The Alaskan Malamute is very tolerant of rude behavior, and will rarely snap at humans, particularly ones in their family.
Other Names: Mally
Country Of Origin: Alaska
Dog Group: Working dog
Recommended For: Families, couples, single owners
Maintenance Level: Medium/high
Lifespan: 15-20 years
Temperament: Playful, energetic, intelligent
Good For the First-Time Owner: No
Good With Children: Yes
Good With Other Animals: Yes
Good With Strangers: No
Good For Apartments: No
Exercise Requirements: Daily walks
Can Live In Hot Weather: No
Can Live In Cold Weather: Yes
Can Tolerate Being Left Alone: No
Grooming: Daily brushing
Alaskan Malamutes are closely related to other Husky breeds and were bred for very similar purposes.
They’re high-energy dogs and require frequent long walks to keep them calm. They’re very intelligent and easy to train and very sociable animals.
They can be okay with strangers, but only if their owner is present. They’re protective and wary dogs, and the only thing that prevents them from being perfect guard dogs is their size.
Colors: Gray and white, sable and white, black and white, white, or a combination.
Coat length: Medium double-layered
Height: Male – 17”, female – 13”.
Weight: Male – 12-20lbs, Female – 10-18lbs,
- Giant:100-150lbs (full-grown)
Personality And Temperament:
Alaskan Malamutes are very clever and energetic dogs. They are surprisingly easy to train and can learn complicated commands, but training should begin at an early age to ensure best results.
Their history as a companion and working dogs means they have retained hunting instincts, and so owners should be wary if they plan on keeping the dog around small pets, such as rabbits, mice, and other small rodents.
Malamutes are very active dogs, and so require plenty of exercises. They should be walked daily, and the more activity you can give them, the happier they will be.
Again, because they were kept as sled and freight dogs, their instinct is to run for hours on end, and this can be challenging for some owners.
However, a mile or two every day should be enough to keep them happy. A Malamute that doesn’t receive enough exercise will quickly become bored, and this usually manifests as them attempting to escape.
Although they’re effortless to train, Alaskan Malamutes aren’t a brilliant choice for first-time owners because of their energy levels.
Many first-time owners look for a dog that is easy to train and look after, but Malamutes can be too energetic for many owners.
However, if this is something you feel you can commit to, they will be fine as a first pet.
The breed isn’t suitable for apartment living, again because of their energy levels.
Malamutes thrive in cold weather, and so keeping them indoors all day isn’t an ideal situation.
The best location for them is in a house with land, ideally with them having free access to this land whenever they want.
Any space should be secure before letting the dog out there alone because they’re surprisingly good at escaping and jumping fences.
Alaskan Malamutes are a very friendly breed and prefer to be kept with other animals.
They’re fine to be kept around cats and dogs, and will almost immediately get on with other pets.
The same is true for keeping the breed around children, although any socialization should be done from an early age.
That said, they are very wary of strangers, mainly if their owner isn’t around.
This makes them excellent watchdogs, particularly if you don’t have the space for a traditional guarding breed.
However, they do quickly warm up to strangers in the presence of their owner; so don’t be too concerned by this fact.
Malamutes can’t tolerate being left alone for too long, simply because they get bored quickly.
As a general rule, you should try and leave them alone for no longer than 4-5 hours. While this will be different for every dog, the breed is known to become destructive if bored and lonely.
Keeping several dogs together will improve this, as they will then have some form of entertainment. Plus, Malamutes are a very social breed, and so the companionship massively improves their temperament.
Malamutes are much better suited to cold weather than hot ones.
Their coats are very thick and designed to tolerate Arctic winters, which are obviously very cold.
There’s very little that can be done to acclimatize the breed to warm weather, and so you should avoid keeping one in warmer climates.
Their coat is excellent insulation, and they can overheat very quickly if they get too warm.
Alaskan Malamutes have a double coat. The bottom layer is oily and thick and can be up to 2” long.
The top coat is coarse and wiry and stands up. Like many other Husky breeds, Malamutes shed their skin twice a year in line with seasonal changes. During this time, they will drop a lot of hair, so be prepared for this.
In terms of regular grooming, you should try and brush your dog daily to keep their coat in good condition.
It can easily harbor dirt and mites because it’s so thick, so you should do everything possible to keep it clean. It’s worth using a slicker or rubber brush, as these will do a much better job of capturing hair.
Also, spritzing the coat lightly with water before brushing will help the hair stick together when you comb it out.
You should check the dog’s eyes and ears at least once a week, and clean when necessary.
Wipes are the best way to clean both their eyes and ears, and disposable wipes are often sterilized in the packaging, which is ideal for minimizing the spread of bacteria.
Like with almost any other breed, you should brush a Malamute’s teeth several times a week.
They are prone to dental problems, and so brushing is perfect for reducing this risk. Similarly, you should trim their nails every few weeks, making six weeks the absolute maximum.
Dogs that are walking regularly are less likely to need their nails trimming, but check them every few weeks to make sure they look healthy.
Common Diseases And Conditions:
Generally, Alaskan Malamutes are quite a healthy breed, as evidenced by their long lifespan.
They’re prone to hip dysplasia, which affects many purebred dogs, and this is something you should watch out for as they get older.
A neuromuscular disease called Alaskan Malamute Polyneuropathy (AM-PN) also has been reported.
The breed is also prone to eye problems, such as cataracts and retinal atrophy.
Cataracts are quite easy to spot, as the eyes will start to look milky. If you notice any issues, take your dog to the vet as soon as possible, because cataracts can be very expensive to treat if left too late.
There is also evidence of problems such as diabetes, seizures, and epilepsy, although there hasn’t been enough research into these conditions to know if they’re specific breed issues, or just noticed in the breed.
As with any other condition, stay alert for any changes in the dog’s behavior, and take them for regular checkups with your vet to prevent any nasty surprises.
Alaskan Malamutes are considered a basal breed, which means that they predate the recognition of modern purebred dogs.
They were bred for use by native Alaskan people and were used for transporting freight on sleds. Due to the culture in which they were used, there is little evidence to support how long the breed has been around.
However, evidence suggests that indigenous people in the area have used breeds similar to the Malamute since they settled there, some 4,500 years ago.
The breed fulfilled a wide range of uses for their owners, including transport, hunting, working, and companionship.
During World War 2, the breed was used for transport, but due to losses sustained, were almost wiped out.
After the end of the war, a studbook was opened to ensure the survival of the breed.
All modern purebred Malamutes descend from the dogs found in this studbook.
Malamutes are still used for working purposes in Alaska and other northern regions but are also commonly kept as companion pets both there and elsewhere in the world.
Many owners prefer them over other Husky breeds for their smaller size and friendly temperaments.
Alaskan Malamute Facts & Figures:
Did You Know?
- The Malamute became the state dog of Alaska in 2010.
- Rear Admiral Richard Byrd used Alaskan Malamutes as transport dogs for his expedition to the South Pole.
- They are very closely related to Huskies, Samoyeds, and even Labradors.
- Indigenous tribes sometimes used Malamutes as babysitters for their young children.
- During the early settlement of Alaska, Malamutes were credited with aiding expansion as messengers and transporting freight.
- The breed served in both World Wars, often as search and rescue dogs, and for transporting supplies.
- Their feet are quite large for their size, and allow them to walk on the snow easily.
- Malamutes aren’t known to be big barkers, but they do love to howl.
- Their oily coat means bathing is almost unnecessary, as it essentially cleans itself.
- Alaskan Malamute puppies price ranges from $1200.00 – $1700.00 per puppy.