Sometimes a dog does something so adorable that he becomes an internet sensation in a matter of days. One such dog is Mishka, who is seen in a video repeating the words ‘I love you’ in an almost human voice. My husband and I were watching this video together and we started arguing about the dog’s breed. One of us said the dog was a Siberian Husky while the other went with an Alaskan Malamute. While researching the topic, it turned out we are not the only people confused by these breeds, as they look so much alike in terms of physical appearance.
I have found one writer who aptly describes these dogs as the sled dogs of the North. They were bred to run and they all love to run. However, there are a few differences that distinguish each from the other two.
The Alaskan Malamutes are one of the oldest sled dogs and looks exactly as they looked 4000 years ago. They are named after the Inuit tribe Mahlemut. Malamutes were bred to pull heavy sleds and transport people and goods all around the Arctic region.
Malamutes are large dogs, measuring 23 inches to 25 inches across the shoulders. They weigh 75 to 85 pounds, but it’s not rare to encounter a male that is over 100 pounds.
They have broad heads and wide set eyes, and their eyes are brown in color. Their bushy tail is carried over the back.
Unlike the Siberian Husky, the Malamute is heavy and so is not likely to jump over a fence. He can however use his strong paws to dig out and find his way out of your backyard. Since he is bred to run and loves to do so, once he is out he will run to his fill and will only stop when he is satisfied.
He loves his human family but tends to be aggressive with other dogs of the same gender. In a few words, he is confident, independent and stubborn.
The Siberian Husky’s origin is Siberia among a semi-nomadic people called the Chukchi people. These people bred Siberian Huskies to endure great distances pulling a light load at a moderate speed. They also wanted a dog that could endure harsh weather.
Siberian Huskies weigh 35 pounds to 60 pounds and are 20 to 23.5 inches at the shoulder, making them smaller than the malamute. Their heads are not quite as broad and their eyes and ears are set close together.
Unlike Malamute dogs whose eyes are strictly brown, Siberian Huskies can have brown eyes, one brown and one blue eye, both blue, green or parti-colored. They too have bushy tails just like the Malamutes, but they carry them in a sickle shape when alert or drops them lower when relaxed.
Their temperament is much like the Malamute’s: they love those who earn their trust, are intelligent, stubborn, and confident.
The Alaskan Husky is not a specific breed like the Siberian Husky or the Alaskan Malamute. Since the people who bred these dogs were more interested in the work the dogs could do more than their appearance, they tend to have different looks. Some look like a Malamute and Siberian Husky cross, and others look more like a wolf.
Alaskan Huskies are not a breed that’s recognized by the American Kennel Club(AKC) because they differ in appearance. However, they do have a few things in common. They have brown eyes, and have a short to medium coat with an undercoat. They also have long legs adapted to the task of running for long distances, are deep in the chest, have pointy ears, and their tails curve over their back. They weigh from 35 to 50 pounds but vary in height.
Although the Siberian Husky and the Alaskan Malamute are good runners, the Alaskan Husky can outrun both any day, anywhere. The Alaskan Husky is the the fastest of the three.
In summary, I came to conclude the three dogs belong to one category: they were bred to pull sleds. But they have slight differences.
The Malamute is the largest of the three. If you see a sled dog that is massive, that’s most likely a Malamute. Another distinguishing feature of the Malamute is the wide set ears and long coat.
The Husky comes with different eye colors and is slightly smaller than the malamute. In addition, the ears and eyes are not wide set and the coat is medium to short.
The Alaskan Husky is any dog that falls in the sled dogs of the north but does not have the distinguishing features of either the Malamute or the Siberian Husky. They also tend to have long legs and poity ears as some of their distuinguishing features.
PS: The dog we were arguing about is a Siberian Husky.