Alaskan Malamute Owners - 13 Tips To Know

Alaskan Malamute Owners - 13 Tips To Know

Author WDF Staff | Last updated: Apr 28 2023


The Alaskan Malamute is an impressive dog breed. They are fairly large, and to be honest, they remind us of huge, fluffy teddy bears. However, if you are looking into getting one, you should know a few things about them. Who can give you better advice than people that actually share their life with at least one of these dogs?

Direct advice from a dog owner is priceless. They can tell you exactly what it is you’re getting yourself into and what you can expect. If you’re looking to get one of these dogs, here is what Alaskan Malamute owners said about these dogs;

1. “Look for a good breeder.”

One of the best universal pieces of advice about getting a dog is - look for a reputable breeder. Alaskan Malamutes are large dogs, and large dogs that were poorly bred are prone to skeletal issues. A good Malamute breeder will health test and make sure they only breed perfectly healthy dogs. When you conclude you want a Malamute, you should start looking for a reputable Alaskan Malamute breeder.

2. “If you don't love vacuuming, don't get one!”

If you know a lot about dogs, you should know that Nordic breeds like the Alaskan Malamute shed. Simply saying the word “shed,” doesn’t do justice to the actual amount of hair you will encounter. These dogs have thick coats, so they shed their entire undercoat when the shedding season comes. Vacuuming is just a part of living with a Mal, which you should be ready for. Here are the best vacuums dog owners recommend - Best vacuums for dog hair.

alaskan malamute profile

3. “If your dog trainer says, “You must establish yourself as the Alpha. You are the boss.” - Leave immediately.”

One of the most interesting pieces of advice we received is that Alaskan Malamutes don’t respond well to traditional training techniques. Alaskan Malamute owner Phil Lindner says training a Malamute is a matter of trust. It is a partnership, and your dog needs to start trusting you before they start obeying you. Many dog owners said the same thing about these dogs. We advise you to talk to your breeder and ask them for specific training advice.

4. “Careful socialization.”

One Malamute owner told us, "Avoid any bad experience while socializing your puppy.” That might be easier said than done, but as he later elaborated, it is a way to avoid dog aggression. Mals that had a traumatic experience as puppies are prone to being dog aggressive. While socializing your puppy, you should do everything possible to avoid bad experiences.

5. “They will talk back.”

This is one of our favorite characteristics of these dogs. They are talkative. If you tell them to do something they don’t feel like doing, they will have no problem talking back and letting you know. One owner even described it as, “A breed that literally talks back to you. Sassy like a teenager!” This trait might be a lot for some owners, but this is an essential part of the charm Mals bring to the table. Plus, they love howling, especially when they hear sirens.

malamute outside

6. “They are pretty stubborn.”

This might be somewhat controversial because many owners validly argue that Malamutes are not stubborn; they only need a different training approach. Most owners describe these dogs as having a mind of their own and as dogs capable of thinking independently. The exact definition of this characteristic can be different. Still, the key point is - they need many repetitions and continuity in training.

7. “Malamutes are pack animals, and you will be a part of their pack.”

That is true. Malamutes are sled dogs and sled dogs have a strict hierarchy among them. Regardless of a dog's position, they will believe they are a part of your pack. Probably a better description would be - you are a part of their pack. That also means they are social, and you shouldn’t leave them alone for too long. They can be protective, but that behavior can be modified with training.

8. “Get a crate!”

Some dog owners think getting a crate for a dog is cruel, but Malamute owners swear on the crate’s effectiveness. A crate can be very useful, especially when you have a puppy. Malamute puppies get bitey when they are overtired, and they seem like they will never calm down. One Mal owner said getting them on a regular crate-nap schedule is a great idea. The dog will behave better, and they will have a healthier sleeping/resting schedule.

alaskan malamute laying on grass

9. “Not for warm weather.”

This is not the most surprising thing, but many future Mal owners might think this is the breed for them, but they live in warm climates. These dogs have incredibly thick coats, which isn’t surprising. Their coats had to keep them warm in the Alaskan weather.

However, this might not be the best choice if you live in a warm climate. One owner said she got a cold because she is trying to keep her Malamute cooled down. She turned off the heating in her home so the dog is more comfortable. It is a breed trait; you shouldn’t get a Mal if you live in tropical areas.

10. “They love snow.”

Another unsurprising thing since this is a sledding Nordic breed. However, this tip digs a bit deeper. If you live in an area that gets plenty of snow, that will provide your Mal with more chances of activity. They will love running in the snow; that is one of the healthiest exercises your dog can get. Another thing they will love - sleeping in the snow. Don’t be surprised if your dog refuses to go into your house and prefers to stay outside where it’s cold.

11. “They love digging!”

This is a characteristic many of us would associate with Terriers. However, Malamutes are keen diggers. If you have a yard, you should consider ways to prevent them from digging your flowers or veggies. Luckily, there are a few ways you can do that. Check out this article - How to stop a dog from digging.

alaskan malamute in woods

12. “Never use a retractable leash!”

This is generally good advice for dogs, especially large ones. Retractable leashes are not the safest option, and you should be careful around them. Alaskan Malamutes are large, powerful dogs; you should get equipment to handle them. One of the basic things you will need is a strong rope leash.

13. “They need a lot of exercise.”

This Alaskan Malamute tip shouldn’t come as a huge surprise. This is a working breed used to pull heavy weights across frozen plains. These dogs cannot be closed inside your home and be happy. Make sure your Mal gets plenty of exercise and activities. If you think about getting a Malamute, it would be best to pick an active hobby you can do with your dog.

We hope these Alaskan Malamute tips from owners will help you decide if this is the right breed for you. They can be wonderful pets and companions, but you must provide them with early socialization, training, and plenty of physical activity.

World Dog Finder team

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