Malamute vs Husky: Which Sled Dog Should You Choose?

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malamute vs husky

How many times have you been walking down the street and you heard a little kid yell out – look, it’s a snow dog! Majority of the time you’ll find that they are referring to an Alaskan Malamute or Siberian Husky, breeds of dogs that mostly resemble their descendants, the wolf. It’s not always easy to tell the difference between a lot of breeds of dogs, but when it comes to the Malamute vs Husky, it’s easy to become confused.

While both are considered ‘sled dogs’ or an ‘eskimo dog,’ Alaskan Malamutes and Huskies are different when it comes to their appearance as well as their character.

Origins: Alaskan Malamute vs Siberian Husky

We said that the Giant Alaskan Malamute and Siberian Husky were similar, and are often mixed up by a lot of dog lovers. So, if they look so similar then did they originate from the same place once upon a time?

Need a Map? Siberian Dog vs Alaskan Dog

Alaskan Malamutes became one of man’s best friends around 4000 years ago, and although their origin isn’t too clear, it is believed that they are the descendants of the Mahlemut dog. Founded by the ancient Inuit Tribe on the northwest coast of Alaska, the Mahlemut dog was used for hunting big game like polar bears and seals.

Two siberian huskies with tongues out

Siberian Huskies also date back around 4000 years ago but were instead found in Siberia by the Chukchi people. They too used the dogs for hunting but more commonly used them to pull loads over long distances through harsh environments.

If you have heard of the Alaskan Husky then you may be wondering where they fit into history? The Alaskan Husky isn’t classified as a purebred dog and is a mix breed of the Husky Siberian, Greyhounds, and German Shorthaired Pointers.

Both the Alaskan Malamute and the Siberian Husky are recognized today by the American Kennel Club.

Best Environment for These Breeds:  Sled Dog Breeds Par Excellence!

If you are thinking of owning an Alaskan Malamute or Siberian Husky, then you might be wondering if they are well suited to the environment you live in? As their origins suggest, both the Alaskan Malamute and Siberian Husky do well in colder climates. Their double coat allows them to keep warm on those chilly nights. But, what about the warmer climates?

Huskies and Malamutes are remarkable breeds of dogs. As long as they have an adequate amount of water and shelter, they can thrive in the warmer climates.

Appearance: Siberian Husky vs Alaskan Malamute

Here is the moment we’ve been waiting for – how does the Alaskan Malamute dog and the Siberian Husky differ in appearance? Let’s start with one of the biggest differences, their size.

Small Husky? More Like Giant Malamute!

Because the two northern breeds look so similar, many people get confused when it comes to the sizes of the two dogs. Many dog lovers adopt the assumption that Huskies are the size of Malamutes, and Malamutes are giants! While this can be easy to assume, the Siberian Husky is actually a lot smaller than the Alaskan Malamute.

Husky Size vs Malamute Size

The Alaskan Malamute can range in size up to 26 inches or 66 cm in height. The Siberian Husky, on the other hand, is considered a medium sized dog and ranges up to 23.5 inches, or 60 cm in height.

There is a Malamute, however, that stands as tall as 35 inches in height! This breed is called the Wakon Giant Alaskan Malamute.

Malamute vs Husky Eye Colors

When it comes to eye color, the Alaskan Malamute and Siberian Husky differ once again. The Malamutes usually always have brown eyes, whereas the Huskies can have brown eyes, blue eyes, or one of both!

White Husky with Blue Eyes: There is Just Something About a Blue-Eyed Husky

Have you ever seen a white husky with blue eyes? You’d know if you have! Huskies can have startling ice blue eyes that make their features so appealing to dog lovers, and it’s no wonder why – one look into those eyes and you’ll instantly be in love!

Learn more about the white husky here!

Comparing Coats: Alaskan Malamute vs Husky

This is where the Malamute and the Husky are very similar? Like a clean house with no mess? Then these breeds of dogs may not be for you!

Malamute vs Husky! You’d Best Invest in a Good Brush!

If you travel a little back up the article you’ll find that we mentioned both the Alaskan Malamute and the Siberian Husky have a double coat. Can you guess what that means? Lots of hair! While the Malamute has a long coat, and Huskies have a medium coat, it’s important to invest in a good brush as they’ll need one at least once to twice a week.

Husky Vs Malamute Coat Colors

Both breeds can come in a mixture of colors, with the most common combinations being a white face, belly, legs, and feet, with markings the colors of black, grey, sable, brown, or red.

The Beautiful, Wolf-like Agouti Husky

There is only one type of Husky that differentiates from the pack of colors, and that’s the Agouti Husky. They are mostly black and grey in color, with only a hint of white on their chest and bellies.

Personality Profiles: Alaskan Malamute vs Siberian Husky

A lot of people get the two breeds mixed up when it comes to their personality and temperament.

All Things Malamute Husky Temperament

It’s important to remember that the Alaskan Malamute and the Siberian Husky are hunting dogs and working dogs, which means they have a prey drive so they don’t work well with smaller animals, particularly cats. But, apart from that, they are big cuddly teddy bears!

Siberian Husky Temperament

The Siberian Husky is known to be:

  • Outgoing
  • Gentle
  • Very alert
  • Highly intelligent
  • Extremely friendly

Alaskan Malamute Temperament

The Alaskan Malamute is known to be:

  • Devoted
  • Affectionate
  • Loyal to their pack
  • Playful
  • Extremely Dignified’

Not for First Time Pup Parents!

Two alaskan malamute puppies sitting side by side

If this is your first time owning a puppy, then Alaskan Malamute puppies or Huskie puppies might not be the right choice for you.

These Breeds Need to Know Who the Alpha is!

These dogs are hunting dogs, which means they belong to a pack. They also descended from the wolf, meaning that once they are introduced into the family, you will become their pack. Problem is, they tend to believe they are the alpha. It’s important to assert your authority early with both breeds.

Socialize and Train Your Husky or Malamute!

If you want to own a Malamute or Husky, then it’s important that you train them early. Both dogs are highly active, and although they are very friendly, they need to be socialized at a young age to get them used to smaller animals.

Malamute vs Husky…no matter which breed, they share the same energy.

Diggers vs Jumpers

Who doesn’t love a digger? Well, these breeds of dogs love to dig, especially when they are bored! Another problem with the Malamute and the Husky is that they love to jump. No fence will be high enough!

Yowlers vs Barkers

Remember the movies where the wolf howls at the moon? Well, you better get used to it, because the Alaskan Malamute and Siberian Husky love to be vocal when someone comes to the house.

Husky – Malamute Lifespan

If the Alaskan Malamute or the Siberian Husky is the right companion for you, then you’re probably wondering how long they’ll stick around for?

Siberian Husky Lifespan

The Siberian Husky has an average lifespan of 12-15 years.

Alaskan Malamute Lifespan

The Alaskan Malamute has a lifespan of 10-12 years.

Malamute vs Husky in a Nutshell

The Alaskan Malamute and Siberian Husky are a very similar breed, but they do differ when it comes to their appearance, coats, eye color, height, and temperament.

When you’re trying to pick the best breed to bring home, keep in mind that they are both wonderful, caring, and protective dogs, so you can’t go wrong with either of them. But the debate between Malamute vs Husky ultimately falls on you to choose the breed that will best fit into your everyday life and family.

Common Questions on Malamute vs Husky

Are Malamutes or Huskies bigger?

Malamute vs Husky vs Wolf: What traits do they get from their ancestors?

 What should I expect from the Malamute Husky temperament?

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