What is The Difference Between a Husky and a Malamute Dog?

How to tell the difference between a Siberian Husky and an Alaskan Malamute? What are some differences between Huskies and Malamutes? What are huskies like? What are malamutes like?

The Siberian husky and the Alaskan malamute are commonly confused. Both dogs are somewhat similar in appearance (they can have the same color patterns), they are spitz breeds; and both have a somewhat similar personality, they love to run, but it is always good to know how to tell them apart, or know what traits either is more likely to have especially if you are considering getting either dog as a pet.

Please note that there are many different breeds of husky, in general we will refer to the Siberian Husky.

So how do you tell the difference between a malamute and a husky?

The Malamute

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Malamutes are quite a bit larger than huskies with some males weighing in at 90 pounds (41 kg).

Have a wider head and ears are set further apart.

Malamutes have brown eyes.

Tend to carry their tails over their backs.

Malamutes are noted for digging out of yards to escape the boredom of confinement.

The average lifespan is 12 years.

The Husky

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Huskies are considered medium sized dogs, with males weighing around 60 pounds (27 kg).

The shape of a huskies head is narrower and the ears are set closer together.

Huskies can have brown eyes, blue eyes, or one eye of each color.

Tend to have a more relaxed way of carrying their tail, although they sometimes carry it high they will often hang their tail down.

Huskies are noted for jumping fences and will often climb a fence to get out of a yard.

The average lifespan of a husky is 14 years.

About Siberian Huskies and Alaskan Malamutes

Both huskies and malamutes are high energy dogs who need a lot of exercise. They are considered to be “northern breeds” and enjoy colder weather and in warm weather care should be taken to keep the dogs cool. Both the husky and malamute have strong prey drives and have been known to kill cats, chickens, rabbits, and so forth. Both are noted for being escape artists who then run, and run, and run. They are more independent than most dog breeds.

Huskies and malamutes were both bred to pull sleds. Huskies were often used in larger teams with more dogs, while malamutes were used in smaller teams of fewer dogs, and were used to pull heavier at slower speeds.

Both the husky and the malamute dog can travel 35 miles a day and as such they need an owner that can provide them with lots of physical exercise.

Neither breed is particularly suited for being a guard dog, but both tend to love people in general.

Malamutes and huskies rarely bark but both will howl. They sometimes learn to bark if around other dogs that bark.

Both breeds are strongly independent, as noted they will often run with no interest in turning around. They can be trained but are not necessarily obedient.

Other Reading

Is a Husky a Good Dog for Me?

Guide to Training a Siberian Husky

Links on Popular Dog Breeds

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  1. Nice article! Huskies are my favorite type of dogs!

  2. Good article. I had a dog that was half Husky and half Malamute. He was the most wonderful dog. Couldn’t have him in my apartment so some friends now have him, well they did. He grew old and died about 5 years ago but he was wonderful and lived a good long life.

  3. Great article. Really enjoyed reading it. I used to have a husky/malamute cross. He was a great dog. Nice share.

  4. Very interesting. I’m glad that you included photos as now I can actually see the differences. They really are quite different in appearance, aren’t they?

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