Bobsled pulled by Alaskan Malamutes and Siberian Huskies.

Malamute vs. Husky: How to Tell These Sled Dogs Apart


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Two remarkably similar dogs, the Siberian husky is most famous for its striking blue eyes, while the Alaskan Malamute is perhaps a little lesser-known.

If you've ever seen a Siberian husky and an Alaskan Malamute together, you might not be able to tell the difference between the two dogs. This is a common mistake, so you're not alone! At first glance, these two very similar dog breeds may look a lot alike and are easily confused. Although they were both bred as sled dogs and working dogs, have similar coats, and a similar love of frigid temperatures, they are indeed two distinct cold-weather dog breeds. If you're thinking of bringing home one of these doggos, here are some key differences between the two arctic doppelgängers that you should know about.

Malamute vs Husky: What Do They Look Like?

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While both the Alaskan Malamute and the Siberian husky sport a lush, gorgeous, and thick double-coat, the Malamute tends to have a longer coat than the Husky. Both of these breeds also have an undercoat that sheds twice a year, creating the dreaded 'coat blow' situation, so dog owners should be aware of this when considering either a Malamute or husky puppy.

In terms of these fluffy pups' appearances, one of the key differences is their eye color. While the husky is famous for its piercing blue eyes (even though that's not always the case), the Malamute always has brown eyes.

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The two dogs have extremely similar looks, but their colors may vary. Alaskan Malamutes only come in a range of black, light gray, and shades of red, whereas more color variations can be found within Siberian huskies. These beautiful dogs come in black, red, gray, sable, white, and agouti. Both dog breeds have a white underbelly.

Although Malamutes and huskies are both large dogs, when put next to each other side by side, you'll easily see that the Malamute is noticeably bigger, even when accounting for the longer coat. The husky's head is also smaller and their ears are closer together than that of a Malamute.

Malamutes can weigh up to 85 pounds as adults while huskies will typically only reach about 35 to 50 pounds.

Do Malamutes and Huskies Act Differently?

alaskan malamute husky vs malamute

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If you're looking for a guard dog, neither of these breeds will really fit the bill. Both the Alaskan Malamute and the Siberian husky are sociable, playful, and affectionate--even to total strangers.

Both these dogs have high energy and require lots of exercise. This is due to their working dog nature to pull sleds over long distances. The Alaskan Malamute was originally bred to run long distances in a team with a load, while the Siberian husky was specifically bred for speed with lighter loads of gear. This specialization is why Siberian huskies are so well known for their prowess at sled races.

Whether they are helping with an important job or just being a great companion at home, you can't go wrong with choosing the Alaskan Malamute or the Siberian husky as the perfect four-legged family member.

Do you have a Malamute or a husky? Tell us about your pooch on the Wide Open Pets Facebook page!

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READ MORE: This Groomer's Hilarious Video Shows Just How Dramatic Huskies Can Be

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