There are many mixed-breed dogs that can make for great family members and the Husky Bull Terrier Mix (also known as the Pitsky) is no exception. Known to be adorable and affectionate dogs, this mix between the Pitbull and Husky can be a great hybrid dog for families that can give them the attention and care they need. Below we look at the traits, appearance, and characteristics of these designer dogs while addressing some of the most commonly asked questions about them.
What is a Pitsky?
The Pitsky puppy is the result of the union between an Alaskan Husky and the American Pitbull Terrier which is the most popular example. Other variants include a mix between the Siberian Husky and the Staffordshire Bull Terrier, where both parents pass on their characteristics to their pups. Despite what most people think, the pitbull husky mix has been bred for decades, but international breeding of the dog only started during the late 1990s.
At this time, designer breed dogs were becoming highly popular, leading to the growing demand for new dog hybrids. While the true purpose for breeding the Pitsky hasn’t been discovered, it’s possible that breeders wanted to create a dog that would have the loving temperament of the pit bull and the majestic appearance of huskies.
Meet The Parents
Here we discuss the parent breeds that make up the Husky Bull Terrier Mix dogs that have captured our attention.
The American Pit Bull Terrier
The first parent of the Husky Pitbull mix is the American Pit Bull Terrier, which takes its origins from Britain during the 19th century and was taken to the United States to be further refined. This dog was originally bred for sports such as bull baiting as well as work. Since 1898, the United Kennel Club (UKC) has recognized pit bull terriers but they are yet to be recognized by the American Kennel Club (AKC).
These dogs are known for their athletic and muscular builds, droopy ears, and short coats — they’re also eager to please and are extremely loyal pets. Despite having a reputation for being one of the most aggressive breeds in the world, they’re actually the opposite; these goofballs are very affectionate and loving. These fun-loving dogs are naturally protective, which could be the reason why they may show aggressive behavior.
But the truth is that these dogs are only protecting their humans, and love to play with their owners because of their high energy levels. They will often be able to match the same intensity that huskies have, which is why they’re an ideal pet for individuals with an active lifestyle. Most of the time, Pitskys will inherit the stocky build and personality of the American Pit Bull Terrier.
Just as its name suggests, Siberian Huskies are native to Siberia and were bred to become sled dogs that can travel long distances over the cold climate of the Arctic. In 1930, the AKC first recognized the breed, which has a double coat and a similar appearance to a wolf. They are known to be among the most comical and entertaining dog breeds, and aren’t aggressive by nature — instead, they are playful and free-spirited.
The husky is an intelligent and hardworking dog and is used to pull sleighs along dangerous snow-covered paths. Because of this job, this purebred dog is highly active, athletic, and agile, so it will need a lot of exercise; because of this, there aren’t many calm huskies. Even so, this dog is among the most popular dog breeds in the country — Pitskys generally inherit facial features such as their coats and erect ears from their Siberian husky parent.
Traits and Characteristics
These mixed breed dogs will come with their own personalities which will be dependent on the more dominant genes. However, you can count on them to have the following characteristics in general.
Temperament and Personality
According to the official temperament guide set by the AKC, Siberian Huskies are usually outgoing, alert, and friendly. On the other hand, an American pit bull terrier will be eager to please, enthusiastic, and confident, according to the UKC. The resulting Pitsky may inherit some or all of these personality traits and most pups will be loyal and sociable.
Pitskies are good with young children and their affectionate nature makes them well suited for family life. But without early socialization and proper training, they can start showing aggression and will need an experienced and firm owner who can give them undivided attention to care for and train them. Furthermore, they have a high prey drive and won’t be a good match for pet owners with small animals such as birds and rabbits.
Husky and pit bull mixes will rarely bark unless they need to alert their humans or want to play. However, Pitsky puppies that get more traits from their Siberian Husky parent will be more vocal and will whine, yelp, and howl.
A Pitsky dog will have an average life span ranging from 12 to 16 years if they’re well taken care of. Giving them enough exercise, mental stimulation, and a healthy diet will be enough to keep your pooch happy and fit.
The Pitsky is a medium-sized dog that can gain various characteristics and traits from its pit bull and husky parents. They can grow as tall as 23.5 inches and can come in different colors; most Pitskies will have bicolored coats, wolf-like faces, and athletic builds.
Weight and Height
These medium dogs will typically reach a height between 17 to 23.5 inches along with a weight of 30 to 60 pounds. Males will generally weigh more than females and will be taller by a few inches. Their size will vary depending on their age, genetics, activity level, and health.
A Pitsky that’s three months old will grow up to 12 inches and should weigh approximately 20 pounds. By the time a Pitsky reaches 15 months old, it will reach adult size.
Husky and pit bull mixes will typically have a brindle, gray, brown, black, or white coloration. Most of these dogs will come in a combination of these colors, and will often inherit the coat markings that come with Siberian huskies. The rarest coat type you can find with a Pitsky is a solid white color, and many will come with blue eyes.
A Pitsky puppy may inherit the short hair from their American pit bull terrier parent, or they can also get the thick coat of their husky parent. If you end up with the coat of the former, your puppy will get a short and smooth coat that’s glossy with stiff hairs. They will experience minimal to moderate shedding but will be manageable.
If they get the coat of the latter, you’ll end up with a dog that has a thick double coat that’s medium length. While the undercoat will be short and dense, the outercoat will be straight, and long, and will repel water. This will shed moderately but can also shed heavily depending on the season.
Because they can be stubborn at times and need plenty of exercise, as well as consistent training, these dogs will be a bit difficult to raise. This mix will also come with a higher prey drive and will be more prone to aggression compared to other breeds.
An adult Pitsky will need to eat 2 or 3 cups of dry dog food for medium-sized dogs each day that’s split into two meals. You should be able to determine the exact amount of food depending on their metabolism, age, size, and energy level. Puppies should be given more food, ranging from 4 to 5 cups a day to be split across three meals; you can then gradually feed them less as they reach adulthood.
A Pitsky will have typical grooming needs and will be kept to a minimum even if they get fur from their Husky parent. All you need to do is brush them at least once a week to maintain the good condition of their coats and to keep them free from dander, dirt, and debris — it’s also best to wash your pup when it’s dirty or once every few months. Most Pitskies will naturally wear their nails down but you should also trim them if they’re audibly rubbing off the floor.
These high-energy dogs will need to exercise for a minimum of 90 minutes each day, which can be done through running, walking, and games. Your Pitsky can happily live in a small apartment if you give them enough exercise and are allowed to relieve themselves regularly. But if you want to give them a good place to grow, they will do well in a house with a large backyard.
Just make sure that you have fences to keep your yard secure since they are great escape artists. They will also need a lot of mental exercise to stay fit mentally, so be sure to give them access to interactive games, puzzle toys, scent work, and hiking for at least an hour each day. Without much exercise, Pitskies will often turn to destructive behaviors and engage in scratching, chewing, digging, and howling.
When it comes to your pup’s hygiene, Pitskies will need a thorough wash once every two months. But whenever your pup gets dirty, it’s best to give them a bath right away — because these dogs love playing, they’ll surely pick up dirt every now and then. Apart from giving them baths, it’s also important to clean their ears once every two weeks.
Their teeth should also be given a lot of attention and will need a good brush at least once a day especially if you feed it with human foods and treats.
Common Health Concerns
While they are relatively healthy dogs, Pitskies can be prone to health problems that regularly plague their parent breeds such as:
- Patella Luxation – This refers to when the dog’s knee cap comes out of its usual position. Symptoms associated with this condition include pain, joint aches, a hopping gait, and lameness.
- Hip Dysplasia – When the dog’s hip joint fails to develop properly, it will lead to this condition, causing a wobbly gait, limping, and cracking from the joints.
- Hypothyroidism – Occurs when the thyroid doesn’t work properly. Its symptoms include hair loss, lethargy, cold intolerance, weight gain, and an insatiable appetite.
- Congenital Cardiac Disease – A heart disease that can be present at birth, with symptoms ranging from tiredness, difficulty breathing, exercise problems, and coughing.
- Eye Problems – Their almond-shaped eyes make them prone to various health concerns. These include progressive retinal atrophy (PRA), glaucoma, and cataracts. Most of these health issues can be treated except for PRA, but you can have it checked even before a puppy is born.
- Degenerative Myelopathy – This debilitating condition affects a dog’s spinal cord, and symptoms include paralysis, incontinence, and leg weakness. There are currently no treatments for this condition.
Dog owners looking for a good guard dog will find that Pit Bull Husky mixes love to please and are highly intelligent. Unfortunately, they can be stubborn at times, which will make training them a bit more difficult compared to other dogs. The good news is that they will respond well to reward-based practices or positive reinforcement.
Start their socialization and training from a young age — starting at 8 weeks is good, but some will begin at just 6 to 7 weeks. At this age, puppies will be better equipped to learn new behaviors. You don’t have to get into anything serious, just teach them basic obedience training, which will make it much easier to train them later in life.
You can also teach them crate training and housebreaking then gradually teach them more advanced commands as your pup grows and gains confidence. If you notice that something isn’t working, it’s a good idea to get help from a specialist who knows how to handle this particular breed. Because your pooch may have a prey drive, they will tend to chase small creatures such as cats and rabbits rather than befriend them.
Luckily, you can curb this behavior by exposing them to small pets and animals early on. The best way to train them is to remain firm and consistent at all stages of their training. While it can be tempting to be slack, you must assert yourself as the pack leader so that your efforts don’t go to waste.
Once your Pitsky is properly trained, it can be an incredibly loyal and loving dog who will be eager to please and will always protect you. While they can be friendly with strangers, they are also ready to have your back if the situation calls for it. Be sure to reward their positive behavior on a daily basis, especially when they are good with smaller animals to encourage a positive association and so your Pitsky can see them as companions rather than a meal.
Much like other designer breeds, the husky bull terrier mix can be quite expensive. Their initial price will depend on the dog’s appearance, bloodline, age, and whether you’re adopting or purchasing from a reputable breeder. These dogs can cost anywhere from $500 to $2,000; puppies will be more expensive compared to older dogs.
Puppies from a good lineage and rare colors will cost even more, but if you’re looking for a more affordable option, you can also look at animal shelters which will charge an adoption fee of $50 to $250.
Costs of Owning a Pitsky
Don’t forget that there are also other costs associated with owning your new dog, which will be around $100 to $160 each month and will cover needs like food, treats, toys, grooming, and vet visits. You can expect to pay around $2,500 during the first year, which will include initial costs such as puppy vaccinations as well as neutering. However, the overall costs of caring for your pup will get higher if you need to pay for training classes, dog walkers, and health conditions.
Living With a Pitsky
This hybrid loves and craves attention, and will become highly attached to their humans — this will cause them to become stressed if left alone for long periods and may develop separation anxiety. If you’ll be away at work for long hours, you may end up with a sad dog that’s destructive around your home. But it’s for this same reason that they’re a good choice for families; this active dog is also great with small children as well as kids of all ages.
These popular dogs will also need lots of physical activity, so be sure to give them enough exercise around your yard or you can take them out to the nearest park if you live in an apartment. If you decide to go on vacation, don’t just leave your puppy with anyone — the best way to keep them happy is by having a family member or friend spend time with your canine pal for a few hours per day. Alternatively, you can also take your Pitsky to a good daycare that will be able to give your pooch the attention it deserves. At the end of the day, taking in and living with a Pitsky is a long-term commitment and shouldn’t be taken lightly; be ready to provide your new dog plenty of love and attention so that they know you’ll always be there to support them.
Is the Husky Bull Terrier Mix Right for You?
Before you take this beautiful dog home, be sure to do your research ahead of time and to look for responsible breeders who will give you a puppy that won’t have any genetic defects. This isn’t a large dog breed and will be easier to care for compared to other bully breeds. These great dogs will keep you entertained with their lovable and outgoing personalities, but their high energy demands may not be suitable for people with a more sedentary lifestyle.
These social and happy dogs will happily fit in with homes and humans who share their personalities, so if you want a breed that’s more low-key, then the Pitsky may not be for you. Because these dogs can be stubborn at times, you will need to be patient but once they’re well-trained, you will love having this loyal and loving dog by your side, so be sure to start early and remain consistent. As long as you can make them feel protected and safe, these great family dogs will appreciate and be happy to spend all of their time with you.