Alaskan Malamute

The Alaskan Malamute excels at hauling heavy loads over great distances in brutal conditions, and its construction is consistent with such use. The long body is powerful and well muscled throughout, heavy boned with a straight back and very strong legs; large feet also help the dog to plod through snow. The head and muzzle are large, broad and deep. The ears are set wide apart on the skull, small, triangular and rounded. The eyes are brown, medium sized and almond shaped, and give the dog a kind, endearing expression. The Alaskan Malamute’s outer coat is medium length, coarse and thick, and left untrimmed in show dogs. The undercoat is dense and woolly. The coat can be solid white, but it is more common for white to be the predominant color with various shading of gray, black, sable or red. The face generally has a white mask or blaze. The Alaskan Malamute is distinctly wolf-like in appearance.

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Fast Facts

Working
10 - 12 years
United States (Alaska)
Antiquity
85 lb
75 lb
25"
23"
Alaskan Malamut, Alaskan Malumute or Alasken Malamute.
None

Alaskan Malamute Temperament

As befitting a dog that was bred to hunt and pull in packs, the Alaskan Malamute has a sociable and team-oriented personality....

The Alaskan Malamute can be aggressive toward strange dogs, and will readily give chase to small and large animals alike. Strangers, however, are another story, and the dog seems to have an instinct to trust people. While this trait makes the Alaskan Malamute a mediocre guard dog, it does much to improve this animal’s standing with people. The Malamute enjoys having a task to perform, and is eager to follow a strong leader. This is not to say, however, that the dog will serve with the same unquestioning obedience of a German Shepherd or Retriever. Quite the contrary: the Alaskan Malamute is a creature of instinct, and if it does not agree with its master’s orders it is likely to disobey them. This strong willed stubbornness can make training a trying task, but a firm hand and an in-control attitude will go far in showing the Malamute who is boss. The breed tends to be docile in the home, and is a loyal and loving family member.

Caring For a Alaskan Malamute

The hardy Alaskan Malamute was once the primary means of transporting heavy loads through the Arctic, and it has never forgotten that legacy....

The dog needs vigorous exercise every day to expend its vast reserves of energy. Running, hauling or playing should do the trick. Insufficient exercise can lead to undesirable habits such as incessant howling, digging or destructiveness. The breed excels in cold climates and withers in the heat; make sure this dog is given plenty of water and shelter on hot days. Coat care entails a twice a week brushing; the coat never needs to be trimmed. Health concerns for the Alaskan Malamute include canine hip dysplasia, cataracts, hypothyroidism and chondrodysplasia.

Alaskan Malamute History

A Brief History of the Alaskan Malamute

Named for an Inuit tribe known as the Mahlemuts, the Alaskan Malamute has been employed by the people of the Arctic since time immemorial....

These large and powerful dogs aided their human counterparts in bringing down and hauling the carcasses of large game such as seals, caribou and even polar bears. For their contribution to the tribe, these dogs were treated with great veneration by the Mahlemut people. Europeans who began to explore the Arctic during the 18th century were drawn to this tough, hard-working dog. With the advent of the gold rush in Alaska during the late 19th century, the demand for the Alaskan Malamute – with its ability to pull people and equipment across the great, snowy landscape of Alaska – skyrocketed. The desire to not only mass produce the breed but also to make it faster and stronger led to a flurry of irresponsible breeding during his time, and by the 1920s the pure Malamute was nearly lost. Thankfully, North American breeders realized their mistake before it was too late and began efforts to reverse the damage. By the 1930s, the Alaskan Malamute had proved its worth many times over in Arctic and Antarctic missions; most notably, the breed was chosen to pull the sleds of Admiral Richard Byrd on his 1933 expedition to the South Pole. Though never intended to be a fast breed, the Alaskan Malamute also became a popular dog sled racer during this time. The Alaskan Malamute was recognized by the American Kennel Club in 1935 as part of the Working Group. Recent DNA evidence has shown that the Alaskan Malamute’s wolf-like appearance is no mistake. The Malamute is one of fourteen “ancient” breeds whose DNA is more similar to the DNA of wolves than that of other breeds.