Many confuse the Alaskan Malamute for the Siberian Husky. Both breeds share a close resemblance to wolves, which befuddles people in distinguishing them apart. What is the difference between Husky and Malamute? Find out as your read our Malamute vs. Husky comparison guide.
Malamute vs Husky: Where Did They Originate?
The Alaskan Malamute and the Siberian Husky are both sled dogs, but they came from different sides of the world.
Malamutes were bred by the Malemiut Inupiaq tribe that resides in the northern region of America. They are some of the most ancient sled dogs, as they had already existed around 4,000 years ago. They are also thought to be the descendants of the original wolfdogs.
Siberian Huskies were bred by the Chukchi people, who are also an Arctic tribe. However, they live on the Chukchi Peninsula, which is found in Siberia.
Siberian Huskies were famous for running 658 miles across the frozen land to Nome, Alaska, to transport the diphtheria serum. They were able to deliver the serum, preventing an epidemic and saving around 10,000 lives from diphtheria.
Malamute vs Husky: Which Breed Is the Largest of the Two?
If the Siberian Husky and Alaskan Malamute are placed side by side, there is a noticeable difference in their size. Malamutes are bigger than Huskies.
The large-sized Malamutes weigh approximately 34–39 kilos (75–85 pounds) and grow about 58–63 centimetres (23–25 inches) tall. Some Malamutes can even be as heavy as 45 kilos (100 pounds) and stand up to 88 centimetres (35 inches).
As medium-sized dogs, Siberian Huskies are significantly smaller compared to Malamutes. Their weight ranges from 15–27 kilos (35–60 pounds), and they measure around 50–58 centimetres (20–23 inches) in height.
The big size difference between the two breeds is associated with their work as sled dogs. The Alaskan Malamute was designed for transporting heavy loads over short distances, which explains why he has a big and burly body.
The Siberian Husky is the opposite of the Malamute. According to Lenore Demmin of the Siberian Husky Club of America, his primary function is to haul light loads over long distances. Therefore, he needs to have a lighter and slender body for swift running.
Malamute vs Husky: How Different Do They Look?
The Alaskan Malamute and Siberian Husky breeds have several differences in appearance. The bodies of Malamutes are larger and burlier than Siberian Huskies, who have a slender build.
Apart from their physique, their muzzles and ears are distinct from each other too. The Alaskan Malamute has a bulky muzzle and ears that slightly point forwards.
In comparison, the Siberian Husky has a medium-length muzzle and high set ears, a trait that is considered a fault in the Alaskan Malamute breed.
Another way to distinguish these sled dogs from each other is by looking at their eye colour. The Alaskan Malamute has brown eyes that come in various shades.
On the other hand, Siberian Huskies have a wide range of eye colours. They can sport brown, black, green, or blue eyes. In rare cases, some of these dogs may have heterochromatic eyes. It means each eye is of different eye colour.
Malamute vs Husky: Which Breed Is Suitable for Families?
The Alaskan Malamute and Siberian Husky are pack dogs who have lived and worked alongside humans for thousands of years. Therefore, both breeds are comfortable in being around people, and interacting with them brings them happiness.
Malamutes and Huskies demand cuddles and playtime from their families. However, the Siberian Husky breed tends to be very clingy and attached to his owner. This makes him more prone to separation anxiety compared to the Malamute.
You may want to take note of this, especially if you are often away for work.
Both sled dogs are also a great option for families with children. Siberian Huskies will do well with children of all ages. However, Alaskan Malamutes are better off with older children because of their size.
If these large Malamute and Husky dogs are playing with younger children, they may accidentally knock them over. Needless to say, whichever dog you choose to bring home must be closely supervised when he is around children.
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Malamute vs Husky: Which Breed Is a Good Guard Dog?
Meeting strangers can make the Alaskan Malamute wary. He will be indifferent and reserved until he is assured that the person has no harmful intentions towards his loved ones.
On the other hand, the Siberian Husky is more welcoming and less protective than the Alaskan Malamute, and he quickly gets along with new people.
So if you are particularly looking for a guard dog, then the Malamute will be a better candidate.
Malamute vs Husky: Are Both Breeds Pet-Friendly?
Both Malamutes and Siberian Huskies have high prey drives, so they are not the best choice for families with small pets.
If you are keen on owning one of these dogs despite these circumstances, early socialisation should be done for them to get along with other animals.
The Alaskan Malamute has a low tolerance for dogs of the same sex like the Siberian Husky. If you already own a pooch, better get a Malamute of the opposite sex to avoid inter-dog aggression, as suggested by Gena Box Young of the Alaskan Malamute Club of America.
Malamute vs Husky: Which Breed Has High Grooming Needs?
Alaskan Malamutes and Siberian Huskies are both high-maintenance dogs when it comes to grooming.
However, Huskies require less brushing than Malamutes. Combing their double coats only needs to be done once or twice a week. On the other hand, Malamutes should be brushed daily because their fur is quite dense.
Double-coated breeds such as the Alaskan Malamute and Siberian Husky shed their undercoat twice a year. They will be shedding excessive amounts of fur during this time. To keep their coat under control, brush them multiple times a day.
Bathing can be done every 6–8 weeks or whenever the Malamute and Husky start getting stinky and dirty. Avoid bathing them frequently as it can dry out their fur.
After baths, make sure that their undercoat is completely dry. Leaving it damp will cause mould to grow on their fur, which can lead to skin infections.
Malamute vs Husky: Are They Easy to Train?
Sled dogs such as the Malamute and the Siberian Husky are more difficult to train than herding and hunting breeds. Their extremely headstrong nature, combined with their short attention span, can slow down their training progress.
But training the Malamute is a lot harder than the Siberian Husky, as this large dog is more obstinate.
Both the Malamute and Husky breeds are not a good fit for first-time owners. They tend to become domineering and defiant during training whenever they feel that their owner is not reliable and authoritative enough.
A person who is experienced in handling the Malamute and Husky breeds and knowledgeable of their temperament is a better match. It is crucial to establish yourself as the alpha of these pack animals to earn their obedience and respect.
Keep training sessions fun and exciting through positive reinforcement to maintain the focus of both Malamutes and Huskies. Reward them with praises and treats every time they successfully carry out a command.
Physical and verbal punishments such as kicking and shouting should never be used in training the Malamute and Husky breeds. Implementing these harsh methods will do more harm than good since they will break your dog’s trust in you.
Malamute vs Husky: Which of the Two Needs More Exercise?
As working dogs with high energy levels, both the Alaskan Malamute and the Siberian Husky have intensive exercise requirements. They need at least 1–2 hours of physical and mental stimulation.
Alaskan Malamutes and Siberian Huskies must have time to run free off-lead. But both breeds are clever escape artists, so make sure that your fence is high and secure enough to keep them from breaking out.
The Alaska Malamute and the Siberian Husky also have a natural habit of digging holes. Northern breeds like them are predisposed to this behaviour, as it is their way of creating a den to keep them cool during hot weather.
You can train and exercise your dog to reduce the occurrence of his digging behaviour. However, these methods will not fully get rid of it.
Hence, it would also be better to designate a digging area in your back garden for your pooch so that he can burrow to his heart’s content.
Malamute vs Husky: Are These Two Breeds Healthy?
The Alaskan Malamute and Siberian Husky breeds are healthy and hardy dogs that have long lifespans. Malamutes can live up to 12 years, whilst Huskies can live up to 14 years. If properly cared for, they may even exceed these years.
But both the Malamute and Husky dog breeds are still predisposed to a few health problems. They are prone to hip dysplasia, hypothyroidism, progressive renal atrophy, and eye problems such as cataracts.
Genetics plays a big role in passing off these diseases from parents to offspring. Potential dog owners should get their Malamute and Husky puppies from reputable AKC (American Kennel Club) and KC (Kennel Club) breeders.
They are trustworthy individuals who dedicate their time and effort to producing healthy Malamute or Siberian Husky puppies.
Malamute vs Husky: Choosing the Breed for You
Finding out which of the two dog breed suits you will depend on what you are searching for in a canine companion. Both the Alaskan Malamute and Siberian Husky are wonderful pets if the right owner takes them in.
The Siberian Husky is a jolly and friendly dog that can get along well with children and other pets. If you want an outgoing pooch that is amiable to just about anyone, the Siberian Husky is the best pick out of the two.
But just make sure that you can give him the attention and time he needs. Otherwise, you might need to deal with separation anxiety.
The Alaskan Malamute is a more independent dog and has a protective streak. He is a great fit for a pet owner who wants not only a loving furry companion but also a brave guard dog.
Keep in mind that owning this dog will require you to put more effort into training as he can be very stubborn.
Both the Malamute and Husky dog breeds are athletic sled dogs that need ample amounts of exercise. Apartments and small homes are not the best living environment for them.
Their potential owners should have active lifestyles and spacious homes to fully accommodate the requirements of these high-energy dogs.