Alaskan Malamute vs. Siberian Husky: What's the Difference?
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- Siberian huskies are generally larger than Alaskan huskies.
- Alaskan Malamutes come in solid black or solid white. The Siberian Husky comes in a variety of colors including tan, black, white, red and bi-color.
- Siberian huskies have long been considered purebred dogs by the AKC, while Alaskan huskies are not granted purebred status.
There are many differences between the Alaskan Malamute and the Siberian Husky, whether you are aware of them or not. These dogs are closely related in breed, size and purpose – but what sets them apart from each other? In this article, we'll reveal the differences so you can fully understand the differences between these powerful working dogs.
Read on to learn more about the differences between Alaskan and Siberian huskies, as well as all the similarities.
Comparing the Alaskan Malamute and the Siberian Husky
|white or black jacket
|long coat in various colors
|Predominantly brown, but sometimes heterochromatic
|blue, green, brown, different colors
|work and family life
|all over the world
|10-15 years old
|10-15 years old, but may face more complications due to purebred status
5 Key Differences Between Alaskan Malamutes and Siberian Huskys
© Jana Caposova/Shutterstock.com
There are a number of key differences between the Alaskan Husky and the Siberian Husky. According to the AKC, the Alaskan Husky is not a purebred dog, while the Siberian Husky is. Siberian huskies are generally larger than Alaskan huskies, have longer coats, and more varied coat and eye colors. Over time, Alaskan and Siberian huskies were bred for different lifestyles. These lifestyles can affect their overall lifespan.
But what else is there to learn about the Alaskan Malamute and the Siberian Husky? Let's examine these differences in more detail!
Alaskan Malamute vs Siberian Husky: Coat and Coloring
The main difference between the Alaskan Husky and the Siberian Husky is their fur and color. The Siberian Husky comes in a variety of colors including tan, black, white, red and bi-color. Alaskan Malamutes come in solid black or solid white. This is a key distinction that you can easily tell when looking at these dogs side by side.
Another difference between Alaskan and Siberian huskies is length. Subtle as it may be, Siberian huskies have slightly longer coat length than Alaskan huskies. This may be due to their relative size difference. However, both dogs have double fur coats to keep them warm in colder temperatures.
Alaskan Malamute vs Siberian Husky: Size and Weight
Another difference between the Alaskan Husky and the Siberian Husky is their relative size and weight. While the Malamute is similar in size to the Siberian Husky, they differ in weight. For example, Malamutes tend to weigh 5 to 10 pounds less than the average Siberian Husky, depending on the sex. Alaskan huskies also tend to be leaner and longer than Siberian huskies due to the fact that they were bred as working dogs.
© iStock.com/Henrik Norway
Alaskan Malamute vs. Siberian Husky: Purebred Status
There is one key difference in breeding between Alaskan Huskies and Siberian Huskies. Siberian huskies have long been considered purebred dogs by the AKC, while Alaskan huskies are not granted purebred status. They are bred with other dogs to improve their working abilities, which means they are not purebreds.
Many dog breeders don't consider the Alaskan Husky a dog at all, while the Siberian Husky has been around for a while. The Alaskan Husky was originally bred as a working dog, and as such was created out of necessity to pull sleds in the snow. There is no set formula for breeding an Alaskan Malamute. This dog is usually bred from a variety of Spitz type dogs.
© iStock.com/Nicholas Chase
Alaskan Malamute vs Siberian Husky: Eye Color
Another difference between Alaskan Huskies and Siberian Huskies is their eye color. While both husky breeds are prone to heterochromia, Siberian huskies are known to have more colored eyes, while Alaskan huskies typically only have brown eyes.
While this isn't absolute, and could be a nuance you might not notice, it's something to keep in mind when comparing the two breeds. Given Siberian Huskies' purebred status, more colors and breeds were introduced in their coats and eyes. Alaskan Huskies are simple in appearance because they were bred solely for work.
Alaskan Malamute vs Siberian Husky : Breeding
Siberian huskies have been bred for different purposes over the decades, while Alaskan huskies were originally bred as working dogs.
Siberian huskies have become more domesticated over time, and they have major differences in appearance and stamina when compared to Alaskan huskies. While Siberian Huskies were originally bred for work, they were later associated with family life and family life, while Alaskan Huskies are still primarily used for work today.
That's not to say that Siberian Huskys still can't pull sleds in the snow—they still seem to enjoy doing it. However, the Alaskan Husky was bred with the sole purpose in mind, and their crossbreeding produced a dog that was stronger and more capable than the Siberian Husky we know today.
Alaskan Malamute vs Siberian Husky : Behavior
These two huskies do share some similar behaviors. They are independent and intelligent, but the Siberian husky is friendly and thrives in the company of humans, while the Alaskan husky is more independent and considered adventurers. Malamutes don't like routine and are mischievous, and won't come close if the leash is off. Both Huskies need firm guidance during training.
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about the author
I am a non-binary freelance writer working full time in Oregon. A graduate of Southern Oregon University with a BA in Theater and a major in Creative Writing, I have an interest in a variety of topics, especially the history of the Pacific Northwest. When I'm not writing personally or professionally, you can find me camping on the Oregon coast with my high school sweetheart and Chihuahua mix, or in my family's kitchen, perfecting recipes in a gleaming cast-iron skillet.
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