Alaskan Malamute Image

Alaskan Malamute

Alaskan Malamute, one of the oldest Arctic sled dogs, was named after the native Inuit tribe called Mahlemuts (now spelled Malamute), who settled along the shores of Kotzebue Sound in the upper western regions of Alaska.

Mahlemut people had spitz-type powerful looking dogs of remarkable endurance and fortitude. These dogs were primarily used as draught animals to haul heavy sleds and pack supplies, hunt seals, and packs to track polar bears.

Dogs kept by the Mahlemut (Malamute) people were better cared for than usual for Arctic sled dogs, which seemingly accounts for the Alaskan Malamute dog breed’s affectionate disposition.

Alaskan Malamute

Alaskan Malamute

Alaskan Malamute FAQ Frequently Asked Questions:

Let us seek some answers related to the Alaskan malamute breed. Are they hypoallergenic, or do they shed a lot? Do they bark a lot? Are they good guard dogs? Are they good family dogs? Good with children? And many more questions that a potential Malamute dog owner may be concerned about.

Do malamutes have wolf genes in them?

No! There is a lot of discussion about that Alaskan Malamutes have the blood of the wolf because it is a very personal physical appearance like an arctic wolf and very great power. But today, scientists consider that the Alaskan Malamutes don’t have anything with wolves, and they are purebred domestic dogs.

How big do Malamutes get?

Males stand 25 inches high at the shoulder and should weigh about 85 pounds; females tend to stand 23 inches high and weigh about 75 pounds. However, it’s not unusual for a well-muscled adult to top 100 pounds.

Are Malamutes good family dogs as pets?

Alaskan Malamutes are very patient dogs. Malamutes are very powerful as well, so they can withstand rough play with children. They are very friendly and good family dog breed.

Are Malamutes aggressive dogs?

No! Alaskan Malamutes are not aggressive dogs, but aggressiveness in dogs does not only depend on the dog’s breed. In most cases, it depends on the way the dog has been raised. Malamutes show affection using somewhat rough action. There is no need to fear your Malamute. Despite stories of vicious arctic dogs, the Alaskan Malamute is basically a friendly, gentle dog.

Are Alaskan malamutes good guard dogs?

No! An Alaskan Malamute does not make a good guard dog. He may intimidate people with his size, but they’ll know he isn’t wired to be protective if they know about the friendly Alaskan Malamute personality.

Can malamutes live in hot weather?

Malamutes are adaptable to warm climates, but their coat will not be as thick as dogs raised in the cold. In warmer areas, it is not advised to exercise your malamute during the heat of the day and to provide extra water at all times. The malamute will shed it’s undercoat twice every year.

How often should you bathe a Malamute?

The Alaskan Malamute does require regular bathing and brushing. This bright and dignified dog can be bathed as frequently as weekly up to no longer than every 6 weeks. With this double-coated breed, proper bathing and drying techniques lay the groundwork for achieving a beautiful coat and healthy skin.

How I keep my Alaskan Malamute cool?

Iced water works best. Put a huge chunk of ice in the water. Alaskan Malamutes can overheat quickly on a sunny day – even if the outside temperature is only in the 60’s or 70’s. Always provide cool iced water. As the ice melts, it will provide cool water for your Malamute.

Is it ok to shave an Alaskan Malamute?

Single-coated breeds like Poodles and Shitzu’s can be clipped down to the skin, and the coat will grow back pretty much as it was before. The same is NOT true for Alaskan Malamutes and other double-coated breeds. For this reason, clipping or shaving these dogs down is not the right solution to summer heat.

What is the difference between a Malamute and a giant malamute?

A male Malamute stands at 25 inches tall and weighs between 85-100 pounds. Females are slightly shorter at 23 inches and should weigh around 75 pounds. You can occasionally find selectively bred ‘giant’ Malamutes that weigh around 140 pounds; however, they often suffer from Hip Dysplasia due to their size.

How much is an Alaskan Malamute? How much do puppies cost? Are Malamutes Expensive?

The Alaskan Malamute is a large, expensive breed. Puppies cost around $1,200, and because of their heavy coats, they cost an average of $85 for each trip to the groomer.

How much does it cost to feed a Malamute?

First-year is more expensive (about $1000) due to vaccination. After the first year, the average cost for basic feeding and preventive veterinary care is about $500 to $750 per year.

How long do Alaskan Malamutes live?

These curious, energetic dogs have an average life span of 13 to 16 years.

Ok, so let’s assume you have chosen the Alaskan Malamute as the best dog breed suitable for yourself. You have decided to find yourself an Alaskan Malamute puppy as your next family member. How will you choose the best pup? Let us look at some standard characteristics of the Alaskan Malamute dog breed, which will help you select the right puppy. Keep reading.

Choosing a good Alaskan Malamute puppy

 The definition of the best Alaskan Malamute puppy depends on your requirements. Your expectations from an adult Alaskan Malamute can be broadly categorized as follows: Confirmation for show or breeding; obedience; smart guard dog; companion; homely pet.

Although it is tempting to look for all these qualities in one Alaskan Malamute puppy you plan to buy; it is seldom possible to find all qualities in a single pup.

If you want your Alaskan Malamute puppy to grow up to be a champion in the show ring, you should look for confirmation of the Alaskan Malamute dog breed standards. We have put together a general guideline for selecting an all-around good puppy for you. Our guideline includes breed standards and gives importance to temperament, appearance, physical details, gait, health issues, grooming needs, and maintenance.

Look for the following characteristics while choosing an Alaskan Malamute puppy.

Alaskan malamute General Appearance

The Alaskan Malamute is a powerful and substantially built dog with a deep chest and strong, well-muscled body. The Malamute stands well over the pads, and this stance gives the appearance of much activity and a proud carriage, with head erect and eyes alert showing interest and curiosity. The head is broad. Ears are triangular and erect when alerted. The muzzle is bulky, only slightly diminishing in width from root to nose. The muzzle is not pointed or long, yet not stubby. The coat is thick with a coarse guard of sufficient length to protect a woolly undercoat. Malamutes are of various colors. Face markings are a distinguishing feature. These consist of a cap over the head, the face either all white or marked with a bar and/or mask. The tail is well furred, carried over the back, and has the appearance of a waving plume. The Malamute must be a heavy boned dog with sound legs, good feet, deep chest and powerful shoulders, and all of the other physical attributes necessary for his job’s efficient performance. The gait must be steady, balanced, tireless, and totally efficient. He is not intended as a racing sled dog designed to compete in speed trials. In judging Malamutes, their function as a sled dog for heavy freighting in the Arctic must be considered above all else. The degree to which a dog is penalized should depend upon the extent to which the dog deviates from the description of the ideal Malamute and the extent to which the particular fault would actually affect the dog’s working ability. The legs of the Malamute must indicate unusual strength and tremendous propelling power.

George Lucas with Alaskan Malamute indiana in 1970
George Lucas with his Alaskan Malamute Indiana in 1970s.

Alaskan Malamute Temperament

The Alaskan Malamute is an affectionate, friendly dog, not a one-person dog. He is a loyal, devoted companion, playful in invitation, but generally impressive by his dignity after maturity.

Alaskan malamute size

There is a natural range in size in the breed. The desirable freighting sizes are males, 25 inches (63.5 cm) at the shoulders, 85 pounds (38.5 kg): females, 23 inches (58 cm) at the shoulders, 75 pounds (34 kg). However, size consideration should not outweigh type, proportion, movement, and other functional attributes. When dogs are judged equal in type, proportion, movement, the dog nearest to the desirable freighting size is preferred. The depth of chest is approximately one half the dog’s height at the shoulders, the deepest point being just behind the forelegs. The body’s length from the point of shoulder to the rear point of pelvis is longer than the body’s height from ground to top of the withers. The body carries no excess weight, and bone is in proportion to size.

Alaskan malamute’s coat and color

The Malamute has a thick, coarse guard coat, never long and soft. The undercoat is dense, from one to two inches in depth, oily and woolly. The coarse guard coat varies in length, as does the undercoat. The coat is relatively short to medium along the sides of the body, with the coat’s length increasing around the shoulders and neck, down the back, over the rump, and in the breeching and plume. Malamutes usually have a shorter and less dense coat during the summer months. The Malamute is shown naturally. Trimming is not acceptable except to provide a clean-cut appearance of feet. The usual colors range from light grey through intermediate shadings to black, sable, and shadings of sable to red. Colour combinations are acceptable in undercoats, points, and trimmings. The only solid color allowable is all white. White is always the predominant color on the underbody, legs, feet, and face markings. A white blaze on the forehead and/or collar or a spot on the nape is attractive and acceptable. The Malamute is mantled, and broken colors extending over the body or uneven splashing are undesirable.

Alaskan Malamutes

Alaskan Malamutes

Alaskan malamute’s Head

The head is broad and deep, not coarse or clumsy, but in proportion to the dog’s size. The expression is soft and indicates an affectionate disposition. The eyes are obliquely placed in the skull. Eyes are brown, almond-shaped, and of medium size. Dark eyes are preferred. The ears are of medium size but small in proportion to the head. The ears are triangular in shape and slightly rounded at the tips. They are set wide apart on the outside back edges of the skull on line with the eye’s upper corner, giving ears the appearance, when erect, of standing off from the skull. Erect ears point slightly forward, but the ears are sometimes folded against the skull when the dog is at work. The skull is broad and moderately rounded between the ears, gradually narrowing and flattening on top as it approaches the eyes, rounding off to moderately flat cheeks. There is a slight furrow between the eyes. The top line of the skull and the muzzle’s topline show a slight break downward from a straight line as they join. The muzzle is large and bulky in proportion to the skull’s size, diminishing slightly in width and depth from junction with the skull to the nose. In all coat colors, except reds, the nose, lips, and eye rims’ pigmentation is black. Brown is permitted in red dogs. The lighter streaked “snow nose” is acceptable. The lips are close-fitting. The upper-lower jaws are broad with large teeth. The incisors meet with a scissors grip.

Alaskan malamute’s Neck

The neck is strong and moderately arched.

Alaskan malamute’s Forequarters

The shoulders are moderately sloping; forelegs heavily boned and muscled, straight to the pasterns when viewed from the front. Pasterns are short and strong and slightly sloping when viewed from the side. The feet are of the snowshoe type, tight and deep, with well-cushioned pads, giving a firm, compact appearance. The feet are large, toes tight fitting and well arched. There is a protective growth of hair between the toes. The pads are thick and tough, toenails short and strong.

Alaskan malamute’s Body

The chest is well developed. The body is compactly built but not short coupled. The back is straight and gently sloping to the hips. The loins are hard and well-muscled. The tail is moderately set and follows the line of the spine at the base. The tail is carried over the back when not working. It is not a snap tail or curled tight against the back, nor is it short furred like a fox brush. The Malamute tail is well furred and has the appearance of a waving plume.

Alaskan malamute’s Hindquarters

The rear legs are broad and heavily muscled through the thighs; stifles moderately bent; hock joints are moderately bent and well let down. When viewed from the rear, the legs stand and move true in line with the front legs’ movement, not too close or too wide. Dewclaws on the rear legs are undesirable should be removed shortly after puppies are whelped.

Alaskan malamute’s Gait

The gait of the Malamute is steady, balanced, and powerful. He is agile for his size and builds. When viewed from the side, the hindquarters exhibit a strong rear drive transmitted through a well-muscled loin to the forequarters. The forequarters receive the drive from the rear with a smooth reaching stride. When viewed from the front or the rear, the legs move true in line, not too close or too wide. At a fast trot, the feet will converge toward the centreline of the body. A stilted gait, or any gait that is not completely efficient and tireless, is penalized.

Alaskan Malamutes are sometimes confused with the Siberian Husky. They both are sled dogs and have a similar coat and color. However, the Alaskan Malamute is a larger, heavier, hard worker who pulls heavy loads compared to the blue-eyed Siberian Husky.

Alaskan Malamute with Siberian Husky

Alaskan Malamute (right) with Siberian Husky

Faults that are observed in the Alaskan malamute dog breed.

The Malamute is structured for strength and endurance. Any characteristic of the individual specimen, including temperament, which interferes with this purpose’s accomplishment, is considered the most serious of faults. Any indication of unsoundness in legs and feet, front or rear, standing, or moving is considered a serious fault. Under this provision, faults would be spayed footedness, cow hocks, bad pasterns, straight shoulders, lack of angulation, stilted gait (or any gait that isn’t balanced, strong, and steady), ranginess, shallowness, ponderousness, lightness of bone, and poor overall proportion. High set ears. Overshot or undershot. A long loin that may weaken the back.

Alaskan Malamute vs Siberian Husky

Alaskan Malamute (left) with Siberian Husky

Disqualification: Blue eyes. Alaskan Malamute does not have blue eyes. Siberian Husky is a dog with blue eyes.

Giant Alaskan Malamute

There is no such breed as a Giant Malamute. Selectively breeding for size alone has created what some people tout as a Giant. This breeding strategy usually exacerbates the inherent health problems of any large breed.

Alaskan Malamute puppies

Alaskan Malamute puppies

Alaskan malamute videos

Siberian Husky vs. Alaskan Malamute


We hope you enjoyed reading about the Alaskan Malamute dog breed. You may consider sharing your views in the comments section below. Inputs and priceless experiences from dog owners, Alaskan Malamute breeders, and dog lovers, in general, help us better understand our most loyal friends. Thank you for your interest.

2 thoughts on “Alaskan Malamute”

  1. The Alaskan Malamute features a powerful, sturdy body built for stamina and strength. It is one of the oldest dog breeds whose original looks have not been changed. This intelligent breed needs a job and consistent leadership to avoid becoming bored or challenging to handle.

    Novice owners, beware. Dogs of this breed are sensitive and need plenty of companionship and open space. They are not well-suited to apartment life, and they are certainly high-shedding dogs who need plenty of grooming to keep their coats healthy. Expect to clean up dog hair all year long, and especially during shedding season. Alaskan Malamutes are high-energy dogs, and therefore require vigorous exercise. If you plan to leave them home while you’re at work, you may see some anxious, destructive behavior. A dog walker or pet sitter during the day is practically a must if you can’t be home, yourself.

    An Alaskan Malamute will do well with an experienced owner, lots of open space to roam and burn off energy, and a cooler climate. However, if you can meet this breed’s needs, you’ll have an intelligent, highly-trainable, loving companion for life.

  2. This dog breed was created thousands of years ago (about 2000-3000 years ago). These dogs were followers of Mongoloid people who migrated from Siberia to Alaska.

    Dogs and these people were very friendly and together they survived the most difficult weather conditions.
    Because of this, it is claimed that the Alaskan Malamute is one of the oldest domesticated dogs in the world.

    The Malamute received it’s name from the Mahlemut tribe which raised these dogs, the Inupiat people called Mahlemut.
    Tribe Mahlemuts People (today we know those people like as Kuuvangmiut and Kobuk) lived between rivers Kobuk and Noatak. This is a place with very cold weather and no vegetation, and therefore Mahlemut and their dogs had a special bond.

    Mahlemuts used their dogs for hunting big game, and for hauling game to their villages.

    They shared all food with their dogs. Very often, this people and their dogs were hungry. Because of this, Mahlemut people thought their dogs are family members.

    Dogs and people love each other. People lives depended of their dogs. In very cold weather, people put their babies between dogs, because dogs are warmer than people and this was the only way to survive wicked Alaska. Some babies were fed with milk, with other puppies from their mother.

    Because of the work that they were doing, those dogs were be very big and strong. Speed was not be essential, but those dogs were be very cleaver and mentally tough.

    Mahlemut people were more intelligent and creative than other tribes from this area. Because of this, Mahlemuts development this unique breed of dogs from the north. This breed was guarded from other tribes, and not crossbred with other dogs.

    Because of their size, Malamutes much resembled an arctic wolf. Rumor has it that the Mahlemut people left their dogs in the forest bind to the tree, because they wanted to mate their dogs with wolf and on that way they would become stronger breed.

    The Alaskan Malamutes is the oldest breed of the North American continent and probably the dog breed that is longest tied to the man. The bones that were found (date from about 12000 – 20000 years ago), showing at the core Malamutes as it exists today.

    Gold rush and Alaskan Malamutes

    In Alaska about 1870-1880, reindeer vanished from unknown reason. Because of this, Mahlemuts and their dogs had much less food and they starved to death. But, in 1896 in the place Klondike some people find gold. Alaska were then flooded with people looking for gold.

    In this time, people were buying Alaskan Malamutes for towing big weight. Because of this, Malamutes were cross-bred with other dogs. And this is the time when the breed almost disappeared.

    Despite of this, breed of the Alaskan Malamutes survived till today. Cross-bred dogs were less resistant to cold weather, and ate more than purebred Malamute. Because, this dogs were dying very fast.

    The American Kennel Club (AKC) acknowledged this breed at 1935. The first dog who inscribed in AKC were Rowdy of Nome from Chinook Kennel and Eva Short Seeley.

    All Alaskan Malamutes which were registered to 1950, were from Seeley Kennel who brought them from Kotzebue. There were more dogs whose owners claimed that they are Alaskan Malamutes but this dogs were not be registered in AKC. For example M’Loot malamutes and Hinman-Irwin malamutes. Those three types of dogs are the basic of breed Alaskan Malamute.

    There is a lot of discussion about that Alaskan Malamutes have a blood of the wolf, because it is very personal physical appearance like a arctic wolf and very great power. But today scientists consider that the Alaskan Malamutes don’t have anything with wolves, and they are purebred domestic dogs.

    Obvious differences between Malamutes and wolves, and if although strongly resemble wolf, and howl like wolf, this breed of dogs has lived with people for many years, and they depended on each other. Temperament of Alaskan Malamutes is very different of wolf temperament.

    Today Malamutes kept all from their ancestors. They have a lot of power, love people, especially babies. Your best, Alaskan Malamutes show when the temperature is below zero.

    Because of their ancestors the owners of these dogs must know their history, respect these dogs and treat them as family.

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