Are there different types of huskies? Well, yes they are. As the name suggests, Alaskan Husky and Siberian Husky are two different dog breeds, developed on two different continents. But the comparison doesn’t end there. There are some real differences in temperament and appearance. Today, we will look at the Siberian Husky versus Alaskan Husky breed comparison.
One of the main differences is that the Alaskan Husky is not registered as a purebred dog breed, while the Siberian counterpart is. There are many more differences, and we will try to look at them all. Which one is the better family pet? Read on to find out!
The Siberian Husky was originally developed by the Chukchi people in eastern Siberia. They wanted a dog they can use for pulling sleds. The Siberian Husky was used for centuries to pull the sleds of the Chukchi Tribe, but also for herding reindeer and guarding.
Yet, over time, Siberian huskies have become more and more domesticated. This dog breed is probably the closest relative to wolves.
While Siberian huskies were originally bred for work, they have since been domesticated. On the other hand, Alaskan huskies are still used for work. That is why there are many differences in their appearance and temperament.
And no, an Alaska Husky is not an Alaskan Malamute.
Appearance Breed Comparison
When you look at the Siberian Husky versus Alaskan Husky side-by-side comparison, you will notice differences in coat and coloring. Siberian huskies come in a wider variety of colors, including black, white, red, tan, and bi-colored. On the other hand, Alaskan huskies come in solid black or solid white colors.
Then there is the difference in coat structure and length. Siberian Huskies have a longer coat, but both breeds have a double coat to keep them warm in cold climates. You can also say that Siberian huskies have thick coats, while Alaskan ones have shorter and thinner coats.
Size is another difference. The Alaskan Husky Dog tends to be slimmer, weighing 5 to 10 pounds less than the average Siberian Husky dog. They are leaner and longer because of their role as working dogs.
If you want a Husky with blue eyes, then you should only get a Siberian Husky. Alaskan Huskies typically only have brown eye color.
Yes, both breeds tend to have heterochromia, but Siberian huskies have a wider range of eye colors, including brown, blue, and even green.
When you compare Siberian Husky and Alaskan Husky, you have to remember the breeding purpose. Regardless of the lineage, they are both known as high-energy dogs.
You might think there is no difference in temperament, but you would be wrong. Both were bred as working and hunting dogs. But because of domestication, Siberian huskies were subjected to scrutiny and fine-tuning. That means they are a bit more welcoming and accepting of strangers, and more eager to please their owner.
On the other hand, you have the Alaskan Husky, a loyal sled dog. They were used for sled dog racing and sledding, meaning they do not enjoy life inside the home. Yes, you can have an Alaskan Husky as a pet, but you will need to work extra hard to domesticate this sled dog and make it a family pet.
Alaskan huskies have a stronger prey drive, they will chase wildlife, leap over fences, and dig under a fence.
Siberian Huskies are less all work and no play, making them more content as family pets.
Yet, both of them are howlers. Be ready for a vocal dog breed if you want to keep a Husky at home. The good news is they do not bark.
Huskies are dogs with average intelligence. You will not have an easy time training them. And they are quite stubborn.
Because of earlier domestication, the Siberian Husky dog breed is easier to keep as a family pet. That doesn’t mean you cannot have an Alaskan Husky dog as a pet. It is possible, once you handle their strong will.
When it comes down to training, these dogs need firm, consistent, and experienced dog owners. Alaskan huskies even more. Because of their upbringing and sledding, they do not have the qualities to be friendly companions. They are less friendly to others compared to Siberian Huskies. And it is your job to handle it with proper training and socialization.
There is always a debate about whether purebred dog breeds or mixed-breed dogs are more susceptible to health issues.
But no matter which dog you choose, the risk of health problems is always there. Both dogs are susceptible to cataracts, progressive retinal atrophy, hip dysplasia, zinc deficiency, hypothyroidism, corneal dystrophy, and elbow dysplasia.
Yet, there is one issue that stands out and affects only Alaska Husky. Called encephalopathy, it is an incurable brain disease causing neurological issues due to thiamine not being properly processed by the body.
Now we go back to the coat problem. If you are getting a Husky, you should be ready for dog fur and dog hair in your home. The Siberian Husky has a longer coat, meaning more dog hair in the house. Grooming is a challenge since these dogs need two to three times per week brushing.
They are heavy shedders, and during seasonal changes, they need daily brushing. Now, if you live in a cold-year-round climate, your Husky will shed less.
Which Is The Purebred Dog?
According to The American Kennel Club, the Alaskan husky is not a purebred dog breed. They are not recognized by the AKC. On the other hand, the Siberian Husky dog is recognized by The American Kennel Club. And it is among the most popular breeds.
Which One To Choose?
By now, you are probably thinking, a purebred Siberian Husky is the way to go. But do not worry, even an Alaskan Husky can be domesticated, trained, and socialized. The problem is it will take you a bit more time. On the other hand, if you want a more athletic and active dog, Alaskan Huskies are better. These sled dogs thrive in sports.
Stubbornness is an issue with both breeds. And you will need to be a bit more isolated from other animals if you own an Alaskan dog. They are not as friendly.