Overall, the Siberian Husky breed is a very healthy breed of dog. Unlike some dog breeds, Huskies do not seem to have been overbred by irresponsible breeders, causing an abundance of genetic health problems for Siberian Huskies. However, there are a small number of genetically based defects that can cause Siberian Husky health issues. 


Siberian Husky Health Issues,   Common Husky health issues, Siberian Husky health problems
Siberian Husky Health Issues

Through many generations of selective and responsible breeding, the Husky's solid genetics have retained the robust health of this sturdy, athletic breed of dog. But it's nearly impossible for any dog breed to have absolutely no health issues common to their breed, and Huskies are no exception.

Siberian Husky Health Issues

Although Siberian Huskies are generally very healthy dogs, there are a few health conditions that Huskies have a genetically higher than average chance of developing.


A neurological condition caused by abnormal brain activity that results in the dog having seizures. Not all forms of epilepsy in dogs are due to genetic defects, but Huskies can be genetically predisposed to developing Epilepsy.  Epilepsy in Huskies is treatable with anti-seizure medication.

Epileptic seizures can cause your dog to thrash uncontrollably, appear disoriented following a seizure, urinate, drool, or defecate.  My good friend, fellow blogger, and freelance writer Dorothy Wills-Rafferty has had 5 Siberian Huskies, all at one time! She is an expert in k9 Epilepsy, or "Epi Dogs" and has shared some wonderful resources for dog parents on dog Epilepsy.


One of the most striking features of the Husky is their stunning eyes. However, there are 3 genetic eye diseases that can impact Siberian Huskies. Each one effects a different portion of the eye.

When my Husky Icy was a puppy she ran right into the screen on our patio sliding doors - twice! We were shocked that she couldn't tell the screen was closed and barrelled right through it! 

It concerned us that it appeared she might have less than perfect vision, but we hadn't heard that Huskies could be prone to eye diseases so we chalked it up to a rambunctious puppy accident. 

Over the years we felt her vision wasn't fabulous but the Vet didn't see anything wrong and she never developed any eye diseases or conditions. She is now 13 years old and her vision is fine, no eye issues have been identified.

Bilateral Cataracts

Sometimes called "juvenile cataracts", this is a cloudiness of the lens of the eye in young dogs. It can result in one, or ultimately both eyes. The condition usually presents itself in dogs 18 months or younger.  As in humans, the cataracts can be surgically removed. If not removed, severe bilateral cataracts could result in blindness. 

Corneal Dystrophy, also known as Crystalline Corneal Opacities

These have similar symptoms to cataracts, in that the eye becomes cloudy and vision gets blocked.  Cone shaped crystals are produced in the cornea that spread across the surface and can inhibit vision. It can effect one or both eyes, and can develop in either very young dogs or dogs that have reached adulthood. There is no known cure for Crystalline Corneal Opacities.

Progressive Retinal Atrophy (PRA)

This effects the rods and cones in the retina. There are various types of PRA that effect the dog's eyesight quite differently. It often starts by inhibiting the dog's night vision and eventually impacts daytime vision, and can ultimately cause blindness.  This condition is not very common in Huskies, but it can occur in dogs as early as a few weeks old or in adulthood.  There is no known treatment or cure for PRA. 

Interesting fact: In most cases of PRA, females dogs must inherit the genetic defect from both parents in order to be effected by this condition, whereas males only need to inherit it from the mother to potentially be effected.


Chronic Hip Dysplasia is common in several dog breeds such as German Shepherds, Golden Retrievers, and other breeds. Hip Dysplasia is not as likely to occur in Siberian Huskies as it is in some other breeds, but it can occur.  

Hip Dysplasia refers to an abnormality in the development of the hip joint where the head of the dog's thighbone doesn't fit properly into the pelvic joint socket.  It usually develops pretty early, around the first two years of the dog's life.  Hip Dysplasia can cause a lot of pain and could result in arthritis.  The main symptoms are limping and stiffness when the dog tries to get up or inability to walk up stairs or get into the car.

Your Veterinarian will be able to diagnose hip dysplasia with an X-ray. There are many treatments available for dogs suffering from this condition and dogs can live a long relatively healthy life if it's managed properly.  Pain medications, supplements, special diets, and changes to the dog's exercise routine can help the condition.  Surgical treatment options are available as well.  Work with your Veterinarian to determine the best course of action.

The Siberian Husky Club of America, (SHCA) provides more information on Canine Hip Dysplasia and Hip Dysplasia in Siberian Huskies. 


Hypothyroidism refers to abnormally low activity of the dog's thyroid gland, causing a deficiency of thyroid hormones being produced in the body.  This can cause weight gain, lethargy, and skin problems.  Hypothyroidism is easily treated with medication, and dogs effected by it can have an excellent prognosis and normal life expectancy with proper treatment.

Von Willebrand's Disease

A blood clotting disorder that could potentially be found in Huskies. A serious injury or surgery can result in severe bleeding. Von Willebrand's can be easily detected through blood testing. Veterinarian's typically perform testing for Von Willebrand's Disease and other disorders before performing any surgery. 

One of my Nephews actually has Von Willebrand's. He's nearly 40 years old and it hasn't been a significant issue, even when he had a very bad injury where he bled a lot.

Don't let these possible hereditary diseases scare you away from one of the most amazing breeds of dog! It may sound scary but compared to other dog breeds, the Husky doesn't have many potential hereditary diseases.  The above are only potential diseases and conditions that could be linked to genetic defects in the Siberian Husky breed. No dog, cat, human, or other animal is immune to the possibility of having a genetic defect or hereditary disease.  

My  beautiful Husky Icy will be 13 years old in just a few weeks.  She hasn't had any significant health issues or hereditary diseases to date, other than very recently developing a mild case of arthritis. But really, who doesn't feel stiff in the mornings as they age?! LOL!

Siberian Husky Health Issues    Huskies, Common health issues of Huskies
Hiking in Sedona with my Husky, Icy

Siberian Huskies are actually an ancient breed, whose ancestral origins go back thousands of years.  Huskies are thought to be one of the 14 most ancient dog breeds! The breed we know today was developed over 3,000 years ago by the Chukchi people, who lived in the far Western part of Siberia, Russia, not far from Alaska.

Huskies were vital to the Chukchi's life. They were needed to transport, via sled, food from the ocean, transporting goods for trade with other tribes in the area, and to move their own possessions as the Chukchi people were quite nomadic. These dogs needed to be strong, have good scenting ability, and a lot of endurance to pull sleds over long distances.  

Buy It Now! Siberian Husky Stickers to show your love of Huskies! 3 x 3.3 inch sticker is durable, removable, and water resistant.

Siberian Husky dog running in snow

Because Huskies were so vital to their survival, the Chukchi's bred them with great care. Only the best dogs were used for breeding. Those considered not suitable for breeding were neutered to prevent them from reproducing. This meticulous breeding has contributed to the robustness of the Husky breed. 

I hope today's modern Siberian Husky breeders do not breed them indiscriminately and without screening for genetic defects in breeding pairs and puppies, diminishing the health and sturdiness of this beautiful, athletic breed.  As the American Kennel Club (AKC) states, "...the Siberian Husky is a relatively healthy breed. Responsible breeders screen their breeding stock for health problems..."

I'm a huge advocate of pet adoption wherever possible. However, if you decide to buy a Siberian Husky puppy from a reputable breeder, puppies and their parents should be tested for these conditions by the breeder via genetic screening. 

A reputable, quality Husky breeder will have performed genetic testing on their breeding pairs and puppies.  If they don't do genetic screening, I suggest you find another breeder, or better yet adopt a rescue Husky!  

There is a rescue organization for nearly every breed of dog, and Huskies are no exception. Do a search online for the Siberian Husky Rescue closest to you.

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Tail Wag Wisdom said...

Siberian Huskies as such beautiful dogs! I'm so glad you gave a link to how to know if the breed is right for you. Every dog has a specific type of owner, as is true with Huskies. You are exactly right that you can find beautiful huskies, waiting to be adopted with specific organizations and even in shelters. I always like to encourage people to adopt rather than buy. Icy is definitely a great role model for the Siberian Husky breed. And Dorothy Willis Rafferty and her FiveSibes are amazing roles for the Husky breed. I'm completely blown away with her work with Epi Dogs. She, her FiveSibes, you, and Icy and shining stars for this amazing breed.

M Dawson said...

This article is invaluable for anyone preparing to bring home a Husky dog. They look magnificent.

Huskies are amazing but I would never own one because they need experience I don't have! Although I would love an Icy Husky!

LaylasWoof said...

What an interesting post, I never think of illnesses when adopting as I feel like I will cross the bridge as I come to them, so you taught me a lot today, Siberian Huskies are such beautiful graceful dogs and their eyes are just stunning

FiveSibesMom said...

Excellent informative post about Siberian Huskies (who we both love!) And THANK YOU so much for listing my resource library for the Epilepsy listing. I hope it can help others on the same journey my Gibson and I went on, and he did live a happy life even with epilepsy! I hope that folks won't shy away from adopting a dog with epilepsy, or surrendering one if they have seizures because they certainly can do whatever a dog without it can! I'll be sharing this post and hope it helps others. It's always good for folks to study up on the breed of dog they want to be sure they are ready for that dog so they can give it a loving, forever home. GREAT POST!

And also a thank you to Tail Wag Wisdom for their wonderful words above! Hugs to Icy! xoxo

M Dawson said...

Huskies are way beyond my skill set but they are beautiful, full of personality and a lot of fun.

I am glad they have avoided many of the terrible breeding mistakes that make some pedigree dogs a nightmare to own (and to insure!) That said, being prepared and knowing the kind of illness that might befall a husky is vitally important and your post fills an important need!

Thank you!

Britt K said...

I have always loved the look of the Siberian Huskies. I knew that eye issues were a concern with the breed, but I wasn't aware of some of the other issues that you had listed here. The risk of hip dysplasia shouldn't come as a surprise considering how many larger dogs experience that. I know it's really prevalent in the German Shepherd, which is largely my breed of choice.

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