Alaskan Malamute Breed Card
Alaskan Malamute Breed Overview
23-25 inches tall
Country of Origin
Loyal; Playful; Affectionate
Alaskan Malamute History
The Alaskan Malamute dog is one of the oldest domestic dog breeds and dates back to the Paleolithic era of humanity when the first Inuit tribes appeared in Alaska after having crossed the Bering Strait land bridge that once connected Asia and America. The breed’s namesake comes from the Innuit tribe known as the Mahlemuts who are credited with developing the breed nearly 4,000 years ago from domesticated wolf dogs.
The Innuit culture spans all across the Arctic and because of this there have been many strains of the Malamute that developed. In 1935, the AKC recognized the Kotzebue strain of the Malamute. After World War II, the breed’s numbers plummeted until there were very few dogs registered. In response, during the late 1940s and ’50s, the AKC opened the studbook to include the M’Loot and Hinman strains as well. Today, the Malamute’s gene pool is made up of all three of these strains, with Ch. Toro of Bras Coupe being the first dog to unite them.
Since their development as Nordic weight-pulling dogs, they have gone on to serve in other working dog capacities, like search and rescue dogs and watchdogs. This breed is so handy in the cold that in the late 1920s Admiral Richard E. Byrd, United States Navy and Medal of Honor recipient in World War I became the first American in nearly 100 years to cross the South Pole. He did so relying on a pack of Malamutes and their ability to pull heavy loads long distances across frozen environments.
Low End: $1000
High End: $3000
Alaskan Malamute Physical Traits
The Alaskan Malamute is a large, heavy-boned dog standing around 24 inches at the shoulder. Its stature indicates power and strength. The dense double coat is topped with long fur that is supported by the wooly undercoat. Colors can range from black to white and combinations of everything in between.
The legs of the Malamute are sturdy and built for rugged terrain. Supported by wide-spread feet and well-muscled haunches, the body is roughly as long as the legs and comes to a head that is large and bulky. The eyes of the Malamute are large and intensely dark, giving it the expressive mannerisms for which it is known.
The Alaskan Malamute, one of the oldest Arctic sled dogs, 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 slight 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 coat of sufficient length to protect a wooly 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 sturdy legs, good feet, a deep chest, and powerful shoulders, and have all of the other physical attributes necessary for the efficient performance of his job. 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.
The Malamute is structured for strength and endurance, and any characteristic of the individual specimen, including temperament, which interferes with the accomplishment of this purpose, is to be considered the most serious of faults.
Size & Weight ❤️
Height: 25 inches
Weight: 85 pounds
Height: 23 inches
Weight: 75 pounds
Coat & Color
White; Black; Sable; Blue; Red; Brown; Gray
Alaskan Malamute Temperament and Personality
The Alaskan Malamute is an intensely devoted dog known to be highly protective of its pack. They are good with young children but they are excitable and their large size may be too much for small children. These are intelligent dogs who can be difficult to train and require tons of daily exercise to keep from becoming bored. They love to dig holes and layout in the cold weather when they do not wish to be bothered.
The Malamute is affectionate to its humans and often wary of strangers. Their high energy levels mean they require daily exercise, both indoors and outdoors. If the Alaskan Mal is allowed to become bored they will surely act out in destructive ways, such as digging and chewing. These dogs are not known to bark, instead, they howl and bay. Other dogs’ barking will not likely set them off, but sirens or howls from other animals can entice them to be vocal.
GOOD WITH KIDS
Yes, the Alaskan Malamute is a kid-friendly dog. They are family-friendly dogs who love to be around their pack. These are large and very powerful dogs, though, and should be supervised around children. Their high energy and excitability can pose a danger to small children.
Good with Other Pets?
GOOD WITH PETS
Yes, the Alaskan Malamute is good with other pets, as long as they do not resemble prey. This is a dog with a high prey drive and small animals, like cats, ferrets, and rabbits, will very likely be in danger around this powerful dog. Training can help with this, but these are pack animals who do well in packs of other dogs.
Barks a Lot?
No, the Alaskan Malamute does not bark a lot. These dogs are known for their howls and ability to “talk” to their owners. Some things can encourage their howling, however, such as sirens and other dogs’ howls.
Can Be Left Alone?
Likes Being Alone
Yes, the Alaskan Malamute can be left alone. These dogs are fine on their own but they are prone to boredom, which can lead to unwanted and destructive behavior.
Alaskan Malamute Training
In order to train your Alaskan Malamute, you must understand pack dynamics. The Malamute is a pack-oriented dog that is as ancient as modern humans and thus responds to some behaviors differently than more sensitive dogs. In short, you must be the alpha. This not only extends to those in your household but to all aspects of your life as this highly intelligent dog is always watching and earns your respect through your actions and interactions with the dog. Each family member must be dominant over this dog or the dog will recognize it is in charge.
Since this is a very dominant breed, early socialization is a must. Exposing them to other dogs and animals as a puppy and continuing throughout their lifetime will garner you the best results. Even still, with this exposure and supervision, this dog may still exhibit dominant behaviors that other dogs and dog owners may not appreciate. Adding structure to their lives is also a great way to decrease the chances of them misbehaving. These dogs are not great off-leash dogs and training must be reinforced frequently for the dog to respect your authority. Giving them structure and exposing them to animals and people early and often is your best bet for a happy social life with the Alaskan Malamute.
Finally, you will need the plan to train the Malamute. Training them on the most important items first will be your fastest way to a well-behaved working dog. Walking them in a busy place and teaching them to walk loose-leashed can be a great place to start as these dogs need daily vigorous exercise and socialization. Other basic commands that will prove invaluable for Malamute owners are stay, sit, recall, drop it, and leave it.
Alaskan Malamute Needs
The first thing you will notice about the Malamute is its dense fur, which means it needs regular grooming. Weekly brushing is a must but an occasional deshedding will help to keep the dog comfortable and to prevent excessive shedding. Haircuts may be a good idea in warm climates and cleaning out the ears as a preventative measure can help to avoid infections and trauma to the ear.
This is a dog breed that is prone to hip dysplasia and eye issues, so macular and mobility supplements will be a great investment. High-quality dog food and dog treats will also go a long way to keeping your dog healthy and avoiding diabetes, which the Malamute is susceptible to developing.
Training the Malamute is a must. This will establish a hierarchy within the household that your large pack-minded dog will honor. This is a large, powerful, and dominant dog that requires structure in the household, a large part of which is consistent and repeated training.
Lastly, the high energy requirements of this dog can be daunting. This dog was bred to work in the Arctic, which means a light walk twice a day won’t cut it. About 90 minutes of vigorous exercise is a good place to start, but be careful in warm temperatures as the dense fur of this breed can cause heat stress or heat stroke.
The Malamute will do best on high-quality dog food containing high levels of protein, moderate levels of fat, and lower levels of carbohydrates. Sledding dogs often eat a soupy group made of various types of meat, making their diet high in protein and fats. This proves useful in the harsh elements on long expeditions, and if you can afford it, would prove useful to your domesticated Malamute as well.
Exercise & Activity Levels
The energy demands of the Malamute are outstanding, This is a dog known for its endurance and strength, making it his task to exercise them in more civilized settings. Around 90 minutes of vigorous exercise per day can help to avoid boredom and problem behavior but this exercise should be structured into the dog’s day and be done on your terms to further establish a pack dynamic.
These dogs shed, and shed a lot. They require brushings at least once per week and a regular visit to the dog groomer will serve the dog well to keep their fur healthy and beautiful. Deshedding tools can help to reduce shedding, especially during the shedding seasons.
Alaskan Malamute Average Lifespan
The average life expectancy of the Alaskan Malamute is 10-14 years. However, they are prone to some health issues that can impact their life expectancy.
Commom Health Problems
- Hip and elbow dysplasia: This is the degeneration of the elbow and hip joint, and commonly the elbow joint, and it is common in many dog breeds, especially large breeds. This can lead to limited mobility, painful movement, and arthritis.
- Chondrodysplasia (Chd): This is a condition characterized by faulty development of cartilage and growth of bone in the ossification centers of bones of nonmembranous origin. It is caused by faulty genes and leads to dwarfism in the breed.
- Glaucoma: Glaucoma is a disease of the eye in which the pressure within the eye is increased. Causes include genetics, uveitis, tumors, and damage to the lens of the eye which can lead to a damaged retina or even total blindness.
- Cataracts: This can happen in dogs of any age and the causes include genetics, metabolic disturbances, trauma, and nutritional imbalances. With cataracts, the lenses are opaque, which means light cannot pass through to the retina, resulting in decreased vision and blindness.
- Metabolic disorders: The Malamute is prone to bloat, obesity, hypothyroidism, and diabetes, the latter of which can lead to cataracts and retinal atrophy. Their thick fur can hide weight gain so feeling for weight gain with your hands as well as weighing them consistently will help to mitigate any issues associated with this.
Recommended Health Tests
- Hip evaluation
- Ophthalmologist evaluation
- Polyneuropathy DNA Test
Tips for New Alaskan Malamute Owners
Here are some tips for new Alaskan Malamute owners.
Buy only from a reputable breeder: A responsible breeder will have genetic tests done on their breeding stock to ensure they are healthy to minimize the risk of health issues in the future. They will also have documentation on the dog’s lineage and will begin obedience training before you pick up your new puppy.
Buy supplies ahead of time: Buying everything you need for dog ownership will make your new dog’s transition into your home easier and reduce much of the stress. This will also ensure you have everything you need when you need it so you aren’t caught unprepared in any event.
Train your dog early and often: It is important to train any dog as early as possible, regardless of breed. This will not only help you to teach the dog who is in charge and install a dynamic between you and your dog, but it will also help you bond with your dog. This will strengthen the relationship you have with them, thus making them loyal to and protective of you while also making them listen to you when needed.
Alaskan Malamute Similar Breeds
– Siberian Husky
– Lapponian Herder
Alaskan Malamute Supplies You Need
You will need some basic things to own an Alaskan Malamute. High-quality dog food and go treats are a must and should be formulated to their size, age, and activity level as well as any dietary needs they may have. Macular and joint supplements will also help to keep the dog healthy well into its later years.
These dogs are highly energetic, which means they do well on high-protein, relatively low-carbohydrate dog food. This also means they have a durable harness, leash, and collar although the collar should only be used for identification purposes as using them to walk this powerful breed can pose a threat of injury.
A large kennel and some dog toys will also help to make your dog’s life more enjoyable and reduce their stress and anxiety. These dogs are not retrievers and are not known for their love of fetch. Instead, toys that mimic prey animals, like squeakers and chew toys, will be more likely to catch the attention of this prey-driven dog.
The correct grooming tools will be the last must-have. A high-quality deshedder, pin brush, and dog shampoo will serve you well. If you intend to groom this large dog at home then a grooming table may also be a good investment.
Best Dog Beds for Alaskan Malamutes
Best Dog Food for Alaskan Malamutes
Alaskan Malamute Fun Facts
If considering an Alaskan Malamute dog, read these fun facts about its parent breeds:
Fun Fact 1
The Alaskan Malamute is an ancient breed believed to be related to the domesticated arctic wolves the Paleolithic human species brought with them over the land bridge that once connected Asia and North America near Alaska.
Fun Fact 2
The breed gets its name from the native Innuit tribe called Mahlemuts who settled on the shores of Kotzebue Sound in the northwestern part of Alaska.
Fun Fact 3
In 1928 Admiral Byrd of the United States Navy took a team of Alaskan Malamutes across the South Pole during one of the first Antarctic expeditions in nearly a century prior.
Fun Fact 4
You cannot train a Malamute to stop digging and the best way around this is to give them a designated place to dig.
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