The Alaskan malamute and Siberian husky are both strong dogs bred to sustain the extreme cold. Their wolfish appearances may look intimidating but in reality, their personalities are anything but. These two loveable, friendly and intelligent dog breeds are adored the world over—read on to learn how to tell the malamute from the husky.
Malamute vs husky history
The Siberian Husky is one of the oldest dog breeds on the planet. They were first bred by the Chukchi, an ancient nomadic Siberian tribe, in the northeastern regions of what’s now Russia. The Chukchi used huskies as sled dogs for transportation, but they were also regarded as family members and slept with the children in the tribe to keep them warm. Siberian huskies were exported to Alaska in 1908 and were used as a sled dog during the gold rush. The breed has changed only slightly from the original huskies from the Chukchi tribes.
The Alaskan malamute is also an ancient breed and one of the oldest Arctic sled dogs. The breed was brought to Alaska thousands of years ago by native people crossed the land bridge from Siberia into the region. A tribe called the Mahlemuts, in the northeastern area of the Seward Peninsula developed the Alaskan malamute. The dogs were used for hunting, chasing away polar bears, and transporting food and camp supplies. Like huskies, malamutes were a valued member of their tribe and treated like family. Most Malamutes today can trace their heritage to the ‘Kotzebue’ strain from the Norton Sound area of Alaska.
Malamute vs husky temperament
Siberian huskies are medium sized working dogs and they’re known for their intelligence and independence. They’re still very affectionate but not particularly needy. Although their intelligence and ability to learn is remarkable, huskies are notoriously difficult to train and can get bored easily so they are best with confident, experienced dog owners.
Huskies are sociable and full of energy. Due to their high intelligence, they can become bored if they’re not given enough mental stimulation or exercise. They love to dig and can cause havoc with flower beds, gardens and even some parts of the home if left unsupervised. They also have a reputation for being escape artists—they love to wander off an have an adventure on their own.
Alaskan malamutes are playful, loveable dogs with outgoing dispositions. Like huskies, they are friendly with everyone, including strangers. Like huskies, they’re also pack animals so they like to be included in all the family activities. They’re equally as mischievous as huskies and also enjoy digging holes, or even raiding the bins, so it’s important to keep them entertained. Malamutes can be cheeky but good training will bring out their intelligence. Like huskies, they can be quite challenging to train so they also require an experienced dog owner who has the confidence to set boundaries via positive reinforcement and lead.
Both these highly intelligent dogs need a lot of physical exercise and mental stimulation. If they’re left alone for long periods of time they can become bored or frustrated so if you’d prefer not to leave your dog alone Rover.com has lots of wonderful sitters who offer dog boarding across the country!
Huskies and malamutes don’t tend to make good watch dogs, they might share the looks of their wolf ancestors, but both dog breeds are very friendly, even with strangers. Neither huskies or malamutes tend to be big barkers either, so they may not be a very effective home alarm system! Instead, they can howl and they do, at the moon or whenever it suits them!
Both breeds will benefit from obedience training, particularly from puppyhood.
Malamute vs husky with families
Huskies make great family pets and are good with children. They are also good in a multi-dog households. If raised with other animals as a puppy, huskies can live in a multi-pet household, too. We’ve compiled a husky puppy fact-file to help you decide whether a Husky pup is the dog for you. Originally, huskies had a strong prey drive towards smaller animals like squirrels, rabbits and cats, but if raised with small animals, they can enjoy the company of pets of all sizes.
Malamutes also make great family pets and are good with children. Their large size and high energy means that they can overpower small children though, so they’re best for households with kids over the age of 5. They’ll also thrive in multi-dog and multi-pet households as long as they’ve been raised with other small animals as a puppy.