Linda Simon
Dr Linda Simon (MVB MRCVS, University College Dublin)
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Developed during the last couple of decades, the Labsky has been slowly growing in popularity, with owners appreciating its kind heart and zest for life. A mixture of the popular Labrador Retriever and Siberian Husky, this attractive hybrid tends to look like a good mix of both its parents once fully grown.

With high exercise demands and a desire for constant mental stimulation, the Labsky is a full-time commitment and should not be left home alone for prolonged periods. Keen workers who enjoy learning, this breed really benefits from extensive training throughout their lifetime.

About & History

The Labsky is a cross between the Labrador Retriever and the Siberian Husky, also known as the Siberian Retriever, Husky Lab and Huskador. It is important to not confuse this breed with the Labrador Husky, which is a breed of its own, developed in the 1300s in Canada. It is thought that the Labsky was developed some time in the 1990s. As with other hybrids, it is likely that several breeders were creating Labskys independently of each other all around the world without realising, hence it is impossible to know their country of origin.

When it comes to the Labsky’s parents, much more is known about their history. The Siberian Husky is a truly ancient breed that has been in existence for over 3,000 years. They originated in the Arctic before being brought to Alaska and Canada. Traditionally, they have been used as companion animals, sled dogs and hunters. The Labrador Retriever was developed more recently in the 19th century in Newfoundland. These dogs were historically used as gundogs who worked on both land and water. In recent days, the Labrador Retriever is frequently cited as the most popular dog breed in the USA.


Labskys are a truly gorgeous breed that tend to have beautiful markings and a distinctive look. As with other hybrids, accurately predicting their appearance can be tricky as even within the same litter, there can be a high degree of variation. While some pups will appear more like a Husky, others will display more of their Labrador genetics – the split is rarely 50/50.

The medium-sized, triangular ears of the Labsky may stand erect or can fall flat against their face. Their piercing eyes can be light blue, brown or amber and heterochromia is common (having two different coloured eyes). Their head is wedge-shaped and their jaw is powerful. Their prominent nose may be either black or brown. Their body should be lean and athletic, supported by long and well-muscled limbs. Their tail should curl up, mimicking that of their Husky ancestors.

The double-coat of the Labsky tends to be medium in length and silky in texture. Fur colours include white, black, cream, brown or grey and dogs may have solid coats or a mixture of colours and markings. Many have facial masks and eyebrows that are a different colour to the rest of their facial fur. When fully grown, most adult will reach heights of 63cm and weights of between 18kg and 27kg.

Character & Temperament

As would be expected given who their parents are, Labskys are typically lively, athletic and full of fun. They are loving and affectionate, sometimes fawningly so. A boisterous breed that requires lots of attention, this dog would certainly not be suited to a first-time owner or someone who spends a lot of time away from the home. They crave human companionship and need to constantly have something to do. In fact, a Labsky that is left alone for too long will often develop nuisance behaviours and may even begin to suffer from separation anxiety. Incessant barking can be a real challenge in some individuals.

Typically tolerant of children, given their size and strength it is still important to supervise young children when in the presence of a Labsky. They can make wonderful playmates for the young people of the household and tend to become quite protective over them. Generally social with other animals, their hunting instincts may kick in if presented with a small pet, such as a cat or rabbit. As this dog has the potential to become highly-strung, they require extensive socialisation and training from a young age to keep them on track.


Born to work and with a happy-go-lucky nature, the Labsky makes for a highly trainable breed. They are intelligent and take to most new tasks very quickly. At times, their intelligence can be a hindrance, as they may feel the need to test boundaries and attempt to manipulate situations. By maintaining a firm leadership and using consistent training methods, the majority of problems should be avoided.

As the personalities of the Labrador Retriever and Siberian Husky are quite different, with the Labrador being eager to please and agreeable while the Husky is often more stubborn, some Labskys do far better than others when it comes to their canine training.


While it’s true that cross-breeds are thought to be healthier than their purebred parents, there are certain health conditions that we should be on the lookout for in the Labsky, which include:

Hip Dysplasia

A congenital defect that results in hip laxity and local osteoarthritis, hip dysplasia can really slow a dog down in later life. This disease is rarely confined to one side and its severity varies from patient to patient. Signs tend to start in the first year of life and may include limping, an unusual gait and difficulty standing up.

Imaging tools, such as X-rays and CT scans, can diagnose the condition and help determine a treatment plan. Treatment can be surgical or non-surgical, depending on the severity of the condition and other factors, including the dog’s general health status and any financial concerns.


Many dogs are afflicted with allergies, resulting in numerous vet visits throughout the years. Dogs can be allergic to a wide range of things, including flea saliva, mites, moulds, trees and food. A high proportion of dogs are allergic to more than one thing. Allergies can result in several symptoms, including itchy skin and gastrointestinal upset.

Food trials and blood tests may be used in the diagnosis of an allergy. If possible, the allergen is avoided for the rest of the dog’s life. Medications are frequently prescribed, which can help control associated symptoms and manage this lifelong condition.


Possibly more so than any other breed, the Labrador is known as being a bit of a chunky monkey and very food-driven. With Labrador genes, the Labsky is also prone to becoming over-weight. By strictly measuring their daily calorie intake and providing sufficient exercise, this life-limiting condition can be avoided.


An underactive thyroid is not always easy to diagnose as dogs can present in a multitude of ways and may have subtle symptoms. Difficulty losing weight, dry skin, frequent skin infections and ‘heat-seeking behaviour’ may all be seen.

If a vet is suspicious of hypothyroidism, they will check for the disease by running some bloodwork. If their suspicions are confirmed, a medical trial will be started. Dogs are usually treated with daily tablets in their food.

Ocular Conditions

Glaucoma and Retinal Dysplasia may both be seen, alongside other less common eye diseases. Participation in programs, such as the BVA eye scheme, is recommended for any breeding animal.

Exercise and Activity Levels

A very active dog by nature, the Labsky requires a minimum of one hour of exercise each day to keep them in tip top shape. On top of walks and hikes, they should be given the opportunity to swim and to participate in a variety of games and sports, including agility and frisbee. Their intelligence and natural ability will serve them well in the sporting world.

Failing to provide the Labsky with enough exercise will not only predispose them to obesity but will also lead to negative behaviours and, ultimately, result in an unhappy dog. Without the necessary stimulation, they will tend to turn to activities, such as digging, chewing and barking to keep them occupied.


The double coat of the Labsky should be brushed either daily or every second day to remove dead fur and prevent matting. While shedding tends to be moderate, at certain times of year, the Labsky will shed quite a lot and may need twice daily brushing.

As some Labsky dogs will have erect ears while others will have flopped-down ears, their ear care will depend on their physical appearance. Those with pendulous ears require more extensive intervention, which should include weekly ear checks and cleaning.

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