The Husky Lab mix joins two intelligent, active, large dog breeds into one goofy yet protective canine combination.
The Siberian Husky and Labrador Retriever breeds aren’t the most natural cross. They have very different heritages, temperaments and characteristics, which play out in a variety of ways when you scramble them together.
To really get to the bottom of what you as a new owner can expect from your Huskador puppy, we’ve interviewed 20 Husky Lab mix parents, to get the real world scoop on this striking hybrid designer dog.
- Meet the Huskadors and their owners.
- Coat care, shedding and grooming.
- Temperaments and training.
- Pros and cons of life with your Husky Lab mix.
A Word of Caution
Surveys get a bias of extremes. Owners are more likely to take the time to fill in the survey if their dog is brilliant or a real struggle. This means the positives and negatives can be highlighted in the results.
Some dogs are in their teens, others are just a few months old, which will of course impact the answers too. But this range of experiences should help you to enter into life with your new Husky Lab mix with open eyes and expectations!
Meet some of the Husky Lab Mixes!
Here are some of the wonderful Husky Lab mix owners we’ve been in touch with and an overview of their gorgeous pets, in their own words:
Abraxas, Atlas and Ivory – Dramatic Dogs
Elizabeth is lucky enough to share her life with three Husky Lab mixes, and some other gorgeous canines too.
“Apollo: looks more like a husky he has fluffy hair and the body type. Abraxas and Atlas: look like a husky with short hair because of their markings and tail. Ivory is fully white and would pass as a pure bred lab. They are all very dramatic and loud. VERY energetic, but also cuddley. They love people, but only AFTER I tell them to go near. They love cats and kittens. Very gentle with children, but not big men like my dad.”
Ranger – The Goofball
Cindy’s 8.5 year old Husky Lab mix is agouti coated Ranger.
“Ranger is built like a Lab, giant paws and block head, with Husky colors and furry belly. He has more Lab personality, funny, extremely sociable and everyone is his best friend, loves to eat everything. His Husky traits are he loves to pull a sled! He is really strong but he will never be a lead dog. If he isn’t allowed to approach someone or a dog, he gets very Husky loud, cries, jumps and spins, barks. When he is allowed to meet someone or a dog, he loves them! Everyone is his best friend.”
Maxine – The Crazy
Sherri’s buddy is 6 month old black and tan female Husky Lab mix, Maxine.
“Everyone thinks she’s a German shepherd. She’s 6 months old, so she’s firmly in her puppy stage, zooming everywhere and chewing everything. She loves everyone, tail wagging, looking to be petted.”
Maggie – The Friendly
Cathy’s dog Maggie has sadly passed away, but this black Husky Lab mix was a beloved companion for nearly fourteen years.
“She had a husky coat according to the groomer. It was long and soft with a grey and brown undercoat. She had a fluffy tail that curved to her back. Everything else was lab. Liked all dogs and people. She was slightly aloof in that she didn’t need to be around us every second, which is the opposite of our full lab, who wants to be close all the time. She also was a runner and had to be fenced or tied, which is more the husky trait. And she was so gentle even though she could be easily excited. Curious about everything. The boarding kennel called her Miss Maggie and wrote a tribute when she passed.”
Reaper – The Warm
Carlie’s Husky Lab mix Reaper is 2 years old, and has a black, yellow and white coat.
“He’s very sweet and stays by my side always. If stand up, he stands up. If I sit he sits. He’s a very loyal doggy boy and thinks he is a small pup but actually is a very large 80lb baby. He is 2 years old. Either wants to play or isn’t phased by them at all and pays them no mind.”
Seto – The Goofy
Vivi’s one year old black, white and brown male Labsky is Seto.
“Seto looks more like a lab though he has a fluffier coat and some markings similar to a husky. He is a very goofy guy, very curious about everything around him, very protective even though he’s also a bit skittish. Seto is skittish of strangers and reactive to dogs he does not know.”
Cody Blue – Goofy and Loving
Deb’s Labsky is yellow and white two year old male Cody Blue.
“His body is lab and his head is husky. We adopted him from a friend of my sister who had adopted Cody from a shelter in September, so we don’t know which parent was the dad or mom. He definitely doesn’t like other dogs so we keep him away from them.”
Fox – The Loving
Williams’ auburn Husky Lab mix is ten year old Fox.
“Initially, she started out being afraid to the point of being aggressive. This would be due to her being dropped off at a large dog shelter before we adopted her. Now she is very lovable and talkative. She hates being alone in a room. She ignores other dogs and people, but if I stop she will be friendly and affectionate.”
Coco – The Inquisitive
Tamsin’s black and white female Huskador Coco is three years old.
“She looks husky in appearance with the husky markings and coat. However she has lab ears that lay flat – unless she’s trying to blend in with her husky pals -, and a lab tail that doesn’t curl up but is fluffy like a husky. She’s also got one blue eye and one brown. The most wonderful, loving, sweet, fun-loving, cheeky, adventurous girl. She’s playful. Can be aloof – she’s selective about which dogs she’ll play with. She can be stubborn and quite superior. Independent and knows what she wants. But also responsive, certainly to treats as she’s very food driven but also well trained. She doesn’t like to be left alone.”
Sarge – The Independent
Judie’s dog Sarge is four years old and white coated.
“Lab, but 117 lbs, one blue eye, and very hairy. He is very handsome! He is obedient when he chooses to be, loves treats, loves to play. Has a ball he likes to put in his food bowl when eating, and loves ice cubes in his water. Does not like to go into narrow places (such as behind a chair) for his ball, and will wait for you to retrieve it for him. Will bark at strangers driving in, but does not act vicious. Can trust him alone in house to wait for us to get home. Loves to play with his toys, especially squeaky ones.”
Common Husky Lab Mix Personality Traits
Every single owner surveyed described their dog as loving, and almost all of them were also tagged as excitable in our temperament trait options.
Three quarters of the Husky Lab mixes of varying ages seemed to like being together, love everyone they met and half of them were labelled as gentle.
Nearly half of the Husky Lab mixes surveyed were considered by their owners to be:
- Food lover
- Loves children
- Keen to please
Calm, protective and relaxed traits also came up about a quarter of time.
A few of our lovely Husky Lab mixes struggled more socially than the others. Four were described as a combination of reactive, nervous, shy of strangers, nervous of children and submissive in nature.
We Asked Our Owners –
Does your dog’s coat need any special or regular care?
This is not a low maintenance, hypoallergenic puppy. It was generally agreed that the bathing and grooming needs of a Husky Lab mix are high. Shedding gets more enthusiastic as the dogs age, and they can be prone to getting smelly if not regularly bathed.
All the owners agreed that this mix needed extra brushing during the shedding seasons, and one even needed clipping during summer due to developing heat sores on their abdomen.
Have you done much training with your pup? Would you say they are easy or hard to train?
This mix is undeniably intelligent, attached to their handler and motivated by food. Which generally makes for a very trainable dog. Yet there was a big range in the amount of training that our Husky Lab mix parents had undertaken with their dogs. And a huge amount of variation in how trainable they considered their pup to be.
Most of the Husky Lab mixes had basic training down, although they were generally agreed to be a bit stubborn and to suffer from selective deafness on occasion.
It was lovely to see how many puppy parents went down the positive reinforcement training route, and worked with their dogs using reward based training with plenty of success.
The dogs whose owners had tried more traditional Husky style training sessions like sled dog work, and more traditionally Lab oriented agility tasks, the dogs had thrived. Trick training, more often associated with modern training methods, has also been great for a number of our Huskador volunteers.
Is your Husky Lab mix happy to be left home alone for a few hours, a few times a week?
Most of our Huskadors were happy to be left alone at home for a few hours, especially once they entered adulthood and if they had the company of another dog. However, a couple of them really struggle in this area. Over-excitement upon the owner’s return, howling and generally sad body language were all experienced by some of the Huskador’s families.
Is your pet healthy?
Health issues our Husky Lab mixes experienced included some things that are common to every breed, such as parasites.
They were generally noted as healthy dogs, however allergies, particularly food allergies, and accompanying digestive issues were pretty high considering the small sample size. Nearly a quarter of the dogs were noted as having these issues and one dog was on a special diet to help deal with them.
One owner also found occasional signs of ear and eye irritation.
Is there anything you find hard about life with your Husky Lab mix?
Some of the reasons our Huskador owners found life with their dog hard were I think common to every dog owner at some periods of their life. Financial worries, dealing with mud and fur, as well as issues with doggy daycare provisions were raised. One dog was also sadly very afraid of fireworks.
However some problems were more closely linked to the parent breeds of this mix. High energy levels, strong pulling, over-excitement, howling and shedding all came up a lot as drawbacks.
What do you love most about life with your dog?
The most common answer to this was one word – Everything. Which was lovely to read. Despite some challenges, most of the owners that shared our survey are clearly besotted with their pet.
Sweetness, protection, energy, a calming influence. Company, comfort, laughter and love. There were so many reasons these dogs are clearly treasured and add to their owners lives.
Lastly…is there anything you think prospective owners should know, about life with this Lab mix?
I’ll let these words of advice speak for themselves, they obviously come from the heart:
Ranger’s owner Cindy says:
“There is no definition of a Husky Lab mix personality. They can have either personality or a mix of the two. There will be a lot of hair!”
Barney’s owner Eva says:
“Before they mature they tend to munch through anything they come across. It just needs patience. By the age of two they stop chewing stuff.”
Reaper’s owner Carlie says:
“I highly recommend husky mix. Very fun loving dog.”
Atlas, Abraxas and Ivory’s owner Elizabeth says:
“Have the TIME and the SPACE. All dogs will be a “bad” dog if you are a BAD owner. All dogs will be good if you give them what they and their breed needs. These dogs need to run.”
Storm’s owner says:
“Don’t get this breed if you aren’t prepared to constantly stimulate their minds, you have to be able to put the work in and teach them new things and find new ways for them to play and commit the time to long walks twice or three times a day.”
Lilly’s owner Karen says:
“Labs are pretty friendly but huskies can have a stubborn streak so be prepared to expect unpredictability at times… She will swim with us and loves that. Mostly fetches. I would say out of all the dogs that I’ve had and mostly labs this dog is the most well behaved.”
Seto’s owner Vivi says:
“They will be both the worst and the best of both breeds so it can be a lot to handle if you don’t have experience with said breeds.”
Coco’s owner Tamsin says:
“Make time for exciting walks, every day where possible, and expect 3 walks a day. Not barkers but can do a beautiful howl. The best possible companion!”
Coco’s owner Jet says:
“It’s been a great mix for me. I feel that I get the best of the lab and the best of the husky.”
Sarge’s owner Judi says:
“Just love him.”
Holly’s owner Honey says:
“Hard to train and hyper, but sweet and loving, loves to be outside, loves snow and water”
Fox’s owner William says:
“Selective hearing – she will obey commands if she feels like it!”
Maggie’s owner Cathy says:
“Make sure they are secure. But overall, a very fun, easy, but energetic time. Very friendly around people and dogs. I never had a concern. I loved that pup!”
The Labrador Site Founder
Pippa Mattinson is the best selling author of The Happy Puppy Handbook, the Labrador Handbook, Choosing The Perfect Puppy, and Total Recall.
She is also the founder of the Gundog Trust and the Dogsnet Online Training Program
Pippa's online training courses were launched in 2019 and you can find the latest course dates on the Dogsnet website