Akita vs Malamute: 12 Key Differences

Akita vs Malamute: 12 Key Differences

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Akita vs Malamute: Which is right for you? Before getting any puppy, you have to be sure that the breed you want to buy or rescue is a good fit for your lifestyle and home. In this article, we’ll break down everything you need to know about these two charming breeds to help you make the right decision. 

Let’s dive right in!

Akita vs Malamute: breed history

Both the Akita and the Alaskan Malamute belong to the working group, but their breed histories are very different.


The mountains of northern Japan are where the Akita first appeared. They were used for fighting and hunting, but Akitas are now trained for police and guard work.

Helen Keller, an American woman, is credited with bringing the Akita to the US after being given two Akitas by the Japanese government in 1938.

There are two types of Akitas. A pure Japanese strain called the Akita Inu and a mix American, which is commonly larger.


As one of the oldest sled dogs in the Arctic, the Alaskan Malamute has a proud history. They were first bred by the Mahlemut tribe, a nomadic Inuit tribe in the Kotzebue Sound in northwestern Alaska.

Their original works include hauling heavy loads filled with food or camp supplies, hunting seals, and fending off polar bears.

Akita vs Malamute: popularity

malamute vs akita

According to the American Kennel Club (AKC), the Akita (#52) is more popular than the Malamute (#68). However, the Akita is much more popular in particular countries like Japan because this breed is considered one of the national treasures.

Akita vs Malamute: size

Both are large dog breeds, but the Akita is larger than the Malamute. An Akita typically stands from 24 to 28 inches and weighs between 70 to 130 pounds, while a Malamute stands 23 to 25 inches and weighs 75 to 85 pounds. 

Akita vs Malamute: appearance

Akita vs alaskan malamute


Akitas have a sturdy and balanced appearance. Small eyes and erect ears give them a very dignified look. Their broad head is in line with the back. Legs are straight and strong, and the large tail curve over the body keeps the balance of their overall appearance. 


A wolf-like breed in appearance, these dogs have almond-shaped eyes, erect eyes, substantial bone, and white feet, with a flirty plumed tail carried over their back.

If you see an Alaskan Malamute and a Husky side by side, you might get confused, but remember that the Malamute is larger, and the Husky is the one with blue eyes.

Akita vs Malamute: coat types

Both the Akita and the Malamute have a dense double coat. The outer coat, also known as the guard coat, is thick and coarse. The undercoat, which can be as thick as two inches, has an oily and woolly texture to repel wetness and cold.

These canines are colorful dogs with many attractive markings. Japanese Akita comes in 4 colors: red fawn, brindle, white, and sesame. On the other hand, American Akita has a much broader spectrum of colors.

According to the AKC, the Malamute’s typical colors range from light gray through intermediate shadings to black, sable, and shadings of sable to red. All white is the only solid color that is allowed.

Akita vs Malamute: lifespan

akita vs malamute

The average lifespan of Akitas is around 10 to 13 years. Alaskan Malamutes generally live longer than Akitas, with a lifespan of 10 to 15 years. Read this article to know how to prolong your dog’s lifespan!

Malamute vs Akita: personality

Both are loyal dogs that enjoy spending time with their families.

While Alaskan Malamutes are super friendly even with strangers, Akitas are not social butterflies and often feel cautious around strangers. If you’re looking for excellent guard dogs, the Akita is better.

Goofy dogs with a lovable personality, Malamutes are great with kids and tend to do better than Akitas. But you still have to supervise them closely around young children because they are big canines and might accidentally knock a child over or nip and hurt them.

Are Akitas noisy?

Akitas don’t bark often, so they are known as silent hunters. Based on their strong hunting background, it makes perfect sense. Best hunters do not want to warn their prey that they are approaching, so they do not bark unnecessarily.

Are Malamutes noisy?

Malamutes rarely bark. Instead, they hold conversations with you through “woo woo” sounds or loud, extensive howls.

Akita vs Malamute: health

Akita vs alaskan malamute

Like humans, dogs may have a genetic predisposition to certain health issues. The best way to ensure your puppy is healthy is to research reputable breeders, then ask them about the puppy’s parents and see the living conditions of all the dogs. Don’t forget the health certification!


The Akita can be prone to common illnesses such as hip dysplasia, thyroid problems, and eye degeneration.


Common genetic predispositions of the Malamute include hip dysplasia, hypothyroidism, seizures, cataracts, and bloat.

Akita vs Malamute: exercise

To keep your dog happy and healthy, you should give them adequate physical activities. Moreover, it will also reduce or even eliminate their destructive behaviors.

Akitas and Alaskan Malamutes have high energy levels, which means they’ll need at least 30 to 60 minutes of vigorous exercise most days of the week, preferably daily.

These dogs are always up for outdoor playtime, especially if you give them a job. Hiking, swimming, or playing in the snow can give them a great time. 

Training & socializing

akita vs malamute

Some breeds are easier to train, while others are more stubborn. But all of them will respond best to positive reinforcement. If you choose one of these pups, remember three keys to successful dog training are patience, persistence, and consistency.

Alaskan Malamutes are easier to train than Akitas because they aren’t very stubborn. However, this doesn’t mean Akitas are untrainable. You can learn how to train a dog from a reputable source like this one, or grab the free guide below.

Shedding & grooming

Akitas and Malamutes are heavy shedders. They shed heavily twice a year. Regular brushing with a slick brush is necessary to help keep shedding under control.

Don’t bathe your dog too much because it will strip the natural oils and cause dry, itchy skin. Also, don’t forget to trim their nails when you hear the clicking sounds on the floor, brush their teeth often, and clean their ears monthly to avoid affection.

Akita vs Alaskan Malamute: feeding

malamute vs akita

We don’t feed an Akita or a Malamute the same thing we give a Chihuahua. That means you should give your dog food based on breed, size, age, and energy level

To give your dog all the essential nutrients, you should feed them only high-quality food. Their food must be high in protein, free of artificial additions or fillers, and all ingredients need to be easy to digest.

It is crucial to avoid overfeeding your dog because it can lead to serious health consequences like diabetes, heart disease, arthritis, and reduced lifespan. Therefore, you should follow a regular feeding schedule and avoid leaving food out all day.

Akita vs Malamute: adaptability

Looking at their super thick coats, you can guess how much they love the cold weather! These breeds don’t tolerate hot weather well, so you should pay attention, especially in hot conditions. Read this article to get seven summer safety tips for your dog if you live in a hot place.

Akitas are known to be better apartment dogs than Malamutes, but in general, both are not known for being good apartment dogs.   


The main difference between Akita vs Malamute is their temperament. While the Malamute is super friendly, the Akita is naturally wary of strangers and be more protective. Both require mental and physical activities to stay happy and healthy. Now let’s choose a breed that fits your lifestyle, and be ready to feel true love and loyalty!

And before you leave, check out our best new puppy resource for new dog parents below ⇓

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