Malamute vs Husky: Differences Explained

The Alaskan malamute and Siberian husky are a pair of loyal, friendly, and dedicated dogs, rooted in the work for which they were originally bred. 

Malamute (top) and husky (bottom)

Malamute vs Husky: Curly vs. Extended Tail

The easiest way to tell a Malamute from a Husky is the tail. Through years of breeding, the curly tail is an evolutionary trait, helping the dog to keep its body and face warm as they curl up. It is also far bushier than the husky’s tail, which often is fully straightened.

Malamute vs Husky: Relation to the Wolf

If you’re not sure where the Malamute gets its good looks, go no further than the wolf! The breed was developed nearly 3,000 years ago, and its size is much closer to that of a wolf. According to legend, the Inuit’s that bred them would leave their dogs tied to a tree in the forest in the hopes that a wolf would mate with them to improve their strength.

The Husky doesn’t have nearly the same genetics as the wolf. Instead, the breed is closer to the Spitz dog family, which includes dogs like Pomeranians and Akitas.

Malamute vs Husky: Tribal Breeding Around the World

While it is clear that genetics are rooted in different breeds, the husky and the malamute come from entirely different parts of the world. The husky originally came from Northeast Asia, and it was bred to be a sled dog by the Chukchi people. It wasn’t until the 20th century that the Siberian husky ever made it to the United States at the request of the Alaskan people.

The Malamute, on the other hand, was bred directly in northwestern Alaska by the Mahlemut, which is a nomadic Inuit tribe in the area. Instead of working as sled dogs, the Mahlemut used them as protection from polar bears and to hunt seals. However, they would sometimes work to pull along supplies over large distances like sled dogs.

Malamute vs Husky: Taking Care of Grooming

As beautiful as both dogs can, grooming is absolutely essential. The husky requires a lot less work to keep up their coat, only requiring a brushing every week and a bath a few times a year. Malamutes are incredibly high maintenance, and the only way to keep shedding and mats to a minimum is daily brushing and a bath every 6-8 weeks.

Malamute vs Husky: Full of Personality

Each of these dogs has a reputation as a pack animal, full of love for their families; huskies much prefer to stick with their human family and do not love being left behind. Malamutes will be independent on their own terms, and they may thrive as only pets.

Malamute vs Husky: Exercise Needs

There’s no doubt that both huskies and malamutes need to get outside and get moving, but the way that they get the most out of exercise varies greatly. Huskies thrive on speed-based exercise, running around in a large backyard and even in a large living room to get their energy out. The malamute, on the other hand, likes to get a little work in, carrying along whatever might be needed for the adventure. Even if they are just in charge of a small backpack with their water dish, they like a little extra work in their movement.

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