Linda Simon
Dr Linda Simon (MVB MRCVS, University College Dublin)
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The energetic and sensitive Siberian Husky has joined forces with the stubborn and protective Chow Chow to create the Chusky. This dog is robustly built with a plush coat, which may retain the colouring of their Husky parent or might take on the attractive cream and red hues of the Chow Chow.

Many are demanding individuals who require constant attention and need consistent training to keep them on track. Suspicious of strangers, these dogs may act hostile with anyone outside of their immediate family. With a desire to be on the go at all times, a lazy owner should look elsewhere!

About & History

Called either the Chusky or the Chowsky, this relatively new mixed-breed is becoming a fast favourite of designer dog enthusiasts around the world. Thought to be in existence for one to two decades, no-one is quite sure in which country the Chusky originated and it is possible that, worldwide, breeders were independently creating this mix in a number of countries. While some believe that the very first Chusky was bred in North America, this cannot be proven.

As this breed matures, we will be able to better classify and describe it. For now, we look mostly to its parents for information. The Chow Chow is an ancient breed of dog that has been in existence for thousands of years in the Orient. Many believe that they descended from the Samoyed and the Tibetan Spaniel. They acted as a truly multi-purpose companion to their master – herding, hunting and protecting, as well as sometimes serving as a source of food. Many remain fiercely protective and serve as guard dogs in the modern world. The Siberian Husky has just as much history as the Chow Chow, thoug they originated further north in freezing Siberia.

They too were vital parts of their owners’ lives, helping with hunting and pulling loads on sleds. Their intelligence and high exercise demands mean that they are often homed inappropriately and have a tendency to develop difficult behavioural issues. Within the right home though, this dog can excel in a variety of disciplines and makes a loving pet.


A powerful dog with a broad body and deep chest, both the Chusky’s conformation and stance portray strength and independence. Many describe them as a less lean Husky with altered markings. Their muzzle is blockier than that of the Husky and often not quite as long. Their ears stand erect and are triangular in shape, larger than those of their Chow Chow parent. The almond-shaped eyes are bright and alert and may be blue, green or brown. ‘Wall eyes’, where one is blue and the other is brown, are not uncommon. Their well-muscled body is supported by stocky, strong-boned limbs. Their plush tail is medium in length and may curl over their back (as with the Chow Chow) or hang down (as with the Siberian Husky).

Weighing anything from 18kg to 30kg and measuring between 45cm and 68cm, the Chusky tends to be a medium to large-sized sturdy dog. The dense coat of the Chusky serves them well in the winter though can lead to over-heating in warmer months. The double-coat provides protection from the elements while being soft to touch. White, red, gold, and pied coats have all been reported and some puppies retain the darker ‘eyebrow’ markings of their Siberian Husky parent.

Character & Temperament

Predicting the personality of a recently developed mixed breed can be a challenge as while we could expect the puppies to inherit a good mix of traits from each parent, some will act more like one breed than others. As the Chusky evolves over time, we will get a better idea of their overall personality, but for now, we can make an educated guess based on what we know of their ancestors and we can look to those breed members that are already out there.

Chusky dogs tend to be incredibly loyal to their family and have a strong desire to protect both them and their property. Their dedication makes them superb watch dogs and they are always on high alert, ensuring their family remain safe. Similarly, they can be trained to be excellent guard dogs and are not fearful of intruders.

Chow Chows have a reputation for being strong-willed and stubborn – a characteristic which many Chuskys seem to have inheritied. Many also have a desire to be dominant and can constantly challenge and question authority. Combine this with the potential for being highly-strung and having lots of energy, and it soon becomes clear that this is not a breed for the faint-hearted. Inexperienced owners should consider another breed as the Chusky can be undeniably hard to handle.


In the right hands, the Chusky can be trained to a high level but this requires dedication and a lot of patience. Trainers need to ensure they are the dominant one in the relationship and must not tolerate bad behaviour or stroppy attitudes. By using positive reinforcement training and rewarding desired behaviours, the Chusky will soon learn what is expected of them.

Chuskys that lack training often lack direction and can become ‘problem pets’. They may channel their pent-up energy into anxieties or destructive behaviours, with garden digging and incessant barking being two of the most common issues. As with most breeds, the Chusky feels most comfortable and confident when it understands its role in the family and is given tasks to complete and has consistent training and rules to follow.


There is a consensus among vets that mixed breed dogs are often more healthy than pure-bred dogs. This is because they tend to have increased hybrid vigour; meaning they are less prone to genetic conditions and more resistant to disease throughout their life. Of course, mixed-breed dogs are not immune to becoming unwell and, within the Chusky population, there are a number of conditions that should be monitored for:

Hip Dysplasia

One of the most common orthopaedic complaints in the canine world, hip dysplasia refers to the malformation of the hip joints, resulting in hind limb arthritis and chronic pain. In the later stages of the condition, dogs can struggle with their mobility and may experience muscle wasting. The best way to prevent hip dysplasia is to screen breeding parents and neuter those animals that receive bad hip scores.


Excess skin around the eyes and having eyelids that are abnormally shaped can result in entropion, a painful condition whereby the eyelid scrapes against the surface of the eye. For many, a simple surgery can correct this defect, resulting in an excellent prognosis.


There have been anecdotal reports from Chusky owners that some dogs are born without a full set of teeth. While there have been no scientific studies performed in this area, and it is unknown if this is a genetic issue, owners should ensure their Chusky’s mouths are checked regularly as they develop. Dogs with improper dentition may benefit from soft diets that are easier to eat.

Exercise and Activity Levels

Working dogs through and through, it is obvious that any progeny of either the Chow Chow or Siberian Husky would have high exercise demands. As well as an hour or two of hiking or jogging each day, the Chusky should have access to a large backyard that is enclosed. They require plenty of space within the home and would not be suited to living in a cramped space, such as a small apartment. The ideal setting for the Chusky would be a large home in a rural area that is well fenced and not near livestock.

As well as meeting the physical requirements of this breed, owners should never neglect the mental stimulation required. A bored Chusky has a tendency to become destructive and to develop vices. Keep them interested by providing them with motivating training sessions, working on their obedience on a daily basis and by giving them toys and puzzles to solve.


The thick coat of the Chusky keeps them snug in cold weather but does need lots of grooming and can lead to excessive shedding in the summer months. A head to tail brush through should be carried out on a daily basis. Most owners will do this in the garden to keep the fur that is shed outside the home. For all, the earlier in life that this regime is started, the better they will tolerate it.

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