Frequently Asked Questions

Q: What are the "arctic breeds", or "northern dogs"?

A: Northern dogs are dogs of the arctic breeds. Technically, they are of the generic "spitz breed". The specific northern dogs that are rescued by the Central Coast Northern Dog Training and Rescue are Siberian Huskies, American Eskimo, Samoyed, Elkhounds, Malamutes and Keeshond's. We accept mixes of these breeds when they meet our criteria.

Q: Are not mixes just mutts, and unstable as pets?

A: No, mixed breed dogs can make excellent pets, and for many families, a mixed breed dog is a better dog for the family. We carefully evaluate all dogs, and select only those of mixed breeding that display those characteristics of the northern breeds that we believe to be most desirable. Some dogs are harmonious, such as Malamute-Siberian Husky, American Eskimo-Siberian Husky, Samoyed-Siberian Husky, and sometimes northern dogs mixed with non-northern breeds such as retrievers. While we never recommend the creation of a mixed breed, as there are too many already, we have rescued and placed many excellent dogs of mixed breeding.

Q: Are not the dogs in Rescue problem dogs, or dogs that have been abused?

A: Hardly ever. The most common reason people provide for surrendering a dog is that they can no longer obtain housing that permits them to continue having their dog. While many dogs are strays that were picked up by Animal Control, and later rescued for fostering, we find that few come with problems, and even fewer show any evidence of abuse. Our evaluation process eliminates dogs with severe problems that produce extreme antisocial behaviors. While we have had a small number of abused dogs, we find the hardy northern breeds have the intelligence and emotional constitution to respond well to respect and love, thus becoming healthy and happy dogs. Many times, dogs have been neglected, untrained, and poorly handled--this is more common than abuse.

Q: Where can I come and see all the dogs?

A: CCNDTR requires each adopting family to complete the adoption process of interviewing, deciding on what dog or dogs are best for the family, then meeting a dog in the foster home by appointment. We have no central location where we display or sell dogs.

Q: I live out of state, and want to adopt a dog from CCNDTR. How do I do this?

A: We appreciate your interest, and wish you the best in finding that special dog for your home. We at CCNDTR limit our placements to adopting homes within riving distance of Salinas, California, and able to come and meet the dog of interest in advance. Because we do provide follow up, and require the return of the dog to us within the first 14 days if the adoption is not working, we must limit our service area to people who can realistically participate in the entire process. Check with your local Humane Society or SPCA to find local rescue groups in your area that work with the northern breed of interest to you if you are more than a day's ride from Salinas..

Q: I want a Siberian because they are one of the most beautiful dogs I have ever seen. I never had a dog before, so I am not sure what I should look for other than a pretty dog.

A: We seldom place a young Siberian as a first dog to any person. Sometimes, we will do so when the dog is an older, more mellow dog, or possibly a mix, but in general we recommend that a person has had experience with an easier breed first. Too many people contact us each month asking to surrender their Siberian, because they got the dog when "it was such a cute puppy". Inevitably, these families knew nothing about Siberians, and had limited experience with dogs before adopting one. While we agree that Siberians are very often beautiful, we strongly suggest that they not be adopted as a first family dog. Siberians have very strong and well defined personalities that require intelligent and highly consistent handling. Most people are not ready for this in a first dog. We have placed mature and calmer Siberians as first dogs to families who demonstrated a knowledge of the breed, and who have a lifestyle that can accommodate an energetic Siberian Husky.

Q: I want a northern dog, but I want one with short hair that doesn't shed much. What kind should I get?

A: If you really want a dog that doesn't shed much, then don't get a northern dog! Northern dogs with their double coats do shed, and often even the mixes will shed quite plentifully. If shedding is a big issue, then keep looking. We tell adopting families that northern dogs shed twice a year-- for 6 months in the spring, and 6 months in the fall.

Q: Isn't it better to get a puppy, rather than an older dog, so it will bond with my family better?

A: With northern dogs, it makes little difference. Because arctic dogs are pack dogs, with the social structure of a wolf pack, it is the pack that means everything to them. We find that many dogs that are fostered and placed in a good home where they receive respect and love become more devoted to their new "pack" than puppies that were raised in some families. We say that it is because the rescued dog never takes a good home for granted. With the arctic breeds, respect, kindness, and consistency in handling are far more important than the age of adoption.

Q: I have a cat. Can I adopt a northern dog to live with my family while I have my cat?

A: Yes, but you may have to wait for a "cat tolerant" dog to come into rescue. We do see many dogs that have lived with cats, and foster many more that are naturally more tolerant. If we believe we have a foster that is capable of being cat tolerant, we try to determine this and list the dog as being cat tolerant. There are many factors involved in introducing a cat and dog into the same home, and we do provide advice and tips on doing so. See our page on DOGS WITH CATS. That advice was gained from successful adoptions, where people did take the time and expended the effort to make the match work.

Q: I have a rabbit, and I want to adopt a husky. Can I get one from CCNDTR?

A: Not while the rabbit lives in the home. Northern dogs in general are natural predators. There are two kinds of northern dog predators; those that are active, and those that are not yet active predators. A rabbit is too much of a temptation, and we never advise the combination in the same home at the same time. Cats and even birds can be managed with care. Small animals fail to work out well inmost instances.

Q: We have 2 other dogs, and want to adopt a northern dog. Will the dog get along with our other dogs?

A: Possibly, but first please consider why you are getting another dog, then work with the Placement Specialist in picking one that will fit your "pack". Your other dogs will have to have a say in what dog you choose, and you should consider the impact on them of having another dog. Dogs like other family arrangements, need a balance of characteristics. This can make the difference between a harmonious pack in the home, and one that is always insecure and turbulent.

Q: We want a Siberian, as it has always been the "Dream Dog" we wanted to own. We are planning a family, so we want to be sure to get one that will accept a new born baby when we have our family. Should we get a rescue, or go to a breeder?

A: We recommend adopting an older dog, that is more settled, and possibly has a record of being good with Children. Unless your family has had considerable northern dog experience previously, the introduction of a young dog to a new born baby can be a disaster. The second most common reason for a Siberian or other northern dog to end up in rescue is often that the family had a new baby, and ... It may be far better to wait until the children are more than 5 or 6, then consider getting a dog. We recommend that age, as children of that age will enjoy a dog and remember the dog for a lifetime. Children seldom remember a dog before age 4 or 5, and are sometimes upset when it is an older dog when they are 8-10 years of age and want to play with the dog.

Q: We have a baby who is now 1 year old, and we want to adopt a northern puppy. Can we?

A: We don't advise it. More children have developed a fear of dogs from encounters with puppies than you might think. Puppies are basically uncivilized, and quite rough--especially northern breed puppies. Wait until your child is older and can enjoy the dog more--perhaps 5 or 6 years of age. We never recommend having a young child around a dog alone, and even when supervised, it takes a lot of vigilance to be certain that the encounter works. We have tried adopting young dogs to families with children under 2 years of age, and in 3 out of 4 cases it didn't work. Older dogs that have been around young children, and themselves are more mature and have some training work out with greater success.

Q: At what age of my child should I consider as grown up enough to adopt a dog?

A: That depends a lot on the child, the other members of the family, and the dog in question. Children younger than 4 really aren't impacted as much by having or not having a dog as much as children older than 4 years. If the child is an only child, and the purpose of having the dog is to help to teach the child to love and be responsible to another creature, then 6 years may not be too young for many children.

Q: I live in an apartment, and I want to adopt a dog. Can I?

A: It is hard on the dog to live in an apartment. A very few northern dogs have the temperament to do it, but even then, it requires a commitment from the family to make it a success. The dog will need even more time from family members for walks and recreation if it is to remain a healthy dog. An older mature dog can work out much more successfully than a young energetic dog.

Q: I want to adopt a dog so I can breed it and give my children a chance to see puppies born and raised. Why do you spay all of your good dogs?

A: Unfortunately, it is all too likely that too many dogs in Rescue were the products of a family wanting to give their children the chance to watch puppies being born and sold. The children missed the remainder of the lesson--what happened to those cute puppies later? There are simply too many dogs being born for the homes available to love and care for them. Thousands are killed every year here in California. We have a seemingly endless stream coming through our organization--and we are only one small Rescue group. We spay/neuter all dogs because we cannot know their genetic heritage. We cannot know that they don't carry an unfortunate trait that might be spread through breeding to hundreds and thousands of puppies in the future. We remove their potential contribution to the gene pool through altering them so they can live their lives, bring happiness to a family, and not endanger the future of the breed through an unknown genetic disorder. Good breeding takes great knowledge and patience. It cannot be done for a profit--only a love of the breed, and a passion to see the excellent characteristics of that breed passed on to the future generations. It is the State Law that all rescue groups and shelters spay/neuter dogs and cats before placement. Please read the "Why Not a Puppy?" article for more information.

Q: My yard is fenced with a 4 foot fence. Can I adopt a northern breed dog?

A: Maybe. It will take an open mind, and working carefully with a Placement Specialist. Some of the smaller northern dogs will stay in such a fence, or an older dog. Possibly a trolley line might be used. There are some potential solutions to not having a high fence around the yard to provide security for your dog. It takes more discipline and willingness to have a dog in such a yard than in one with a 6 foot fence.

Q: I have a husky now. He keeps getting out. If I get a companion for him, will he stop getting out?

A: That depends on many factors. Sometimes the addition of an appropriate playmate can help, There may be many other variables to be considered first. An assessment as to the over all security of the yard should be done, and an assessment of the dog you now have to understand his motivations for wanting to leave the property. Sometimes there are other solutions, and when these are not considered first, the result can be 2 dogs escaping instead of one.

Q: I live on a farm. We have other dogs, cattle, and goats. We want to give a foster dog a home. Can we?

A: With careful selection, yes. We do get dogs so mellow and so mild that a farm environment is just fine for them. Many won't work out on a farm, because they can't adjust readily to all the other animals. If you accept the idea of getting the right dog for your circumstances, and setting aside too many specifications as to age, sex, color of coat and eyes, or other characteristics, it may be possible. We have had successful placements on farms with other animals.

Q: We want to adopt a Siberian. We cannot afford to fence our land, as we have 5 acres. That should be enough for any dog, Can we adopt a dog from rescue?

A: Northern dogs in general do poorly at staying within property boundaries voluntarily. They have very high intelligence, great curiosities, and independent natures. This makes them explorers by nature. Being natural predators as well, as roamers makes it unlikely that any opportunity to be off leash outside of a fenced area is advisable. Too many of our Siberians come in from rural areas where they were allowed to roam unsupervised. Those were the lucky ones.

Q: Aren't huskies just wolf mixes? I heard that most northern dogs are different, because they are all mixed with wolf.

A: All dogs are genetically linked very closely to the wolf. Dogs are not a separate species--they are a different race of wolf. They come in all sizes and with an even greater variety of looks than people. Northern dogs are not wolf mixes. We do not recommend the breeding of a dog with a wolf--ever, because the result is too often a litter of pups in which 50-70% are destroyed later, as they cannot live successfully with people.

Q: Do you take in wolf mixes?

A: We look at every dog based on its own merits, and place each on its own merits. In general, we avoid taking in those dogs in which there is evidence of strong wolf traits. We prefer that wolf hybrids be forbidden from being bred and sold. We suggest that persons interested in these dogs visit the numerous websites available on these dogs and their problems. It is good to be aware that nearly all sanctuaries, reservations, and other facilities equipped to take in these dogs are full throughout the Western states. A wolf hybrid is most often a dog that has no place in society or in the wild. There are ever fewer foster homes for such dogs as cities and communities grow.

Q: Can I be put on the waiting list for a female, red/white husky with blue eyes--a puppy no older than 3 months?

A: If you require such definite specifications, you may wish to go to a breeder. We seldom see dogs so young, and when we do, they are what they are--we don't get choices in Rescue. When deciding to adopt a dog from a Rescue organization, it is best to determine what is really important about the dog you want to adopt. Pay careful attention to the suggestions of the Placement Specialist, as that specialist has worked with many families to achieve a happy placement. When considering a dog for your family, consider getting the dog that is likely to be the happiest in your family.