your pooch whale blubber. It does mean that Arctic breeds thrive on a high protein and medium fat diet that is low in carbs.
The Sakhain Husky was difficult to train. They were highly intelligent. However, they were also very independent. This makes them a challenge to train.
They are very pack oriented, like other arctic breeds. This is necessary for pulling a sled, but also for survival in harsh arctic conditions. This means when training them, you’ll need to establish yourself as the alpha.
This requires confidence and stability. If you choose a similar breed as a pet, it helps to have previous experience with this type of dog.
If you are new to these breeds, consider taking them to an obedience class. This can help you get off to a good start. Keep in mind that an alpha is in control of themselves, first and foremost. You must not lose your temper when training or interacting with your dog.
How do you buy a Sakhalin Husky?
Unfortunately, you can’t buy a Sakhalin Husky, because they no longer exist. However, you can consider purchasing a related breed.
Which Breeds are Similar to the Sakhalin Husky?
If you are dreaming of a Sakhalin Husky, the best way to accomplish it is to choose a related breed. Of course, the Siberian Husky is the most closely related breed. They are extremely similar in appearance, size, and temperament. However, there are other breeds to consider as well.
These related breeds include:
- American Eskimo: Herding, guard dog
- Samoyed: Sledding, similar appearance and temperament
- Czechoslovakian Wolfdog: Similar appearance, part wolf
- Alaskan Malamute: Similar temperament, hard working
- Alaskan Klee Kai: Smaller, easier to train
- Akita Inu: Japanese, herding breed
Finding a Reputable Registered Breeder
Once you’ve decided which breed suits you best, it’s time to find a breeder. The easiest way to find a reputable breeder is to search the AKC breeder registry. All of their breeders are thoroughly vetted, and all dogs listed are AKC registered.
Breeders who register their dogs are typically ethical. The registration process has requirements which usually eliminate unethical breeders.
Determining if a Breeder is Ethical
Not everyone wants a registered pooch. If you simply want a companion, or have your sights set on a designer breed, you’ll want an unregistered companion.
You’ll need to be careful to choose a reputable breeder. Ethical breeders put the health and temperament of their dogs and puppies above profits. They love their dogs, and the breed as a whole.
Most unethical breeders are simply interested in profits, with little concern for the dogs. However, this isn’t always true. Some unethical breeders are simply in over their head. They are uneducated, which leads to poor breeding practices.