So you are looking for the perfect dog to own and you cannot decide between the Alaskan Malamute or the Siberian Husky. Or maybe you cannot even tell them apart. It is easy to mix up some breeds and this is certainly the case between the Malamute and Husky.
This is not a new occurrence to confuse both breeds as the Malamute and Husky are very similar in appearance, they look a lot alike and are both hardworking, loyal, and affectionate dogs. They are both well suited for colder regions, they both have double coats and can pull sleds however as much as they have a lot in common, they are also quite distinct.
They have different personalities, purposes, and temperaments and they also have some differences in their physical appearance- if you look closely. In this article, we are going to compare and contrast them.
History of Malamute vs Husky
It is popularly believed that Alaskan Malamutes are descended from wolf-dogs that lived 4,000 years ago however, their more recent roots are found in the northwestern region of Alaska, where they were once bred and raised by an Inuit tribe called the Mahlemiut.
That is where the Malamute got their name as Mahlemiut became Malamute. At that time, their primary jobs were to transport large and heavy loads over long distances, then to create a distraction to the bears for the hunters, and to find the breathing holes used by seals too.
Basically, they were friends of the hunters and a means of transportation. Originally, there were three different types of Alaskan Malamutes, all of which chip into the genes of today’s Alaskan Malamute.
On the other hand, as its name would imply, the Siberian Husky has its origins from a part of Asia now known as Siberia. At first, the Siberian Husky was developed as working dogs by the Chukchi people of Siberia but later made its way to Alaska in 1909 where it was used in sled races as sled dogs.
But they were not really recognized until 1925 when the Siberian Husky team delivered a lifesaving treatment for the diphtheria outbreak to Nome, a city in Alaska that was suffering from it. The Siberian Husky was bred to carry a relatively light load. Today, the Siberian Husky still is a well-loved breed and is kept both as a companion animal and a working animal mainly used to pull sleds.
As we can see, the Siberian husky and the Alaskan malamute are both working dogs from really cold regions, though, as their names suggest, they do not come from the same location. They also have common but slightly different job histories.
Although both Siberians and Malamutes were used as sled dogs to pull sleds across far distances, the major difference is that the Siberian Husky is typically used for light loads and is quite much faster than the Alaskan Malamute, that is bred to carry heavier loads at a slower speed.
The American Kennel Club describes Siberian Huskies as “racers” and Alaskan Malamutes as “freighters.” The Siberian Husky is light and fast while the Alaskan Malamute is sturdy and steady.
Appearance and Size of the Malamute vs Husky
Agreed, the Malamute and Husky look alike if you put them on their own but if you stand them side by side, you would be able to point out differences in seconds! Size is most likely one of the most noticeable differences between the Siberian husky and the Alaskan malamute.
They are both fairly large dogs but the malamute is the larger of the two by a lot. The Husky usually stands between 20 and 24 inches tall and the female huskies are always smaller, weighing between 35 and 50 pounds. The male huskies weigh from 45 to 60 pounds.
On the other hand, the malamute is not all that much taller, ranging from between 23 to 25 inches tall but where the difference really shows between the Malamute and the Husky is in the size: female Malamutes weigh about 75 pounds, and males are even larger at about 85 pounds as against the Husky’s 45 to 60 pounds. Another difference between the Malamute and the Husky is their eye color.
Not all huskies actually have blue eyes. Some huskies may have one blue eye and one brown eye, and some have two brown eyes. Both the Malamute and Husky have double coats with similar coloring ranging from white to grey to black and sometimes, even rust but Malamutes tend to have long hair and are fluffier than the Husky.
Grooming of Malamute vs Husky
Although it is known that all dogs do require some grooming effort, the husky is much more low maintenance than the malamute. The grooming requirements of the Alaskan Malamute and the Siberian Husky is almost the same.
Both of them have a dense undercoat and a fluffy outer coat, and as such both breeds should be groomed regularly, at least two to three times a week, and if possible more. The Husky and Malamute will shed heavily during spring and fall therefore they will need to be brushed daily in order to keep their coat manageable for both you and your household.
One of the great things about Huskies is that they are fairly self-cleaning and do not require a lot in the way of maintenance, despite their thick coats. Huskies will only need baths a few times per year. It is also advised that Malamutes be bathed every six to eight weeks; this will help reduce matting of their coat.
However, do not bathe your dogs too often so that you don’t strip their coats of natural oils that help keep their coats healthy. All breeds must have their nails trimmed when needed and their teeth brushed regularly. Their ears should also be checked for infection on a regular basis and wiped with clean cloths.
Temperament of the Malamute vs Husky
Another thing the Alaskan malamutes and Siberian huskies have in common is their temperaments. Both Huskies and Malamutes are pack animals and this makes them very sociable, affable, very loyal, and loving dogs. The Malamute, in spite of that, does have an independent side.
They have a much more independent mindset and do not mind being alone for some time( not a long period though). On the other hand, Huskies will love to spend most of their time being with their family, either people or other household pets and they do not like being left alone.
There are a few key differences between the Malamutes and the Huskies. In comparison to the Husky, the Malamute has increased guarding tendencies and therefore Malamute’s can often make better guard dogs than that Husky.
The Malamute has a high prey drive and would hardly tolerate other animals, particularly other dogs, on the contrary, the Husky also has a high prey drive but would tolerate and mix with other animals.
You should be aware that Malamutes and Siberians love to dig, so if you are a gardener or a landscaper, it would do you a world of good to provide your dogs with areas they can dig like sandboxes.
Health of the Malamute vs Husky
No one wants a dog that is not healthy. Often times we do not have control over whether our dogs get sick but we can try to pick the breeds that aren’t predisposed to many illnesses. Between the Malamute and the Husky, huskies are the breed with fewer health issues to watch out for. This does not mean they are not prone to some health issues.
They are at risk for cataracts and should have regular health check-ups to detect and treat them early should they develop. As with other working dogs, huskies may also fall victim to hip issues as they get older. Your Siberian Husky should live averagely to around 12, with a lot of them living between 10 -14 years.
On the other hand, Malamute has a tendency to have some serious health issues if not checked. They are inclined to hip dysplasia, elbow dysplasia, thrombopenia, dwarfism, hypothyroidism, inherited polyneuropathy, von Willebrand’s disease, and day blindness. Do not fret, what all of this means that if you decide on a malamute, a reputable breeder is of extreme importance.
Averagely, a Malamute is expected to live to around 11 years old, with most living between 10-12 years. You should always get your dogs from a breeder that does regular tests and isn’t scared to show the results.
Training and Exercise of the Malamute vs Husky
Both breeds are big energy and working dogs so they need lots of exercises. Huskies like to run better than other activities, and can most likely get all the exercise they need in a large backyard. Malamutes, however, since they are originally bred for heavy loads and are sturdy, do better when they go on hikes or for a swim, and enjoy any chance they can get to carry a pack.
Both breeds will constantly need a job to do and without any outlet for mental and physical energy will resort to looking for any game or thing to do such as chewing and digging to alleviate boredom. Exercise is very important for Alaskan Malamutes and Siberian Huskies.
They are very intelligent breeds but training them would not be as easy as you think. They need proper training to keep them from having bad habits but they can be a little stubborn. They’re both confident and willful and tend to be bossy and dominant if not taught from an early age that they’re not the ones in charge.
The Malamute is said to be a headstrong dog that is determined to do as he pleases, much more than the Siberian Husky, so you may experience a little bit more difficulty training the Malamute than the Husky.
With that being said, if you are having a hard time with training, either due to stubbornness or something else, then it is always a very good idea to take them to obedience training classes so they can be handled by an expert. Also, training your dog is not a day’s job and it should be done regularly and patiently.
Do not be aggressive with either breed even if they are stubborn instead, make every encounter a pleasant one through positive encouragement training and giving treats as rewards. For a puppy to become a confident, self-assured, well-mannered adult, it must have positive exposure to as many people, places, animals, objects, and sounds as possible but always go with a leash.
Where and why you should get a Malamute vs Husky
We can agree that both the Alaskan Malamute and Siberian Husky are beautiful, charming, friendly breeds that can be a perfect addition to any family that is prepared to meet their needs. And yes, they have pretty high needs.
You are considering getting a Siberian husky or an Alaskan malamute to your household, it’s not a decision to be taken lightly. It is not a choice of which dog is better but rather a choice of which dog would suit you, your lifestyle, your household, and your environment. Both the Husky and the Malamute of these guys are undoubtedly amazing and have both an appealing history and a remarkable working career.
They really are the best of both worlds, very hardworking smart pups who also shower you with love, attention, and affection when the job is done.
You should be prepared to break the bank because neither the Alaskan Malamute nor the Siberian Husky comes cheap. Averagely the Alaskan Malamute is priced at around $1,500, whereas the Siberian Husky is priced at around $1,000 so we have both of them ranging from $800 to $2000.
If this is way over your budget, you can always seek to adopt because adoption is always cheaper and these doggies need a forever home. But most importantly, ensure you are getting your dog, no matter the breed from a reputable and trusted breeder.