Siberian huskies were first imported from their native Russia to Alaska (then under Russian ownership) around a century ago. They are famously used as sled dogs, competing in sled races within the Arctic Circle and providing invaluable assistance as working dogs in Antarctica. The 2006 Disney movie Eight Below showed the hardiness of this breed. It depicted a pack of huskies having to fend for themselves after being left behind at an Antarctic base.
Temperamentally, the Siberian husky is energetic, but playful and loveable. Because of their history as working dogs, they are easy to train and sociable, working best in packs. When picking out names for your husky, you will need to find names that reflect these characteristics.
Russian Names for Your Siberian Husky
Because of their origins in Siberia, it is common practice to give Russian names to huskies. Alexei is a Russian name meaning “defender of mankind”. It seems particularly appropriate as a husky namegiven the sterling work that huskies do in protecting people from the elements in some of the most hostile climates on Earth.
The feminine name Zaria means “dawn” in Russian. Huskies are often early risers, so this would be a good name for a female husky.
Kremlin, from the former St. Basil’s Cathedral in Moscow, later turned into the headquarters of the Russian government, is another common male husky name. In this case, it is chosen less for its meaning than because it is something obviously Russian. Other names in this category include Smirnoff, Trotsky and Ivan, the latter being the most common male name in Russia.
Native Alaskan Husky Names
Because of their long association with Alaska, Inuit names are also common for huskies. For example, the name Tupit refers to the Inuit word for tattoo lines on the face. It would be a suitable name for a male husky with distinctive patterning on his face.
Saghani is a male Inuit name meaning Raven. It would be a suitable name for a black, or predominantly black, male husky.
Female Inuit husky names include Kinguyakkii, which is the Native Alaskan name for the Northern Lights, and Qannik, which means “snowflake”. The former name is perhaps best for a multicolored female husky, while the latter is more suitable for a white or mainly white dog.
Other Siberian Husky Names
Of course you don’t have to look within the Arctic Circle to find a name for your Siberian husky. Inspiration can be found anywhere. We have previously mentioned the movie Eight Below. The names of the sled dogs in that movie were: Max, Maya, Old Jack, Shadow, Buck, Truman, Dewey and Shorty. Each husky was played by two real life sled dogs, so there are sixteen names in the cast list, not eight. The names of the dogs that were used in the making of the film were: DJ, Timba, Koda, Jasmin, Apache, Buck, Noble, Troika, Flapjack, Dino, Sitka, Chase, Floyd, Ryan, Jasper and Lightning. Looking over that list of names reveals an interesting mix of influences. Sitka and Troika were obviously chosen for their Russian sound. Koda comes from the Kodiak islands in Alaska and the dog’s full name is Koda Bear, from the Alaskan subspecies of the brown bear which was named after those islands. Dewey and Truman were named after the 1948 presidential candidates (in the film, the two dogs were former rivals for the position of pack leader). All the names are very active sounding, showing that cutesy, Chihuahua or Yorkie type names won’t work for huskies.
In 1999, Wayeh Working Housedogs, a breeder in Tennessee that specializes in the breeding and rescue of sled dogs (huskies and Alaskan Malamutes), did a survey of 1800 sled dog names. They were only interested in the names that were actually used to call them, rather than the names on the breeder’s certificate. The most popular call name was Cody, possibly a variation on the Kodiak bear name mentioned above, with 13 instances. Nikki came second followed by Angel, Kyra, Max, Storm, Dancer, Juneau, Sasha, Silver, Tundra and Willow. The full list can be found at: http://www.wayeh.com/aboutsleddogs/names.htm
Again we see a strong Alaskan and Siberian influence, with Juneau, Tundra and possibly Storm. The name Dancer is interesting too, as it makes a logical connection between sled dogs and the reindeer that pull Santa’s sleigh. In fact all Santa’s reindeer names were popular with one notable exception. Poor Rudolph didn’t make the list, though there was a single Rudy. It looks like the Iditarod operates the same rules as the Reindeer Games – no Rudolphs allowed!