Husky colors come in a variety of shades and patterns. Their standard coat combination is white and agouti, black, grey, red, or sable. However, they are known to come in other colors too.
Some coat patterns, like Merle, are also associated with health issues.
Siberian Huskies have worked side-by-side with people for centuries, hunting, hauling and helping.
Let’s take a look at the different colors and patterns on this amazing breed!
Siberian Husky versus Alaskan Husky
You may be wondering if the Siberian Husky and the Alaskan Husky are the same dog.
This is a great question! Their names sound quite similar and they can look a lot alike. Both have thick fur coats, erect ears and piercing eyes.
However, there is a key difference!
The Siberian Husky is a purebred dog breed that is bred to conform to an official standard. This breed standard details everything from Siberian Husky colors to eye colors to temperament traits and more.
In contrast, the Alaskan Husky is not a purebred dog. The Alaskan Husky is actually a mixed breed dog bred to work as a sled dog. Therefore, Alaskan Husky colors can vary a great deal. Their colors aren’t important as long as the dog has an aptitude for sledding.
This is the main difference between the Siberian Husky and the Alaskan Husky. Now, we will dive in and focus on Siberian Husky coat colors and patterns.
History and Origins of Husky Colors
Genetic studies show the Siberian Husky is very closely linked to an ancient Siberian wolf that lived more than 35,000 years ago.
Modern Siberian Huskies can display a variety of different Husky colors and patterns. However, these are often similar to the colors and patterns still seen in wild wolves today.
Husky Colors and Dog Size
Interestingly, one thing has changed between modern Siberian Huskies and their wild wolf ancestors. Siberian Husky dogs today are bred in two sizes: standard and miniature.
However, mini Husky colors and standard Husky colors are the same for the most part.
Husky Colors and Genetics
The genetics of dog breeding can quickly become complex. For starters, it can be challenging to identify single genes that are responsible for producing certain Husky colors.
Often, the same gene(s) that control for coat color may also influence other developmental processes. In particular this includes the development of vision or hearing.
Husky Colors and Health
According to the current breed standard, there are no disallowed Husky colors, patterns or markings due to health issues. However, some breed clubs have identified the “merle” and the “brindle” pattern of markings as concerning.
The Siberian Husky Club of America (SHCA) has released a statement indicating that these marking types may be the result of genetic influence from other dog breeds.
In other words, dogs bearing these markings may not be true purebred Siberian Huskies.
In addition, the SHCA states they are not supportive of the merle pattern. This is due to its association with certain known canine genetic health issues. These include:
- immune system dysfunction
- eye disorders
These health issues can become more severe. For example, when a breeding pair of Siberian Husky dogs is each carrying the gene that contributes the merle pattern. This produces what is called a “double merle.”
Health issues resulting from a double merle are not always fatal. However, they can be particularly life limiting to the point of requiring euthanasia. Examples of such health issues include:
- missing eyes
- poorly developed eyes
- puppies being born both blind and deaf
Siberian Husky Color Chart
The Siberian Husky color chart is so varied it has been nicknamed the “Siberian Rainbow.”
According to the official American Kennel Club (AKC) Siberian Husky color chart, the following colors are standard:
- agouti and white
- black and white
- gray and white
- red and white
- sable and white
Other Recognized Colors
The following colors are recognized but not standard on the AKC Husky color chart:
- black/grey and white
- black/tan and white
- brown and white
- brown/black and white
- copper and white
- grey and black
- black and tan
- white and tan
Other Recognized Markings
The AKC breed standard states that the following markings are not standard but are recognized:
- black points
Rare Siberian Husky Colors
Husky colors vary massively from one dog to the next. In fact, no unusual or rare Husky colors, patterns or markings have been identified!
AKC Siberian Husky Colors
The current American Kennel Club (AKC) Siberian Husky breed standard allows for all Siberian Husky colors, including pure white.
The breed standard specifies that it is quite normal to see a wide variety of visually striking patterns and markings on the head.
This means there can be literally infinite combinations of Husky colors and patterns and markings. None of them will disqualify a pedigreed purebred Siberian Husky from competing in the show ring.
Siberian Husky Colors
Siberian Husky colors can range from a single solid (self) color to a multi-color pattern or solid colors alternating with markings in a vast array of variations.
These Husky colors are generally acknowledged as the most common coat colors in the purebred Siberian Husky today.
Siberian Husky – Black
Black can appear to be jet black, matte black or dilute black. Dilute black can appear closer to blue or grey.
Siberian Husky – Grey
The gray color can be dark “wolf” gray, matte gray or a dilute gray that appears yellowish. The
Siberian Husky color silver is another form of dilute grey.
Siberian Husky – White
The white color can be solid pure white, or white with a yellowish or cream cast. There may also be black guard hairs. Typically the undercoat is pure white.
Siberian Husky – Red
The red color range can span the gamut from a dark rusty brownish red to a light, strawberry blonde red. The Siberian Husky colors copper is one form of red.
Siberian Husky Colors and Patterns
Husky coats can be single-color (self color) or solid. Alternatively, they can form a pattern with two or three colors that all appear on the coat.
Two of the most common Husky colors and patterns are black and white and a pattern called “splash.”
Siberian Husky – Black & White
The black and white color pattern is a quite common one for Siberian Huskies. The black color can show up as jet black, black banded or dilute (can appear silver).
Siberian Husky – Gray and White
The gray Husky colors can range from dark wolf gray to a yellowish gray to silver gray alternating with white.
Siberian Husky – Red and White
With a red and white color pattern, there generally will not be any black in the coat. However, the red can range from a deep reddish brown to a light coppery red alternating with white.
Siberian Husky – Sable and White
Sable is a color pattern formed when the undercoat is reddish/copper and the top coat hairs are banded with red nearest the skin and black at the tips. This pattern alternates with white.
Siberian Husky – Agouti and White
The wild wolf “agouti” is described more below. With this pattern, agouti alternates with white.
Siberian Husky Colors and Markings
The AKC official Siberian Husky breed standard highlights the three most frequently seen Siberian Husky colors and markings.
However, even within these three types of markings, it is possible to see nearly infinite variations!
Siberian Husky – Agouti
The agouti marking is also called the “wild” or “wolf-like” marking. Several colors contribute to create the look of the agouti markings.
Typically the undercoat (the soft, thick, insulating under-layer) is dark in Siberian Huskies with agouti markings. The outer coat has multi-colored hairs.
They are dark at the base (nearest the skin) and at the tip. In between is a lighter color.
Siberian Husky – Sable
The sable marking starts with a reddish or coppery undercoat. The outer coat hairs are reddish at the base (nearest the skin) with black coloration at the tip.
Siberian Husky – Piebald (Pinto)
The piebald markings, called “pinto” in the AKC breed standard, are quite different from either agouti or sable. In piebald Siberian Huskies, one coat color will predominate and one or two other colors will show up as a pattern of markings.
Piebald or pinto markings are also called the “Siberian Husky colors splash.”
Best Husky Colors
So which is the best Husky color? Please drop us a comment to share your favorites! And make sure to check out some color inspired Husky names!
Shantz, A., “Breed Differences: Alaskan Husky vs. Siberian Husky,” Kybra Kennels, 2019.
Jessop, S., “Coat Color Identification Guidelines & Statement on “Merle” Patterning in Siberians,” The Siberian Husky Club of America, 2011.
Telha, K., “About the Breed,” Forever Husky Rescue, 2018.
Jaznyka, K., “Why Siberian huskies have those brilliant baby blues,” National Geographic, 2018.
Oskin, B., “Ancient Wolf DNA Could Solve Dog Origin Mystery,” Live Science, 2015.
Rice, G.E., “Colors of the Siberian Husky – Color Genetics,” The International Siberian Husky Club, 1994.
Greenwood, R., et al, “Health and the Merle Pattern,” American Dog Breeders Association, 2018.