Husky Inu

Linda Simon
Dr Linda Simon (MVB MRCVS, University College Dublin)
Photo of adult Husky Inu
825545 /

Husky Inus – a crossbreed between the Siberian Husky and the Shiba Inu – are a newly created hybrid that make for an energetic and affectionate pet dog that can be highly-strung at times. Due to their strong personality and powerful bite, they are not suited to every home and require a dedicated trainer that is willing to put in the required time to help their development.

An attractive dog with a well-muscled body and plush, dense fur, the Husky Inu is a dog built to work in cold weather. As with other Spitz breeds, they are quite ‘wolf-like’ in their appearance, with a pointed muzzle and erect ears. Their long, powerful limbs mean that they can cover a large amount of ground in a short space of time.

About & History

Also known as the Shusky or the Siberian Shiba, the Husky Inu is a designer dog that is thought to have been developed in the United States some time during the last few decades. Their two ancestor breeds, the Siberian Husky and the Shiba Inu, are Spitz type dogs that share many characteristics.

The Siberian Husky

Siberian Huskies are an ancient breed that have existed for more than 2,000 years. Originally from the Arctic, they were later exported to neighbouring Alaska and Canada. They were traditionally kept for a multitude of purposes by the Chukchi Indians of the Arctic, for whom they would hunt, pull heavy loads and act as source of companionship, heat and even food.

To be of use, these dogs had to not only survive but also thrive in extreme weather conditions. Both their strength and stamina when sledding is impressive. In more modern times, the Siberian Husky has been used as a sled dog for sport. The Kennel Club recognise the Siberian Husky within their Working Group.

The Shiba Inu

The Shiba Inu is a Japanese hunting dog that would pursue birds, as well as other small game. While ‘Shiba Inu’ translates to ‘small dog’, the word small is a reference to the size of animal they hunted rather than their own stature. They are natural born hunters and enjoy scenting and roaming.

They are quick and agile with a lightness of foot that belies their size. While breed numbers were low after the World Wars, they have experienced a revival and are currently the most popular breed within Japan. Though once rarely seen outside of their homeland, having been exported to America in the 1950s, they are now a relatively common breed internationally. They belong within the Kennel Club’s Utility Group.


The Husky Inu is a rather handsome, small to medium-sized dog with many of the classical Spitz features. They have a ‘wolf-like’ head with a pointed muzzle, broad forehead and erect ears. Their eyes are deep set and almond shaped, giving them an inquisitive expression. Eye colour can be brown or blue, with those with blue eyes making for a spectacular looking dog. They have been built efficiently, with compact muscles and light, agile feet. Their limbs are straight and solid, with good muscle covering. Their tail is covered in long fur and may or may not curl over their back.

Their double coat is remarkably dense and soft and comes in an array of colour combinations. Black and white, brown and white, grey and white and cream and white are the four most common fur colours seen. The Husky Inu can weigh anything between 8kg and 20kg and measures from 40cm to 55cm, making them substantially larger than their Shiba Inu parent. As with many similar breeds, the males will quite often be larger than the females.

Character & Temperament

A bundle of energy, the Husky Inu has a vibrant and sociable personality. They thrive on both canine and human companionship and will pine for company if left alone for too long. However, this doesn’t mean that they do not require proper socialisation when younger as some individuals can be wary of new people and may become defensive if they feel threatened.

An independent dog, they often remain aloof when around people they don’t know but become completely soppy and affectionate when with their own family. They get on well with other pets, though their prey drive remains high so it would not be realistic to expect them to accept small animals, such as rabbits or birds within their home.

Some individuals can be highly-strung and prone to stress, particularly if under-exercised or kept in a confined space. Another potential problem is canine-to-canine aggression, particularly between males. Due to these two possible issues, this cross-breed is best suited to an experienced owner who has owned similar breeds in the past.


Bred from working stock and with high levels of intelligence, the Husky Inu has a great potential to learn. However, they may not always feel like cooperating and do sometimes require a lot of encouragement to stay engaged with the task in hand if it is not something that comes to them naturally.

It is vital that a trainer is firm and fair, using consistent techniques and rewarding good behaviour. Similarly, all family member must be on the same page to avoid confusion. Anecdotally, this breed is very easy to house train; a behaviour that comes to it naturally.


With most breed members living to the age of 12 or 13, the Husky Inu can enjoy a relatively long life. A number of health concerns should be kept on the radar, particularly in those to be used as breeding stock.

Hip Dysplasia

Hip Dysplasia is an orthopaedic condition that can cause lifelong, debilitating pain and mobility issues. As it is easily screened for, it is irresponsible to breed from those that have not been proven to have a good hip score. Hip scoring should be done by an experienced veterinarian and the animal must be x-rayed under deep sedation or anaesthetic.

Zinc Deficiency

Though the Husky Inu may be fed on the same diet as another dog in the home who does not become zinc deficient, a difficulty absorbing this mineral from their gut can cause them to acquire a zinc deficiency over time. Affected dogs can develop scabs over their body, including around the eyes and lips.

These skin changes are often mistaken for other conditions, such as mange or autoimmune disorders, so an extensive diagnostic process is typically carried out. Once diagnosed, the dog can be started on lifelong zinc supplements with good results.

Atopic Dermatitis

Atopy is a chronic condition that causes itchiness of the skin. The subsequent scratching and rubbing leads to broken skin which can result in repeated bacterial and yeast infections. Frustratingly, dogs can react to a number of everyday allergens, including common foods, such as chicken and eggs and parasites, such as fleas.

Where possible, the known trigger should be avoided, although this can be particularly tricky in certain cases, such as in a grass or pollen allergy. More recently, immunotherapy is being used to combat this condition with an impressive level of success, though it can be cost prohibitive for some.

Exercise and Activity Levels

These dogs benefit from a lot of daily exercise, both to keep them fit and to keep their minds occupied. Not only will they enjoy long hikes and runs, they also relish any opportunity for structured play, such as Dog Rally classes, sledding or agility.

Large gardens are preferred as this designer dog thoroughly enjoys the freedom of roaming off lead. Failing to provide enough exercise often leads to behavioural issues, such as digging and constant barking, and can also result in an overweight dog.

Made for cold weather, caution is advised in the summer when Husky Inus can easily overheat outside. They should be exercised close to dawn and dusk and kept in the shade where possible.


The dense fur of the Husky Inu will shed quite a lot, especially during the warmer months. Brushing them every day during this time can go a long way to reduce mess in the home.

Tooth brushing, ear cleaning, eye cleaning, bathing and claw clipping should all be started from a young age to ensure the Husky Inu tolerates them when older. It’s similarly a good idea to introduce them to the professional groomers when a few months old, even if just for a quick brush and cuddle!

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