|Country of origin:
|AKC, UKC, CKC
|23 to 25 in tall; 75 to
|10 to 12 years
|Lots of brushing!
The largest of all the Nordic breeds, the Alaskan Malamute has been a favourite family companion for generations in North America. It is named after the Mahlemut Inuit people from the western coastal regions of Alaska and, like the Canadian Eskimo Dog, was used as a draught animal, pulling sleds, long before Europeans visited North America. Selective breeding for companionship successfully reduced the breed’s natural inclination to establish a pack hierarchy and increased its willingness to engage with people. As with all of the Nordic breeds, this is not an overly demonstrative dog, but when raised in a family with children it is a wonderful participant in family activities. It is also a great athlete, excelling at sled-racing, where only the smaller Siberian Husky is more popular. Although most prevalent in North America, Malamutes are now ubiquitous around the world, with breed clubs in regions as diverse as Italy and Korea. Their dense double coat did not evolve for dogs living in tropical climates.
Alaskan Malamutes were speculated to be assistants of Paleolithic hunters in the crossing of the Bering strait. Their name is derived from Mahlemuts, a prehistoric tribe of Inuits in Alaska.
These fluffy sled dogs are related to the early domesticated wolf-like dogs.
Alaskan Malamutes became recognized by the AKC in 1935. The breed dated back much further than that making them one of the oldest Arctic sled dogs. There is mention of this breed as far back as the 1800s when they were held highly by prospectors of the Klondike gold rush. They were also designated to search and rescue teams.
Malamutes in today’s world have evolved to being icons in frosty regions. They were even named the state dog in Alaska in 2010. Aside from the working title they hold, they have become great companions in families.
Also known as the “Mal”, these fluffy pups are known for their working class and strength. These dogs are not all work and no play though. They are often very playful and loving to their owners. They love children and are most natural at being members of a family.
Despite being great with their loved ones, they can be wary of unknown people. With that said, they are not in fact guard dogs. They love people so much that they often resort to slobbery kisses and paw shakes once first impressions are over.
Alaskan Malamutes are generally quiet dogs by nature. They do not resort to barking much. They may talk and howl if they’re lonely though.
The Mal is a large dog built to withstand frigid elements while working. These dogs stand proud at a height of 23 inches tall for females and 25 inches tall for males. Females average at about 75 lbs and males average around 85 lbs.
Their 2-inch thick coat and muscular structure aid when dog sledding or freight pulling. They sport a coarse, waterproof topcoat and a wooly undercoat for protection. To also mention, their tails curve over their back in a bushy wave.
Their facial features are very distinctive and have markings unique to their breed. These facial features usually include a cap, a bar, or a mask. Sometimes they even come with a combination of the three attributes just mentioned.
They can come in various colors such as light gray gradients and red gradients. Gray and white, red and white, and sable and white are among the most popular color combination.
With such a high energy, regular exercise is a must. Considering that their ancestors were predecessors being hard working dogs, it runs in their blood. They must get out of the house and expend their energy.
Training an Alaskan Malamute can be a feat but very necessary in the health of the animal. Luckily they are quick learners. Adequate fencing is obligatory as these dogs are very large. Crate training and leash breaking are crucial from the start as these dogs can be destructive if left alone. Their tendency to chew is not ideal for furniture if they get lonely.
It is important to socialize these dogs with other dogs and humans starting when they’re a puppy. They have a tendency to be aggressive toward other dogs and dogs of the same sex. Controlled socialization can avoid these behavioral issues.
Grooming of Alaskan Malamutes are more on the high-maintenance side. Regular brushing and bathing is recommended to avoid matting. Fungus can be found hiding in matted hair that could later lead to infection. Nails and ears also need to be tended to weekly.
Their thick coats can be expected to shed heavily two times a year. Daily brushing with a pin brush helps to lessen the load on you and your vacuum cleaner.