A Chusky dog is a cross between a Siberian Husky and a Chow Chow, and is otherwise known as a Chowski dog. But don’t be fooled by a cute puppy with oversized Husky eyebrows—these bundles of joy, complete with the long fur characteristic of both of their breeds, need plenty of training to make them good dogs for the whole family!
Life expectancy: 10 – 13 years
Size: Medium to large
Fur type: Long, requires grooming by owners and professionals
Looks: A combination of the fluffy coat that both Chow Chows and Huskies have, typically with a golden or red Chow dog fur colour, but longer and leaner Husky legs and a headshape closer to a Husky’s
Food: Nutritious food that will support its energy and love of walks
Needs: An experienced owner, a big family to watch out for, a house with plenty of energy and lots of space
Temperament: Protective and loyal, playful and intelligent, but can be aggressive if not trained well
The Chusky has only been recognised as a designer breed for around twenty years, but Chow mixed dogs have been around for a lot longer. They’re a combination of Chow Chow dogs and Siberian Huskies, both dogs famed for their intelligence.
The Chow Chow was bred to be a temple guard dog in ancient China, inspiring the fearsome stone ‘Foo dogs’ that still sit at the entrances of palaces and temples across China and Tibet, and the Siberan Husky evolved as a dog that humans trained to pull sledges and sleds in the Arctic. Both breeds are known for their cleverness and have lived side-by-side with humans— for thousands of years in the adult Chow’s case.
The downsides of each dog couldn’t be more different. Chow Chows can be resistant to training, and can even raise the cost of home insurance due to their aggressive nature if left untrained. Huskies in contrast are easygoing but incredibly energetic dogs, which can be a problem for older owners. Breeding these two incredible dogs together creates a dog like no other, without the aggressive nature of the Chow Chow and without the boundless energies of the Husky, creating a mellower dog.
Chuskies exhibit the best of the two dogs; alert and watchful, whilst also energetic and playful, good for a relatively active family. Expect a very clever dog with the capacity to learn a great deal, but one that will not respond to shouts and anger. The best way to win a loyal and happy Chow and Husky mix is to establish yourself as pack leader by using a mixture of respect, love, and firmness.
A Husky and Chow Chow mix will be protective and loyal, much like the Chow dog temperament. However, this behaviour can easily morph into aggression if not checked by owners.
A Chusky is known as a ‘designer dog’, and you will often see ads for Chusky puppies or Chowski puppies for sale. However, these dogs require a lot of patience and care, and are not for first-time owners. Not only are they full of love and protectiveness for their owners, but they also suffer separation anxiety and can get very sad and lonely, often tending to nervousness that shows itself in nips and barks, when their owners are not there.
They like to be near their owners, but this can manifest into aggression towards other dogs and strangers who are stealing the attention or seem to be acting in a threatening way. A brilliant guard dog trait, but one that might not be too welcome if you frequently have guests over.
Chusky dogs are energetic, which comes from the Husky side. For this reason it’s important you have enough space for them to run around and plenty of people to play with. They’re clever dogs, so you should make sure that you don’t just focus on the physical side of exercise. However, sometimes this cleverness can appear as stubbornness.
Chuskies are generally good with children, as long as they know how to play properly with dogs. If you’re concerned, make sure your Chowski dog is socialised first before letting your kids play unsupervised with them. However, a well-trained Chow Chow Husky mix will be affectionate and protective towards children of their family and loves to play with them.
Training a Husky Chow mix will not be easy, but it is very worth it. Chow Chows are fiercely intelligent but are impatient, and will not take kindly to being teased or even young children accidentally playing roughly with them. Huskies are equally as clever, known as the escape artists of the dog world, and although they make Chusky dogs a little more patient than Chow Chows they will still try to outwit their owners.
Training a Chusky means meeting the dog halfway with a mixture of love, respect and firmness. Any kind of Chow mix dogs will try and get one over on their owners, so it’s important that training starts at a young age. Without it, Chusky dogs can become unruly, aggressive and destructive. Through positive reinforcement—asking your dog to sit and stay before going outside or to sit before greeting someone—you can establish a great routine with your Chowski pet.
Because Chusky dogs can often inherit the Chow temperament which means they don’t take kindly to being touched when they aren’t expecting it, Husky Chow puppies need to get used to being handled. This will stop them from doing something like biting the vet or even attacking a child if they play too roughly with them. Focus on handling their paws and ears sensitively, as well as their mouth and nose, to ensure no accidents happen when they meet a groomer or vet for the first time.
Crate training—training a dog to enter their kennel without fear of separation, to keep them from running riot in the house when you’re out—is also very important in this crossbreed as a form of desensitisation. This is to help your dog cope when you leave and to help calm them down so they don’t get distressed or injure themselves panicking for you to come back.
It’s always easier to teach a dog a new behaviour instead of asking them to unlearn old behaviour, so if you’re struggling, take your Chusky to an obedience class before they start behaving badly.
Do Huskies shed? Do Chows shed? The answer, unfortunately, goes double for a Chusky. They shed a lot because of their long fur, so you should invest in a good vacuum cleaner if you go for this dog. Brush them thoroughly once a week and make it a fun and relaxing encounter for your dog, and take them to a professional groomer regularly.
If you’ve ever seen a Chow Chow haircut, you’ll know how important it is for dogs to feel cool in the summer months. For this reason, trimming a Chusky’s coat in the warmer months will make for a happier, healthier dog before shedding season begins in earnest. This is another reason it’s so important to make sure that Chuskies are desensitised from their impatience with vets and groomers touching them, as reacting badly to the groomer when they have trimming scissors in their hand could cause your Husky and Chow Chow mix to injure themselves.
Chow Chows and Huskies were both bred to be working dogs, so the Chusky is a powerful breed that requires nutritious food to keep themselves going. They may also need to eat oily fish once in a while to maintain the lustre and softness of their coat while keeping their skin hydrated.
How to pick a Chusky puppy:
A husky chow puppy is undoubtedly very cute, but don’t get lost in cooing over their fur. For a dog that will be a great family pet well into adulthood, you can’t just pick one with the fluffiest hair. Look instead to see if any puppy is bullying the others or scared; these will not make good pets.
A Chusky puppy that will grow into a good dog is one that’s bright and alert, curious, but not overly aggressive. If you pick up a puppy, especially if you want to handle its nose, paws, ears or mouth, it should not go for a bite or get frightened. Although these puppies are still able to be trained and make good pets, it’s easier for you if you get a more well-adjusted dog from birth so they can grow into a well-behaved and happy dog.
Chusky dogs don’t tend to bark much unless they sense an intruder, making them good watchdogs. They prefer cold climates to hot ones, and any issues around behaviour can be magnified in the hot sun. They’re not as demanding physically as a true purebred Husky, but need exercise nonetheless. They’ll even be able to learn when it’s almost time for a walk and be able to nudge you towards their lead.
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