While learning about huskies I discovered that there are two major breeds, Alaskan Huskies and Siberian Huskies. At first, I thought the obvious difference is that one breed hails from Alaska and the other Siberia. This is true, however there are a few other things that differentiate these two.
Siberian Huskies, like our husky Aura, are a purebred dog that was domesticated by the Chukchi people and developed as working dogs to help them survive the unforgiving climate of Siberia. The Siberian husky is part of the ‘spitz‘ family and has been officially recognized by The American Kennel Club since 1932.
Alaskan Huskies started popping up in 1909 when the first Siberian huskies were brought to Alaska as racing dogs. To make the Siberian husky more effective at pulling sleds they were bred with other working dogs like German Shepards and Border Collies. This resulted in the birth of Alaskan Huskies which are basically mixed dogs and are not recognized by The American Kennel Club as a breed.
Physical Attributes of Alaskan VS Siberian Huskies
Because Alaskan Huskies are mixes they can vary quite greatly in appearance from dog to dog. That being said generally males will be around 40 to 60 lbs and females around 35 to 55 lbs. They are medium, sometimes large, sized dogs and can get up to 26 inches tall. They tend to have lean bodies with long, slender legs. Their fur coats come in a variety of different colors based on what they’re mixed with and predominantly have brown eyes. They are usually taller and faster than Siberian huskies, making them even better sled dogs.
Since they are purebred, there is usually more consistency in the physical appearance of Siberian huskies. Males tend to be around 45 to 60 lbs with the females coming in between 35 and 50 lbs. They are generally a medium-sized dog, about 18 to 24 inches tall. Most Siberian huskies have a black and white coat but there are also white, gray, and red huskies as well. Usually they will have brown or blue eyes but some have heterochromia which means that one eye is a different color than the other. Our husky Aura has a matching set of beautiful blue eyes.
Both dogs sport a two layer coat that keeps warmth in during frigid weather and reflects heat when it is sunny. It’s hard to believe but Aura loves to go out sunbathing in the backyard here in Phoenix Arizona where temperatures often break 100 degrees Fahrenheit!
Behavior of Alaskan VS Siberian Huskies
In terms of behavior Alaskan and Siberian huskies are both very similar. They’re generally very friendly dogs and love belonging to a pack. Since Alaskan huskies are mixed with other breeds they tend to be slightly less hyper than Siberian huskies. Our husky Aura is full Siberian but lacks the relentless energy of most dogs her breed.
Huskies are known to love exploring and will easily get lost if you don’t keep them on a leash. Digging is another favorite hobby of theirs and they will dig up your yard for fun or to escape the confines of their enclosure. They are very intelligent creatures so it’s important to train them from a young age to reinforce good behavior.
Huskies tend not to bark but instead howl in unique and often amusing ways. These dogs are known for being very loud and talkative and there are plenty videos on the web that showcase this trait of theirs. One thing of important note with these dogs is that they have a predator’s instinct and will chase down and kill small animals without thinking twice. It’s important to introduce them to smaller pets in a safe and controlled environment.
The Simplest Explanation of Alaskan VS Siberian Huskies
Hopefully by now you understand a little more about the minor differences between Alaskan and Siberian huskies. The simplest explanation is that Siberian Huskies are a purebred breed recognized by the American Kennel Club and Alaskan Huskies are husky mixes that were bred to make more efficient sled dogs.
There is also a breed of dog called the Alaskan Malamute that are often mistaken as huskies and vice versa. While Alaskan Huskies and Siberian Huskies are basically the same breed they are separate from malamutes despite the resemblance. For more information check out this article by siberianhusky.com.
Between the Alaskan Husky, Siberian Husky, and Alaskan Malamute do you have a favorite? Let us know in the comments below!