Certain breeds of dog are easy to confuse and this is certainly the case with the Malamute and Husky.
Whilst they are both recognized by the American Kennel Club and look like wolves, their personality and purpose are very different.
In this guide we discuss the differences between the Malamute and the Siberian Husky. We then outline the temperament and key character differences between the breeds so you know which one is more suitable for you.
Here is the Malamute vs Husky what you need to know…
Table des matières
- Alaskan Malamute vs Siberian Husky Comparison
- Alaskan Malamute vs Siberian Husky Differences
- Alaskan Malamute Breed Info
- Siberian Husky Breed Info
- Frequently Asked Questions about Malamute vs Husky
- Alaskan Malamute, Siberian and Alaskan Husky Differences
- Malamute vs husky size and appearance
- What’s the Difference Between an Alaskan Malamute and a Husky?
- Alaskan Malamute Vs Siberian Husky – Which is Best?
- Alaskan Malamute Vs Siberian Husky History
- Alaskan Malamute vs Siberian Husky Fun Facts
- Alaskan Malamute vs Siberian Husky Appearance
- Alaskan Malamute vs Siberian Husky Temperament
- Alaskan Malamute vs Siberian Husky Training
- Alaskan Malamute vs Husky Exercise
- Alaskan Malamute and Siberian Husky Health
- Alaskan Malamute vs Siberian Husky Puppies
- Which Breed Makes A Better Pet?
- Alaskan Malamute vs Siberian Husky – Which Dog is Right for Me?
- References and Further Reading
- Meet Two Similar Yet Different Breeds: Siberian Husky and Alaskan Malamute
- History in Harsh Climates
- Both Built for Sledding
- A Shared Love of Running
- Which Breed is Better For You?
Alaskan Malamute vs Siberian Husky Comparison
|Alaskan Malamute||Siberian Husky|
|Size:||20-25 inches tall||20-22 inches tall|
|Coat:||Long length, Double coat||Medium length, Double coat|
|Color:||Ranges from Black, Light Gray to shades of Red||Red, Black, Gray, Sable, Agouti and White|
|Lifespan:||10-12 Years||10-14 Years|
|Temperament:||Playful, friendly and confident||Friendly and playful but independent|
|Socialization:||Can be aggressive with same sex dogs||A pack dog that is friendly with other dogs|
|Destructive Behavior:||Known for chewing and digging||Will jump fences and try to escape|
|People Skills:||Needs to spend time with their owner and wants to be involved with people||Can live without their owners and doesn’t need much human interaction|
|Initial Purpose:||Used to pull heavy sleds at a slow pace over long distances in the Arctic region||Used to pull light sleds at faster paces over long distance|
|Energy Levels:||Slightly less than a Husky but still needs daily exercise||Incredibly high energy and needs mental and physical stimulation every day|
Alaskan Malamute vs Siberian Husky Differences
- Extremely friendly with people.
- Both have a double coat.
- Shed fur twice a year (fall/spring).
- High energy levels and needs daily exercise.
- Have high prey drives and can’t be kept with other types of pets.
- Need a strong owner who they respect as the pack leader.
- The Malamute enjoys spending time with humans whereas the Husky is much more independent and aloof.
- Malamutes have a short lifespan and tend to have more health problems.
- A Husky will be loyal to their pack whereas a Malamute will be loyal to their owner.
- Malamutes are bigger and heavier dogs whereas Huskys are lighter yet faster dogs.
- The Husky prefers to live with other dogs, whereas a Malamute will be content living with humans.
- Husky tend to live longer and have less health problems.
- The Siberian Husky is known for being more intelligent and cunning when compared to a Malamute.
Alaskan Malamute Breed Info
When you first set eyes on an Alaskan Malamute, the first thing that will strike you is their sheer size and presence; it’s easy to confuse them for a wolf.
They are incredibly loyal dogs who will happily spend all their time with you. With lots of energy and endurance they were initially bred to pull heavy sleds long distances.
Because of this high level of energy you will want to make sure you give them plenty of exercise and mentally stimulating activities otherwise they can start to engage in disruptive behavior (howling and chewing) due to boredom.
Due to their energy levels they are best suited to people who have an active outdoor lifestyle; think hiking, sledding, and backpacking. Also it should go without saying but they should be kept in colder climates.
They are an incredibly friendly dog (even to strangers) and will maintain their playful and inquisitive puppy nature well into adult life. This friendly nature however doesn’t always extend to other dogs. They can turn dominant and aggressive towards the same sex, so you shouldn’t keep more than one male.
Purchasing an Alaskan Malamute is a big decision, they are a high maintenance dog that requires an experienced owner who has plenty of time to offer them.
Appearance and Size
Malamutes and Huskies are often confused with each other but if you see them stood side by side there is no confusion; the Malamute dwarfs the Husky.
A male Malamute stands at 25 inches tall and weighs between 85-100 pounds. Females are slightly shorter at 23 inches and should weigh around 75 pounds.
You can occasionally find ‘giant’ Malamutes that weigh around 140 pounds, however due to their size they often suffer with Hip Dysplasia.
Like the Husky, they have a dense double coat. The outer coat (guard coat) is short and coarse. Whereas the undercoat is around 2 inches deep and is oily and wooly; this helps to wick away wetness and keeps them warm.
In terms of color it can range all the way from black, light gray through to shades of red. Regardless of the color on the top of their coat, their underbelly will mainly be white along with markings on their face, legs and paws.
They will shed their undercoat twice a year (spring/fall) so during this time you will need to brush them daily; outside of this time brushing twice a week will suffice.
As for their eye color, unlike the Husky which is known for their dazzling blue eyes, Malamutes have brown eyes. Whilst dark brown eyes are preferred for the breed’s standard, the shade of brown can vary to lighter shades of brown and orange eyes.
Alaskan Malamutes are playful, friendly and confident. If you’re looking for a guard dog, this is not the dog for you. They are quick to warmly welcome everyone (including strangers).
Like any other dog, their temperament can be affected by three key factors:
- Genetics (heredity)
When choosing a pup, look for the middle of the road ones; you don’t want the bully and you don’t want the shy one in the corner.
As they are working dogs, they have never ending energy and love to run and play. However, this instinct to work and boundless energy can make them difficult to house train.
You need to remember that they are pack animals, so when kept on their own they will need to spend lots of time in their ‘human pack’. This means they will want to get involved in all the family activities.
As they get to know you, this friendliness will grow into an extremely loyal bond and strong connection. However, because of their need for contact, separation anxiety is common with Malamutes so make sure you can offer them plenty of time.
You can reduce the chance of separation anxiety by socializing them at an early age; the more people, experiences and smells you expose them to the better.
Whilst they won’t bark that often they are notorious for their howl. They are most likely to howl when they are excited or when they are left alone.
In terms of aggression, the biggest problem you will observe is food aggression; they should not be interrupted when eating.
You should expect to pay around $1500-$2000 for an Alaskan Malamute puppy. However matured and rescue Malamutes are significantly cheaper.
On average you should expect them to live to around 11 years old, with most living between 10-12 years. As this is a large dog, common health problems include: Hip Dysplasia, von Willebrand Disease and Chondrodysplasia.
Siberian Husky Breed Info
The Siberian Husky was bred by the Chukchi people, to be used as a hunting weapon. They were bred to carry light loads at a reasonable pace over long distances. They didn’t reach the US until 1909 and took until 1930 to become recognized by the American Kennel Club.
Whilst incredibly friendly to all humans, they are intelligent, stubborn and independent. As a pack dog you will have to earn their respect and trust.
They have seemingly never ending energy reserves, so make the ideal companion to someone living an active outdoor lifestyle. Without lots of physical and mental exercise they can become destructive.
If you’re looking for a loyal, obedient dog, the Husky is not for you. They are independent thinkers and are quite content to spend periods of time without you.
If you stand a Siberian Husky and Malamute side by side it’s easy to notice the differences; Malamutes are by far the larger dog.
You should expect a male Husky to stand at 22 inches tall and weigh around 50 pounds. Females should be a touch shorter at 20 inches tall and a bit lighter at around 40 pounds.
Just like the Malamute they have a dense double coat. They will shed this coat twice a year (spring and fall) so they aren’t ideal if anyone in the household is allergic or, if you like to keep your house immaculate and don’t want dog hair on the floor.
During heavy molting you should brush them every day, and outside of molting two brushes a week will help to keep their coat healthy.
According to breed standards, their coat can be:
Again, stood next to a Malamute you will notice the Husky’s head is smaller and their ears are tighter and closer together.
They are known for their famous blue eyes, but they can also have brown, green, or mixed colored eyes.
If there is one thing to know about Huskies, it is that they are high energy.
Just like Malamutes they are friendly and playful and give affection to everyone they meet; if you’re looking for a guard dog, the Siberian Husky is not for you.
Whilst they are known for this, your dog’s individual temperament can vary depending on:
- Socialization as a puppy
They are affectionately known as ‘independent thinkers’, meaning they will not be turned into an ultra-obedient dog.
Remember they are working dogs, meaning they have a huge amount of energy and are used to living in packs. This instinct means that it can be challenging to house train them.
Because of their huge energy levels, they require lots of mental and physical stimulation; without this they can become destructive. Forms of destruction most often occur through digging, jumping and chewing.
As a pack dog, they are fine with other Huskies; however they can be ‘prickly’ with other dog breeds.
A puppy Siberian Husky can be purchased for around $400-$1000+ depending on its parental lineage. If you get a matured or rescue Husky the price will be significantly less.
On average, your Siberian Husky should live to around 12, with the vast majority of them living between 10 -14 years. Common health problems include: Hip Dysplasia, Cataracts and Progressive Retinal Atrophy.
Frequently Asked Questions about Malamute vs Husky
Malamute Vs Husky Size
Without a doubt the Malamute is the larger dog. Whilst the Husky is around 22 inches tall, the Malamute is 25 inches. In terms of weight, a Malamute is 85-100 pounds, with a Husky being lighter at around 50 pounds.
Malamute Vs Husky Temperament
Whilst they have a similar temperament, there are a few key differences. Whilst Malamutes needs human affection, a Husky is more than happy to spend time without humans. Also, Huskies have a much more independent mindset.
Now you should know the difference between a Malamute and a Husky.
They are both loveable fluffy giants, but each breed has their own unique traits making them more or less suited to you depending on your requirements for a pet.
One thing is for sure, they are demanding dogs and require a responsible owner who has the time needed to train and exercise them. Without this high level of exercise both breeds can turn destructive due to boredom.
Alaskan Malamute, Siberian and Alaskan Husky Differences
By Linda Cole
To the untrained eye, it’s not always easy to tell the difference between some dog breeds. The Alaskan Malamute, Siberian Husky and Alaskan Husky may resemble each other, but there are differences between them.
The Alaskan Malamute is the state of Alaska’s official mascot, and one of the oldest of the northern sled dogs. Named after the Inuit tribe Mahlemuts, the nomadic people of Alaska used this powerful breed for centuries to hunt seals and pull heavy sleds to move supplies and people throughout the Arctic region. Today the breed looks much like it did 4,000 years ago. The Malamute is taller and heavier than the Siberian Husky. The dog stands 23 to 25” at the shoulder and weighs 75 to 85 pounds, though it’s not unusual for a muscular male to hit 100 pounds.
The Malamute has brown eyes and a broad head with the ears set wide apart. His bushy tail is carried over his back. Because the Malamute is heavier than a Husky, he is less likely to jump a fence, and will use his powerful paws to dig out instead. This breed should not be let off his leash; he has a high prey drive and loves to run. He can be gender aggressive with same sex dogs, but is affectionate with his human family. This is an intelligent, confident and stubborn breed.
The Siberian Husky has roots in Siberia where the breed was used by semi-nomadic tribes called the Chukchi people. When forced to expand their hunting grounds and hunt farther from home, they developed a dog with endurance to go great distances while pulling a light load at a moderate speed in harsh weather conditions. The breed was developed to preserve needed energy to stay warm. In 1909, the first Siberian Huskies arrived in Alaska as racing dogs. At 35 to 60 pounds and 20 to 23.5” at the shoulders, the Sibe is smaller boned than the Malamute. They can have brown eyes, one brown and one blue, both blue, green or parti-colored eyes. The head is smaller and not as broad as the Malamute, and their eyes and ears are set closer together.
When on alert, the bushy tail is carried in a sickle shape that drops lower when the dog is relaxed. Because they are pack animals, the Siberian Husky gets along well with other dogs. He is stubborn, intelligent, confident, independent and loving with those who have earned his respect and trust. An opportunistic escape artist, a Sibe can squeeze through the smallest hole or quickly dig underneath any fence. Once he’s out, this dog will run to his heart’s content. Do not let him off leash – his prey drive will kick in if he sees anything move, like the neighbor’s cat.
The Alaskan Husky is a true sled dog that’s a type of dog rather than a specific breed, and not recognized by any kennel club. The Malamute and Siberian Husky are purebreds and recognized by the American Kennel Club. The Alaskan Husky was bred solely for working ability, not appearance. Breeders of this dog didn’t care what he looked like as long as he could pull his weight, so Alaskan Huskies are varied in their appearance. For hundreds of years Inuit people and mushers bred dogs with other canines found in villages, and there is no specific breed standard that dictates breeding practices. They needed a dog that was smart and could run hard and fast with the strength to pull heavy loads.
The dog’s coat is mostly short to medium in length with an undercoat. Alaskan Huskies are long legged with a lean body, deep in the chest, pointy ears, a tail that curls over the back and usually brown eyes. They weigh around 35 to 50 pounds and are taller than the Siberian Husky, although their height can vary. Some resemble a cross between the Malamute and Sibe, and others look more wolf like. The Alaskan Husky is faster than the Malamute or Siberian Husky.
Despite their differences, these three dog breeds do have some things in common. They can be difficult to train because they are independent and willful. They’re intelligent working dogs who learn at their own speed, not necessarily at yours. All three have a thick double-coat. They have a high prey drive and are escape artists. They are sled dogs of the North, born to run, which they all love to do.
Top photo by Randi Hausken
Middle photo by Shannon Pearce
Bottom photo by Jeff Nelson
Read more articles by Linda Cole
The Alaskan malamute and Siberian husky are both strong dogs bred to sustain the extreme cold. Their wolfish appearances may look intimidating but in reality, their personalities are anything but. These two loveable, friendly and intelligent dog breeds are adored the world over—read on to learn how to tell the malamute from the husky.
Malamute vs husky history
The Siberian Husky is one of the oldest dog breeds on the planet. They were first bred by the Chukchi, an ancient nomadic Siberian tribe, in the northeastern regions of what’s now Russia. The Chukchi used huskies as sled dogs for transportation, but they were also regarded as family members and slept with the children in the tribe to keep them warm. Siberian huskies were exported to Alaska in 1908 and were used as a sled dog during the gold rush. The breed has changed only slightly from the original huskies from the Chukchi tribes.
The Alaskan malamute is also an ancient breed and one of the oldest Arctic sled dogs. The breed was brought to Alaska thousands of years ago by native people crossed the land bridge from Siberia into the region. A tribe called the Mahlemuts, in the northeastern area of the Seward Peninsula developed the Alaskan malamute. The dogs were used for hunting, chasing away polar bears, and transporting food and camp supplies. Like huskies, malamutes were a valued member of their tribe and treated like family. Most Malamutes today can trace their heritage to the ‘Kotzebue’ strain from the Norton Sound area of Alaska.
Malamute vs husky temperament
Siberian huskies are medium sized working dogs and they’re known for their intelligence and independence. They’re still very affectionate but not particularly needy. Although their intelligence and ability to learn is remarkable, huskies are notoriously difficult to train and can get bored easily so they are best with confident, experienced dog owners.
Huskies are sociable and full of energy. Due to their high intelligence, they can become bored if they’re not given enough mental stimulation or exercise. They love to dig and can cause havoc with flower beds, gardens and even some parts of the home if left unsupervised. They also have a reputation for being escape artists—they love to wander off an have an adventure on their own.
Alaskan malamutes are playful, loveable dogs with outgoing dispositions. Like huskies, they are friendly with everyone, including strangers. Like huskies, they’re also pack animals so they like to be included in all the family activities. They’re equally as mischievous as huskies and also enjoy digging holes, or even raiding the bins, so it’s important to keep them entertained. Malamutes can be cheeky but good training will bring out their intelligence. Like huskies, they can be quite challenging to train so they also require an experienced dog owner who has the confidence to set boundaries via positive reinforcement and lead.
Both these highly intelligent dogs need a lot of physical exercise and mental stimulation. If they’re left alone for long periods of time they can become bored or frustrated so if you’d prefer not to leave your dog alone Rover.com has lots of wonderful sitters who offer dog boarding across the country!
Huskies and malamutes don’t tend to make good watch dogs, they might share the looks of their wolf ancestors, but both dog breeds are very friendly, even with strangers. Neither huskies or malamutes tend to be big barkers either, so they may not be a very effective home alarm system! Instead, they can howl and they do, at the moon or whenever it suits them!
Both breeds will benefit from obedience training, particularly from puppyhood.
Malamute vs husky with families
Huskies make great family pets and are good with children. They are also good in a multi-dog households. If raised with other animals as a puppy, huskies can live in a multi-pet household, too. Originally, huskies had a strong prey drive towards smaller animals like squirrels, rabbits and cats, but if raised with small animals, they can enjoy the company of pets of all sizes.
Malamutes also make great family pets and are good with children. Their large size and high energy means that they can overpower small children though, so they’re best for households with kids over the age of 5. They’ll also thrive in multi-dog and multi-pet households as long as they’ve been raised with other small animals as a puppy.
Malamute vs husky size and appearance
Although huskies and malamutes both have wolf-like features, Malamutes are taller and heavier than huskies. Husky males are approximately 53-60 cm tall, whilst a female is about 50-56 cm tall. Male malamutes are approximately 64 cm tall and females are 58 cm tall. Husky males weight 20-27 kg and females weight 16-22 kg. By contrast, Malamutes can vary greatly in weight. The majority weigh between 34-38 kg but some can be over 45 kg.
Huskies come in a variety of colours. It can also appear that they are wearing a white mask with the different shade of fur around their face.
Malamutes range from light grey to black or sable to red whist their underbelly, feet and parts of their leg are predominately white. Their face will also have white markings usually around the forehead and neck.
Both dogs have very thick fur, bushy tails, and erect ears. Huskies are faster than malamutes but the malamute’s larger build means they are the stronger of the two dogs.
Both huskies and malamutes can have brown or blue eyes, one eye that’s blue or particoloured eyes. A Husky’s ears are medium and triangular in shape and sit high on their head. A Malamute’s ears are similar in shape but they sit farther apart on the head.
A Husky has a muzzle that is medium in length and width and tapers slightly towards the nose. Their noses can be black or pink which is called a snow nose. A malamute’s muzzle is more bulky and is the same width from the face to the tip of the nose. A malamute’s nose is usually black although they can have a pink snow nose too.
Both huskies and malamutes have a bushy tails. Malamutes also have a corkscrew tail that they’ll use to keep their faces warm.
Malamute vs husky grooming and shedding
Both dogs are designed to handle the extreme cold and have a lot of fur. A husky has a double coat with medium length hair. Their top coat is straight and their undercoat is soft and dense. Their thick coat that keeps them warm in the winter will also shed (a lot) in the spring and autumn. But, they tend to shed less in cooler climates. That said, huskies are fairly clean breeds and tend to clean themselves. They don’t omit much of an odour or need too much grooming either, just a lot of brushing, especially in shedding seasons. Brush them at least once a week during the year and daily when they are shedding.
Malamutes also have a dense double coat. Their top coat is thick and coarse and known as the guard coat. Their undercoat is one or two inches thick, is oily and woolly and designed to keep them warm and repel wetness. A Malamute’s coat is longer around the shoulders, neck, and back. Plus, their long hair over their thighs can sometimes resemble trousers. Malamutes shed twice yearly and their hair can fall out in clumps. Like a husky, they’re fairly odour-free and rarely need baths, unless they roll in something stinky. They also clean themselves like huskies. Brush them at least once a week during the year and daily when they are shedding.
Malamute vs husky exercise
As both dogs are pack animals, they’ll love participating in family activities and playing. Huskies are high energy dogs, and they’ll stay happy with a lot of intense exercise, about 30-60 minutes each day. They would make a great companion for hikes, long walks, runs or just joining you on your own activities. Malamutes also need a lot of exercise to keep them happy and prevent boredom. As working dog breeds, they enjoy doing tasks but will also love to run, play or go on hikes.
Be cautious in the summer months—that thick coat means that both dogs can easily overheat in hot weather.
Malamute vs husky health
Huskies and malamutes have a life expectancy of 12-15 years. Both breeds are healthy but can suffer from some health conditions. Huskies can develop eye problems like cataracts, corneal dystrophy, and progressive retinal atrophy. Malamutes can also suffer from cataracts, are prone to hip dysplasia and hypothyroidism.
What’s the Difference Between an Alaskan Malamute and a Husky?
At left is the Alaskan malamute; at right, the Siberian husky. It’s no wonder that people often get the two mixed up. Malamute: @Hans Surfer-Getty Images. Siberian husky: Claire Baxter//studiofetch.com-Getty Images/HowStuffWorks
In the hit HBO television series « Game of Thrones, » the children of the royal Stark house are accompanied by dire wolves, which are a sort of impressive wolf-dog hybrid. These dogs don’t exist in the real world — though they did once upon a time in the Ice Age and later became extinct — and the dogs used on the show are actually Northern Inuits.
Nonetheless, prospective dog owners and fans of the TV show are turning in droves to a similar-looking pooch: the Siberian husky. In fact, so many fans are purchasing Siberian huskies that shelters are seeing an uptick in Siberian huskies being abandoned, sadly, likely due to the fact that cute Siberian husky puppies grow up to be hyperactive adults requiring a lot of training and exercise.
But it’s undeniable that the Siberian husky is fast becoming one of the most popular canine breeds. The American Kennel Club (AKC) — an organization that serves as the foremost authority and resource on dog breeds in the U.S. — ranked the Siberian husky as the 12th most popular breed in 2017.
Alaskan Husky vs. Siberian Husky
But did you know that there’s another similar-looking husky, according to some dog lovers? The Alaskan husky — unlike the purebred Siberian husky — is a mix of various Northern dog breeds, so it’s not considered to be its own distinct purebred breed. The Alaskan husky was bred specifically to be a working dog. But what does it mean to be a working dog?
« Quick to learn, dogs of the Working Group are intelligent, strong, watchful, and alert. Bred to assist man, they excel at jobs such as guarding property, pulling sleds and performing water rescues, » says Gina DiNardo, executive secretary of the AKC, by email. « They make wonderful companions but because they are large, and naturally protective, prospective owners need to know how to properly train and socialize a dog. »
The Alaskan husky is the most commonly used dog in dog sled racing, as they’re known for their tough feet and hardy fur coats that can withstand the chill of winter. It’s more popular in the sled dog trade than even its Siberian counterpart, even though Siberian huskies are also considered working dogs.
However, the Alaskan husky is far from being recognized widely across the world of dog breeders. The AKC does not recognize the Alaskan husky as an official dog breed because it does not meet the organization’s required threshold.
This is « Tony, » an Alaskan husky sled dog, that took part in the 2009 Iditarod race in Alaska. Alaskan huskies, although not a recognized breed, are often used as working sled dogs. Andy Cross/Getty Images
« To become an AKC recognized breed there must be a minimum number of dogs geographically distributed throughout the U.S., as well as an established breed club of responsible owners and breeders, » says DiNardo.
The Alaskan husky sometimes resembles the Siberian husky in terms of appearance, and bothdogs typically weigh between 40 and 60 pounds (18 and 27 kilograms). But the Alaskan husky is usually taller, and because it is a mix of different breeds, its appearance can vary widely.
In the U.S., the Siberian husky is undoubtedly the more well-known of the two dogs, as seen by the number of rescue organizations and breed clubs dedicated specifically to Siberian huskies. By contrast, there are considerably fewer rescues or shelters dedicated to Alaskan huskies, though there are a few that seem open to both Siberian huskies and Alaskan huskies.
Huskies vs. Alaskan Malamutes
But to complicate things even further, there’s ANOTHER dog out there with a very similar name, which also bears a strong resemblance to Siberian huskies. It’s the Alaskan malamute.
Unlike the Alaskan husky, the Alaskan malamute is an officially recognized dog breed according to the American Kennel Club. Like the Siberian husky, the Alaskan malamute is also part of the Working dog group. Alaskan malamutes, alongside Siberian huskies, are also occasionally trained as racing sled dogs. Hence, the two breeds have a number of physical similarities.
« Alaskan Malamutes and Siberian Huskies were both developed as working dogs for cold, snowy climates — hence their thick, double-layer coats consisting of a straight outer coat and dense undercoat, » says DiNardo.
They’re also pretty alike when it comes to behavior, training needs and communication. And boy, do they require a lot of dedicated training — and a lot of love. But they also give a lot of love in return.
« Both the Alaskan Malamute and the Siberian Husky are devoted to their owners and friendly dogs, » says DiNardo. « They can have an independent nature so both benefit from early socialization and obedience training. »
DiNardo offers specific advice for handling both breeds. Alaskan malamutes are adapted to carry heavy loads and thus need daily exercise, says DiNardo. Siberian huskies are well-suited for running and must adhere to a fitness schedule that keeps this factor in mind.
« Romping in a well-fenced yard or other enclosed space will suffice, but Malamutes also enjoy hiking, running, and swimming with their owners, » says DiNardo. « Siberian Huskies were bred to run have a desire to run and should have regular exercise on-leash or in a securely fenced-in area. »
DiNardo cautions that a failure to properly train or exercise Alaskan malamutes and Siberian huskies will wreak havoc on the well-being of both the owners and the dogs. « Both require a job to do and without an outlet for mental and physical energy will resort to bad habits such as chewing and digging to alleviate boredom. »
Although it’s easy to confuse Alaskan malamutes and Siberian huskies, there are some notable differences. First, the Alaskan malamute clocks in around 75-85 pounds (34-39 kilograms), whereas the Siberian husky is typically smaller, between 40 and 60 pounds (18 and 27 kilograms), says DiNardo.
But if you’re looking for a sure way to spot the difference between the two breeds, you need look no farther than their tails.
« A Malamute’s pluming tail curls over his back, while a husky’s tail does not curl to either side of the body, nor does it snap flat against the back, » says DiNardo.
DiNardo dates the Alaskan malamute’s working dog origins back to Inuit tribes in Alaska, who used the dogs to lug big game by working « in packs to haul heavy loads at low speeds over long distances, » says DiNardo. « They were also used for carrying packs in the summer, locating seal breathing holes in the ice, and distracting bears on hunts. »
Siberian huskies, on the other hand, can trace their working origins back to the Chukchi people of Northeast Asia and Siberia, who bred Siberian huskies predominantly as light-footed, compact and speedy sled dogs, according to DiNardo.
« In other words, Huskies are racers; Malamutes are freighters, » says DiNardo.
State Bans on Malamutes and Huskies
Due to their potentially aggressive behavior and a small handful of high-profile attacks on humans and other canines, both Alaskan malamutes and Siberian huskies are on Bankrate.com’s list of the top 10 dogs that are most frequently blacklisted by insurance companies.
In other words, owning a Siberian husky or an Alaskan malamute may make it more difficult for you to obtain homeowner’s insurance if you live in the U.S. However, some states in the U.S. have pushed back against insurance companies profiling based on dog breed. The fear goes beyond insurance claims: a few cities even have bans or restrictions that designate the dog breeds as « dangerous or vicious. » You can see this list to determine whether your city has any restrictions.
A report on fatal dog attacks in Canada between 1990 and 2007 did find a very small number of incidents involving Alaskan malamutes and Siberian huskies. However, dog bites are still pretty rare among these breeds (and dog bite frequency lists have come under criticism from various advocacy groups).
Plus, both malamutes and huskies are recommended for dog owners with families, as they get along well with children. So, if you’re willing to put in the time to care for your dog, there’s no reason why you shouldn’t consider rescuing an Alaskan malamute or a Siberian husky.
If You’re Thinking of Adopting
So, what should you do if you’re interested in adopting either a husky or an Alaskan malamute?
« If someone is looking to rescue an Alaskan malamute or a Siberian husky, the AKC recommends checking the national breed club’s (Alaskan Malamute Club of America/Siberian Husky Club of America) breed-specific rescue first, » says DiNardo. « For people looking to purchase a puppy, the AKC recommends finding a reputable and professional breeder to ensure you are getting a happy, healthy pup. »
To make your search easier, AKC suggests heading to their online marketplace of breeders, where you can look up a dog based on breed, gender and location. Ask breeders specific questions about the dogs they host and their treatment in the kennels. Do your homework by visiting the breeder’s website and asking them for a reference from another buyer. You could also solicit help from your local kennel club.
But adopting isn’t a one-way street. « Be prepared that the breeder will ask you questions about your life too — as much as you’re vetting them, they are also vetting you as a potential dog owner, » says DiNardo.
The Alaskan Malamute vs Siberian Husky debate is a battle of the titans between two breeds that have worked alongside humans for a long time. So, when comparing the Malamute vs Husky, which is best?
These are large, powerful breeds that can be a lot to handle but can also prove to be great companions. Both have similar appearances, but Huskies are generally social, smaller, and tend to live a little longer. Whereas the Malamute is more loyal, protective, and was originally bred to pull heavy weights.
Let’s find out which one will suit your home best.
Alaskan Malamute Vs Siberian Husky – Which is Best?
When you compare two dog breeds there’s no definitive answer as to which is the best. You can however, decide which is best for you and your situation.
Huskies are more sociable, lighter in weight and more free-spirited than the larger Malamute who is beautiful and incredibly loyal.
It might seem like a tough choice, but these similar dogs do have quite a few differences. And these differences can make one more suitable to your home than the other.
Choosing between the Alaskan Malamute vs Siberian Husky for your next pup is no easy decision! Which will be best for you?
Huskies also tend to live a little longer, and have fewer guarding tendencies. But this doesn’t automatically mean they will be a better pet for you. Read on for a more detailed look at these two popular breeds.
Your Frequently Asked Questions:
- Are Malamutes better than Huskies?
- Who is more vocal? The Malamute or the Husky?
- Are Malamutes bigger than Huskies?
- Alaskan Malamute Vs Siberian Husky history
- Alaskan Malamute Vs Siberian Husky fun facts
- Siberian Husky vs Alaskan Malamute appearance
- Alaskan Malamute Vs Siberian Husky temperament
- Training Alaskan Malamutes Vs Siberian Huskies
- Alaskan Malamute Vs Siberian Husky exercise
- Siberian Husky vs Alaskan Malamute health issues
- Alaskan Malamute Vs Siberian Husky puppies
- Which breed makes a better pet?
Alaskan Malamute Vs Siberian Husky History
Both the Husky and the Malamute are ancient dog breeds. They were bred to live and work with people in very cold, harsh climates.
The Husky was first bred by the Chukchi people in Eastern Siberia. Whereas the Malamute originates from Alaska. Both breeds both have long histories as sled dogs.
The Malamute was bred to haul weight while the Husky was bred to race. The Malamute more often worked alone, whereas the Husky would work in a team of dogs.
So, although they come from similar environments, they had quite different purposes!
Both breeds are recognized by AKC. The Husky in 1930, and the Malamute a little while later in 1935.
Both breeds are also recognized by:
- Kennel Club (UK)
- Australian National Kennel Council
- Canadian Kennel Club
- New Zealand Kennel Club
- United Kennel Club
- Federation Cynologique Internationale
Alaskan Malamute vs Siberian Husky Fun Facts
- Huskies have been in our stories and on our screens for a long time. From Whitefang the brave Husky to Mischa the talking Husky on YouTube, we sure do see a lot of these distinctive dogs.
- One Husky story that might have gone under your radar was the story of Balto, Togo and Fritz. These three dogs pulled life-saving medicine on sleds over a combined distance of 1000 miles. If it wasn’t for them, many Inuit children would have died from diphtheria. You can read more about it here.
Alaskan Malamute vs Siberian Husky Appearance
When it comes to size, the Alaskan Malamute vs Siberian Husky difference is clear.
Size-wise, comparing the Malamute vs Siberian is a choice between a large and a medium-sized dog.
The Alaskan Malamute will weigh 75 to 85 pounds in adulthood.
But the Siberian Husky, in contrast weighs 35 to 60 pounds as an adult.
Siberian Huskies are perhaps best known for their black and white coat. However, this breed comes in a whole host of colors, including: copper, red, agouti and sable.
Malamutes, on the other hand come in gray and white, sable and white, solid white, seal and white, red and white and black and white.
You might know Huskies for their striking blue eyes. Did you know that Huskies can have eyes of two different colors? This is known as heterochromia.
Malamute eyes are usually brown. Breeders prefer Malamutes to have darker eyes.
Alaskan Malamute vs Siberian Husky Temperament
The difference in temperament is minimal in most cases. These pups were bred to live and work in packs of people and dogs.
They’re known to be friendly and outgoing with “their” people.
However, the Malamute will be more aloof with strangers. They’re also less tolerant of other animals, including dogs.
The Husky is more apt to accept strangers readily and live well with other family dogs.
Difference Between Husky and Malamute Guarding Tendencies
Many parents are concerned about guarding tendencies. The difference is especially important if you are choosing a dog for your children!
The Alaskan Malamute can have some aggressive tendencies. This is coupled with a high prey drive and a low tolerance for other dogs.
The Siberian Husky also has a high prey drive but has a higher tolerance for other dogs. They’re often considered too friendly and outgoing to make good guard dogs.
Difference Between Husky and Malamute in Intelligence
The Alaskan Malamute and Husky dogs are both very smart!
These dogs can be expert escape artists. Plus they can jump or dig through areas that aren’t dog-proof.
Comparing Malamute and Husky Noise
Both Malamutes and Siberian Huskies have a tendency to howl and bark.
Huskies are well known for their chatty nature. Especially when they are in groups. There are some hilarious videos of this on the internet!
And although Malamutes have less of a vocal reputation, they’re still likely to be a loud dog.
Fortunately, you can reduce the likelihood of your puppy growing into a noisy adult by never rewarding their ‘conversation’.
Ignore any noise from the word go. You might get away with a quieter home!
Alaskan Malamute vs Siberian Husky Training
Sled dogs in general can be more challenging to train than hunting or herding breeds.
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But are there differences between the Alaskan Malamute vs Husky?
Some Malamute owners describe their pets as stubborn.
And many experts recommend that neither of these breeds should run off leash in open country.
We have all sorts of dog training guides for you here.
Alaskan Malamute vs Husky Exercise
These breeds are both hard-working, which means they need lots of exercise!
Alaskan Malamutes and Huskies are both very active.
You’ll need plenty of space in a secure yard for your sled dog to run about. But also be willing to take long walks every day!
Alaskan Malamute and Siberian Husky Health
Like any dogs, the Malamute vs Husky are both be prone to health issues.
Alaskan Malamute Problems
The Alaskan Malamute is prone to the following:
- chondrodysplasia (dwarfism),
- von Willebrand’s disease,
- thyroid dysfunction,
- day blindness,
- and hip and elbow dysplasia.
Siberian Husky Problems
The Siberian Husky is prone to the following:
- thyroid dysfunction,
- juvenile cataracts,
- corneal dystrophy,
- progressive retinal atrophy
- and hip dysplasia.
The Alaskan Malamute Club currently requires members to test parent dogs for hip issues, eye issues and polyneuropathy. They also recommend tests for elbow issues, heart function and thyroid function.
The Siberian Husky Club currently requires that participating breeders test parent dogs annually for eye issues and once for hip dysplasia.
So both the Husky vs Malamute need health testing.
Difference Between Husky and Malamute Life Expectancy
Choosing between the Husky vs Malamute, you’ll want a pup that will be a member of your family for a long time.
The life expectancy of an Alaskan Malamute is 10 to 14 years.
But the life expectancy of a Siberian Husky is 12 to 14 years.
Siberian Husky vs Malamute Grooming
The grooming needs of these two dogs are nearly identical.
Regular brushing and grooming is necessary to manage shed hair. As well as to keep their skin and coat healthy.
Both dogs will also benefit from regular nail trims and ear cleanings.
Learning about the shedding differences between these breeds important. It shows how much time you’ll spend cleaning fur around your home!
Both dogs have a thick, double-layer coat. This will “blow out” twice per year with the seasons.
The coat will also shed year-round. So, both breeds will need regular brushing to keep shed hair under control.
The Perfect Companion For Life With A New Puppy
They aren’t the best choice for people who don’t want to spend time grooming and cleaning fur.
Alaskan Malamute vs Siberian Husky Puppies
You should watch out for the same things in Malamute vs Husky puppies.
Look for a bright-eyed, healthy and energetic puppy. She should be eager to play and interact.
The breeder should give proof of health testing.
Malamute vs Husky Puppy Price
Price is also a factor when choosing a puppy.
Alaskan Malamute puppies can cost $1,200 to $1,700.
But Siberian Husky puppies can cost $600 to $1,300.
Which Breed Makes A Better Pet?
Supervision and training are key for both kids and pets.
Even with proper supervision and training, however, a comparison of the Malamute dog vs Husky for a family pet suggests the Husky is likely to be a better fit.
Alaskan Malamute vs Siberian Husky – Which Dog is Right for Me?
We hope you now have the information you need to choose between these breeds as your new pet!
You will always have some people say that one breed is intrinsically better than another. But this is rarely the case.
Some breeds just suit one owner better than another. For instance, if you live in a small space, the Alaskan Malamute Husky difference in size might be more important!
Do you have an Alaskan Malamute or a Siberian Husky? Tell us about your reasons for choosing them in the comments!
References and Further Reading
- Culaw, S., “Grooming and Care,” Alaskan Malamute Club of America, 2018.
- Horsey, B., “The Siberian Husky,” Siberian Husky Club of America, 2018.
- Hamilton, H., “Siberian Husky: Official Breed Health Statement,” American Kennel Club, 2015.
- Anderson, S.T., “Alaskan Malamute: Official Breed Health Statement,” American Kennel Club, 2018.
- Ross, D., “The Personality of the Alaskan Malamute,” Alaskan Malamute Club of Victoria, 2018.
- Soares, A., “Behavior Tendencies of Different Dog Breeds,” Montgomery County Humane Society, 2018.
Meet Two Similar Yet Different Breeds: Siberian Husky and Alaskan Malamute
When you think of dogs pulling sleds in the Arctic, what breed comes to mind? Is it the Siberian Husky (Siberian) or the Alaskan Malamute (Mal)? Maybe you didn’t realize that, for all their similarities, these are two distinct breeds. Granted, they both originated in Arctic areas, both have thick double coats, and they both pull sleds.
According to Lenore Demmin, president of the Siberian Husky Club of America, they both even curl their thick tails over their noses when they lay down in the cold, to warm the air they’re breathing. But in fact, these two breeds have different origins, physical traits, and temperaments.
“The average person is confused about which is which,” says Demmin, who has been involved with Siberians for almost 35 years. “When they see Siberians, they are frequently surprised at how ‘small’ they are. They are amazed that they are strong enough to pull a person on a sled.”
Gena Box Young, current judges education chair for the Alaskan Malamute Club of America, agrees that those not in the know easily confuse the two breeds, and occasionally mistake them for their wild ancestors.
“Sometimes the general public even calls these breeds wolves,” admits Box Young.
Siberian Husky in the conformation ring. Alaskan Malamute in the conformation ring.
History in Harsh Climates
Both breeds originated in climates of extreme and unforgiving cold, but one hails from northern Asia and the other from closer to home. The key is in the name. The Siberian Husky, who ranks 14th among AKC recognized breeds in popularity, comes from Siberia. The Alaskan Malamute, which ranks 58th, originated in Alaska.
“They were bred by the native peoples of Siberia as a mode of transportation to follow the scarce food sources,” explains Demmin of the Siberian’s origins in harsh climates. “The Siberian Husky was required to go day after day on very little food. Every aspect of the Siberian Husky is exceptionally efficient. No excess or waste.”
The Mal, on the other hand, was essential to the survival of a different people: the Mahlemut tribe. Like Siberians, these dogs worked hard in the brutal climates, often on starvation diets. They lived with the Mahlemut as part of the family but hunted, carried packs, and pulled sleds as well.
Ultimately, the breed was almost lost during Alaska’s gold rush due to the need for working dogs. To meet the demand, people bred outside breeds with the native dogs. Thankfully, the dogs of the Mahlemut tribe saved the day.
“Due to the remote area where the Mahlemut tribe lived, their lines remained relatively pure. They were the foundation for the Alaskan Malamute,” says Box Young, who is also an AKC judge and long-time exhibitor and breeder.
Both Built for Sledding
Thanks to their existence enduring harsh, cold climates, both breeds share certain characteristics, such as plenty of fur between their toes. And since both pull sleds, they share smooth, efficient, and effortless movements. However, close examination reveals more differences than similarities.
“The Siberian coat is the same length over the entire body, somewhat smooth lying and never harsh. But the Mal coat is longer ‘over the shoulders and neck, down the back, over the rump, and in the breeching and plume’ and has a coarse texture,” describes Box Young.
Siberian Husky sled dogs Alaskan Malamute sled dogs
In addition, there are differences in the head. The Mal’s muzzle is bulky whereas the Siberian’s is of medium width. And the Siberian has high set ears that point straight up. However, the ears of the Mal should point slightly forward. High set ears are considered a fault in the conformation ring. Finally, the Siberian is allowed to have those recognizable piercing blue eyes, but those would be a disqualifying fault in a Mal. According to Demmin, the purpose for which each breed was developed led to the main physical differences.
“The Siberian Husky was bred to pull light loads over long distances,” says Demmin. “The Alaskan Malamute was bred to pull heavy loads over short distances. I like to compare the Siberian to a marathon runner – light and nimble. The Malamute is the weightlifter – big and strong.”
This is evident in the weight of each breed. The Siberian Husky breed standard states that females weigh 35 to 50 pounds and males 45 to 60 pounds. In contrast, the Alaskan Malamute breed standard describes desirable freighting size: 75 pounds for the female and 85 pounds for the male.
The goal of nearly every Siberian is to run, and some are on a never-ending quest to get out and pursue their favorite pastime.
“When a gate is not locked shut, they will figure out how to open the latch and escape,” cautions Demmin. “If the gate is locked, they will try to go over it. When they can’t go over, they will try digging under. Running is what they were bred for and is the thing they love to do most.”
In other words, a Siberian sees a locked gate as just another test to conquer. This creative and intelligent approach to life makes them a challenge for first-time dog owners. If you own one, you will be constantly trying to outwit your dog. But it’s well worth the work, as they are not only beautiful but very friendly. Rather than attaching to only one person, they love their whole family and are not at all protective.
“They may look like a good guard dog, but the only thing they really love to guard is food and toys,” says Demmin. “Not you or your property.”
Mals tend to share the Siberian love of running, but without the same risk of escape.
“I have been told that if you let both breeds out of the house to run around in the yard, after a little while the Mals will come to the back door to get back into the house to be with their people and the Siberians will still be looking for a way to get out of the yard,” says Box Young.
Which Breed is Better For You?
Siberian Husky puppies Alaskan Malamute puppies
Like the Siberians, Mals are affectionate and friendly dogs. Along with running, they love to be with their people and to eat. This means these relatively obedient dogs are most motivated when food is involved. Usually quiet, many Mals sing a “woo woo” sound, when it’s time to eat, run, or play. Adults are fairly calm and will happily lay with you while you relax. But they are just as keen to be active with you.
According to Box Young, they are not a one-person dog, but rather love all of their people. However, she does suggest exercising caution around other dogs.
“As much as they love people, they are not always so good with other dogs of the same sex,” says Box Young. “I usually advise puppy buyers who have a dog already to get a Malamute of the opposite sex.”
Whether it’s the powerful Mal or the creative Siberian, these are two breeds of exceptional beauty and athleticism. Both are defined by their original purpose as sled dogs of the harsh north. However, these dogs are happy to settle into more comfortable climates with their families. If you love exercise and want to see the outdoors through the eyes of an Arctic breed, consider welcoming one of these dogs into your home. Visit the AKC Marketplace to browse available Siberian Husky and Alaskan Malamute puppies from reputable breeders.
The Siberian Husky and the Alaskan Malamute breeds are not for everyone.
We strongly recommend that you do your research on the breed before adopting one of these amazing dogs.
What you need to know about the Siberian Husky:
- Huskies are typically very high energy dogs; daily walks will make for a tired and good companion.
- Huskies can jump a 4′ fence, some choose not to; some huskies can jump or climb a 6′ fence.
- Huskies love to dig and may try to find friends in China if they get bored in your back yard.
- Huskies were bred to run to the horizon and not look back, they should NEVER be let off leash if not in a fenced area.
- Huskies have a high prey drive for many small mammals. This means rabbits, many times cats and even sometimes small dogs.
- Huskies thrive with a job to do and love to work, if not they will get bored and may choose to chew your shoes or couch.
- Huskies need routine, consistent meal times, play time and exercise.
- We strongly recommend a crate for your husky when you aren’t home.
- Huskies shed. A LOT. Invest in a good vacuum.
- Huskies need their fur in the summer to protect them from the UV rays. Do not shave them!
- Huskies don’t like to be left alone for long periods of time, many times the companionship of a second dog can be helpful.
- Huskies typically love people, they don’t usually make good watch dogs.
What’s the difference between Siberian Huskies and Alaskan Malamutes?
It’s more than just a size thing!
Alaskan Malamutes can carry heavy loads forever at slow speeds, think of a Clydesdale horse
Siberian Huskies can carry a light load at a moderate speed, more like a race horse
Alaskan Malamutes are built for strength and endurance; they have a powerful and substantial build.
Siberian Huskies tend to be longer and leaner than the malamute.
Alaskan Malamutes are bigger in size and weight. Males should be about 25” at the shoulder and average around 85 lbs. Females should be about 23” at the shoulder and average about 75 lbs. Alaskan Malamutes don’t have disqualifying ‘show’ sizes, but bigger is not necessarily better.
Siberian Huskies are smaller in size and weight. Males typically fall in that 45 – 60 lb. weight range and females should be 35 – 50 lbs. Males should not be over 23.5” and Females should be around 20” – 22”. Well-bred Siberians should seem small compared to Malamutes.
Alaskan Malamutes expressions are soft indicating an affectionate disposition.
Siberian Huskies tend to look mischievous and contemplative
Alaskan Malamutes always have brown eyes
Siberian Huskies can have blue, brown or mixed eye colors
Alaskan Malamutes ear size is medium and set farther apart on the head. There should be room for a small party hat between the ears! Their ears seem small in proportion to the head and typically will have rounded tips. This gives the Malamute a relaxed or sleepy look.
Siberian Huskies ears are set closer together, about enough room for two fingers to point straight up. This gives them an alert and energetic expression.
Alaskan Malamutes have bigger rounder, bulkier heads, much like a bear.
Siberian Huskies have a leaner head, more like a fox
Alaskan Malamutes viewed from the side do not have a big step down to the muzzle; it’s a gentle straight line.
Siberian Huskies have a step down to their muzzle; this is called a ‘stop’.
Alaskan Malamutes have a thick, long coat. Their guard coat is coarse and the undercoat is thick.
Siberian Huskies tend to have a shorter coat than the Malamute, their coats tend to lie flatter and they have more variety of color and markings.
Alaskan Malamutes have a waving plume for a tail is usually up.
Siberian Huskies tails will hang down or curl up.
Alaskan Malamutes will typically dig under the fence to escape
Siberian Huskies will jump over the fence or dig under just to run, they might even open the gate.
Alaskan Malamutes don’t typically like other dogs of the same gender
Siberian Huskies don’t tend to have social conflicts with other dogs and they generally enjoy being with other dogs.
Alaskan Malamutes are extremely people friendly, love children and want to be with their humans
Siberian Huskies can be more independent, they are typically comfortable when left alone, but happy when with their family.
Alaskan Malamutes are medium and low energy (typically)
Siberian Huskies are mostly high energy dogs.
As for « Alaskan huskies »….they are just mutts! They are typically a mix of Malamute, Siberian, and who knows what else…often they’ll throw in a little greyhound, or lab or something else that’s fast because they are bred primarily for speed and racing only. It doesn’t matter WHAT they look like or that they can survive in the artic, it just matters that they can run and run fast…They are not a recognized « breed. »