Also known as the American Husky, the Kugsha dog breed has a wolf-like appearance and comes from a more ferocious line of ancestors. Many mistake the Kugsha for a Siberian Husky, but this usually happens because Siberian Huskies are so popular that the average person doesn’t know that American Huskies (or Amerindian Malamutes) also exist. With so many names and such a familiar appearance, it’s no wonder that this breed of wolf dog has a history that was lost to time.
There is something inherently more wolf-like in a Kugsha than a Siberian Husky. The Amerindian Malamute seems to carry several wolf traits, from the slightly longer neck to the deep, amber-colored eyes. They look wilder, and this can be off-putting to some, and enticing to others. But before you judge this fluffy book by its cover, let’s delve into the fragmented history of the American Husky and all of its notable breed information.
- Dog Breed Group: Spitz Breed
- Height: 20 to 27 inches
- Weight: 60 to 110 pounds
- Life Expectancy: 12 to 15 years
- Other Names: American Husky, Amerindian Malamute
Short History of the Kugsha Dog Breed
There is limited written history of the Kugsha dog, which means that it’s difficult to pinpoint the full timeline of the breed from when they were first bred. However, we do know where Kugsha dogs were bred and who was responsible for the existence of the wolf dog breed as we know it today.
If there is one fact that is accepted about the history of this breed, it’s where the dog came from. They were bred in the Wolfen Kennel of Pennsylvania by three individuals who were known to breed wolves and wolf hybrids. These individuals are noted as Kuhlwind, Gorden Smith, and Habben, and they worked at the Wolfen Kennel, though the exact year the Kugsha was bred is unknown. The breed’s name “Kugsha” was made up of letters from each person’s name. “Ku” for Kuhlwind, “gs” for Gorden Smith, and “ha” for Habben. Before they decided on this name, the dogs were marketed as American Husky dogs, which apparently didn’t go well, so the name was changed.
Kugshas are wolf-hybrid dogs -also called wolf dogs. Pennsylvania’s laws stated that any dog that has just 1% wolf in their genetics must be kept in an enclosed kennel with an attached den. Wolf dogs would have to stay in these accommodations every hour of every day, with no exceptions. If breeders or dog owners were caught with their wolf dog outside, the consequences were not pleasant.
Today, wolf dogs are illegal to own in Pennsylvania.
As a wolf hybrid, Kugsha dogs have part-wolf, part-Malamute genetics. Though these genetics produce a strong, sturdy dog, it takes a lot of time and energy to train Kugsha dogs to be working dogs (even though that was one of the reasons they were bred in the first place). People wanted working dogs that could continue their tasks in harsher weather without health problems. One that would be independent, not prone to separation anxiety, and obedient.
The thing about crossing a wolf with a dog is that breeders are maximizing that dog’s wild instincts. Wolves are not obedient to men, which is why the Amerindian Malamute is considered difficult to work with and train. They’re great working dogs, but it’s hard to get them there.
This rare wolf dog is not often seen because of the sheer number of locations around the world where it is illegal to own and/or breed wolf hybrid dogs. They aren’t exactly a dog that you could easily bring into your everyday apartment life; they need a lot of space and even more training.
American Huskies are not hypoallergenic – in fact, there are few true hypoallergenic dogs. When people say they are allergic to dogs, what they are actually allergic to is the protein in the saliva and urine of the animal in question. Because of this, some dogs seem to cause fewer allergic reactions than others and are marketed as hypoallergenic family pets. A person with dog allergies could also be allergic to the dander or pollen that is on a dog’s coat.
Kugsha Dog Appearance
The Amerindian Malamute is a wolf-like dog with obvious wolf features, such as a larger head, rounded skull, and tapered muzzle. They have almond-shaped eyes that are usually a yellow or gold-tone, as well as erect, triangle-shaped ears. The typical wild wolf look, for sure.
Their necks seem long but are actually a medium length compared to other dog breeds. Their fur is thick in this area, but it thins out as it runs down their long, straight legs.
The body of a Kugsha is muscular, well-built, and defined. They look and feel powerful, but the excess fur often masks their true strength.
Finally, expect the dog to have a long, bushy tail.
The Kugsha dog grows to be a height of 20 to 27 inches, no matter whether they are male or female.
As expected of a wolf dog hybrid, this breed has a double-layered coat.
Common coat colors of Kugshas include:
It’s not uncommon for Kugshas to have more than one of these colors on their coat. Rarer coats would be cream, merle, spotted, speckled, or brindle. There’s no official list because the American Kennel Club does not recognize Kugshas as an official breed of dog, and therefore, there is no guideline document that outlines the AKC accepted color combinations and coat markings of Kugshas.
Though amber eyes seem like the most common eye color for this dog, they aren’t the only ones that can appear. Photographers love taking shots of dogs with amber eyes and wolf-like features because they make amazing and atmospheric images.
Kugshas can also have brown eyes or hazel eyes. The range of colors is pretty similar, so that isn’t too surprising.
Though they were bred to be working dogs, the Kugsha dog is an unexpectedly sensitive dog. Breed information for the Kugsha dog shows that they are, in fact, prone to developing separation anxiety if their owners are away for prolonged periods of time. This kind of dependence wasn’t exactly what the original breeders of the Kugsha dog had in mind, but here we are.
Kugshas are intelligent, anxious, and strong. These three traits define the breed pretty well, and they also make it obvious that a newly minted dog owner would certainly struggle to reign in an upset Kugsha dog due to their own lack of experience. No new dog owner should be looking at wolf hybrid breeds. The height and weight of the pup, alone, can be off-putting, even if they make an excellent guard dog once trained.
Pet owners should expect their Kugsha dog to need plenty of socialization and training from early on in their life. To ease the destructive part of their temperament, obedience training is as vital as introducing your puppy to other adults, children, and animals. If you’re taking on a puppy or multiple puppies of a wolf hybrid variety, you won’t be able to live the apartment life. You will need space and lots of it.
This is a high-energy breed that is very intelligent. Owners will need to exercise patience, make a training schedule, and start socialization when the dog is still a puppy for the best possible results. If socialization and training are successful, your puppy will grow into a well-adjusted working dog that can be around children and other animals without causing a scene. Be aware that wolf dog breeds, especially those on the upper side of the height and weight for the breed, are often seen as dangerous when out in public. This is a stigma that pet owners will constantly be fighting against when out in public, especially because breeds like this do get defensive around strangers and will exhibit aggressive behavior (including loud barking) when they feel scared or threatened.
Remember that temperament isn’t everything, though! Not all puppies from the same breed turn out the same way. You could end up with a dog that has a sweet nature, or one that is incredibly nervous. We’ll look at good ways to judge that later when we talk about adopting puppies and adult dogs.
Keeping Your Kugsha Entertained
As a high-energy breed, be prepared to let your dog roam around in nature a lot. Pets that are high-energy struggle with destructive behavior because of boredom. Keeping your pup healthy and entertained should be your priority in their care.
Your canine will need plenty of adventure, long walks, and a good amount of playtime each day. Be sure to finish the socialization of your pup before taking them anywhere near a dog park, or choose times of the day/night where there are the fewest number of people around with their own pets. You are responsible for the behavior of your pup, so they need to have completed much of their obedience training before the pair of you go near other pet owners.
If you’re worried about your dog losing their head around other canines, why not choose a more rural destination for your daily outings? There’s nature all around us! Take a special trip to a local forest or nature reserve, or even go on holiday with your dog to somewhere with lots of wide, open spaces. Be sure to check that it’s legal to have a wolf dog in the places you want to visit.
If you’d prefer to keep your pup at home for the time being, try setting up an obstacle course or a racecourse in your backyard. This can be an excellent part of your dog’s training, and it doubles as a way to get them exercising so they can burn off some of that excess energy.
Your little watchdog will also enjoy swimming – just be sure to buy them a decent jacket or harness suitable for larger breeds going into bodies of water. In the case your canine gets scared or startled, these jackets will help you get them out of the water quickly.
Health and Care
Because of their height and weight when fully grown, this breed can be difficult to train as an adult dog. It’s best to train a Kugsha dog while they’re young so that they don’t fall into any bad habits. Training a Kugsha isn’t any more difficult than training other large dog breeds, but you will need an experienced trainer to help you turn your wild pup into a working dog or a friendly family pet.
Experienced dog owners may be able to train and complete the socialization of their canine without outside assistance. We would only recommend this for pet parents who have owned large dog breeds before, preferably other hybrids.
Potty training your pup won’t be any different to other canines, though. Be sure to take your dog outside several times a day until they get used to the routine.
Feeding Your Kugsha
Wolf dogs are a whole other challenge when it comes to dietary needs and daily feeding. It’s often recommended that they are given several pounds of meat per day, but this isn’t strictly necessary. They’re still domestic dogs, even if they have wolf genetics.
Follow the guidelines for feeding a large dog, which should appear on the back of any quality dog food that you purchase. Dogs over 100lbs (the maximum weight of this breed is usually 110lbs) typically eat 6 to 7 cups of dog food. Be sure to buy dog food that is suitable – such as a kibble that is marketed towards large breeds.
Be sure to include fresh food in your pup’s diet, as well as dry and wet dog food.
When properly socialized, this canine can be extremely loving and affectionate. Once they reach that point, they can be great around children and other pets in the home, but they need to be slowly introduced to all other occupants of the house during the socialization process.
Despite their size and weight, Kugshas are somewhat dependent on their family. They don’t like being left alone and enjoy playtime with others. They can be gentle giants if given the chance.
How Much Exercise Does a Kugsha Need?
Approximately an hour or so of activity per day is a great amount of a dog of this size. You’ll want to break that time up throughout the day, maybe start or end the day with a long walk, and plan to take your dog outside to play fetch or other games.
It’s recommended that you walk a large breed like this every day, and complete around 16 miles with them during the week. That’s not a lot when you spread it over 7 days, and the Amerindian Malamute is a fairly large and active pup to own.
You can expect that a Kugsha needs a little extra attention when maintaining their coat because of its type and length, and you’d be correct. Thankfully, they don’t shed much and are considered mild shedders outside of shedding season.
To keep your dog’s coat clean, free of dirt and debris, and shiny, you’ll need to run either a firm bristle brush or a slicker brush through their fur a handful of times each week. You shouldn’t need a de-matting brush if you keep on top of the upkeep, but it’s useful to have one in your home if your dog has an adventurous spirit.
Remember never to cut the fur of a double-coated dog. Dogs that have the double coat need special treatment and you should find a groomer who has experienced with them if you truly think your dog needs a trim. As for bathing, your wolf-hybrid pup will only need a bath every few months – unless there are unforeseen events involving dirt.
Be sure to have their nails regularly trimmed to prevent issues, and brush their teeth each week.
Kugsha Health Conditions
Although they are a hybrid, there aren’t too many health concerns associated with this canine. Minor concerns include Patellar Luxation (where the knee cap slips in and out of the grove, causing dislocation), and arthritis. The latter of the two is fairly common in canines.
Major health issues that Kugsha pups may develop include Hip and Elbow Dysplasia (the abnormal wearing of bone over a period of time), and Degenerative Joint Disease. DJD can be a direct result of Hip and Elbow Dysplasia.
These health conditions are common for large breeds, and Kugsha are far from the only large pup that experiences them.
How to Find a Good Breeder
When you’re looking for a breeder, be sure to pick a reputable one that doesn’t have a huge number of puppies constantly on sale. Unfortunately, because the American Kennel Club doesn’t recognize Kugsha as an official breed, there’s no official page for them or any organizations that the AKC associates with.
That also means there are no specific breeder lists, shelters, or anything of the kind to be found. Therefore, it’s up to you, as the buyer, to do your due diligence and research any breeder you find selling Kugsha puppies online.
Here’s a safety checklist for those considering a breeder:
- Check for reviews
- Never pay in advance before seeing the puppies (no online deposits)
- Always ask to see at least one of the parents (this gives you an idea of the possible look and personality of the puppy)
- Ask for veterinary documents showing vaccinations where appropriate
Adopt a Dog From a Rescue Center or Shelter!
Instead of going to a breeder to buy a Kugsha, have you considered adopting a rescue? In the US alone, there are around 10,000 rescue groups and 3,500 physical animal shelters.
Almost one million shelter animals are put to sleep every year in America, and just under 400,000 of those are dogs. Large breeds are often given up to shelters because pet parents don’t realize how much work is involved in caring for them and giving them the right amount of exercise each day.
What is the Average Price for a Kugsha?
Expect to pay upwards of $1000 USD for any puppies of this breed. They are considered a rare canine hybrid and are difficult to find because of the sheer number of larger states in the US that don’t allow wolf dogs or have restrictions on the breed.
Q: What is the difference between a Kugsha and a Siberian Husky and Alaskan Malamutes?
A: There are several differences, though all three breeds are wolf hybrids. You have to look at their appearance closely to see the slight differences in their bodies and ears. Mostly, it’s their temperament that sets them apart. Huskies and Malamutes are more friendly and naturally good working dogs, while the Kugsha is only obedient once trained.
Q: Where is it illegal to own a wolf dog in the US?
A: Alaska, Connecticut, Georgia, Hawaii, Illinois, Massachusetts, Michigan, New Hampshire, New York, Rhode Island, and Wyoming do not allow private citizens to own wolf hybrid pups under any circumstances.