Alaskan Malamute is a loyal, affectionate, and playful dog breed, and it's one of the oldest sled dogs. These dogs are very similar to Siberian Husky, Samoyed, Greenland Dog, and Canadian Eskimo Dog. Today these dogs are mostly companions while in the past they were used for pulling heavy loads and to hunt seals and polar bears. Many people will get this dog because of his imposing looks by the truth is that Alaskan Malamute is not the right dog for everybody, especially for the first time owners. Their intelligence and stubbornest will challenge every owner. Because of that, we advise you to make a detailed search to find out if you can take care of this dog before you start searching for Alaskan Malamute breeders. You will have to devote your time and energy to training and socialization if you want your Alaskan Malamute to be a well-behaved dog. If you provide them with their needs you will end up with an intelligent, loving, and highly trainable dog companion for life.
FUN FACT: Alaskan Malamute is an official state dog of Alaska.
23-25 in (58-64 cm)
75-85 lb (34-38 kg)
This is one of the oldest sled dogs and they got their name from the Mahlemiut. Mahlemiut was a nomadic tribe that settled in northwestern Alaska. They created this dog for hauling heavy loads, locating seal breathing holes in the ice as well for distracting bears on hunts. Alaskan Malamutes used to carry heavy loads at a lower speed while the Siberian Husky used to carry lighter loads but much faster.
During World War II many registered dogs were loaned for war duties because at that time there was a great demand for sled dogs. After the war, there were only a few dogs left registered.
Dog Breed Characteristics
Alaskan Malamutes are dogs with heavy bones, deep chest, and power shoulders. They have a dense and weatherproof coat. Their head is broad with triangular and erect ears and almond-shaped eyes.
FUN FACT: Malamutes are vocal dogs and they will talk and howl, but in most cases, they will not bark.
These dogs belong to group 5 (Spitz and primitive types) – section 1 (Nordic Sledge Dogs)- and they were officially recognized by the FCI in 1963. Male dogs should be 25 inches (64 centimeters) tall at the shoulders while weighing 85 pounds (38 kilograms). Females should be slightly smaller with the 23 inches (58 centimeters) height at the shoulder and they should weigh 75 pounds (34 kilograms).
According to this standard Alaskan Malamute dogs belongs to the Working group and they were officially recognized by the AKC in 1935. Same year Alaskan Malamute Club of America was founded. The height and weight of these dogs should be the same as the FCI standard says.
Grooming and care
Their thick, double, and waterproof coat is beautiful but the coat requires constant attention. Their coat comes in varieties of ranges including light gray to black, sable, and shades of sable to red. The only solid color you should see is white. Alaskan Malamutes should be brushed daily to keep his coat healthy and in good shape. Twice a year these dogs will shed heavily. If you keep your dog as a pet bath every six to eight week should be enough. Dogs that are exhibited on dog shows are in many cases bathed weekly. The rest is basic care. Trim their nails when needed (if they don't wear them down naturally), brush their teeth weekly to prevent tartar buildup and bacteria development. Regularly check their ears for any sign of redness or a bad odor that can indicate an infection. You can wipe their ears with the cotton ball dipped into an ear cleaner. The key for your dog to get used to all things above is to start early with them. Make a positive experience for the dog full of praises and rewards and you can be sure that your dog will enjoy all these things when he grows up.
These dogs were bred for working purposes and because of that, they need a job to do. You will need to provide your dog with daily exercise. Alaskan Malamutes enjoy running, hiking, and swimming. If you don’t provide them with enough physical and mental exercise they will become bored and destructive.
Be sure that you don’t over-exercise your puppy because his bones and joints are still developing and by over-exercise them, they can have health problems later in life.
These dogs can tolerate living outside during the cold, but you will have to provide them with shelter. They are pack animals so they will be happiest if they live inside with their family. Because of their thick and double coat, they are sensitive to heat. During hot summer day always provide your dog with the freshwater and if possible keep him under fan or air condition. You should also avoid exercise during hot sunny days. The best time to walk and training your dog is early in the morning or late at night when the sun comes down.
Malamute dogs often take part in obedience trials, agility, and weight pulling.
FUN FACT: Many Malamutes love to dig. In most cases, you can't stop this behavior, but you can give your dog a designated place to dig.
Training and socialization
To prevent your dog to be pushy or dominant, you must start with the training and socialization early. Alaskan Malamutes are highly intelligent dogs but they are also independent and willful. In many cases, they will be stubborn and to secure a well-rounded dog you must start with the socialization early. Without the right training, they can become destructive and you can have a lot of problems. From an early age expose your dog to many different people, sights, and sounds so he can grow into a well behaved dog.
FUN FACT: These dogs are not suited to be guard dogs because they will easily make friendly bonds.
Alaskan Malamute and kids
Alaskan Malamutes love children and they will love the attention they get from them but you must be careful especially if you have a small child at home because of their size these dogs could easily knock over a child. Before letting them play always teach your kids what is the correct way to interact with the dog.
Alaskan Malamute and other animals
With early socialization, these dogs will get along well with other dogs. Because of their high prey drive, they will in most cases chase smaller animals outside the house. If you have other animals in your house you will need to properly introduce them and supervise their interactions if you want them to get along.
Alaskan Malamutes are dogs with a life expectancy of 10-14 years. They are like any other dog breed prone to some health problems that every (future) owner should be aware of. To be sure that you'll get the healthiest possible dog never buy a dog from a puppy mill breeder or a pet store. Alaskan Malamutes can suffer from hip and elbow dysplasia, hypothyroidism, and Willebrand disease. Some dogs can suffer from cataracts, chondrodysplasia (a genetic disorder that causes puppies to be born with deformities – abnormal shape and length of their limbs), inherited polyneuropathy (lack of coordination and instability) and hemeralopia (day blindness).
When talking to breeders always ask them to show you health certificates of their breeding dogs to be sure that your future dog will not have any inherited diseases. To be sure that your dog is healthy you can perform a few health tests: hip evaluation, ophthalmologist evaluation, and polyneuropathy DNA test.
If you decided that this is the right dog for you, now it's time to find a good and responsible Alaskan Malamute breeder. Buying a dog from such a breeder will provide you with a healthy puppy who will not have health and temperament problems. These dogs became very popular and many unethical and bad breeders started to bred these dogs to earn money without worrying about puppy health, temperament and well being. We advise you to search Malamute breeders only at the World Dog Finder website or at the national cynological association of the country you are from. By doing so you can be sure that you are talking to an official and responsible dog breeder.
Buying a dog from a responsible breeder will cost you more money but you can be sure that you will get a healthy puppy. If you don't have money we advise you to search for local animal shelters because there is a chance you can find Alaskan Malamut dog in it. Many people purchase these dogs because of their unique looks but they at some point realize they can't take care of them and because of that many Malamutes end up in animal shelters. By adopting you are doing a good deed and you are saving a dog's life.
When you bring your new puppy home start with the training and socialization immediately. By doing so you will end up with a well-behaved dog whom you can trust. Provide him with enough daily exercise for him to be happy. With this dog, you must be firm and you must be an alpha for him to listen to you. If you devote your time and energy to this dog you can be sure that you will end up with a companion for life.
World Dog Finder team