Breed Category: Working Group
Country of Origin: United States
Average Size: 55-65 cm
Average Weight: 32-43 kg
Average Life Span: 9-14 years
Grooming Requirements: Medium
Exercise Requirements: High

History

The Alaskan Malamute is an Arctic dog originally bred to carry sleds, though it is now mainly kept as a companion dog. The present day Alaskan Malamute is a descendent of dogs kept by the Mahlemut tribe several thousand years ago when they occupied present-day northwestern Alaska. Their large, strong and naturally athletic bodies allowed them to pull heavy sleds full of supplies and they were also used to transport members of the Mahlemut tribe from one place to the next.

This breed is primarily kept as a family pet, though it is still sometimes used as a sled dog and its tenacity and endurance make it a valuable asset in search and rescue missions in arctic conditions.

This breed originally descended from wolves and is similar in appearance to dogs such as the Samoyed, Siberian Husky and the American Eskimo.

Appearance

The Alaskan Malamute is a big and hardy breed that is larger in size than its ancestors. Males are generally larger than females and may grow to 65 cm in height and 43 kg in weight. It is heavy-boned with strong and capable legs.

This breed has a thick double coat that protects the dog from cold conditions. Its coat comes in a variety of shades, including black, gray, red, sable, white or a combination of these colours. It often has a darker mask on its nose, near its eyes and on the top of its head.

It has brown eyes that appear alert and are set close together on a large, narrow head. Blue eyes are occasionally seen, though the breed standard states that various shades of brown are the only colour accepted. Its triangular ears are not overly large but stand erect on the dog’s head.

The tail of the Alaskan Malamute curls up so that it rests on the dog’s back. When it must sleep outdoors in cold conditions, the thick tail helps to keep the animal’s head warm when it curls up.

This breed is generally very clean and requires little more than brushing and bathing when necessary. It sheds a considerable amount, so regular grooming will help reduce this.

Temperament

The Alaskan Malamute is a very intelligent and independent breed. Early socialisation is important in ensuring that it gets along well with people and other animals. Their independent nature also makes them more difficult to train, but beginning to train at a young age and being consistent will aid in this process.

This is a very hard-working and focused dog that enjoys interacting with its family. The Alaskan Malamute is very sociable, getting along well with people and animals, though reasonable care should be taken when this dog is around small children and animals.

Barking and howling are common when the Alaskan Malamute is excited or upset, though they are not known to be an overly vocal breed that barks without purpose.

The Alaskan Malamute should be exercised frequently, including daily walks and time spent outside. This dog has an independent nature, so it should be supervised when outside and kept in a fenced in area that will prevent it from running off or digging its way out of a confined area.

Health

Health conditions that may affect this breed are cataracts, heart defects, hip dysplasia and polyneuropathy. Some conditions, including cataracts, may be genetic, though risk can be reduced if the Alaskan Malamute is bred properly.

The Alaskan Malamute is generally happier and healthier when living in a cool climate. Its thick, heavy coat makes it difficult to spend time outdoors in a hot climate. Some owners choose to have their dogs shaved during hot summer months in order for it to be more comfortable. If kept outside, it is important that the Alaskan Malamute have plenty of water, food and shade.

The lifespan of the Alaskan Malamute is generally 9-14 years, though healthy dogs of this breed may live longer.