What to Know and Expect Before Getting a Pomsky
If you follow me on Instagram, Snapchat, or even Twitter, you’ll know that I became a puppy mama in February 2017. After a long decision process and much talk about the kind of dog we wanted, my mom and I finally decided that our family was ready to add another member: a pet. We had talked for several months what it would mean to bring a dog (actually, a puppy!) into our house and how that addition would affect our lifestyle.
Koda was born on November 20, 2017 and she officially became a part of our family a few months later in February at just 10 weeks old. When I walked into the litter of pups, I had two adorable pomskies jumping all over me, loving on me, but there was something about the little black-faced one who was smaller than her brother. I knew she was going to be our Koda — a name of Native American origin that came to me in a dream one night after having a serious conversation about getting a puppy with my mom. This little nugget was Koda, I just knew it.
I’m not going to lie: Losing my life partner was a factor in this decision, as I was feeling very depressed and lonely (still do sometimes) and my mom and I both felt like a pup would infuse some happiness into a dark time. It wasn’t just that I was grieving and isolated; I was dealing with a lot of anxiety and energy issues caused (and exacerbated by) depression and grief. Because my lack of energy was a concern for both of us, a “project” like taking care of a puppy felt like a good, positive thing. I wanted a life to pour myself into during a time when life felt like all it did was leave. I knew I needed a little one to cuddle and love; I wanted to pick up her poop, too, if it meant feeling like I had a purpose.
Of course, there was a lot more to this decision than just a need for some puppy-induced cheer. If that’s all it took to make such an influential decision, that would be a selfish choice. My mom and I pondered deeply about what a puppy would mean for us. Another reason (aside from grief) that we felt it was a good time was that each of us living in this house either works from home or is retired. That means someone would always be home with the pup so she wouldn’t have to be crated or alone all day during formative puppy years. When you’re discussing bringing a part-husky into your home, this factor is crucial. Huskies are notoriously precocious animals and they need a lot of care and attention. Since huskies are highly intelligent, they need to be stimulated frequently with play, exercise, and loving. If they don’t feel challenged, that’s when huskies start to get destructive. Since one of us was going to be home at all times, it felt like we could handle a part-husky.
Travel was another factor to consider. While we aren’t frequent travelers who explore new lands and cities on the reg, we do take short vacations several times a year. We have a family house in Vermont at which we sometimes spend up to a week. My parents also go on mini-vacations throughout the year, often to the shore of New Jersey or to Pennsylania to visit relatives. It was really important to us that we had a dog who would be somewhat easy and accessible to travel with. In the past, we’ve traveled with a 100-pound German Shepard and while she was a great sport about traveling, it was also obviously a lot harder to accommodate. Since pomskies have a growth expectancy of about 20-30 pounds, both my mom and I felt confident that we could take her with us places and wouldn’t have to worry about crating her.
The story goes that my mom first fell in love withe pomsky breed — an adorable (albeit unnatural) cross between a husky and a pomeranian — while visiting me when I lived in Hoboken. During a visit, we were walking down the street when a young woman came toward us with her dog. We had never seen a puppy like this — she had all the trademark beauty of a Siberian Husky, but she was much tinier, maybe 20 pounds. My mom is a dog person but not one of those stop-you-on-the-street-to-pet-your-pup types, so I was shocked when she immediately knelt to the ground in order to love this pooch. She inundated the woman with questions, asked the breed, her age, her weight, and much more. I finally had to pry my mom’s hands off this strange dog’s fluff but for the rest of the night, she was ostensibly struck by the existence of the pomsky. She couldn’t let it go.
During the next few months, my mom would sporadically ask me to do secret Google searches about pomskies. We did research on breeders, looked at so, so, so many images of pomskies, and got a good handle on the price range we were looking at. We talked a lot about the aforementioned factors: our availability, our schedules, traveling options, and what our vision for adding a puppy to our family looked like.
The aforementioned dream about the origin of Koda’s name is what really sealed the deal. One night after secretly looking at pomskies online (the secret was one kept from my very anti-puppy dad), I fell asleep to a dream of getting a puppy. She was ours, the one from the website, and for some reason, though we had never consciously talked about names in real life, her name in the dream was Koda. I had heard the name of course from the Disney animated movie Brother Bear and I knew it meant “little bear” and “friend.” When I woke up, I told my mom the dream. The next day, we made the phone call and arranged to pick up Koda the Bear.
So that’s our family’s doggo story. When we brought her home, my dad was completely shocked and without words, but he immediately took to her. We told him her name and that she was part-husky (my mom is still choosing to lie by omission and conveniently ‘forget’ to mention that she’s also part pomeranian) and that she was a part of our family now. One thing I will say upon reflection is that I wish my mom and I did more extensive research on the kind of care pomskies require. We didn’t have that knowledgeable of a scope about what to expect in terms of shedding, behavior, and quirks. Though we knew the gist — a la the Internet, other pomsky owners, and of course, vets and Petco employees — if we were to do it over, I would have gone a bit more in-depth so that I knew exactly what to expect.
If you are looking to adopt a pomsky, here are a few things you should know first in order to have realistic expectations about what it’s truly like to be an owner of a part-husky. Keep reading to find out!
Pomskies are high-energy.
Very high-energy. Most of this precocious trait originates from the husky mama. (Pomskies are always bred by artificial insemination with a pomeranian father and husky mother so as to ensure less likelihood for pregnancy complications regarding size.) They are not the kind of dog who will lazily lay at the foot of your desk while you work from home. (Sometimes, but not often enough to rely on this behavior.) They are also not the kind of dog to come home to after an eight-hour day at work and relax with. Pomskies need to be constantly stimulated with play, exercise, and human (and pup!) interaction. A lot of walks, a lot of outdoor (and indoor) playtime, exercise, and social interaction is crucial for pomskies. If you can’t give this to a pom, please consider another breed.
Pomskies love snow.
A passion for snow isn’t one of the things we considered when looking at poms. It’s one of those seemingly-obvious things that we figured but didn’t really understand the meaning of. Koda LIVES for the snow. It’s her favorite time of year (though we haven’t technically seen her reaction to fall yet — ALL THE LEAVES!). Aside from totally loving playtime in the snow and not needing winter gear (we once had a 9-pound terrier mix who required a parka and snow boots), Koda enjoys burrowing. This means that she will quite literally dig into the snow, burrow a tunnel underneath the surface, and pop up a few feet away. When you’re a first-time pup owner, this can be as hilarious as it can be frightening! Her intense fervor for snow will also mean that she wants to go outside ALL OF THE TIME. It should go without saying, but a spacious backyard is important for poms, too. She loves to run whether it’s in snow or in sunshine, so a backyard and exposure to all kinds of weather is a definite plus for poms.
Cross-breeding has risks.
The pomsky is a relatively new breed and though it is already recognized legally by the Dog Registry of America (DRA), there isn’t yet enough information about the breed. Since it is so new, there is still not an ample amount of education regarding risks and potential health and behavioral concerns.
So far, the risks associated with the pomsky breed is generally normal: a proneness to eye disorders (as both pomeranians and huskies are), allergies, and mild skin issues. I will chime in here and say that while I haven’t experienced any health issues with Koda as of now, she is mildly allergic to EVERYTHING. Any time there’s a spray or an overwhelming smell, this girl sneezes. We haven’t had any serious trouble with her allergies that require medical attention, but I am definitely cognizant of her sneezing in the face of any kind of smell.
Pomskies are a mix of personality traits, too.
Not just a physical mix. Pomskies, as most children and puppies do, can inherit any of their parents’ characteristics and temperaments. This leads for a large margin of unknown. Pomeranian dogs that are not trained can be prone to developing Small Dog Syndrome, a technical term for when a “yappy dog” takes over the home with her negative, untrained behavior and unleashed ego. If pomskies are not trained, they could also develop this syndrome.
Because of the pomsky’s parents, pomskies can often be stubborn. As we often say about Koda in my household, it’s not that she isn’t smart or trained; she knows what to do, it’s just a matter if she wants to. While Koda is trained and knows a handful of important commands, she has an obstinate side and I sometimes feel as though she’s weighing the advantages and disadvantages of succumbing to an order. But that’s a part of her personality. With more effort, work, and training, we are hoping to break that uncompromising side of her.
Pomskies can also be great watch dogs. While this is the sentence my dad would personally lurch at, be careful and heed this worning: Pomskies can have a tendency to become very protective of the family, which is great, but can also lead to excessive, yappy barking anytime someone comes to the door or the pomsky senses a noise.
this little puppy is quite literally my everything and i just dropped her off to get spayed. my mom cried, my lip quivered, and she looked at us like, "why on earth are you leaving me here?" ☹️ the takeaway is, though, i'm so happy to have something i care about so much that i sob in a vet office. #kodathebear #weeklyfluff #puppiesofinstagram #pomsky
When you’re home alone and Koda won’t stop barking because of an unknown source, it can be kind of scary. Sometimes I think she’s ultra sensitive to any kind of sound. If there’s a mouse outside lurking in the grass, I swear she’ll hear it from inside. A squirrel could bounce from a nearby tree to the roof and Koda will set the house ablaze with her most ferocious bark, a lot like Simba in the beginning of The Lion King.
Another thing to note: Pomeranians aren’t historically great with children, which is a trait your pomsky could potentially inherit. Because of a tendency toward aggression and territoriality, poms generally don’t enjoy being handled roughly. Kids are notorious for not being gentle enough, so you see the dilemma. However, I must infuse my personal experience thus far in here and say that I have four nieces who live directly next door (ages 12, 7, 5, and 3 months). Koda is exceptional with them, is playful, gentle, excited, sociable, and friendly. I will say the five-year-old is terrified of Koda’s enthusiasm (AKA jumping) so we often have to separate them until Koda calms down or the environment is less excitable for Koda.
Pomskies enjoy digging.
Ugh — say goodbye to your mulch and prize-worthy lawn. (We did!) This quirk ties back into the first about pomskies being high energy. As I stated, when pomskies’ intelligence isn’t stimulated, they get destructive. That’s the number one reason why dog runners are not the answer to the pomsky problem. A fenced-in, large yard isn’t enough to curb the pomsky’s excitable nature. Like their mama the husky, the pomsky will find a way out of the yard. It’s not a matter of if but a matter of when. Pomskies dig and they dig to stimulate themselves, for something to do, and to escape. It’s not that they want to leave you forever; it’s more like, it’s so exciting to find an escape! It’s a challenge, if you think about it from their point of view. Hmmm… my owner thinks I’m not smart enough to escape this fence? I’ll show him! And she will. That tiny little puppy will.
Aside from using their proclivity for digging to enhance their escape artist skills, pomskies will also ruin your lawn and garden with their love for pawing the ground. This is, again, why fences and runners don’t work for the pom. What they need is stimulation that only another friend (human or animal) can provide. They need to play, engage, and interact in order to stray away from destructive behavior.
Their size is unpredictable.
The breeder will tell you that a pomsky can span anywhere from 20 to 30 pounds, full-grown. Koda is currently 9 months old and she’s 23 pounds, as per her last visit to the vet. This is a surprising number to me because she was definitely the smallest pup of the remaining members of the litter I saw. Her sister was also three months when we got Koda and she was noticeably heavier and stockier. Because of this, I assumed Koda will fall at the smaller end of the pomsky size spectrum but if her 6-month weight is any indication (and many dog owners, breeders, and experts swear it is!), she will likely hit 30 pounds when full-grown.
If you’re not familiar with the 6-month weight formula, it’s a way to determine how much your pup will weigh when fully grown. You take the 6-month weight and double it. At 6 months, Koda was exactly 15 pounds, which leads me to believe that she will max out at 30 pounds.
Pomskies need to be brushed.
Like a lot. I have definitely heard of other breeds being extreme shedders even compared to Koda, but pomskies do need a decent amount of brushing maintenance. I’ve read that three to five times a week is the brushing schedule most ideal for poms. While Koda’s insane amount of shedding isn’t really evident in our home because we don’t let her on the furniture and have wood floors throughout the house, it is certainly clear in my room that she loses a lot of hair.
Since my room is where Koda spends the bulk of her time (and is also the only room in which she’s allowed on the furniture, hehe), the evidence is all over the floor. There are white and black hairballs all over my wood floors, always lurking in the corners. My mom will say I don’t vacuum enough but personally, it doesn’t bother me. As long as my room is organized, I can handle a little fluff on the floor.