I have said before, several times, that I absolutely abhor “made up” names for dogs that are actually hybrids. So, I’m no fonder of the term “Pitsky” than I am of any of those other absurd names. These “blend names” used to be more or less tongue-in-cheek; someone would ask, “What kind of dog is he?” and the owner would chirp out “He’s a Boxerman,” or “She’s a Retreagle,” or some such thing.
No one really took that sort of thing seriously; it was just kind of a fun way for people who ended up with a puppy as the result of a “someone jumped the fence” breeding to describe the dog they’d ended up with, for which they probably paid precious little, if anything at all.
Now, it seems that people take this very seriously indeed! So, if you say that you have a Pitsky, you can expect that some people will actually accept that as a breed, not as a pretty decent hybrid.
Let me say, at the outset, that even though I really hate those stupid names, I do like hybrids a lot of the time. I remember, many years ago, when I allowed my Leroy, who is a Boxer, to breed with a very pretty Doberman. Hence, of course, Boxermans. The puppies were so beautiful, and my vet offered the opinion that we’d probably bred out the hip problems that are so common in Dobermans along with the tumors to which Boxers are so vulnerable.
In fact, we did. Most of the puppies out of that litter lived very long, very healthy lives.
Hybrids can work.
So, what about the Pitsky?
First Off, What Is a Pitsky?
A Pitsky is, first and foremost, what caused me to feel embarrassed down at the dog park the other day. I saw this pretty dog, and, of course, the minute I see a pretty dog, I have to run over and introduce myself. “Oh,” I said, “She’s so beautiful, what is she?”
And that’s when I embarrassed myself. I started singing lyrics from a 1980s band, April Wine. Worse, it’s a Canadian band that practically nobody had ever heard of. I substituted “Pitsky” for “Pity” and I was going “Isn’t it a pitsky / isn’t it a shame / no one ever warned the boy / rock and roll is a vicious game!”
No one knew the band. No one knew the song. I looked like a total idiot.
I have no idea why I just felt the need to share that with you.
Well, now that you know what a total dork I can be, let’s get back to the Pitsky. In case you haven’t figured it out yet, it’s a mix of a Pit Bull and a Husky.
So now you’re saying, ‘But Ash, there’s more than one type of Husky!” and you’re right. So, the Pitsky will consist of an American Pit Bull Terrier, and either the Alaskan or the Siberian Husky.
Okay, it’s not a breed. It’s a cross. As to how old it is, from what I’ve been able to determine, people have been crossing American Pits with one type or another of Husky for about 30 years.
A Pitsky can take on the characteristics of either breed of origin. However, they usually seem to pick up the Husky’s blue eyes, and the Pit Bull’s compact body. Usually, they stand anywhere from 20 to 24 inches at the shoulder. The weight can vary wildly, between 35 pounds and 80 pounds.
You might be a bit surprised when you learn about how Pitskies get their personality. You’ve probably heard that Pit Bulls are vicious and unstable, but nothing could be further from the truth. The reality is that Pit Bulls are typically docile, good with kids, and ideal family dogs.
Huskies are strong and independent, and often don’t respond well to training. It can take a very assertive owner to handle a Husky. A Pitty wants to snuggle and play. A Husky wants to work and dominate. If you’re going to have trouble with a Pitsky, it will come from the Husky side, not from the Pit Bull side. Now, when you consolidate a good work ethic and a need to dominate, you can end up with a dog that’s hard to handle.
That said, though, in the hands of a good owner, Pitskies can be very gentle, very loving, and very protective. That’s not necessarily a bad mix. Usually, the Pit in the mix will work to tamp down the natural aggressiveness of the Husky.
Oddly enough, Pitskies are very prone to a disorder that you might ordinarily think would be the province of small, neurotic dogs.
If Pitskies are left alone for any real length of time, they can get bored and nervous, and they can become destructive. Incessant howling can really bother your neighbors! Of course, you can circumvent this simply by taking your Pitsky with you when you have to run errands.
As I suggested above, a Pitsky is not a dog for someone who just wants to stay indoors all the time. You’re going to have to get off your butt and give your Pitsky at least two vigorous walks in any given day. He’ll also be very receptive to play, particularly if you love throwing a ball around and having him fetch. This is another reason why a big yard is a good idea if you have a Pitsky.
Pitskies are a little different from many short-haired dogs in that they will shed quite a bit. You’ll probably want to comb him out a couple of times in any given week. Bathing, though, is pretty much optional; you won’t have to do it unless he gets really, really dirty.
Pitskies, since they are hybrids, are typically free of many of the health issues that might plague either of the originating breeds. So far, the only health issue that has actually been pinpointed as affecting Pitskies is hyperthyroidism, which is something that both originating breeds (the Pit Bull and the Husky) are prone to. It usually manifests as wheezing or other breathing difficulties.
Okay, this is where I’m going to try to save you some money. Keep in mind that a Pitsky is a hybrid, not a breed. You can buy a purebred Pit Bull or a purebred Husky for as little as $600. Now, keep in mind that these are “pet quality” animals – not AKC registered, and not suitable for showing. They are still very good dogs.
You will, though, run into scammers who will tell you that a “Pitsky” is a very desirable breed.
You are looking at a dog that, not all that long ago, couldn’t have been sold.
A cross may be a very nice dog, but it is not a desirable dog, and it should not be an expensive dog. Don’t buy into the “Pitsky” scam, or the “Chorkie” scam, or any of those other scams. See Why You Should Walk Away From Teacup Dogs for more thoughts on designer dog scams.
You should never, ever, pay more for a mix than you would for a purebred dog, and if anyone is telling you that you should, they’re scamming you.
But back to the Pitsky. As long as you’re not being expected to spend a ridiculous amount of money for a cross, a Pitsky can be a very good choice. Just remember, though: it’s a hybrid – not a purebred. It is, however, a very good cross and one that can be a wonderful addition to your household.