Choosing the right dog breed for your lifestyle is as an important decision as bringing a dog into your life. Although every dog is individual and has a personality, each breed has particular traits. These traits can help you determine which breed will suit you and your lifestyle – ensuring a more harmonious home for you and your new pet.
The Siberian Husky and the Alaskan Malamute are both wonderful breeds. They are similar in looks and are both friendly breeds with humans and other dogs. They both have a double coat, are energetic, and need around 2 hours of daily exercise. However, the Siberian Husky is a medium size breed, whereas the Alaskan Malamute is large.
Let’s look at some breed traits to help you decide. These are general breed traits, and you should remember that breeding and life experiences will affect each dog differently.
Breed History of Siberian Husky and Alaskan Malamute
The Siberian Husky is one of 14 ancient dog breeds. The Chukchi tribe bred the Siberian Husky to pull sleds over long distances in harsh weather conditions. The Siberian Husky would work in teams to pull the sleds and sleep beside the children on cold nights to keep them warm.
Only the most social and playful Huskies would be used to breed, as cooperation and good natures were most important to the tribe. These traits are still found in today’s Siberian Husky.
The Mahlemut Eskimos in Alaska bred this strong Nordic dog to pull sleds full of supplies in harsh weather conditions, and it was their only form of transportation. The Alaskan Malamute is a willing work dog used in packs to help their Arctic people.
Bred for strength and endurance rather than speed, the Alaskan Malamute is a robust and sturdy dog. Due to the Alaskan Malamute’s strength, tenacity, and willingness to work, packs have been used in Polar expeditions.
Breed Specifications for Siberian Husky and Alaskan Malamute
The Siberian Husky has a thick fluffy double coat, with colors ranging from white, sable and white, grey and white, agouti, black and white, and black. Upright pointed ears and almond-shaped eyes can be blue, brown, mixed brown, and blue. In addition, they have a fox brush tail which is often held high in a sickle curve but can also be held low and trailing.
The Siberian Husky is a medium size breed. The adult male Siberian Husky stands at 21-23.5 inches, with an ideal weight range of 45-60lbs (20-27kgs).
The adult female Siberian Husky stands at 20-22 inches, with an ideal weight range of 35-50lbs (16-23kgs).
The life expectancy for a healthy, well-cared-for Siberian Husky is 12-14 years.
The Alaskan Malamute has a thick, fluffy, medium-length double coat. Colors range from light grey through intermediate shadings to black or from gold through shades of red to liver, always with white on the underbody, parts of legs, feet, and part of mask markings. Ears are upright, rounded tip triangular shaped near the back of the head, and almond-shaped eyes are brown. In addition, they have a thick fluffy sweeping upright tail curling towards the back.
The Alaskan Malamute is a large size breed. The adult male Alaskan Malamute stands at 25 inches, with an ideal weight of 85 lbs (39 kg).
The adult female Alaskan Malamute stands at 23 inches, with an ideal weight of 75 lbs (34 kg).
The life expectancy for a healthy, well-cared-for Alaskan Malamute is 10 – 14 years.
Common Breed Health Checks for Siberian Husky and Alaskan Malamute
The Siberian Husky breed is generally pretty healthy; however, breeders should regularly have the dams and sires screened:
- Hip dysplasia (BVA/KC)
- Eye testing – PLA (gonioscopy) (BVA/KC/ISDS)
- Eye screening scheme (BVA/KC/ISDS)
The Alaskan Malamute is generally pretty healthy; however, breeders should regularly have the dams and sires screened:
- Hip dysplasia
- Elbow dysplasia
- Chondrodysplasia (‘dwarfism’)
- Inherited polyneuropathy
- Von Willebrand’s disease
- Eye screening scheme, Day blindness
Energy Levels of Siberian Husky and Alaskan Malamute
The Siberian Husky is a bundle of energy with outstanding endurance! This dog is at its happiest when it’s running, exploring, and playing. It can run for hours and still have the energy to play. However, to keep a Siberian Husky content, it will need at least 2 hours of daily exercise and some mental stimulation.
The Alaskan Malamute is a high-energy dog. It requires at least 2 hours of daily exercise and is happiest if it has a job. The Alaskan Malamute enjoys running, exploring, and playing with its human. Like the Siberian Husky, it is an intelligent dog that needs at least 2 hours of daily exercise and mental stimulation.
The Trainability of Siberian Husky and Alaskan Malamute
The Siberian Husky is a highly intelligent dog. It was bred to decide whether to follow instructions or not for the musher and team’s safety. This intelligence is still present in the Siberian Husky. Once you know what motivates your Siberian Husky, training and cooperation are easier. Most Siberian Huskies are not food motivated, and you must get creative.
The Siberian Husky learns quickly and easily; motivating them to follow instructions consistently can be tricky. Furthermore, the Siberian Husky is not a biddable animal; they are not interested in pleasing their human. High prey drive also means that recall isn’t 100% for most Siberian Huskies.
The Alaskan Malamute is a highly intelligent dog, much like the Siberian Husky. It is very strong-willed, almost to the point of being stubborn. It will need consistent positive reinforcement training with firm but fair boundaries.
The Alaskan Malamute will be pushy and disobedient towards people and other dogs who don’t set firm boundaries. However, consistent training will ensure that the Alaskan Malamute develops into a calm, obedient companion.
Friendliness of Siberian Husky and Alaskan Malamute
The Siberian Husky is friendly and cooperative with people and other dogs. They have never met strangers or dogs they didn’t want to play with. These were the main traits that the Chukchi looked for in their sled dogs.
The Siberian Husky loves children and being around children – they are pretty gentle. However, the Husky can get boisterous and accidentally knock down little children.
The Alaskan Malamute is friendly with people but requires early socialization with people and other dogs. The Alaskan Malamute can become quite pushy with other dogs and it will require a firm but gentle hand in training to be cooperative with other pets. It may also become disruptive with young children and inexperienced adults.
It has a high prey drive and shouldn’t be unsupervised with smaller animals. However, the Alaskan Malamute can be good with other animals given the right socialization and training.
Grooming and Shedding of Siberian Husky and Alaskan Malamute
The Siberian Husky has a fluffy, luxurious double coat to keep it warm in the winter and cool in the summer. The fur has a protective layer that repels dirt and protects the skin, reducing the doggy odor that most other breeds have. In addition, the Siberian Husky is cat-like in its grooming, keeping its coat clean. As a result, they only need to be bathed a few times a year.
The Siberian Husky needs brushing regularly to keep the coat healthy. In addition, twice a year, the undercoat blows and requires daily brushing – there will be fur everywhere!
The Alaskan Malamute has a thick, fluffy medium-hair double coat. It will require almost daily brushing to keep the coat in good condition and free from matts. The Alaskan Malamute will require baths throughout the year to keep them clean.
The Alaskan Malamute sheds a lot and twice a year will blow the undercoat. During this blow out the Alaskan Malamute will require brushing daily – there will be fur everywhere!
Barking for Siberian Husky and Alaskan Malamute
The Siberian Husky doesn’t bark, as such. It does, however, huff, chuff, chatter, and howl – also known as singing. In addition, the Siberian Husky is known to chat and sing to their humans. Sometimes for no apparent reason, and other times to communicate their point in the conversation.
The Alaskan Malamute doesn’t bark, as such. However, they are quite vocal and are known to howl and sing, much like their cousins the Siberian Husky.
Overall Thoughts on Siberian Husky and Alaskan Malamute
The Siberian Husky suits active outdoor people with lots of time for training and exercise. They enjoy running, hiking, and biking – independent dogs who like to think and work things out for themselves. However, the Siberian Husky isn’t for everyone, as the extensive training and lifestyle can be intense.
However, once you have earned the Husky’s trust and loyalty, they are a fantastic companion and will give you hours of fun and laughter. So, if you are up for a challenge, and looking for a dog with a big personality, then the Siberian Husky might be for you.
The Alaskan Malamute suits active outdoor people with lots of time for training and exercise. They enjoy playing around in a big secure outside area and hiking and biking with their humans. However, the Alaskan Malamute is a working dog who likes to think for itself. Therefore, it will take an experienced human with the time and energy to train this dog.
If you have the time and experience to put into the Alaskan Malamute, you will have a loving, loyal cuddly dog with the energy and endurance to trek with you for miles.
I hope you have found this article helpful.
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