The Alaskan Malamute is named after the Mahlemut, an Inuit tribe from Alaska’s Kotzebue Sound area.
This breed is sometimes confused with the Siberian Husky or Alaskan Husky. They may have almost similar but they serve different purposes and have different personality traits.
But we are here today to talk about the Alaskan Malamute which is a Spitz-type dog.
This dog is a heavy-duty worker that is strong, playful loyal, and also affectionate.
You may have heard about this dog or maybe you say one and are interested in knowing more about him. Then you have come to the right place.
In this dog breed guide, we are going to look at all you need to know before buying this dog breed. This will be from the looks to the personality to even how you can take care of him once he is home.
Let us get right into it.
About the Alaskan Malamute
This is a purebred dog that over recent years has become a popular family dog.
He is also a high maintenance dog that should not be taken lightly. If you are planning on adopting or buying this dog you should be prepared to dedicate time and take care of him.
Not having a good understanding of this breed is what has led them to be abandoned and ending up in shelters. This is something that you can avoid by having enough information about the dog.
He was bred to haul heavy loads and it would be accurate if you called him a Nordic breed type.
Their endurance and lots of energy are what initially made great dogs for pulling sleds over long distances. This means that they require an owner that is active and meet their exercise and mental stimulation needs.
They are super playful and they are better suited for cold climate areas. Their friendliness is extended even towards strangers but not necessarily to other dogs and they can be aggressive and dominant towards the same sex.
You should not keep two male Alaskan Malamutes together in the same house.
Origin of the Alaskan Malamute
This is one of the oldest dog breeds that was used to pull sleds in the Arctic.
It is believed that these pooches are descendants of wolf dogs that accompanied the Paleolithic hunters which migrated into North America roughly 4000 years ago after crossing the land bridges of the Bering Strait.
Their name also came from the Mahlemuit which is an Inuit tribe that had settled in Alaska many years ago.
These people could carry loads over long distances using a sled and they needed a dog that could help them with that and so the Malamute was bred.
They could not only pull sled but also help the people to locate seal breathing holes, carry packs during summer, and also distracted bears when the people went hunting.
Malamutes were very essential in the lives of the Inuit people and they needed to be strong rather than being fast. The Inuit people also treated these dogs as part of their families.
Soon these dogs could find their way into the European regions and America.
The American Kennel Club first recognized the Alaskan Malamute in 1935. However, at this time they only recognized the original Kotzebue strain. The Hinman and M’Loot strains were later recognized after the second world war.
Pros and cons
✓These dogs are outgoing and friendly with people
✔They have a loyal nature and are also intelligent
✓Mals enjoy outdoors activities such as biking and hiking
✘They need a significant amount of mental stimulation and exercise
✗These dogs shed considerably
✘They tend to be dominant with other animals especially dogs
General Appearance and characteristics of the Malamute dog
|Alaskan Malamute summary table|
|Height||Males can reach up to 25 inches while females can up to 23 inches tall|
|Weight||up to 85 pounds for males and 75 pounds for females|
|Lifespan||10 to 14 years|
|Purpose||Working and companion dogs|
|Suitable For||Active owners and families that have experience with large dogs|
|Grooming requirements||moderate to high|
|Color Variations||White with black shadings or light grey|
|Health concerns||hip and elbow dysplasia, hypothyroidism and obesity|
|Temperament||intelligent, loyal, loving, friendly, Energetic, Playful, Affectionate and can also be destructive when neglected.|
|Coat type||thick double coats suited for cold climates|
Alaskan Malamutes are large dogs.
A male Malamute can have a height of up to 25 inches while their female counterparts can reach up to 23 inches tall. Males also weigh more than females do with around 85 pounds while females weigh about 75 pounds.
In some cases, you can find some Malamutes that weigh between 100 to 140 pounds.
However, these giant sled dogs often suffer from hip dysplasia.
The Alaskan Malamute has a wolf-like appearance. Don’t let their warrior-like intimidate you because they are super-friendly. They are hardly aggressive towards hoomans but rather love being around them.
This doggie is a true beauty.
These doggos have muscular and strong appearances. They are also athletic and well-balanced.
Their shoulders are broad and they are heavy boned with deep chests.
These canine friends have large muzzles, black noses, and triangular ears. Their wolf-like appearance is also complemented by their almond-shaped eyes that are mostly dark brown to look. Some of their eyes can be blue.
Just like other Spitz-type breeds, the Alaskan Mal has a tail that is curled over their backs and strong legs.
This breed has a weatherproof double-coat which is what made him great for working in the Arctic.
The undercoat is about 2 inches thick and is wooly and oily while the outer coat is coarse and short. Being wooly and oily helps to keep the coat dry and warm.
Unfortunately, they do dog shed all year round and blow out twice every year during spring and fall. This also means that they are not hypoallergenic.
If you are looking for a hypoallergenic dog you may want to consider one of the breeds that are on this guide.
These doggos may come in several color combination such as;
- White and grey
- Seal and white
- Chocolate and white
- Blue Belton
- Sable and white
- White and red
Temperament and personality traits of the Alaskan Mally
|Ease of care||
Several factors play into the personality traits and temperament of any dog and they are;
- Genetics(hereditary trait)
- The training you give to your dog
The Alaskan Malamute is a high energy dog that can be destructive and very vocal when he gets bored.
They are known for their howls but they don’t bark and they do this when they get excited or when they are bored.
Malamutes are pack animals and that means that they love to be around the people that they consider being family. You should involve this dog in most if not all of the family activities.
These dogs are also confident, friendly, and super playful. They carry their puppyhood playfulness even when they mature.
This friendly nature makes them unsuitable to be used as watchdogs because they can be very welcoming even towards strangers.
These doggos love to have fun and chase things in the yard because of their high prey drive. This means that with this dog around you should not expect to have a dull moment.
If you own this dog and have children in the house you should monitor their play because these dogs can be overpowering when they are excited.
This does not mean that she does not love children. She is a very affectionate and patient dog when around children.
Other animals and especially dogs of the same sex with this pooch can have a very rough time with the Alaskan Malamute. These doggos are not very tolerant of other animals but in cases where they are introduced to other animals when young, this may not be the case.
This pooch does not tolerate hot climates
Malamutes are very sensitive to heat and if you live in an area that has temperatures of over 80 degrees of 26 degrees celsius, getting this furry friend is not advisable.
During summer these doggies need to stay indoors most of the time and be given enough water. You should also avoid exercising this dog when it is hot(21°C).
Frequently asked questions
What is the difference between a Husky and a Malamute?
Huskies are more tolerant of other animals than Alaskans Malamutes. Malamutes are heavier and bigger than Huskies which are faster and have fewer health problems.
Are Malamute aggressive dogs?
Alaskan Malamutes are not known to be aggressive pooches but how aggressive or tolerant your dog does not depend on the breed but rather how you take care of him and socialization. These dogs are however known to be less tolerant of other animals.
Are Alaskan Malamutes good pets?
The Alaskan Mal is a friendly and playful dog breed that can be a great family pet as long as you understand and meet their needs. They are also very patient doggos that love to play and mess around with children.
Alaskan Malamute puppies
A Malamute mother can give birth to a litter of between 4 to 8 puppies but they can be as many as 12 pups.
These pups take around 24 months on average to reach maturity.
Getting one of these puppies can cost you anywhere between $1200 to $1500 for a single puppy. This is not cheap but the price can vary depending on the location, line, and breeder.
Keep in mind that your breeder should be reputable and should provide you with the certificates to prove that the parents have been screened for certain health issues.
Malamute puppies from show lines and other superior lines can cost you much more.
If you are looking to save some money on getting this dog, adopting one maybe your best option. The adoption price varies from $50 to $100 which is significantly less than buying one.
Grooming a Malamute
Because of their extremely thick double coats, these dogs shed a lot during fall and spring.
During this period you will need to brush their coats daily using a heavy-duty comb that can easily reach the undercoat to reduce the amount of shedding.
Occasional brushing is also needed even when they are not shedding a lot. This helps to keep the coat healthy by getting rid of mats and tangles and the distribution of oils on the coat.
Alaskan Malamutes can go for up to 8 weeks without needing a bath. You should also visit a professional groomer twice every year.
Clip the nails when they get long and also check the ears for infections and clean them. You should use a nail clipper that has been approved by your veterinarian.
Dental care is also important and should be done using dental toys and brushing the teeth.
Alaskan Mal feeding needs
The amount of food that you give to your Malamute will depend on;
- Activity level
However, on average, these dogs need about 20 calories for every pound that they weigh. You may need to feed this canine on more calories if you live in cold areas or if he has high activity levels.
Check the food labels to ensure that you are meeting the calorie requirements that they have given to you.
The nutritional requirements of this dog also need to be met.
This pooch’s diet should have high fat and protein content. At least 18% of the diet should be protein while fats should be around 8%.
One of the biggest problems with the Alaskan Malamute is that they are prone to bloat. You can reduce the risk of your furry friend suffering from this issue by dividing the meals into 4 portions for the puppy and 2 for an adult.
What you decide to feed your pooch will depend on you and the guideline given to you by your vet. It can either be raw, wet, or dry food.
Alaskan Malamute Exercise requirements
These dogs are very powerful and have high energy needs with upwards of 60 minutes in daily exercise.
You can choose to either take them for walks, runs, hikes and even swimming is an option.
However, every time you take this doggo on a walk you should ensure that he is on a leash. This is because they have a high prey drive and can be difficult to recall.
Puppies need about 30 minutes of exercise daily till they reach adulthood which is around the 24 months.
Training a Malamute
This pooch responds best to positive reinforcement and reward-based training.
Punishment should be avoided at all costs.
Start training from the moment your puppy gets home and introduce them to other people and animals at an early age.
Known health concerns
Health problems are also a determinant of whether a dog-lover gets a certain dog or not.
And unfortunately, this canine friend is known to suffer from some health issues.
Some of the main health concerns are hip and elbow dysplasia which is the abnormal development of the joints.
Hypothyroidism is also another health issue that the Alaskan Malamute could suffer from. This occurs when the thyroid glands do not produce the number of hormones that they are required to. As a result, metabolism is slowed down.
The Alaskan Malamute is a highly energetic dog that has a muscular and dignified wolf-like appearance.
They may be independent and stubborn needing an owner that is experienced.
You should start socialization and training for this dog when he is still young to make him more torrent to other animals and to make your living with him smooth.
This furry friend may look like a Husky but they have differences in appearance and personality traits.
Tell us, what do you think of the Alaskan Malamute? Is he a pooch you would consider getting?
Give us your response and feedback in the comment section below.
There you go WOOF!
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