Malamute vs Samoyed: What’s the Difference?

Written by August Buck
Published: March 31, 2022
Image Credit iStock.com/Abramova_Kseniya
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While there are some distinct similarities shared by malamute vs samoyed, there are even more things that set them apart. Neither of these dog breeds are strangers to cold weather- but is this the only thing that they have in common? What else separates a malamute from a samoyed?

In this article, we will address all of the similarities and differences between a malamute and a samoyed, including their sizes and appearances. We will also discuss what these two dogs were originally bred for, as well as how they might behave in your home. Let’s get started and learn all about these beautiful dogs now!

Comparing Malamute vs Samoyed

Malamute vs Samoyed
The average malamute far outweighs the average samoyed, and they are taller than samoyeds too.

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MalamuteSamoyed
Size23-25 inches tall; 65-85 pounds21-23 inches tall; 35-65 pounds
AppearanceDistinct facial markings and beautiful thick, coarse coat; comes in color combinations such as black and white, brown and white, and red and white. Small triangular earsOnly comes in a solid white or cream color; huge and fluffy coat that truly impresses everyone who sees it. Small triangular ears and huge fluffy tail
Originally Bred ForPulling sleds and sled dog racing in frigid temperaturesHunting and herding reindeer in Siberia; also pulled sleds
BehaviorFriendly and intelligent; not ideal as a guard dog but ideal for families. Needs exercise and constant containment, as they escape easilyAlert, friendly, and ideal for families with young children. Often extremely stubborn and difficult to train, and can show destructive tendencies if not exercised adequately
Lifespan10-12 years12-14 years

Key Differences Between Malamute vs Samoyed

Malamute vs Samoyed
Samoyeds only come in a beautiful and fluffy white coat, while malamutes come in a variety of other colors.

iStock.com/Abramova_Kseniya

There are many key differences between samoyeds and malamutes. The average malamute far outweighs the average samoyed, and they are taller than samoyeds too. Samoyeds only come in a beautiful and fluffy white coat, while malamutes come in a variety of other colors. Finally, samoyeds have a more stubborn side compared to the easy going malamute.

Let’s discuss all of these differences in more detail now.

Malamute vs Samoyed: Size

Malamute vs Samoyed
Samoyeds weigh anywhere from 35 to 65 pounds, while malamutes weigh 65 to 85 pounds on average.

Aneta Jungerova/Shutterstock.com

One of the primary differences between malamutes and samoyeds is their sizes. The average malamute is much larger than the average samoyed, both in height and weight. This may be difficult to tell, given how fluffy a samoyed is. Let’s talk about their heights and weights in more detail now.

Malamutes reach anywhere from 23 to 25 inches tall, while samoyeds reach 21 to 23 inches tall on average. This also means that malamutes weigh more than samoyeds, and often by a large margin. For example, samoyeds weigh anywhere from 35 to 65 pounds, while malamutes weigh 65 to 85 pounds on average. 

Malamute vs Samoyed: Appearance

Malamute vs Samoyed
The coat of the samoyed is much fluffier compared to the dense and thick coat of the malamutes.

Kwadrat/Shutterstock.com

While both malamutes and samoyeds are extremely beautiful dog breeds, there are some differences in their physical appearances that separate them from one another. The samoyed only comes in a beautiful white or cream-colored coat, while malamutes come in a variety of other colors. For example, malamutes come in a combination of white and black, brown and white, and red and white. But this isn’t where their differences end. 

The coat of the samoyed is much fluffier compared to the dense and thick coat of the malamutes. Both of these dogs have small and triangular shaped ears, as well as powerful legs built for traversing the snowy tundras. However, the snout of the malamute is a bit longer than the snout of the samoyed. 

Malamute vs Samoyed: Original Reason for Breeding

Malamute vs Samoyed
Malamutes are traditionally used in sled dog racing, while samoyeds were originally bred to herd and hunt reindeer in Siberia.

iStock.com/FavoreStudio

Surprisingly, both the samoyed and the malamute share a similar reason that they were originally bred. Given that both of these dogs can handle snowy and freezing weather conditions, malamutes and samoyeds were originally bred for sled pulling. However, malamutes are traditionally used in sled dog racing, while samoyeds were originally bred to herd and hunt reindeer in Siberia. 

Malamute vs Samoyed: Behavior

Samoyed standing on top of rock
While both of these dog breeds are regarded as extremely friendly, the average samoyed is more patient with children compared to the average malamute.

iStock.com/photobac

There are some behavioral differences between samoyeds and malamutes. While both of these dog breeds are regarded as extremely friendly, the average samoyed is more patient with children compared to the average malamute. However, this does not mean that malamutes are necessarily aggressive. In fact, malamutes are more likely to be bad guard dogs compared to the samoyed, given how friendly malamutes are.

Both of these dogs require a lot of exercise, given their sizes and the reasons that they were bred. However, neither of them can handle hot temperatures, so this should be addressed before adopting either of these two dog breeds. Lastly, samoyeds often have an extremely stubborn streak compared to the overly friendly and accommodating malamute. Both are prone to separation anxiety and destructive behaviors when bored, though the samoyed is more guilty of this than the malamute. 

Malamute vs Samoyed: Lifespan

Malamute vs Samoyed
The malamute lives for an average of 10 to 12 years, while the samoyed lives anywhere from 12 to 15 years.

iStock.com/Liliya Kulianionak

A final difference between malamutes and samoyeds is their lifespan. While both of these dog breeds are relatively healthy and strong, the samoyed lives longer than an average malamute. This is likely due to the fact that the samoyed is a medium to large size dog, while the malamute is a large to extra large size dog. Small dogs live longer than large dogs on average. 

In specific terms, the malamute lives for an average of 10 to 12 years, while the samoyed lives anywhere from 12 to 15 years. However, this always depends on the dog’s individual breeding, care, and health. Feeding your pet malamute or samoyed a well-balanced diet and making sure that they have plenty of exercise is key to a long lifespan.

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About the Author

I am a non-binary freelance writer working full-time in Oregon. Graduating Southern Oregon University with a BFA in Theatre and a specialization in creative writing, I have an invested interest in a variety of topics, particularly Pacific Northwest history. When I'm not writing personally or professionally, you can find me camping along the Oregon coast with my high school sweetheart and Chihuahua mix, or in my home kitchen, perfecting recipes in a gleaming cast iron skillet.

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