Alaskan Malamute Vs Husky: What’s The Difference?

By helloBARK!
Updated on 20 September 2022
Fact Checked

Alaskan Malamutes and Siberian Huskies are two different breeds of sled dogs.

The Alaskan Malamute and Siberian Husky were initially used by nomadic tribes to pull sleds of varying weight over long distances.

Their considered ancient breeds adept at hauling heavy weight or pulling lighter loads in similar environments.

They’re often confused given they’re both snow dogs that have achieved worldwide acclaim for their sled-pulling abilities in the 20th century.

Nowadays, these northern breeds have found their way into the homes of humans around the world irrespective of climate.

In this article, we’re going to take a close look at the Alaskan Malamute and the Siberian Husky to get a clear idea of the differences and similarities between the two breeds.

With the introduction over, let’s delve a little deeper into the world of Alaskan Malamutes and Siberian Huskies.

Where do Alaskan Malamutes come from?

Alaskan Malamutes walking in winter forest (Photo: Adobe Stock)

Alaskan Malamutes walking in winter forest (Photo: Adobe Stock)

Some believe Alaskan Malamutes are descended from ancient domesticated wolves from over 12,000 years ago.

The Mahelemuit Inupiaq trible are thought to be responsible for breeding the Alaskan Malamute. Their very name is derived from these nomadic people.

They were used to haul heavy loads of long distances at a steady pace.

Alaskan Malamutes played a big part in the Gold Rush at the turn of the 20th century due their freight-pulling abilities.

The American Kennel Club write on their website:

Huskies are racers; Malamutes are freighters.

The breed suffered a severe hit during World War II but the American Kennel Club accepted two new strains following the plummeting of their numbers. The three strains are Kotzebue, M’Loot and Hinmamn.

The Alaskan Malamute is the 58th most popular dog in the United States.

Where do Siberian Huskies come from?

Siberian Husky originate in eastern peninsula of Russia (Photo: Adobe Stock)

Siberian Husky originate in eastern peninsula of Russia (Photo: Adobe Stock)

Siberian Huskies hail from the northeastern peninsula of Asia where the Chukchi tribe were thought to have bred these dogs.

The northern breed played a key part in the survival of the semi-nomadic people in the north eastern region of Russia.

The first Siberian Huskies were brought to Alaska in the early 1900s at the height of the Gold Rush. They earned a reputation as adept sled-racing dogs.

These striking dogs achieved global acclaim in 1925 when 20 mushers and 150 sled dogs travelled 674 miles in five days to deliver life-saving serum to the epidemic-threatened town of Noma. Balto was the lead Siberian Husky.

The American Kennel Club recongised the Siberian Husky in 1930. Their name was initially Arctic Husky before it was changed to Siberian Husky in 1991.

Siberian Huskies are the 14th most popular breed in the USA.

Alaskan Malamute size vs Siberian Husky size

Alaskan Malamutes are considered large dogs, whereas Siberian Huskies are medium dogs.

Malamutes can grow to a size between 23 inches (58 cm) and 25 inches (64 cm) tall, while they can weigh from 75 pounds (34 kg) to 85 pounds (39 kg).

On the other hand, Siberian Huskies have a height range of 20 and 24 inches (51cm and 61cm) and can weigh between 35 pounds (16kg) and 60 pounds (27 kg).

As you can see, there’s not a lot of difference in height but Alaskan Malamutes are more powerful than the slender Siberian Huskies.

Alaskan Malamute appearance vs Siberian Husky appearance

Alaskan Malamutes have a broad head with triangular ears that are erect when alert. Their face markings are a distinguishing feature with a cap over the head and an all white or marked or masked face.

They’ve got almond-shaped brown eyes and their coat colors usually range from gray and white, sable and white, black and white, red and white and solid white.

Siberian Huskies can come in a variety of different colors, including black and white, copper/red and white, gray and white, sage and white and solid white.

Their almond-shaped eyes can come in array of colors, including brown, blue or dark brown. They can have bi eyes or particolored eyes. Their faces should be white with a striking mask.

Alaskan Malamute temperament vs Siberian Husky temperament

Alaskan Malamutes and Siberian Huskies have similar temperaments.

Given Malamutes and Huskies were bred by nomads, they’re used to being around people as part of a family unit.

Siberian Huskies tend to be a little bit more sociable than Alaskan Malamutes, who can be aloof around people they don’t know.

Alaskan Malamute shedding vs Siberian Husky shedding

Both the Alaskan Malamute and Siberian Husky have double coats designed to protect them against the harsh northern climates.

They’re undercoat is usually dense, thick and wooly, while their outer coat is coarse, long and straight to protect against the elements.

Malamutes and Huskies will blow out their coat twice a year, usually at the changing of the seasons.

Owners of these two northern breeds will need to regularly brush their dogs to get rid of dead or loose hair, as well as debris.

Other grooming considerations include regular nail trims, ear cleanings and dental care.

Alaskan Malamute exercise vs Siberian Husky exercise

Alaskan Malamutes pulling a sled (Photo: Adobe Stock)

Alaskan Malamutes pulling a sled (Photo: Adobe Stock)

You won’t be surprised to learn that Alaskan Malamutes and Siberian Huskies have substantial exercise requirements.

Alaskan Malamutes need around 90 minutes of exercise every day. So that’s a couple of long walks. The breed are adept at hiking and running.

Siberian Huskies will also need around an hour and a half of daily exercise. They’ll enjoy walking around 12 to 16 miles a week with their owner.

Given their active lifestyles, a northern dog that isn’t getting enough exercise could resort to unwanted behaviours inside the home.

Alaskan Malamute training vs Siberian Husky training

Alaskan Malamutes and Siberian Huskies are occasionally described as independent thinkers that like to do things their own way.

Huskies are often branded as strong-willed and stubborn. The American Kennel Club warns that Malamutes need “firm but loving training”.

It’s a good idea to train both breeds from a young age to make an early start to their training regime.

Alaskan Malamute noise vs Siberian Husky noise

One of the common stereotypes around northern dogs are that they’re quite noisy.

Both Huskies and Malamutes will howl on occasion. The former are considered a more talkative breed that like to vocalise their emotions and feelings.

Alaskan Malamute health problems vs Siberian Husky health problems

Alaskan Malamutes and Siberian Huskies are prone to some health problems.

Malamutes can suffer from health concerns such as hip dysplasia, chondrodysplasia, hypothyroidism and Von Willebrand’s disease.

Siberian Huskies have been known to struggle with hip dysplasia and eye problems such as cataracts and progressive retinal atrophy.

Alaskan Malamute lifespan vs Siberian Husky lifespan

Alaskan Malamutes have a life expectancy ranging from 10 to 14 years. Siberian Huskies will usually live to an age between 12 and 14.

Whether you get a Husky or Malamute, you can count on a companion for over a decade or so.

Alaskan Malamute price vs Siberian Husky price

Alaskan Malamutes tend to cost a little more than Siberian Huskies.

Malamutes can cost between $1000 and $2000 from a reputable Mal breeder.

Siberian Huskies are slightly cheaper with a price range from $500 t0 $1000.

Of course, the price represents your initial investment but further costs will be incurred each year.

Famous Alaskan Malamutes and Siberian Huskies on Instagram

If you’re looking to see examples of both Alaskan Malamutes and Siberian Huskies, you can check out Instagram to learn more about both breeds.

For example, here are 20 Alaskan Malamutes to follow on Instagram.

Alternatively, you can find 31 Siberian Huskies to follow located here.

Anything else to consider?

Unfortunately a lot of northern breeds are given up due to the challenges and responsibilities involved in owning one of these beautiful dogs.

You may prefer to visit a Husky or Malamute rescue instead of purchasing a puppy.

In conclusion

Beautiful Siberian Husky with blue eyes in the forest on a sunny day (Photo: Adobe Stock)

Beautiful Siberian Husky with blue eyes in the forest on a sunny day (Photo: Adobe Stock)

So there you have it, Alaskan Malamutes and Siberian Huskies are different breeds with some similarities and differences.

Irrespective of which breed you decide is the one for you, dog owners will need to be prepared for some dedicated training and lots of exercise.

Both Huskies and Malamutes are sociable breeds that will require regular brushing and grooming to maintain their overall health.

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