There is only one breed of Siberian Husky, but the American Kennel Club and Siberian Husky Breed clubs recognize several different coat types within the breed. Since the coat types can look very different, many Siberian Huskies are commonly mistaken as either a different breed of dog, or a relative of similar-looking breeds, or sometimes even mistaken as a wolf.
The Different Types of Siberian Huskies
The first coat-related breed misconception is made with the black and white coat color of the Siberian Husky, which is mistaken for the Alaskan Malamute or Alaskan Husky. According to the American Kennel Club, the Alaskan Malamute is a pure breed of dog with similar conformation and coat color but larger in height and weight. The AKC defines the Alaskan Husky not as a breed, but rather a type of dog defined by the purpose or job of mushing.
Other Breed/Coat Misconceptions
Light red, black and tan, and sable coat colors can be mistaken for German shepherd breeds or hybrids because of the similarities in coat color and markings as well as conformation. Husky Colors dives into these particularities by describing the detailed differences: Siberian Huskies have a distinct, solid color pattern over the ears and eyes that differs from the black and brown mixed fur pattern of the German shepherd. White Siberian Huskies can also be mistaken for albino German shepherd, not only because of the coat color, but also the tall, lean build and erect ears that are characteristic to both breeds.
Silvers and Grays
Silver and gray Siberian Huskies may be mistaken for wolf hybrids or other winter coated and northern breeds, such as the Keeshond or Norwegian Elkhound and those similar in coat texture, color and conformation. While this distinction can be difficult to make, a blood test or formal documentation can quickly determine the difference. Another similar trait in the winter coated breeds is the curled tail, which is also present in the Siberian Husky breed.
The Siberian Husky is often mistaken for an Alaskan Husky — which are not a breed, but rather a working distinction, or even their ancestral counterpart, wolves. The many different colored coat types that are accepted in the breed make it easy to mistake the Siberian huskies as other dogs, such as a German Shepherd or Alaskan Malamute, but there are physical and personality differences between these dogs.