Alaskan Malamutes vs Siberian Husky: Which Breed is Right for You?

Disclaimer: This post may contain affiliate links and I may earn a small commission when you click on the links at no additional cost to you. As an Amazon Affiliate, I earn from qualifying purchases. Thank you!

When it comes to choosing a dog as a pet, there are numerous factors to consider. One of the most common dilemmas is deciding between two popular breeds: the Alaskan Malamute and the Siberian Husky. Both breeds share similarities in appearance and temperament, but they also have distinct characteristics that make them unique. In this article, we will explore the differences between Alaskan Malamutes and Siberian Huskies to help you determine which breed is the right fit for you and your lifestyle.

Alaskan Malamutes vs Siberian Husky: Which Breed is Right for You?

Alaskan Malamutes vs Siberian Huskies: A Brief Comparison

Before delving deeper into the specifics, let's take a quick look at the primary differences between Alaskan Malamutes and Siberian Huskies.

Characteristic Alaskan Malamutes Siberian Huskies
Origin Alaska, United States Siberia, Russia
Size Larger and heavier Smaller and lighter
Coat Thicker and heavier Thinner and lighter
Temperament Calmer and more reserved More energetic and independent
Exercise Needs Moderate High
Trainability Stubborn Moderately trainable
Purpose Freight hauling and sledding Sled pulling and racing

Now, let's dive deeper into each aspect to gain a better understanding of these remarkable breeds.

Appearance: Majestic and Striking

Alaskan Malamutes

Alaskan Malamutes are majestic dogs known for their impressive size and strength. They are one of the largest Arctic sled dogs, with males typically weighing between 85 to 100 pounds (38 to 45 kilograms) and standing 24 to 26 inches (61 to 66 centimeters) tall at the shoulder. Their sturdy build, powerful legs, and broad head give them an imposing presence.

The Alaskan Malamute's coat is designed to withstand harsh Arctic conditions. Their double coat consists of a thick, wooly undercoat and a coarse outer coat that provides excellent insulation. This dense coat comes in various colors, including shades of gray, black, and sable, often with white markings.

Siberian Huskies

Siberian Huskies are renowned for their striking appearance, often with captivating blue or multicolored eyes. They are smaller than Alaskan Malamutes, with males typically weighing between 45 to 60 pounds (20 to 27 kilograms) and standing 21 to 23.5 inches (53 to 60 centimeters) tall at the shoulder. Despite their smaller size, Siberian Huskies possess an athletic build and a graceful, light-footed gait.

The Husky's coat is designed for efficient temperature regulation. Their double coat is composed of a soft, dense undercoat and a longer, straight topcoat. This combination provides insulation in cold weather and reflects heat during warmer months. Siberian Huskies come in a variety of colors and markings, including black, white, gray, red, and copper.

Temperament: Different Personalities to Consider

Alaskan Malamutes

Alaskan Malamutes have a calm and gentle temperament. They are known for their loyalty, intelligence, and affectionate nature towards their family. While they are generally friendly, they may display aloofness with strangers. Alaskan Malamutes thrive in a loving and structured environment where their need for companionship and exercise is met.

It's important to note that Alaskan Malamutes have a strong prey drive and may not be suitable for households with small pets. They are pack animals and may display dominance or stubbornness if not properly trained and socialized from an early age. Additionally, their independent nature may require a patient and consistent approach to training.

Siberian Huskies

Siberian Huskies are known for their outgoing and friendly nature. They are sociable dogs that enjoy the company of humans and other dogs alike. While they are typically gentle and affectionate, they retain a degree of independence and may exhibit a mischievous streak. Huskies are highly energetic and require ample mental and physical stimulation to prevent boredom and destructive behavior.

Huskies are pack animals and thrive in an environment that provides them with companionship and a consistent routine. They are generally good with children and other pets, but early socialization and proper introductions are essential. Due to their strong prey drive, it is advisable to keep them on a leash or in a secure, fenced area to prevent them from chasing small animals.

Exercise Needs: Keeping Them Active and Healthy

Alaskan Malamutes

Alaskan Malamutes have moderate exercise needs compared to Siberian Huskies. Daily walks, playtime, and mental stimulation are essential to keep them happy and healthy. They enjoy activities such as hiking, backpacking, and even participating in dog sports like obedience and agility. Alaskan Malamutes have a strong work ethic and thrive in activities that engage their natural instincts, such as pulling a cart or sled.

It's important to note that Alaskan Malamutes should not be over-exercised during hot weather due to their heavy coat, which can make them susceptible to heat exhaustion. Adequate shade, water, and rest should be provided to ensure their well-being.

Siberian Huskies

Siberian Huskies have high exercise needs and thrive in an active environment. They require daily vigorous exercise to expend their abundant energy. Regular walks, jogs, or hikes are necessary, but it's important to provide mental stimulation as well. Huskies excel in activities such as agility, flyball, and competitive sledding, where their athleticism and endurance can shine.

Due to their strong prey drive and propensity to wander, Siberian Huskies should always be kept on a leash or in a securely fenced area. A bored Husky may resort to digging, chewing, or other destructive behaviors, so providing them with ample physical and mental stimulation is crucial.

Trainability: Patience and Consistency Required

Alaskan Malamutes

Alaskan Malamutes are intelligent dogs but can be stubborn and independent. They have a strong sense of their own will and may challenge authority if not handled properly. Training an Alaskan Malamute requires patience, consistency, and positive reinforcement methods. Early socialization is crucial to ensure they grow into well-rounded and obedient adults.

Positive training techniques, such as rewards and praise, work best with Alaskan Malamutes. Harsh or forceful methods can lead to resistance and a breakdown in the bond between the dog and its owner. Establishing clear boundaries and consistent rules will help create a harmonious relationship based on mutual respect.

Siberian Huskies

Siberian Huskies possess a moderate level of trainability. While they are intelligent and quick learners, their independent nature can make them somewhat challenging to train. Huskies are known for their "what's in it for me?" attitude and may require motivational techniques to keep them engaged.

Positive reinforcement training methods, such as using treats and rewards, are effective with Huskies. Consistency, patience, and firm but gentle guidance are essential to overcome their occasional stubbornness. Early socialization and obedience training are crucial to establish boundaries and ensure they become well-behaved members of the family.

Alaskan Malamutes vs Siberian Huskies: Frequently Asked Questions

  1. Q: Which breed is better suited for families with young children?

    • A: Both Alaskan Malamutes and Siberian Huskies can be great companions for families with young children. However, proper supervision and early socialization are crucial to ensure a harmonious relationship between the dog and the child. Alaskan Malamutes tend to be calmer and may be more patient with children, but individual temperament and training play a significant role.
  2. Q: Do Alaskan Malamutes and Siberian Huskies get along with other pets?

    • A: With proper socialization and introductions, both breeds can coexist with other pets. However, it's important to remember that Alaskan Malamutes have a strong prey drive and may not be suitable for households with small pets, such as cats or rabbits. Siberian Huskies generally have a more sociable nature and can get along well with other dogs and animals if properly introduced and supervised.
  3. Q: Do Alaskan Malamutes and Siberian Huskies require grooming?

    • A: Both breeds have thick double coats that require regular grooming to keep them clean and healthy. Alaskan Malamutes' coats are thicker and may require more frequent brushing to prevent matting and remove loose hair. Siberian Huskies also shed but tend to be more self-grooming and require less maintenance. Regular brushing, especially during shedding seasons, helps to minimize loose hair around the house.
  4. Q: Which breed is more suitable for first-time dog owners?

    • A: While both breeds can be loving and loyal companions, they may not be the best choice for first-time dog owners without prior experience with strong-willed breeds. Alaskan Malamutes and Siberian Huskies require consistent training, socialization, and an active lifestyle. First-time owners should be prepared to invest time and effort into their training and exercise needs.
  5. Q: Can Alaskan Malamutes and Siberian Huskies live in apartments or small spaces?

    • A: Both breeds have a history of being working dogs and have high energy levels. They require ample space to exercise and thrive. While it is possible for Alaskan Malamutes and Siberian Huskies to live in apartments or smaller homes, it is essential to provide them with regular exercise and mental stimulation. Access to a secure, fenced outdoor area or nearby parks for daily exercise is highly recommended.
  6. Q: Are Alaskan Malamutes and Siberian Huskies prone to any specific health issues?

    • A: Both breeds are generally healthy but may be prone to certain conditions. Alaskan Malamutes are susceptible to hip dysplasia, which is the abnormal formation of the hip joint. Siberian Huskies can be prone to eye conditions, including cataracts and progressive retinal atrophy (PRA). Responsible breeders perform health screenings to minimize the risk of these inherited conditions. Regular veterinary check-ups, a balanced diet, and proper exercise can contribute to their overall well-being.


Choosing between an Alaskan Malamute and a Siberian Husky requires careful consideration of your lifestyle, activity level, and commitment to training and socialization. While both breeds share similarities, they also have distinct characteristics that set them apart. Alaskan Malamutes are known for their calm and gentle nature, while Siberian Huskies are more energetic and independent.

Regardless of the breed you choose, it's important to provide them with a loving, structured environment that meets their exercise, socialization, and grooming needs. Both Alaskan Malamutes and Siberian Huskies can bring joy, companionship, and adventure to your life, making them excellent choices for the right individuals or families.