It can be difficult to distinguish between similar dog breeds at first glance. Without knowing the distinctive feature differences, Husky breeds often look alike to the untrained eye.  Learn about Alaskan Malamutes, Siberian Huskies, and Alaskan Huskies, to recognize their unique qualities of size, coloration and temperament.

Alaskan Malamute

Alaskan Malamute

Alaskan Malamute: The Alaskan Malamute is a recognized breed named after the indigenous Mahlemut people, and is the official mascot of Alaska.  The Malamute is a hardier and heavier dog than the Husky breeds, and can weigh between 75-100 pounds.  They have broader skulls than Huskies, with rounder-shaped ears, and wide-set brown eyes.  These creatures have thick tails, heavily padded paws, and a dense longer coat that tends to stand on end at the tips.  These powerful dogs would be more likely to dig than jump, and also love to run. They are affectionate and loyal to their families, having a less exuberant and high-energy demeanor than the Huskies.  Malamutes are more reserved, and can be aggressive with other dogs, particularly those of the same sex.  They also tend to cost significantly more than Husky breeds.

Siberian Husky

Siberian Husky

Siberian Husky: This Husky breed originates in Siberia, and was the pet of choice for the Chukchi people who used the sledding dogs to help them in their nomadic movements.  When first introduced in Alaska, the Siberian Husky competed in sled racing.  These sleek dogs were more agile than Alaskan Malamutes, having been bred for speed.  They weigh typically between 35-65 pounds and can pull small-medium sized loads over great distances. Their appearance is different from the Malamutes as well, in that they tend to have a more narrow build and smaller head shape.  Siberian Husky coats have a shorter double layer, and their tails tend to hang down like a wolf’s.  Their noses can be black or liver colored, and their closer-set eyes can be brown, blue, green, or one brown/one blue.   These tend to be more hyperactive than the steadier Malamute breed, and because they are pack dogs, Siberian Huskies thrive in community with other canines. They tend to be more curious and sneaky, and would jump over a moderate fence or squeeze through small holes to escape. Siberian Huskies also love to chase and hunt small animals, have high endurance and energy levels.  They are independent creatures, and are less attached to their families than reliable Malamutes.

Alaskan Husky: Different from the Siberian Husky and the Alaskan Malamute, the Alaskan Husky is not an official purebred recognized by the American Kennel Club. They are a hybrids bred for maximal speed in sled racing & sprint competitions. This breed does not have strict standards of appearance, since they are more valued for their athleticism and ability to pull heavy loads. Alaskan Huskies typically have long legs, curling tails, sharply pointed ears and blue or brown eyes.  They weigh between 35-50 pounds, and can vary in height and length of body.  Though the Alaskan Husky  is not an official breed, there is no doubt of their ability to outstrip both the Alaskan Malamute and Siberian Husky in speed racing.

Though these dogs have numerous distinctions from each other, they have many things in common as well. Each of these breeds are intelligent, made for running, and have a high prey drive.  These sledding dogs each have thick double layer coats, and are willful and independent, which can make training them seem like a challenge. But people who fall in love with Alaskan Malamutes, Siberian Huskies and Alaskan Huskies, are often hooked on that breed for life!

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