7 Differences between the Siberian Husky And Alaskan Malamute

At a glance, the Siberian husky and Alaskan malamute may appear to be the same, and rightfully so! After all, they look unmistakably similar. But the two breeds have differences worth knowing, especially if someone wants to adopt a cold-tolerant canine.

If someone lives in a bitingly cold state, they need to choose a winter-tolerant dog as a pet to ensure that their fluffy pal is comfortable with the frequent freezing temperatures. When making that choice, the top two breeds that come to anyone’s mind are the Siberian husky and Alaskan malamute. But then their almost-identical appearances may (mis)lead the future dog parent into believing that the two canine families will offer the same experience of owning a dog.

To clear that misunderstanding, here are six differences between the Siberian husky and Alaskan malamute.

1. Physical Appearance

It’s an established fact that telling a Siberian husky apart from a malamute at first sight, is almost impossible. But there are a few subtle differences in their features that can help you pick one over the other.


A malamute has a broad, furry chest, whereas a husky has a narrow torso.


A Siberian husky has noticeably long legs than a mal.


Both have double coats, but an Alaskan malamute has curlier fur that covers its legs rather too visibly. A Siberian husky on the hand has straighter hair, and its legs have a much smoother look as they have a thinner layer of fur, if any.


Huskies come with a bunch of varied eye colors, such as amber, blue, and brown. And they don’t have bi or parti-eyes.

2. Size

One of the reasons people confuse huskies with mals is their body structure and look. They may have approximately the same height; their weight ranges are quite different.

A Siberian husky can weigh anywhere between 35-60lbs, whereas an Alaskan malamute 80-100 lbs.

In terms of physical features, a mal has a longer coat, and a husky has smaller fur.

3. Relationship with Humans

Knowing a breed’s attitude towards humans is crucial when making the decision to adopt a dog. If the canine companion you bring home turns out to be hostile or doesn’t adjust to their new surroundings, you will regret making that choice. Therefore, learning about breeds and dog personalities is important.

When it comes down to choosing between a Siberian husky and an Alaskan malamute for a friendly pet, we suggest you go with the latter. While they both are not that far apart in their fondness for humans, a mal is friendlier and enjoys being with humans than a husky. The Siberian husky, on the other hand, likes to stay away from people and keeps to itself. That’s not to say that you should never think about getting a Siberian husky; it’s an excellent pet choice and will be a lovely addition to your family.

But if compared with an Alaskan malamute, a Siberian husky might not be the first to get picked for a lovey-dovey dog.

4. Relationship with Other Dogs

If someone wants to own multiple dogs, they need to ensure that the breed they choose reacts well to the same species. Otherwise, their home will turn into a wrestling ring more often than not.

To save your home from becoming a battleground for your dogs, we should tell you that a Siberian husky is more cordial with other canines than mals. Surprisingly, Alaskan malamutes don’t respond well to having other dogs in the vicinity, particularly those of the same sex. Maybe their alpha instincts kick in, and they feel the need to establish their dominance. Whatever the reasons, perhaps, an Alaskan mal is not likely to be a good match for you if you have other dogs or plan to get more.

5. Management

Pets need management, period! Be it a parrot, cat, or dog; all animals require particular treatment in order to adjust into a human household. Yet, they never let go of their inherent traits for good. This treatment couldn’t be more accurate in the case of Siberian huskies.

Siberian Huskies like to be independent and aren’t fans of confinement, which is why they try all in their power to escape the boundaries of a house to attain their freedom. Among all the tactics a husky would use to get out of domestication can include many things, but the most common is jumping up fences.
Thanks to their height and remarkable agility, Sibs can cross over a fence without much trouble. So, if you make a husky your friend, be sure to keep an eye on them, especially in their initial days in the house.

Although mals are unlikely to run away, they have their own share of destructive habits, such as chewing and scratching. This means if your four-legged friend isn’t happy, they will damage your sofas and beds with their claws and paws. So, you should be careful with them, and better yet, get them a bunch of chew toys to take their anger out on.

6. Health

Alaskan malamutes and Siberian huskies stand far apart in terms of their health conditions and age. Despite being a cold-tolerant dog and used to harsh environments, a mal can develop health issues more often than not. It also has a shorter life span than a husky.

A Siberian husky is a robust doggo in and out. It stays strong and healthy even inclement climates.

With all that said, an Alaskan mal doesn

’t stay sick throughout its life; it’s simply more prone to getting ill than a husky.

7. Intelligence

All dogs are intelligent creatures without exceptions, but some more so than others. And in this case, it’s the Siberian husky that takes the crown home.
While mals are not dumb, they are not as smart as huskies.

The Takeaway

If you plan to adopt either of the two breeds, know that they are heavy shedders. They shed twice a year and require daily brushing to keep their hair smooth. If that’s not a deal-breaker for you, then you can take any of them but remember you will have to take them out for exercise because of their high energy levels!