The Pitsky is an even-tempered, playful and affectionate mix of an American Pitbull Terrier and either a Siberian Husky or, less commonly, an Alaskan Husky (not the Alaskan Malamute).
As this mixed breed can be a cross between a Pitbull, and either a Siberian or Alaskan Husky, their size can vary dramatically. They tend to range from between 30 to 70 lbs in weight and anywhere between 19-21” tall; similar in size to a Blue Nose Pitbull.
A Pitsky is friendly, affectionate and playful dog. They are intelligent and athletic but can be stubborn and difficult to train.
In this article we will see where this intelligent and stubborn Pitsky came from, what its parents are like and what you are letting yourself in for if you choose to own one.
|Breed Type||Mixes and More|
|Suitable For||Busy Families – They are friendly and affectionate and love being active with their family|
|Size||Between 19″ to 21″|
|Weight||Between 30 to 70 pounds|
|Lifespan||12 – 15 years|
|Color Variations||Totally Unique|
|Temperament||High energy, Playful, Affectionate, Intelligent, Stubborn, Loving and Friendly|
|Activity Levels||High – Upwards of 60 minutes exercise daily|
|Daily Food Consumption||Between 600 – 1,400 calories per day (20 calories per lb of body weight)|
|Known Health Issues||Hyperthyroidism, Allergies and Hip Dysplasia|
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Pitsky Dog Info
The Pitsky is not a pure-bred dog. It is a cross between an American Pitbull Terrier and either a Siberian or Alaskan Husky.
For this reason, it is not recognized by the American Kennel Club. They have primarily been bred as a companion dog and only really became popular around 2014.
Pitsky puppies, like other designer husky dogs, have a wide price range due to their designer nature. You should expect to pay between $500 and $2,000 for one of these dogs; this doesn’t include day to day dog ownership costs (e.g. food, grooming and vets).
How long does a Pitsky live for?
Anywhere from 12 to 15 years.
What’s the potential size of a Pitsky?
A Pitsky fully grown will be between 30-70 lbs in weight and between 19-21” high. Females will generally be smaller than males however.
How much are Pitsky puppies?
For an adorable pup you can pay anywhere between $500-$2000. The range of these figures tells us that you really should do your homework if you are looking for a puppy, taking care to avoid backyard breeders and puppy farms. For more help finding a reputable breeder see our handy guide.
So where did this playful and enthusiastic dog come from? To gain a better understanding we will have a look at his parents.
First up, the American Pitbull Terrier
Pitties, or Pits, are strong, confident and courageous dogs.
They are affectionate, loyal and obedient. Their high intelligence makes them a dream to train and their work ethic makes them incredible service dogs. Pitties carry this zest for life which is almost contagious – pay attention to them, their smile will absolutely melt your heart.
Their downside? They make awful watch dogs.
Pitties, by nature, are super friendly (unless they’ve gotten into the wrong hands), they truly think everyone loves them. For this reason, they don’t understand why you would leave them alone. Pitties can suffer with separation anxiety resulting in barking and destruction.
So we have a strong, confident and loyal comrade in the Pitbull – let’s have a look at the other parent. The Husky.
As we mentioned earlier, the Pitsky is a cross between a Pitbull Terrier and either a Siberian or Alaskan Husky; so let’s look at those Huskies.
The Siberian Husky
Most people know the Husky as a snow dog. They are renowned for their work ethic. These incredible dogs were first bred by the Chukchi people who relied on their Huskies to transport supplies.
It is believed that the name “Husky” came from the nickname “esky” from the Eskimos. The American Explorer Rear Admiral Robert Peary was aided by Siberian Huskies in his expedition to the North Pole.
Huskies were brought to Alaska in 1909 for sled racing. You may remember the 1995 film Balto which loosely depicted the true story of the team of Siberian Huskies who ran the 1925 serum run. A diphtheria epidemic was due to sweep Nome (a city in Alaska) and the only antidote was over 1000 miles away. It covered 400 of those by train, then it was the job of the sled dogs!
They are a very friendly, playful and affectionate dog. Their intelligence and athleticism is second to none.
However, they are not for the fainthearted or for first time dog owners. Huskies thrive when they are busy – whether it be hiking or working through a brain game.
They don’t tolerate being left alone or being bored. They dig, chew and howl. We’ve often wondered why they haven’t been renamed the Siberian Houdini – they are superb escape artists… they will jump their way out, or dig.
The Alaskan Husky
No, we’ve not gotten confused with the Alaskan Malamute – they exist too.
The Alaskan Husky isn’t a purebred dog, like other husky mixes, it’s a mixed breed of various lines including:
- Siberian Husky
- Mackenzie River Husky
- Alaskan Malamute
- Hounds – specifically the German Shepherd Pointer
The Alaskan Husky is generally thought of as a type of dog rather than a breed.
They weren’t bred for companionship, they were bred for athleticism and strength. Breeders selected the qualities they required in a dog. Some Alaskan Huskies were bred for carrying heavy loads, some were bred for speed and some were bred for efficiency over long distances. For this reason, Alaskan Huskies can vary in appearance and size.
Despite their different appearance they do share similar qualities to the Siberian Husky.
They too are diggers, chewers and howlers. Their working history means they get bored extremely quickly. They need long walks, plenty of playtime and time spent working that brain.
So both of the parents of the Pitsky are friendly, affectionate and love people. Let’s see if these qualities have been passed down.
Pitbull Husky Mix Personality
|Ease of Care|
These high energy dogs are ideal for busy households; being playful, affectionate and loyal.
Pitbull Husky Mixes are in their element hiking through the woods, just make sure you keep him on his leash; we know that the Husky recall is non-existent and unfortunately some of the Pitskies have retained this quality.
Their super friendly nature makes them terrible watch dogs so if that’s what you’re after, you’ll need to find a different breed. They just love people. For this reason, they don’t understand why you would choose to leave them alone. These poor guys can suffer with separation anxiety resulting in lots of howling and digging.
Whilst we’re on the subject of howling, as most husky owners will tell you, their husky doesn’t bark, they howl.
It is one of their endearing qualities and some Pitskies have kept this too. You may notice they will howl to certain tunes on TV programmes, or if the ice cream truck comes round.
These guys aren’t known for being relaxed and happy to sit at home doing nothing.
They will be at their best in a busy household where something is always going on. He loves being active, and if you have plenty of time to train these intelligent workers; they will be a fun filled, spirited addition to your family.
Still tempted? Let’s see what it takes to look after this dog on a daily basis.
How to Care for a Pitsky
How Much Does a Pitsky Eat?
Due to the large variation in the physical size of pitskies (e.g. from 30 to 70 pounds), the suggested diet, and therefore calorific and protein requirements can vary dramatically on a case by case basis. You can see this in the handy chart below:
|Dog’s Weight||Approximate Daily Calorie Intake|
A high quality kibble will ensure that your dogs daily nutritional requirements are met. As a guide, when fully grown, his diet should include 1.20 grams of protein per pound of body weight and 0.72 grams of fat per pound of body weight.
We know that carbohydrates are less important than protein and fat but they are still a good source of energy:
- Protein is used by your dog for muscle growth and maintenance
- Fat is your dog’s primary energy source
- Carbohydrates are used for simple starches as an energy source
Keep an eye on your dog’s weight – you should be able to feel his ribs and from a bird’s eye view, he should have an hourglass figure.
What is interesting about sled dogs is their stamina and endurance. Despite running hundreds of miles daily over a number of weeks, sled dogs don’t reach the same levels of fatigue that a human would in the same situation. For some reason, sled dogs don’t eat into their energy reserves like humans do and it’s suggested high fat diets contributed to this. This does raise an interesting point regarding the diet requirement of your Pitsky if indeed he has retained more of the Husky traits.
Thanks to their Husky heritage, the Pitbull Husky Mix are incredibly high energy. They love their walks, but remember to keep them on a leash. Their recall leaves a lot to be desired and we would rather be safe than sorry.
Expect to spend upwards of 60 minutes a day walking them.
They are generally friendly, if socialized from a young age, so they would happily make friends at the dog park.
Be conscious that dogs can behave differently when on leash, being more fearful with other dogs as they don’t feel able to escape should they need to. Watch for their body language; a stiff body, a rigid tail or an unrelenting stare.
This could indicate you have an unhappy pooch and you need to remove him from the situation; distract him and calmly move away.
Dog’s can play more freely off leash, but be realistic; are you sure your Pitsky won’t scale the fence? Will he come back to you when you call? Or will you be sat there until the sun sets waiting for him to eventually get bored?
Speaking of boredom, let’s have a look at how we keep this cheeky guy occupied.
Training a Pitsky
We know that dogs respond best to positive reinforcement and reward based training; the Pitsky is no different.
When you bring your puppy home, check with the breeder to see what socialization program they have had in place. It is essential to continue this socialization as he grows.
We know that those dogs introduced to experiences and people during their socialization period between 3-12 weeks old are more accepting of those same experiences and people as they get older.
Puppies are more open to interactions with others and their environment as they haven’t yet had reason to believe they shouldn’t. You need to keep it that way. Make their experiences positive and safe. Reward and praise them.
Introduce them to people, children, appliances and noisy equipment. Explore new places, meet friendly dogs. Be mindful that the husky parent had a high prey drive; introduce your Pitsky pup to cats and other small furries and help them learn they aren’t for chasing.
To do this, we call it desensitization. Desensitization is where you teach a dog not to react fearfully, aggressively or excitedly at someone or something.
Alongside desensitization we teach counter conditioning. This is teaching the new behavior in place of the fearful, aggressive or excited response.
- Start by spotting a cat some distance away. The idea is that you distract your dog with rewards or praise for as long as your dog isn’t responding to the cat, you reward and move closer.
- The second he responds inappropriately for example; barks or lunges, you move further away again.
- Continue this method in short regular training sessions until your dog can see a cat, in close proximity and ignore it; looking to you for reward or praise.
- Once this happens, you can label the behavior whilst still rewarding/praising, for example “ignore”.
Alongside their daily training sessions, Pitskies will excel at brain games.These will be valuable resources to keep him out of trouble.
Known Health Problems
We know the Pitskies do suffer some of the same health problems their parents do.
Hyperthyroidism – common in both parent breeds, this is where too much thyroxine is produced by the thyroid gland which affects a dog’s metabolism. Symptoms of this include weight loss and increased appetite.
Allergies – Again common in both parent breeds, you would notice scratching, chewing paws and licking various parts of the body. This can often result in loss of hair, wounds and scabbing.
Hip Dysplasia – Huskies are predisposed to hip dysplasia; hence the prevalence of the condition in Pitskies. This is when there is abnormal development in the hip joint resulting in pain and lameness. Although hip dysplasia is often hereditary, excessive growth, nutrition and exercise can also contribute to the development of hip dysplasia.
Pitsky Appearance: Color, Coat and Grooming
As we have already mentioned, this dog can come in all shapes and sizes; thanks to its variety of parents (e.g. Siberian or Alaskan Husky).
As they are a cross breed, you can never be entirely sure what you will get. The best chance you have is looking at his parents. But, even this won’t guarantee whether you will get more Husky than Pitbull.
Some Pitskies look like Huskies. Some look like Pitties. Some have short coats like Pitties, some long, double coats like Huskies. Some look like hounds if they have come from an Alaskan Husky with hound lines.
They come in a range of colors too – Husky colors like white, white and brown, black and white, gray and white and then Pitty colors such as blue, red, brindle, fawn, tan and brown (see image above). Again, the parents will be the best indicator.
Blue eyes are relatively common in the Pitbull Husky Mix thanks to the Husky parent!
Short Pitty coats won’t take much grooming, a couple of brushes a week will be ample.
The longer, double husky coat will probably need brushing most days and they will have two blow outs per year. Although I don’t know why they still say that, all of us double coated owners know that realistically they just don’t stop shedding…ever.
Their ears can be short and pointy or long and floppy – just remember to check them regularly. Along with their eyes and nails. Attend regular check ups with your veterinarian and they will keep an eye on them too.
The playful Pitsky. An affectionate, loving and gentle dog that absolutely adores people.
This Pitbull Husky Mix is enthusiastic and athletic with an energy that never falters.
They love being busy, the perfect addition for an active family. They are in their element hiking in the woods or being challenged by the most recent brain game the kids have devised.
Their intelligence makes them responsive to positive reinforcement and reward based training, but, you must start this early along with their socialization.
Thanks to their husky parent, their recall isn’t always brilliant and they are known for their escape antics. I guess they haven’t forgotten their history running through the wild as sled dogs. But if you’re an experienced dog handler, have time to spend training and exercising we can guarantee you will never have a dull moment with this cheeky chap.
Are you thinking about owning one of these dogs? Or do you have more questions? Feel free to comment below.