Alaskan Malamute Shiba Inu Mix [Mala-Inu]: Full Profile

The Alaskan Malamute Shiba Inu mix is a headstrong, energetic Spitz-type mix that can be challenging for new owners.

These dogs will shed year-round and often refuse to listen to your commands, but they’re exceptional companions and incredibly loyal. In this article, we’ll break down everything there is to know about this mix, including the pros and cons, to see if it’s suited for you.

Quick Overview Of The Malamute Shiba Inu Mix

Before we jump into the main details, here’s a quick overview of the key facts you need to know about the Malamute Shiba Inu mix:

  • Average Lifespan: 12 to 15 years
  • Average Height: 15 to 22 inches
  • Average Weight: 35 to 60 lbs
  • Coat appearance: Medium, double-coated, lots of color variation
  • Grooming Frequency: Medium to high
  • Typical Temperament: Loyal, energetic, stubborn
  • Daily Food Consumption: Low to medium
  • New Owner Friendly: Can be challenging for new owners
  • Suitable to live with children? Can be great with children if socialized properly
  • Suitable to live with other dogs? Can be great with other dogs if socialized properly
  • Suitable to live with cats? Difficult due to high prey drive


The Malamute Shiba Inu mix has several Spitz features, which is to be expected as both parents are Spitz-type breeds.

These include a fluffy curled tail, erect, alert ears, and a thick, fluffy double coat. They have a friendly and inquisitive expression, and the coat can vary in color a lot depending on the color and genetics of the parents.

A Malamute Shiba Inu mix puppy up close
Teddy Bear Or Dog? Credit

They’re medium to small in size and build smaller than your average Mal. To get a better idea of the appearance, let’s look at the parent breeds.

Alaskan Malamute Appearance & Background

Alaskan Malamutes are one of the largest Spitz breeds, and their appearance shows it.

They have many characteristics of Spitz-type dogs, such as pointed ears, fluffy double coats, and a fluffy curled tail.

A large Alaskan Malamute on a lead

Malamutes have a super friendly expression, but they can be pretty intimidating to those unfamiliar with the breed. You’ll usually find Malamutes in a black-and-white coat, but there are a lot of other possible colors as well.

Malamutes have an extensive history as sledding dogs, specifically used to pull heavy loads.

Shiba Inu Appearance & Background

Shiba Inus are a hunting breed that originates from Japan. They are one of 6 Spitz breeds that are native to Japan and the smallest of them as well.

Shiba inus are small to medium-sized dogs, with many modern Shiba Inus bred to be on the small end of the spectrum.

Shibas are often compared to foxes in appearance, and their smooth stride accentuates this comparison.

A Shiba Inu wearing a red collar sat in the boot of a car

Shibas will typically have a red coat, although they can also have black and tan sesame and cream coats as well. The coat is relatively short in length and double-coated.

Average Size

Malamute Shiba Inu mixes are small to medium-sized dogs and typically reach 15 to 22 inches in height at the shoulder and between 35 and 60 lbs in weight.

There is quite a bit of variance here, depending on the parents. For example, some Mals can reach ‘giant‘ weights and easily exceed 100 lbs, which would then influence the size of the mix.

This isn’t something we advocate for as it leads to health problems, but it’s worth knowing how much the size can vary for this mix.

Coat Appearance

The coat of the Malamute Shiba Inu mix is medium in length and quite dense and thick.

They always have a double coat, which means that it is split into two layers: a short, dense wooly undercoat for insulation and a longer guard layer to protect the skin and coat below.

Lots of color combinations are possible, with white and black markings common.

Grooming Guide

This mix requires quite a lot of effort in terms of grooming, thanks to the medium-length double coat.

They’ll need a quick daily groom with a regular grooming comb, as well as a more intense grooming session once or twice per week to target both layers of the double coat.

The details for that can be found below:

  • The grooming process starts with a slicker brush, which is designed to target the undercoat and remove loose hairs.
  • After that, use a dematter comb, gently removing stubborn tangles with a serrated edge.
  • A gentle undercoat rake is then used to target the undercoat further and get rid of any remaining loose hairs.
  • Lastly, a general grooming comb removes any loose hair or matted areas.

This process may need to be done daily when they’re blowing coat as well.


Contrary to the intensive grooming needs, Malamute Shiba Inu mixes only need bathing once every two to three months at most as they’re great at self-cleaning.

This is yet another common Spitz trait, and it’s why these types of dogs are often described as ‘cat-like’ in nature.

Constant bathing also interferes with the natural function of the double coat, potentially drying out the skin and fur.

Temperament Of The Malamute Shiba Inu Mix

Alaskan Malamutes and Shiba Inus share a lot of the same personality traits thanks to their Spitz background, which makes it a little easier to predict what a Malamute Shiba Inu mix will behave like.


Stubbornness is guaranteed with the Malamute Shiba Inu mix and is a trait seen across most Spitz breeds.

This means this mix will often refuse to listen to you at any time, including during obedience training. Don’t expect the Malamute Shiba Inu mix to learn tricks quickly, and don’t rely on things like recall when exercising, either.

If you don’t have experience with Spitz dogs, this can be quite a wake-up call.

Loyal & Affectionate

Despite their stubborn nature, Malamute Shiba Inu mixes are incredibly loyal to their families.

They form close bonds with the people they spend the most time with and are very affectionate with all family members.

Very Active

Both of the parent breeds are active dogs, but Alaskan Malamutes are notorious for needing at least 2 hours of exercise every single day.

This comes from their sledding background, and it means that the Malamute Shiba Inu will need at least an hour to two hours of exercise every day as Shiba Inus are no slouches either.

Prey Drive

The high prey drive of the Malamute Shiba Inu mix is something that all owners or prospective owners should be aware of.

A high prey drive means that this mix is prone to chasing after small animals instinctually, so they will need to be on a leash most of the time. It also means they’re not suitable for living with cats or small dogs unless they’re socialized together from a young age.

This trait runs strong because Malamutes and Shiba Inus have high prey drives, especially the Shiba, as they were used primarily as hunting dogs.


Although this mix is stubborn and not suited for obedience training because of it, it’s still very intelligent.

Malamute Shiba Inu mixes will understand you the majority of the time – don’t get them mistaken – but whether they choose to listen or not is a whole different story.

Is The Malamute Shiba Inu Mix A Good Family Dog?

Malmaute Shiba Inu mixes can be great family dogs if they are socialized from a young age and regularly exercised.

They can become overexcited around other people if they aren’t used to meeting new people, and they can become destructive if they aren’t exercised and mentally stimulated enough.

You also need to consider other animals you have, as these dogs have a high prey drive, so they will need to be raised with other small animals, ideally from the puppy stage.

Once these issues are faced and addressed, Malamute Shiba Inu mixes are extremely rewarding and loyal dogs.

How Much Do They Cost?

The average prices of each parent breed can be found below:

  • Alaskan Malamutes cost between $1,500 and $3,000 on average
  • Shiba Inus cost anywhere from $1,500 to $3,000 on average

Keep in mind that this mix is not very commonly bred, so you’re much more likely to find them in a shelter

In Summary

The Malamute Shiba Inu mix is incredibly rare, but they make great companion dogs if treated correctly.

It’s all about meeting their needs, so if you have the opportunity to own one of these fantastic dogs, make sure you read everything in this guide closely so you’re prepared.

If you’re interested in learning about more Alaskan Malamute mixes, you can check out some of our recent articles below:

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About The Author

Caitlin is the owner and lead writer for The Malamute Mom. She has over 10 years of experience with Alaskan Malamutes and Huskies. She is currently working on getting her PhD in materials science but continues to write for The Malamute Mom in her spare time.

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