Retriever Vs Husky

Our writers & fact checkers independently research, test, analyze, and recommend the best motorcycle products. We may receive commissions from purchases made via our links.

This article may contain affiliate links where we earn a commission from qualifying purchases.

Retrievers and huskies are two dog breeds that are popular among families in the United States. Either would make a great pet, though one might be a better fit.

Retrievers and huskies are energetic, intelligent, and large. Retrievers were bred to retrieve objects and are easily trained. Huskies, on the other hand, were bred as sled dogs and can be stubborn when it comes to training.

In this article, we will discuss the major differences and similarities between retrievers and huskies. We will find what sets them apart and what makes each of them so loveable. We will also give some insight into which types of families are best suited for each breed.

As a lifelong dog owner and someone who has thoroughly researched all types of dog breeds, I will be able to give you a detailed comparison between these dog breeds. I will provide information that you might not have considered important during your pet research and will provide as much information about each breed as possible. Let’s get started!

In this article

‍What Are the Differences Between Retrievers and Huskies?

Retrievers and huskies are popular dog breeds among pet owners. Both are energetic and playful but are best suited for different home situations. The American Kennel Club lists retrievers as the top choice of dog for families, but huskies don’t even make the top ten list.

When deciding between these two dog breeds for your family, you probably want to start by finding out their differences. You know from basic dog knowledge that these are popular breeds and have been successful pets in plenty of families. Understanding the differences between the two breeds might help you narrow down your choice.


One of the biggest differences between retrievers and huskies boils down to how and why they were bred. Retrievers are sporting dogs that were bred to retrieve things. They were popular hunting dogs who would help recover prey for their owners. As family dogs, retrievers love to play fetch.

Huskies are working dogs. They were originally bred to work as sled dogs in Alaska and other snowy climates. Huskies have an instinct to work with humans and complete tasks for them. Since they were mainly used to pull sleds over hundreds of miles, huskies have a ton of energy that should be exerted by running and playing.


Retrievers and huskies are fairly easy to tell apart. Retrievers are usually a solid color, depending on the type of retriever that they are. Retrievers can have short and straight coats or long wavy coats. Again, this depends on the type of retriever.

Huskies also have a variety of coat types. However, their appearance is distinct, usually with a two-colored pattern in their coat.

Climate Preferences

Retrievers can easily adapt to any climate. Even longer-haired retrievers can adapt to warmer temperatures and tropical climates fairly easily.

Huskies, on the other hand, are often uncomfortable in warmer climates. Huskies were bred to live in extremely cold climates, so their coats are often too warm for them to live comfortably in tropical regions.  


Finally, another big difference between retrievers and huskies is in their temperament. Both dogs are energetic but can express their energy differently. As we said, retrievers are known to be great family dogs. This is likely because they are gentle while still being energetic. They can safely play with children without hurting anyone.

Huskies are known for being boisterous, extremely high-energy, and very dramatic. Their playful attitude and difficulties in playing calmly can lead to potentially dangerous situations. This is especially true when children are playing with huskies. The dogs often don’t know their strength and can easily knock kids over. The temperament of huskies can be addressed with proper training and practice with obedience.

What Are the Similarities Between Retrievers and Huskies?

Now that you understand the major differences between retrievers and huskies, we can begin to discuss their similarities. The similarities between these breeds are what make them great dogs, and are likely what led you to choose between them for a family pet.

The first similarity between the two breeds is in their size. Huskies can weigh as little as 35 pounds, and golden retrievers can get up to 75 pounds. However, many of the dogs in either breed weigh somewhere between 55 and 65 pounds. Both breeds are around 20 to 24 inches tall as well.

Retrievers and huskies also have similar exercise needs. Both sporting and working dogs were bred to move and work a lot. This contributes to the high-energy nature of both breeds. If you are considering adopting either a retriever or a husky, be prepared to maintain a good exercise routine with them. Whether you take them for long walks and runs or throw toys for them in your backyard, either dog will need to get their energy out.

Both retrievers and huskies are also very intelligent. They have an instinct to perform certain tasks but also have the capacity to learn much more. Retrievers are known for being fairly easy to train. Basic obedience and a few fun tricks will be easy to learn and fun to teach to a retriever.

Huskies, while extremely intelligent, are not known for being easy to train. Huskies are generally stubborn and might refuse to learn obedience and tricks. It will take an experienced and determined handler to properly train a husky.

Types of Retrievers

Many people might not realize that there are six types of retrievers. Golden retrievers and labrador retrievers are probably the two types that come to mind for most people. Other types of retrievers include:

  • Nova Scotia Duck Tolling Retriever
  • Flat-Coated Retriever
  • Curly Coated Retriever
  • Chesapeake Bay Retriever

While these dogs are all retrievers and share many of the same characteristics, they all have their differences too. Each type looks slightly different and each was bred for a different purpose. Because of this, these dogs might act differently from each other while still keeping most of the overall retriever characteristics.

Consider looking into the characteristics and temperaments of each type of retriever if you are interested in this type of dog. Everyone has heard of golden and labrador retrievers, but you might find that a unique retriever breed is perfect for your family.

Types of Huskies

There is generally a bit of confusion when it comes to determining how many different types of huskies there are. The American Kennel Club only recognizes the Siberian Husky as a true husky breed. The characteristics that we have discussed in this article were based on the Siberian Husky. However, more dog breeds have similar characteristics to huskies and have been used for dog sledding.

These similar dog breeds include:

  • Alaskan Malamute
  • Samoyed
  • Greenland Dog

Depending on what source you find, many other breeds have been compared to huskies as well. If you are interested in the characteristics and look of a husky but aren’t picky about the specific breed, you should consider researching these other dog breeds that are similar to huskies.

Should My Family Get a Retriever or a Husky?

Both retrievers and huskies have been successful pets in a variety of households. The breed that you choose to adopt will depend on your personal preferences and lifestyle.

Families that are new to pet ownership might do well with a retriever dog. These dogs are energetic but easy to train. They require a lot of exercise, so owners should be prepared to go on frequent walks.

Families that like to bring their dog to activities like hiking or going to the beach would do well with a retriever. Retrievers can adapt to any climate, so they will do well no matter where you live.

Families should know what they are getting themselves into when adopting a husky. These stubborn and boisterous dogs are best suited for pet owners that are dedicated to obedience training. Huskies were bred to run and pull sleds, and they get the best exercise from running.

Huskies have thick, warm coats. They prefer cooler temperatures. Huskies are great pets for those that live in cold climates. If you live somewhere warm, consider adopting a different breed of dog.

Retrievers and Huskies With Jobs

Throughout history, dogs have been known as “man’s best friend,” but they have also had professional jobs. Both retrievers and huskies have had jobs working with or assisting humans. These jobs typically align with the breed’s instincts and strengths.

Service Dogs

Retrievers have been the preferred breed for service dogs for many years. Their intelligence and willingness to learn commands make them obedient. Their friendly demeanor makes them great companions for people that need assistance. Retrievers that are service dogs work to guide visually impaired people, detect seizures, and more.


Huskies were bred to be sled dogs, and some still are today. These dogs work in teams to pull sleds with people and supplies on them over snow. The Iditarod is a sled dog race that is held every year in Alaska. People will take a team of 14 husky dogs and race across nearly 1,000 miles of Alaskan terrain. The race typically takes 8 to 15 days to complete. This race is what huskies were bred to do, and they enjoy this type of work so much.  

How to Adopt a Retriever or Husky

There are a few different ways that you can adopt a dog, whether you decide on a retriever or a husky. We will discuss some of the factors you should consider before starting your search. We will also give some ideas of where to look for dogs near you.

Factors to Consider When Adopting a Dog

If you have decided that you want to adopt either a retriever or a husky, you will need to decide where to adopt one from. Another decision to make is whether you will purchase a purebred dog from a breeder or a dog that is mixed with other breeds. There are benefits to either decision, and your choice will depend on your preference.

Another decision to make before starting your search is whether you want to adopt a puppy or an older dog. Keep in mind that puppies are a lot of work. They are cute, but can be destructive and will require obedience training. Older dogs are often overlooked because they aren’t as cute, but they need homes too. Older dogs are usually calmer than puppies and might already have some obedience training.

No matter what decision you make, you must adopt your dog from a reputable organization or breeder.

Rescue or Breeder

We recommend that you start your search with local dog rescue organizations. Oftentimes, purebred dogs will end up in shelters and rescues. You might not find a purebred puppy at a rescue, but you may find an older dog that needs a home. Some cities even have breed-specific rescues.

If you can’t find the right dog for you at a rescue, you can try to find a responsible breeder. Some ways to make sure you are working with a good breeder are to see the parent dogs and ensure they are being taken care of, ask your vet if they know about the breeder, and obtain a full medical history of both the puppy and parent dogs.

The most important part of picking out your family’s dog is to have everyone meet the dog before making a final decision. This way you can make sure that everyone is on board with the decision. This is especially important if your family already has a dog. Allowing them to meet will let you know if they will get along well together.

Adopting a dog is a serious commitment. Be sure that the entire family is ready to put in the work required to train, exercise, and bond with the dog after adoption.