The husky is a breed of dog native to northern climates. These dogs are bred as working dogs, generally for pulling dog sleds. There are many similar breeds often considered to be huskies although they have different names; each of these breeds has its own distinct characteristics. While all sled dog breeds have thick, weather-proof fur, not all of them have the same texture.
What is a Husky?
The American Kennel Club only recognizes one breed with the name of husky, the Siberian husky. There are several other breeds of dog that are very similar to the Siberian husky although they do not have the word "husky" in their name. These breeds include the Alaskan malamute, which is similar in appearance to the Siberian husky, and the Samoyed, which originates in Siberia much like the husky but has a different appearance. The Labrador husky is Canadian in origin, but is not recognized by the American Kennel Club. Another breed in this group is the Canadian Eskimo dog.
While not all of these dog breeds contain the word "husky" in their name, they are all very similar breeds and considered to be part of the husky grouping by the general public.
General Characteristics of Husky Fur
All northern working dogs have very thick fur to keep the dogs warm in the cold. Their coats have a double layer, one closer to the skin for insulation and one longer outer layer. Huskies are well known for the coloring of their coats and the "mask" that is formed on the face. This is most pronounced on Siberian huskies and malamutes, but also appears on Labrador huskies and Canadian Eskimo dogs. Samoyeds are different in that they are completely white; some Canadian Eskimo dogs are also white.
Texture of Husky Fur
As a general rule, Huskies have a softer undercoat with a more wiry outer coat. This is true of all of the sled dog breeds, although there is variation in how soft the fur is to the touch. The Siberian husky and Alaskan malamute as well as the Labrador husky have shorter fur that is less fluffy and tends to lie flat. Both the Canadian Eskimo dog and the Samoyed have longer, fuller coats that feel softer and are generally fluffier.
Choosing the Softest Sled Dog
If you are in search of a sled dog breed that will remain fluffy and soft to the touch as the puppy grows into adulthood, the Samoyed is your best bet. While the Canadian Eskimo dog also retains softer fur, the breed is diminishing in numbers and difficult to find.
All of the sled dog breeds have much softer fur as puppies, but as they shed and grow their adult coat, the fur becomes more wiry. Many people do still find breeds such as the Siberian husky and malamute to be soft; this is a matter of personal taste.