Newfoundland vs. Alaskan Malamute : 7 Key Differences Explained

Written by Katelynn Sobus
Published: June 1, 2023
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When deciding between a Newfoundland vs an Alaskan Malamute, it’s important to have all of the facts. These breeds are quite different!

Newfoundlands are gentle, affectionate, and quiet. They have floppy ears, thick coats, and can weigh up to 150 pounds! Alaskan Malamutes are independent, can take time to warm up to strangers, and bark a bit more than Newfies. They have upright ears, mid-length coats, and weigh 75-85 pounds on average.

In this article, we’ll talk all about Newfoundlands vs Alaskan Malamutes, their differences, and how they’re similar.

Newfoundland vs Alaskan Malamute: A Comparison

Newfoundlands can weigh up to 75 pounds more than an Alaskan Malamute!
Key DifferencesNewfoundlandAlaskan Malamute
Height26-28 inches23-25 inches
Weight100-150 pounds75-85 pounds
CoatMedium-length double coat in a variety of colorsMedium-length double coat in a variety of colors
TemperamentFamily-oriented, good with children and other dogs, friendly, protective, quietGood with children and other dogs, protective, can be stubborn
Exercise NeedsModerateHigh
Life Expectancy9-10 years10-14 years
Health ProblemsProne to ear infections, hip and elbow dysplasia, heart problems, and cystinuriaProne to hip and elbow dysplasia, dwarfism, thyroid disease, polyneuropathy, day blindness, and blood clotting disorders

Key Differences Between Newfoundlands and Alaskan Malamutes

Key differences between Newfoundlands and Alaskan Malamutes include their size, coat colors, temperaments, exercise needs, trainability, lifespans, and health. Newfoundlands are larger and tend to be more affectionate, while Alaskan Malamutes are more energetic, easier to train, and live longer.

These breeds also have many similarities, including the length of their coats and their protective natures.

Let’s dive into all of these differences and similarities below!


Landseer Newfoundland
Newfoundlands require less brushing than Alaskan Malamutes, who must be groomed daily.



Newfoundlands stand around 26 or 28 inches at the shoulder, depending on sex–with males being the larger of the two.

Alaskan Malamutes stand about 23 or 25 inches, with males again being larger. There isn’t a huge height difference between these breeds–but just wait until we talk about their weights!


Male Alaskan Malamutes weigh around 85 pounds, and females weigh around 75. They’re much smaller than Newfoundlands!

Female Newfs weigh 100-120 pounds, and males weigh a whopping 130-150 pounds.

The weight of your dog matters for a few reasons. Perhaps the most obvious? Larger dogs are more expensive to feed! They also tend to have more expensive vet visits since they usually need higher doses of medications than smaller dogs.

Large dogs can also be difficult to handle on a leash–it’s difficult to find someone who can handle a 150-pound Newfoundland if they’re pulling hard. Equally difficult is lifting large dogs in emergencies.

Of course, there are also benefits to adopting a large dog. They’re intimidating to intruders, you don’t have to worry about squishing them underfoot, and they make great snuggle buddies!


Both breeds have medium-length double coats that shed moderately. They will shed more profusely during shedding season, which occurs twice yearly in the spring and fall.

Newfoundlands should be brushed a few times a week, and daily during shedding season. Alaskan Malamutes require daily brushing year-round.

Their coat colors also vary. The American Kennel Club (AKC) accepts the following coat colors for Newfoundlands:

  • Black
  • Brown
  • Gray
  • White and black

The AKC breed standard for Alaskan Malamute contains more variety. Accepted coat colors include:

  • Gray and white
  • Black and white
  • Red and white
  • Seal and white
  • Silver and white
  • White
  • Sable and white
  • Blue and white
  • Agouti and white


Alaskan Malamute running in the snow
Alaskan Malamutes have higher prey drives than Newfoundlands and are also higher energy.



Both breeds are known for being protective, gentle, and good with children. Newfoundlands are incredibly outgoing and affectionate; they love kids, dogs, and even strangers! Alaskan Malamutes may take more time to warm up to new people and dogs. They also need more training to learn how to be gentle with kids and other animals, as it doesn’t come as naturally to them as it does to Newfies.

They love their families and can be snuggle bugs. They may show more independence than Newfies, but every dog is an individual so this can vary.

Because Alaskan Malamutes were bred to work in a pack pulling sleds, they do well with other dogs of the same size. However, they may see smaller dogs and cats as prey–especially if not socialized to them while young.

Newfies tend to be quiet dogs, barking only to alert. Meanwhile, Alaskan Malamutes bark moderately.

Social needs

Newfoundlands tend to be clingier than Alaskan Malamutes, though every dog will be different. When it comes to other family members, both dogs are known for being gentle with kids. However, no dog should ever be left unattended with a child.

Alaskan Malamutes have high prey drives and may be dangerous to cats or smaller dogs. Some of them can get along fine, especially if they’re socialized young, but it is more of a risk than with Newfies and their low prey drives.

Always introduce new pets slowly, and keep dogs on leashes during introductions so they can’t chase!

Exercise Needs

Both are working breeds and require daily exercise, but Alaskan Malamutes are much higher-energy. They were built to endure long days of sled-pulling and thus do great when given “work” to do, whether it’s an actual job, a dog sport, or an activity around the house.

Newfoundlands require at least a half hour of moderate exercise according to the AKC. They can often handle more, especially if they’re used to it, but it’s important to take things at their pace.

Newfies also love the water, so don’t be afraid to take them swimming!


Newfoundlands tend to be very trainable, as they love to please their people. They’re gentle and sensitive souls who take very poorly to aversive training methods.

Alaskan Malamutes are more independent and can be stubborn. Though you’ll hear plenty of bad trainers talk about dominating your Alaskan Malamute to keep them in line, please ignore this outdated advice!

Aversive training methods are never okay. Instead, focus on keeping your dog engaged and eager for training. Sessions should be short, fun, and diverse.

Both breeds should be socialized well at a young age, which means introducing them slowly to new experiences. If you want your adult dog to be comfortable in a situation, introduce them to it while they’re a pup!

Lastly, remember that prey drive cannot be trained away. Alaskan Malamutes should be kept on leash or in well-enclosed yards, which includes high fencing that goes underground to prevent digging.

Drooling Level

Alaskan Malamutes drool very little compared to other dogs their size. Newfoundlands, on the other hand, drool a ton!

This means more messes around the food and water dish, drool puddles where they sleep and when they’re begging for food, and that you may need to clean around their mouths more often.

Health Factors

Newfoundland chilling on the couch
Newfoundlands typically live 9-10 years, while Alaskan Malamutes live an average of 10-14 years.


Life Expectancy

Newfoundlands live 9-10 years on average. Alaskan Malamutes tend to live longer, typically reaching around 10-14 years of age.

This gap is due to their sizes. Larger dogs tend to live shorter lifespans than smaller ones, though scientists aren’t completely sure why. One theory is that rapid growth during the puppy years is a detriment to a large dog’s lifespan and increases their risk of health complications such as cancer. 

Health Problems

Newfoundlands are prone to health problems such as ear infections, hip and elbow dysplasia, heart problems, and cystinuria (which causes kidney and bladder stones).

Alaskan Malamutes are also prone to hip and elbow dysplasia. They’re also prone to dwarfism, thyroid disease, polyneuropathy, day blindness, and blood clotting disorders such as thrombopathia and von Willebrand’s disease.

Reputable breeders will screen both parents for most of these conditions, though not all can be prevented. The OFA is a great resource to see what breeders should screen for–never buy a puppy from someone who doesn’t have all recommended health testing results completed and available for you to see.

Wrapping Up: Newfoundland vs Alaskan Malamute

When deciding which breed is best for you, consider your lifestyle and what you can provide for a dog. Alaskan Malamutes will require more exercise and grooming and may be more difficult to train. Meanwhile, Newfoundlands are quite a bit larger and will be more expensive to feed and vet. They may also prove more difficult to handle due to their size.

It’s also important to think of your family. Newfoundlands tend to do better with smaller dogs and cats due to their low prey drives and are usually gentler with kids. Alaskan Malamutes can be trained to do well with children and tend to do better when left alone than Newfies–though no dog should be left alone for too long.

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Newfoundland vs Alaskan Malamute

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About the Author

I'm an animal writer of four years with a primary focus on educational pet content. I want our furry, feathery, and scaley friends to receive the best care possible! In my free time, I'm usually outdoors gardening or spending time with my nine rescue pets.

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