Alaskan Malamute: The Ultimate Dog Breed Guide


The Alaskan Malamute, a member of the Spitz group of dogs, is a Nordic sled dog (originated in Scandinavia, Finland, or Iceland) and is named after the native Innuit tribe called Mahlemuts, who settled in Upper Western Alaska, USA.

The breed is a cousin to the other Arctic breeds: the Samoyed, the Siberian Husky and the American Eskimo dog.

They were originally used 2000-3000 years ago as sled dogs for human transportation and heavy freighting in the Arctic. These dogs were renowned for their excellent hunting abilities and were used to hunt large predators such as bears. They also aided their owners in finding seals by alerting them to seal blowholes.


In the past, they helped some miners who went to Alaska during the Gold Rush in 1896. Also, they assisted during World War II primarily as search and rescue dogs in Greenland.

Traits and Behavior

Generally, Alaskan Malamutes are valued for their intelligence, toughness and endurance. Owning this type of dog means having a companion who is very loving, lively, playful, easygoing yet subdued at times.

They can also become stubborn, willful and mischievous. Due to their instincts, there are tendencies that they will wander outside the house.

Malamutes are quiet compared to most dogs but they do like to howl and dig. This breed should be supervised around unfamiliar small animals, as they have a strong prey instinct which often leads them to chase smaller animals, such as rabbits, squirrels, and cats.


But this doesn’t mean that they are not good with small animals. Some of them have been raised together with kittens. Also, Alaskan Malamutes tend not to back off from encounters with dangerous animals such as moose and bears and are killed because of it.

Pet Care and Diseases

The majority of the Alaskan Malamutes are considered strong and very healthy since they have been living in one of the toughest cold climates in the world. However, according to a 2004 UK Kennel Club survey (based on a sample size of 64 dogs) they are at risk to become victims of certain health problems.

The following health concerns have been reported:

  • Hip dysplasia
  • Hereditary cataracts
  • Seizure disorders
  • Skin problems
  • Kidney problems
  • Eye problems

Alaskan Malamutes suffer in hot climates due to their thick double coat, so make sure that they are always provided with proper shade and plenty of clean cool water.


Also, its coat sheds dirt readily so it rarely needs bathing (just dry shampoo occasionally). Furthermore, this dog is clean and odorless.

Alaskan Huskies can both do well in a large family and a single person’s home. These dogs are not fit to live in the apartment or the city, as they need constant motion.

They are fairly active indoors and should have at least a large yard.

If you live in a suburban area, a high fence is a must. They come in packs, though not necessary, owning other dogs will make them feel at home. If you don’t have a lot of time to spend with a dog, an Alaskan Husky will not be the breed for you.


The Alaskan Malamute is the largest of the Arctic dogs. There is often a marked size difference between males and females, with the desired size of 23 inches (58 cm) tall and 75 pounds (34 kg) for females, 25 inches (64 cm) tall and 85 pounds (39 kg) for males.

Heavier individuals (90 lb (41 kg)) and dogs smaller than 75 pounds (34 kg) are commonly seen.

This thick, well-built dog is solid with a plumed tail that is held over the back. The head is wide with erect ears. The eyes are of medium size, dark brown small, and almond in shape and are obliquely placed in the skull.

The dog holds an image of a wolf but with a proud, sweet expression. Dark eyes are preferred; blue eyes are a fault according to the written standard.


The feet are large, of the snowshoe type with tough pads. The coat averages one to three inches in length and comes in a range of light gray to intermediate shadings of black, sable and shadings of sable to red.

Combinations include wolf gray, black and white, wolf sable (red undercoat with dark gray outer coat) or red.

The only solid color allowed is white. The dog often has darker highlights and sometimes has a dark mask or cap.

The legs and muzzle are almost always white. In some areas, dogs may be either smaller or larger than the official standard.

General Information

Alaskan huskies life is between 10 to 15 years. Litter size ranges from 4-10 puppies. Other names include Mal or Mally.

Breed Club

Visit this dog club website dedicated to Alaskan Malamutes. Click this link:

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