6 Easy and Quick Ways To Spot A Husky vs. Malamute

People often confuse Siberian Huskies and Alaskan Malamutes with one another. They do have many similarities. For example, both are working dogs and resemble wolves. However, they do also have their differences that make each other stand out in the crowd. For example, Malamutes are a larger dog breed and stronger but Huskies are a medium-sized dog breed and tend to be faster. But if you meet a Husky and a Malamute in the doggy park, how can you quickly tell them apart?

There are 6 six easy ways to spot the differences between a Huskies and Malamutes:

  1. Size
  2. Eyes
  3. Tail
  4. Coat
  5. Energy levels
  6. Tolerance around other dogs.

Our extensive research has revealed there are 17 similarities and 20 differences between the Husky vs Malamute. In this article, we will talk about those similarities and differences in great detail. This will help you to decide which dog breed is the best one for you, and what you can expect from them. But sometimes you’ll need a quick way to tell these two dog breeds apart and that’s why we’ve come up with 6 simple and quick ways you can tell the difference.

6 Easy and Quick Ways To Spot A Husky vs. Malamute

Husky vs Malamute size

In terms of Husky vs. Malamute appearance, the most obvious difference is the size between the two breeds. The Husky will be smaller than the Malamute. They can grow up to 22 inches tall and weigh up to 60 pounds. The Husky is considered a medium-sized dog breed vs the Malamute is a large dog breed. Malamutes can grow up to 25 inches tall and weigh up to 100 pounds.

Alaskan MalamuteSiberian Husky
Size20 to 25 inches tall (50.8 to 63.5 centimeters)20 to 22 inches tall (50.8 to 55.8 centimeters)
Weight85 to 100 lbs (38.5 to 45.3 kg)35 to 60 lbs (15.8 to 27.2 kg)
Husky vs Malamute size

Husky vs Malamute eyes

40% of Huskies have blue eyes: Malamutes don’t have blue eyes. Both can have brown eyes, so how can you tell the difference? The Husky will have a lighter shade of brown in terms of eye color, compared to the Malamute’s eye color.

Husky vs Malamute tail

When a Husky is working or relaxed, their tail hangs down. It’s only when a Husky is excited will you see the tail curl up. In contrast, the tail of the Malamute is bushier and is always curled up over the dog’s back. This curly tail developed through years of breeding to help keep their face and body warm as they curled up on cold surfaces like ice and snow.

Husky vs Malamute coat

The Husky has a shorter double coat whereas the Malamute has a longer double coat that’s oiler and more fluffy.

Husky vs Malamute energy levels

The Husky has higher energy levels and loves to jump and run around and they don’t need a lot of rest. They are considered more hyperactive than the Malamute.

Tolerance with other dogs around

The Husky is more tolerant of other dogs around them whereas the Malamute is more aggressive.

Husky vs Malamute Similarities (17)

CategorySimilarity – Description
1NatureExtremely friendly with people. They tend to get on well with others, but they both also need a strong and confident owner that they can respect as the pack leader.
2NatureNot ideal for the first-time dog owner. Responding well to directness and confidence and directness, they need an owner that’s definitely the alpha in the pack with firm leadership.
3NatureDon’t expect them to guard you and your family against intruders. They are way too friendly and playful.
4Nature Not ideal for the first-time dog owner. They respond well to directness and confidence and directness, so they need an owner that’s definitely the alpha in the pack with firm leadership. They do require a lot of TLC and attention so they need time, patience, and energy for the tasks of grooming, exercising, mental stimulation, and training.
5Nature They are pack dogs and need to feel like they belong in the pack. You can allow them to be part of lots of different activities with the rest of the pack, this being your family. Be sure to assert yourself as the dominant leader of the pack, or your dog might start to display unwanted behavior to try and assert their authority.
6NatureBoth Huskies and Malamutes respond well to positive reinforcement in their training, which is why many choose to use treats as a reward for good behavior. You can use them when you are training or playing with your dog, or even as an occasional treat on the side. 
7HistoryOriginated in the Arctic areas so their double coat has adapted to keep them warm in cold weather conditions. They even have fur between their toes to ensure their paws could bear the cold on the ice. They are accustomed to working in snow and blizzards. Malamutes love to live outside.
8EnvironmentAccustomed to working hard in brutal climates like snow and blizzards.
9EnvironmentLarge in personality and size, they would need to live ideally in a home with an enclosed space they could run around in. They would thrive more in a medium to large-sized garden. Whilst not ideal, they could adapt to living in an apartment but it would require you to dedicate more time to exercise.
10ExerciseHigh energy breeds that require lots (and I mean lots) of exercise. About 1-2 hours of exercise a day. This comes from being bred as a working dog. With either breed, if they are not exercised enough, they can resort to destructive behaviors like digging and chewing.
11BreedingBeing bred to work means they have a lot of energy. They were built to pull sleds, making them strong and athletic over distances. As a result, they require loads of exercise.
12BreedingHunt small animals because of their high prey drive.
13Breeding Descend from the Spitz breed of dog. Spitz is a German word meaning “pointed”. This breed is typified by a wolf-like appearance and pointy ears, a tail that’s feathered, and a double coat.
14Breeding Do this little trick of curling their tails (thick with fur) over their noses when they lay down in cold weather conditions. This warms the air they are breathing! How cool is that!
15CoatTheir double coat sheds all year round. They shed more in Spring and Fall when they “blow their coat”. Be prepared to be covered in fur so avoid wearing black clothing! They will require some time for grooming: brushing them every day to control the shedding and vacuuming up the fur.
16Food and feedingBoth of these dog breeds have pretty much the same requirements when it comes to food and feeding. It is really important for them to get a balanced diet with a combination of both wet and dry food, and these foods should be made up of high-quality ingredients. Medium to high protein diets typically works well with both breeds, especially due to the fact that they need lots of exercise. 
17BarkingBoth breeds are not big barkers but much prefer to howl.
Similarities between Huskies and Malamutes

Malamute vs Husky Differences (20)

LifespanLive for around two years less than Huskies (10-12 years).12-15 years
HealthGenerally have more health problems.
NaturePrefer to spend more time with humans.   Like having time to themselves, and they are often very independent.
Nature Loyal to their owners as the leader of the pack.Loyal to the entire pack.
Nature Less likely to get on well with other dogs.More likely to get on well with other dogs, especially when it comes to living with them.
Nature Intelligent.Very intelligent. Smarter than Malamutes to an extent, and they are also known to be more cunning when they want to be.
Nature Less loud and vocal. They bark more than a Husky and howl as well. Should you be worried if your Malamute doesn’t howl very much?Louder and more vocal than Malamutes. They bark less when compared to a Malamute (it’s are). They prefer to chirp or howl. Why do Huskies howl? Find out here.
Nature Less independent and stubbornCan be both independent and stubborn at times, which can make it harder to assert your authority over them. They aren’t likely to be super obedient 100% of the time, so if this is what you are hoping for, you might be better off with a Malamute.
NatureDestructive behavior takes the form of chewing and digging.  Destructive behavior takes the form of digging. They make great escape artists so a fenced-in yard is a good idea.
NatureAs part of the pack (you and your family), they like to be with owners and feel involved. Doesn’t need as much attention, but they are part of the pack and need to feel that way.
SizeBigger of the two breeds – starting from 85 pounds and 20 inches tall. Considered a large dog breed. Smaller than a Malamute – starting at 35 pounds and 20 inches tall. Considered a medium dog breed.
Eyes Brown eyes. The majority of breeders will prefer dark brown eyes, as this is in line with the breed standard. However, this shade of brown can vary to lighter shades. Some Malamutes will have orange eyes, which are definitely a sight to behold. Have blue eyes, brown eyes, bi-eyed (one eye that is blue and another eye that is brown), and particolored (mixture of both colors in one eye) eyes. Huskies are mostly identified due to their striking blue eyes, which is the acceptable eye color for the breed standard.
HeadLarger with a bulky muzzle.Smaller with a medium-sized muzzle.
TailAlways curled up.Only curls up when excited.
EarsEars point slightly forward.Ears point straight up.
StrengthStronger than Huskies, but they are also slower, and they don’t need as much exercise. They are more about endurance having has to pull heavy sleds slowly over long distances. Huskies were bred to pull light sleds at faster speeds over long distances.
CoatHave a long-length double coat that tends to be oiler and more wooly (fluffier). This can mean that their coat requires more maintenance at times, but this isn’t always the case. For some tips on how to keep your Malamute cool in Summer, go here.Medium-length double coat. Here is our complete guide to coping with shedding from your Husky. Do Huskies get hot in the warmer months of the year with that double coat?
CoatColor can be anywhere from black to light gray, and they can even come in shades of red. However, their underbelly will usually be all white, but they sometimes have markings on their faces, paws, or and legs. Can be either black, red, gray, sable, white, or agouti. Something that is a rarer occurrence is the all-white Husky.
ExerciseNeed less exercise than the Husky with a minimum of 1 hour a day. You will usually find that a daily walk is enough to tire out a Malamute and keep them happy and content. Need more exercise than the Malamute – say, 1-2 hours per day. A Husky has a lot more excess energy to burn off compared to a Malamute. With either breed, if they are not exercised enough, they can resort to destructive behaviors like digging and chewing. Like running with your Husky?
StimulationDon’t need as much mental stimulation.High energy and require lots of mental and physical stimulation.
The differences between a Husky and a Malamute
Husky pup
Husky pup

Frequently Asked Questions

Now that you know everything that there is to know about owning either a Husky vs Malamute, we are going to answer some of the most frequently asked questions about these breeds. Hopefully, this will answer any questions that you have left.

Malamute vs Husky price

Based on my research, a Malamute puppy will cost more than a Husky puppy, on average. The Malamute puppy will be priced between $1200-$2000 whereas a Husky puppy costs around $600-$1500. Breeders tend to price their puppies differently depending on the dog’s pedigree, training, coat color, age, and many other factors. If you are willing to buy a more mature dog or a rescue dog, the price will be reduced. There are a number of rescue centers for either breed located in the US and potentially close to you.

Are Alaskan Malamutes better than Siberian Huskies?

Both of these breeds are pack animals, which means that they are both very loyal and loving, but Malamutes do have a bit of an independent side, which means that they will take more time for themselves.

This means that they can sometimes be better as pets if you don’t have lots of time to spend with your Husky every day. However, they can sometimes be aggressive with other dogs, which can be an issue if you already have a dog in your home.

Are Malamutes more aggressive than Huskies?

Alaskan Malamutes are typically independent, friendly, and loyal dogs, and they generally aren’t very aggressive. However, they can become more aggressive with strangers or new dogs if they have not been properly socialized when they are puppies when compared to the Husky breed. This is why you should make sure to introduce your Malamute puppy to various new environments, people, and dogs, so they get used to these types of situations. 

Siberian Huskies are not typically very aggressive dogs, and they don’t usually show signs of aggression or antisocial behavior. They are very friendly, even when it comes to strangers, and they are actually one of the least likely breeds to attack someone. However, you will need to make sure that they are properly socialized when they are puppies for this to be the case. They also have a high prey drive, which can lead them to become aggressive when they are in situations that involve food. 

Are Malamutes easy to train?

Malamutes can be difficult to train at times, as they don’t always want to interact with people. However, when you have their attention, they are easy to train as they are highly intelligent dogs. You will need to keep their training interesting and make sure that you aren’t repetitive, as they can easily get bored with this.

As long as you keep them interested and reward their good behavior with lots of fuss and treats, they shouldn’t be too difficult to train.

Why do Malamutes talk so much?

There are some dog breeds that like to bark and be vocal, but Malamutes are specifically known for making noise to communicate their emotions and needs. They will often be the most vocal when they are frustrated, happy, or annoyed. They can also try to communicate through their body language. 

Is a Husky a good pet?

Huskies make great pets for a variety of different households, and they are also good with children. They can be very tolerant of children, but you should always supervise when they are around them, just to be on the safe side. They are also very affectionate when it comes to people, even if they are strangers.


Both of these breeds will make excellent pets, but you may prefer one over the other after reading this article. They both have their own unique traits that make them stand out, but it is important to be aware of all the potential downsides that could come with bringing either of these dogs into your home. 

No dog is going to be perfect all of the time, but it is up to you to weigh the pros and cons of owning each breed to figure out which one would be the best match for you. What you can be sure of is the fact that these are both demanding dogs that are going to require a lot of your time and energy. 

They need lots of exercise, grooming, and attention, and not everyone will have the time to dedicate to this. So, if you have the free time to dedicate to these dogs, then you can reap the benefits that come with bringing these loving breeds into your home. For some tips on how to raise a Husky, read this article.

However, be prepared for the potential for chaos and destruction at times with these sometimes unpredictable breeds.


Jennifer's best four-footed friend is a husky mix called Humphrey Bogart who goes by "Bogie" for short. They first met at a local animal shelter, where Bogie, then Kevin, had been turned in with an injured paw. He and Jennifer hit it off right away, and newly-minted Bogie went home the same day. In spite of his one floppy paw, Bogie's a speedy runner who loves to be off his leash, when his owner lets him. He's full of energy and enjoys playing fetch when he isn't busy chasing the rabbits that frequent his backyard. On hot summer days, he swims in the river, but winter is his favorite season. Every time the snow falls, Bogie sprints out of the house and dives in.

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