Deciding between the Alaskan malamute vs. Samoyed can be very daunting, especially when you love the fuzziness of these two beautiful northern breeds. Alaskan malamutes and Samoyeds share a rich history that excites most of their owners.  The two breeds have a few similarities and some distinct differences that make them suitable for different people. 

Here, we shall outline their similarities and differences to help you decide on the breed that interests you the most. Nonetheless, we’ll take you through their history and show you what it takes to care for them.  

Alaskan Malamute Vs Samoyed 

The Alaskan malamute and Samoyed have triangular-shaped ears and strong legs adapted to traverse snow tundra. However, while Alaskan malamutes exist in various colors like white and brown/black, Samoyeds only exist in a fantastic white/cream-colored coat.

Other Similarities

1. Reason For Breeding 

The Alaskan malamute and the Samoyed were originally bred for pulling sleds in snowy and freezing weather conditions. 

2. Appearance 

The Alaskan malamute does have some similarities in appearance that make them hard to distinguish. The two breeds have triangular-shaped ears and thick double coats. 

They appear more masculine than average dogs, so they need plenty of exercise to remain strong and healthy. 

3. Origin 

The two breeds share a common northern heritage as they are both suited to withstand cold and harsh weather conditions. 

4. Socialization

The Alaskan malamute and the Samoyed can be very friendly dogs if you train them properly. They often get anxious when their owners are not around and may be shy around crowds. 

Therefore, it is essential to adopt them from a young age and train them to be social around people. 

5. Smart Dogs

Both breeds are intelligent and can be independent thinkers with strong will. Therefore, they will need consistent training from a young age to establish obedience to their owners. 

They are difficult dogs to train, and they may not listen to you if they sense that you are not a good leader. Therefore, they may not be ideal for 1st-time dog owners unless you are willing to put in a lot of work. 

6. Athletic Ability

The two breeds of dogs are very athletic and strong. It is the reason their original owners in the past used them for pulling sleds. They portray exceptional strength, and they can jump long distances. 

7. Prey Drive

The Alaskan malamute and Samoyed have a strong prey drive, and you might have to be extremely cautious when you let them off the leash. It is also important to properly secure your backyard and to prevent these escape artists from running around lose. 

Other Differences


Size is one of the primary differences between an Alaskan malamute and a Samoyed, with an Alaskan malamute being larger than a Samoyed on average. Alaskan malamutes can reach around 23 to 25 inches, while Samoyed reaches approximately 21 to 23 inches on average. Alaskan malamutes are also heavier and weigh approximately 65 to 80 pounds. Samoyeds weigh around 35 to 65 pounds. 

Life Span 

Samoyeds tend to live longer than an average Alaskan malamute, mainly due to their medium to large size bodies. According to a study by a professor of evolutionary biology at the University of Melbourne, smaller dogs tend to live longer than large, robust dogs. On average, an Alaskan malamute will live for 10 to 12 years, while a Samoyed may live for 12 to 15 years. However, their lifespan greatly depends on how one breeds and cares for them.  

Traditional Use

Back then, the Malamute tribe used the Alaskan malamute for sled dog racing. On the other hand, the Samoyede tribe used the Samoyed for herding and hunting for reindeer in the areas. 


The Alaskan malamute and Samoyed do display some behavioral differences. For example, while many find the two breeds friendly, the Samoyed is more patient with kids than an Alaskan malamute. Though Alaskan malamutes are less patient with dogs, it does not mean they are aggressive. Malamutes can be very terrible guard dogs considering how friendly they are. 

Nonetheless, Samoyeds are often extremely stubborn compared to friendly malamutes.  


It is easy to differentiate between a Samoyed and an Alaskan malamute according to their physical appearance. The coat of a Samoyed is way fluffier than that of an Alaskan malamute. 

Furthermore, as we said earlier, a Samoyed can only have a white or cream-colored coat. The coat of an Alaskan malamute comes in a combination of white with either black, red, or brown.  

History Of The Alaskan Malamute And Samoyed

The Alaskan malamute and Samoyed have a rich history and a northern heritage, which makes their owners proud. The Alaskan malamute is one of the oldest dog breeds from 2000 years ago.  The Malamute tribe first bred them as a crucial means of transportation, and they would carry light to heavy loads via sleds. The Alaskan malamutes also participated in various expeditions and assisted in the 1896 gold rush. 

Additionally, they worked as search and rescue dogs in World War II, and the AKC first recognized the breed in 1935. On the other hand, Samoyeds are faithful working dogs, and the Samoyede tribe used them to hunt and herd reindeer and haul sleds. The Samoyede were peaceful nomads that loved to treat Samoyeds as family members. Unlike other tribesmen in the past, they allowed them to live inside and even play with their children. 

Sometimes, the dogs would crawl up to their owners and act as valuable blankets. It was a big part of the reason Samoyeds developed a deep love for humans with an unfailing sense of trust and loyalty. The breed holds most of those characteristics to date and as they are a child’s best friend and most loyal playmate. The first American Samoyed was imported from Russia, and the AKC registered them as a dog breed in 1906. 

Taking Care Of An Alaskan Malamute And A Samoyed

The Alaskan malamute and the Samoyed have a similar care routine with only slight differences. If you decide to get one of these breeds of dogs, then this routine care guide will help you give your furry friend a comfortable and happy life: 

1. Exercise 

Since the Alaskan malamute and Samoyed are very active dog breeds, they need a lot of exercise to ensure they stay happy. Ensure you provide them with at least two hours of exercise to tire them since we all know a tired dog is a happy dog. Some exercises these beautiful breeds of dogs love are walking, hiking, or playing fetch. Avoid walking your dog at the hottest times of the day as they do not like hot weather. Instead, walk them during the evening or early mornings before heading out to work. Dog walks also benefit you as they help you achieve your fitness goals. 

2. Training

The Alaskan malamute and the Samoyed are intelligent and willful dogs. Therefore, you will have to train them to develop their behaviors. Reinforcement training is one of the most effective exercises for developing a dog’s behavior. Congratulate your dog when it does something positive, as it will motivate it to keep doing so. Exercise a high sense of authority during training; otherwise, the dogs won’t listen to you. If the task becomes hard, you could enroll them in obedience training, and they will learn basic dog commands and learn to associate with other dogs. 

3. Grooming

Both breeds shed epically 365 days a year or 366 days on a leap year. Each breed will blow its coat twice a year, leaving you with a large pile of fur. It is best to brush them daily with a heavy-duty comb when they are coat-blowing to avoid getting massive clumps of fur. If they aren’t coat-blowing, brush them at least two to three times a week. It helps remove their dead undercoat, making them very uncomfortable. 

4. Diet And Nutrition 

Stubborn and active dogs require a lot of energy to sustain them during the day. Therefore you should provide your Alaskan malamute or Samoyed with active nutrition. Avoid overfeeding the dogs as it might lead to unhealthy weight gain, causing other health problems. 

5. Human Interaction 

The Alaskan malamute and Samoyed love their owners so much, and they often get jealous when they see their owners directing attention to others. Nonetheless, if you do not train the dog to be around people, it might get shy and cause a scene. Therefore, you should start taking them to parties and gatherings so that they can learn to associate humans with positive emotions. 

6. HealthCare

The Alaskan malamute and Samoyed need proper health care to be comfortable and happy in a home. It is best to take them to the vet for regular checkups and vaccination to keep them healthy and safe from diseases. 

Nevertheless, giving them a good bath is good for maintaining the dog’s hygiene. You don’t want a smelly dog running around the house. 


By properly comparing the Alaskan malamute vs. Samoyed, you should be able to decide which breed is for you. It is best to take your time to understand if the behaviors of the dogs are bearable to you or not. If you are a first-time dog owner and aren’t willing to work to raise any of these breeds, you should consider adopting another dog. However, if you decide to raise one of them, you should establish a good care routine to make it happy.  

About the Author


Raising Samoyeds serves as a go-to resource for Samoyed owners and prospective owners. Our blog shares insights, stories and tips relevant to both new and experienced owners alike in raising these magnificent dogs.

Our content covers everything from finding Samoyed puppies for sale, to training and grooming guides, health and nutrition advice and even heartwarming stories about life with Samoyeds. exists to assist readers on their journey with these wonderful dogs, encouraging responsible ownership, and celebrating the unique charm and companionship they bring into our lives. Through expert knowledge and personal experiences shared here on Raising Samoyeds' blog, Raising Samoyeds provides a supportive community for Samoyed fans worldwide.

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