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Akita vs Alaskan Malamute Comparison

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When it comes to choosing a canine companion, the decision can be overwhelming. With hundreds of dog breeds to choose from, each with its unique characteristics, it’s crucial to find a breed that matches your lifestyle, personality, and needs. Two striking and powerful breeds that often catch the eye of dog enthusiasts are the Akita and the Alaskan Malamute. In this comprehensive comparison, we’ll dive deep into the world of these remarkable dogs to help you make an informed choice.

Akita vs Alaskan Malamute Comparison

Akita vs Alaskan Malamute: History and Origins

Akita: The Akita, also known as the Akita Inu, boasts a rich and ancient history. Originating in Japan, this breed’s lineage can be traced back to the Matagi dog, used by the indigenous Matagi people for hunting large game in the mountainous regions of northern Japan. Over time, Akitas became a symbol of nobility and loyalty in Japanese culture. In fact, they were often given as gifts to signify trust and friendship. This history of nobility is reflected in their dignified demeanor and loyalty to their families.

Alaskan Malamute: The Alaskan Malamute, as the name suggests, comes from the rugged Arctic regions of Alaska. Bred by the native Mahlemut people, these dogs were essential for hauling heavy freight and serving as dependable sled dogs. Unlike Akitas, the Malamute’s history is steeped in the utilitarian purpose of surviving in harsh conditions, leading to their strength and endurance.

Akita vs Alaskan Malamute: Appearance and Characteristics

Akita: Akitas are characterized by their strong and sturdy build. Males typically stand 26 to 28 inches at the shoulder and weigh 100 to 130 pounds, while females are slightly smaller, ranging from 24 to 26 inches in height and weighing 70 to 100 pounds.


They have a thick double coat that comes in various colors, including white, brindle, and pinto. Akitas possess an air of nobility with their erect ears, curled tail, and a broad head featuring a bear-like appearance.

Alaskan Malamute: Alaskan Malamutes are formidable and robust dogs. Males typically stand 25 to 28 inches at the shoulder and weigh 85 to 100 pounds, with females slightly smaller at 23 to 26 inches and 75 to 85 pounds. Their dense double coat is designed to endure extreme cold, and it comes in various shades of gray, black, sable, and red. They have a striking wolf-like appearance with a plume-like tail carried over their backs and expressive almond-shaped eyes.

Akita vs Alaskan Malamute: Temperament

Akita: Akitas are known for their loyalty, dignity, and strong guarding instincts. They are reserved and often aloof with strangers, making them excellent guard dogs. However, they are incredibly loyal to their families and can be affectionate with loved ones. Early socialization and training are essential to ensure they are well-behaved and adaptable to various situations.

Alaskan Malamute

Alaskan Malamute: In contrast, Alaskan Malamutes are friendly, outgoing, and sociable dogs. They have a playful and mischievous side and tend to maintain their puppy-like behavior well into adulthood. Malamutes are known for their love of human companionship and are generally good with children. They are less reserved than Akitas and are often described as “gentle giants.”

Akita vs Alaskan Malamute: Health

Akita: Akitas are generally healthy dogs, but like all breeds, they are susceptible to specific health issues. Common concerns include hip dysplasia, hypothyroidism, autoimmune disorders, and bloat. Regular veterinary check-ups, a balanced diet, and a healthy lifestyle are essential for their well-being.

Alaskan Malamute: Alaskan Malamutes also have their share of potential health problems. These may include hip dysplasia, cataracts, and a genetic condition known as polyneuropathy. Prospective Malamute owners should ensure they obtain their dogs from reputable breeders who perform health screenings on their breeding dogs and prioritize their overall health.

Akita vs Alaskan Malamute: Trainability

Akita: Akitas are known for their strong-willed and independent nature, which can sometimes make training a challenge. They are intelligent dogs, but they may require an experienced and patient handler. Early socialization is crucial to ensure they are well-adjusted and can get along with other dogs and people.

Positive reinforcement methods work best with Akitas, as they do not respond well to harsh or punitive training techniques. Consistency and firm but gentle guidance are key to successful Akita training. With the right approach, Akitas can excel in obedience and even participate in various dog sports.

Alaskan Malamute: Alaskan Malamutes are also independent thinkers, but they tend to be more amiable and cooperative during training sessions compared to Akitas. They have a strong work ethic and a desire to please, making them more trainable for the average owner. However, they can be a bit stubborn at times, so patience and consistency are still essential.

Early socialization is vital to ensure they develop good manners and interact well with other dogs and people. Positive reinforcement and reward-based training methods are effective with Malamutes, and they often excel in activities like obedience, agility, and even pulling competitions.

Akita vs Alaskan Malamute: Bark

Akita: Akitas are generally not excessive barkers. They tend to be reserved and selective about when they vocalize. When they do bark, it is usually for a reason, such as alerting their owners to potential threats. This makes them good watchdogs. However, they are not known for constant barking or being overly vocal.

Alaskan Malamute: Alaskan Malamutes are not particularly prone to incessant barking either. They are generally a quieter breed and are not known for being yappy. However, they may howl or “talk” at times, especially when they are excited or trying to communicate with their owners. This vocalization is often endearing to Malamute owners and is not typically considered a nuisance.

Akita vs Alaskan Malamute: Adaptability

Akita:Akitas are known for their adaptability to different living environments. They can thrive in apartments as long as they receive sufficient exercise and mental stimulation. However, they are more comfortable in homes with fenced yards where they can roam and play safely. Akitas are generally less tolerant of extreme heat due to their thick double coat, so owners in hot climates should take precautions to keep them cool.

Alaskan Malamute: Alaskan Malamutes are well-suited for colder climates due to their thick, insulating coat. They may struggle in hot and humid conditions and are more comfortable in colder environments. They require ample space to move around and are ideally suited for homes with larger yards or access to open spaces. They are adaptable in terms of living arrangements but do best in homes where they can enjoy outdoor activities.

Akita vs Alaskan Malamute: Nutrition

Akita: Akitas are a large breed with a moderate metabolism. They require a balanced diet to maintain their weight and overall health. High-quality dog food that meets their specific nutritional needs is essential. Owners should monitor their food intake to prevent obesity, a common concern in Akitas. Additionally, Akitas can be sensitive to certain foods, so it’s crucial to choose a diet that suits their digestive system and consult with a veterinarian for dietary recommendations.

Alaskan Malamute: Alaskan Malamutes are active dogs with substantial energy requirements. They need a diet rich in proteins and fats to support their active lifestyle. Owners should choose a high-quality dog food formulated for large, active breeds. Like Akitas, Malamutes can be prone to obesity, so portion control and regular exercise are essential to maintain a healthy weight. Owners should also be cautious with treats and table scraps, as excessive indulgence can lead to weight gain.

Frequently Asked Questions

What are the main differences between Akitas and Alaskan Malamutes?

The main differences between Akitas and Alaskan Malamutes lie in their origins, appearance, temperament, and specific needs. Akitas are from Japan, have a dignified and reserved temperament, and require consistent training due to their independent nature. Alaskan Malamutes hail from Alaska, have a friendly and outgoing temperament, and need ample exercise and space due to their active lifestyle.

Which breed is better for families with children?

Alaskan Malamutes are often considered better for families with children due to their friendly and gentle nature. They are typically more tolerant of rambunctious play and tend to be more patient with kids. Akitas can be good family dogs but may require more socialization and training to ensure they are comfortable around children.

Are Akitas or Alaskan Malamutes more suited for first-time dog owners?

Neither breed is typically recommended for first-time dog owners due to their independent and strong-willed nature. However, if a first-time owner is committed to proper training and socialization, an Alaskan Malamute may be a better choice because of their more cooperative and adaptable temperament.

Do Akitas and Alaskan Malamutes get along with other pets?

Akitas tend to have a strong prey drive and may be less tolerant of other pets, especially smaller animals. Proper socialization from a young age can help, but caution should always be exercised. Alaskan Malamutes can coexist with other pets, including dogs, if they are raised together and introduced properly. However, their natural instincts may still lead to occasional conflicts.

What kind of exercise do Akitas and Alaskan Malamutes need?

Akitas require regular exercise, including daily walks, playtime, and mental stimulation. They should not be overexerted, especially in hot weather. Alaskan Malamutes are highly active and thrive on strenuous exercise like hiking, running, and even dog sledding. They need a lot of physical activity to stay healthy and happy.

Are Akitas and Alaskan Malamutes prone to specific health issues?

Both breeds have their own set of potential health concerns. Akitas may be susceptible to hip dysplasia, hypothyroidism, autoimmune disorders, and bloat. Alaskan Malamutes can also face hip dysplasia, cataracts, and a genetic condition called polyneuropathy. Regular veterinary check-ups and a balanced diet are essential for both breeds.


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  • Hey pet lovers ! I am Deepali H passionate pet lover and writer who enjoys sharing tips, facts and information about Pets .With 3 years of experience in the pet industry, I have a wealth of knowledge to offer readers. I hope you will like my articles. Thank you !

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