What’s The Difference Between A Siberian Husky and An Alaskan Malamute?

Last Updated on November 17, 2021 by Marco

The Siberian Husky and the Alaskan Malamute are two dog breeds that were bred thousands of years ago by indigenous tribes who lived in the cold snowy and icy climes of the Northern Hemisphere. 

Both dogs were bred with the same task in mind, which was to haul people and cargo across long distances, whilst being able to withstand the cold.

So, you may ask, what’s the difference between a Siberian Husky and an Alaskan Malamute? Let’s take a look.

The Alaskan Malamute Compared To The Husky

There are several things that differentiate the Malamute and the Husky. The most obvious difference when it comes to Malamute vs Husky is their size. There are also some marked differences between Malamutes and Huskies in terms of temperament and feeding requirements too, to name a few.

Malamute vs Husky Size

When it comes to Malamute vs Husky size, the Malamute is the much larger dog. On average, adult Siberian Huskies weigh 35 to 60 pounds and measure 20 to 23.5 inches at the shoulder. By comparison, the Alaskan Malamute is 23 to 25 inches high and weighs 75 to 85 pounds.

Looks-wise, Malamutes and Huskies both have similar coat colors (i.e. agouti and white), and brown or blue eyes. The Husky is leaner. Both have a thick double coat. But the Malamute has a bigger head that is not as finely chiselled as the Husky head.

Malamute has much heavier bones than the Husky and has immense strength. Yet, they do not have the speed and endurance that the Husky has.

the Malamute is the much larger dog than the husky

Malamute vs Husky: Exercise and Training

Given that both of these dog breeds were developed with a similar purpose in mind, they do have similar natures. Both are highly energetic dogs that need plenty of vigorous daily exercise.

Both Malamutes and Huskies possess that strong stubborn streak, making them difficult to train as household pets. Both breeds are playful, affectionate, and friendly. And both are working dogs who need a job to do or else they will get bored, which may result in some destructive behaviors.

Both Malamutes and Huskies have a strong pack instinct.

Malamute vs Husky: Pulling

Generally, Huskies excel where speed and agility are needed. But if heavy loads need to be pulled, then the Malamute excels. The Iditarod Trail Sled Dog Race covers 938 miles in less than ten days. Both of these dog breeds feature in this race, though Malamutes have been known to come last. Speed is important in this event. Mushers (the human participants!) prefer the Alaskan Husky, which combines both Alaskan Malamute and Siberian Husky, plus Saluki and German Short-Haired Pointer bloodlines.

Malamute vs Husky: Grooming

Grooming for the Malamute and the Husky will be the same; both dogs have a thick double coat that they ‘blow’ (meaning that they shed the soft undercoat in preparation for the coming season) twice a year, with this shedding taking about three weeks to complete each time.

Malamute vs Husky: Feeding

Being the larger of the two breeds, the Malamute will need more calories per day than the  Husky does, for optimal health.

Another difference is their appetites – Malamutes have a tendency to overeat whereas Huskies are known for stopping eating when they are full.

Malamute vs Husky: Personality

These two Northern breeds have very similar personalities. Both are very friendly dogs – even with strangers! So neither will make particularly good guard dogs.

The biggest difference between the Alaskan Malamute and the Siberian Husky in terms of personality is that the Malamute is described as being independent, and able to be quite happy being left at home alone when their owners go out. Huskies are known to suffer from stress when left alone for long periods. It has been noted that Malamutes can be aggressive towards other dogs, whereas the Husky is playful with other dogs.

However, both breeds have a strong prey drive so neither is suitable in a home with small animals such as cats.

Another similarity between the Malamute and the Husky is that both breeds are known to dig holes in the backyard!

Malamute and the Husky is that both breeds are known to dig holes in the backyard

Learn more about: Why Do Dogs Try To Bury Their Food?

Malamute vs Husky: Do These Breeds Get Along With Each Other?

Yes. Both being medium to large breeds with similar personalities and energy levels, these two should do very well together in a home. Just make sure you feed them in separate spaces to avoid food-related aggression. The Husky may want to play and interact a little more than the more independent Malamute, but other than this they will be well suited to life together.

Malamute Vs Husky: Cost

In the United States, Siberian Husky pups can sell from a reputable breeder anywhere between 600 and 1300 dollars. The variance in price will come down to bloodlines, markings, and overall health.

For those people wanting a working Husky, then the price will increase.

An Alaskan Malamute pup from a reputable breeder will cost anywhere from 1000 to 2,200 dollars for a purebred dog, with the price variation being due to the same things as listed above for the Siberian Husky.

Malamute Vs Husky: Popularity 

In 2021, Petkeen ran an article where it looked at the Top 20 Dog Breeds in America for the year. The Siberian Husky rated number 16.

The Alaskan Malamute did not appear on this Top 20 list. The reasons for this may be due to the breed’s size – logistically, bigger dogs take more effort to own in terms of the cost of feeding, having a car big enough to transport them, and so on.

The Takeaway

What’s the difference between an Alaskan Malamute and a Siberian Husky? Hopefully, by the time you get to this section of the article, you will now know that the main difference is their size, with the Malamute standing taller and weighing more than the Husky.

When it comes to sledding, Huskies are faster but Malamutes are stronger.

There are also a few subtle differences in temperament too when it comes to the Malamute vs Husky conversation. The main difference here is that Malamutes do not fret as much when left home alone for a period of time.

Finally, for those considering buying either of these breeds, Malamute pups are generally more expensive.

Read more about: What Type Of Huskies Are There?