Dog Breeds

Alaskan Malamute Advantage and challenges

Advantages

  • Intelligent and courageous
  • Very loyal and hardworking
  • Friendly and affectionate
  • Sweet-faced and handsome wolf-like appearance
  • Very quiet, rarely barks

challenges

  • Can be aggressive with other dogs
  • Very territorial - needs an enclosed yard with tall fences
  • Early socialization and obedience training are a must
  • Extremely heavy seasonal shedding
  • Not recommended for first-time dog owners
  • Doesn’t do well in hot climates

Alaskan Malamute Physical Characteristics

Size

  • Large 24-26”

Weight

  • Males 80-95 pounds, Females 70-85 pounds

Coat

  • Thick, coarse double coat

Colors

  • White, black/white, wolf gray, wolf sable (red undercoat with dark gray outer coat), or red

Life Expectancy

  • 10-15 years
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Alaskan Malamute Personality

The Alaskan Malamute is best known for its tireless sled-pulling abilities, but this big, beautiful wolf-like dog also makes a fine and loving companion. Although the Malamute looks quite a lot like its distant wolf ancestor (minus the sweet and affectionate facial expression), it is a domesticated dog with no wolf hybrid bloodline. Today this strong and attractive dog is the 58th most popular breed registered with the AKC in the United States

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Alaskan Malamute History and General Information

History and Origin

Originally a Nordic dog, the Alaskan Malamute is descended from the Arctic wolf. Its name derives from Mahlemut, the ancient Alaskan tribe that first bred this sled-pulling snow dog. For centuries this breed has continued its Northern adventures; the Malamute accompanied Admiral Byrd's expeditions to the pole, and has participated in many polar expeditions since. It’s a task for which the Malamute is especially well designed – with its courage and tenacity, its keen senses of direction and smell, this dog has long been a fine and reliable companion for adventurers in the icy North. This dog is not built for speed – your Iditarod dreams will be dashed if you hope to win with a Malamute team. Rather, this sturdy and intelligent dog is prized for its endurance and heart.The American Kennel Club recognized this breed in 1935.

General Information

Like an overgrown puppy that doesn’t know its own strength, this sweet and eager-to-please dog can be a handful until well into maturity. Great with careful older kids, this dog should nevertheless be supervised around children, as it truly may not understand how easily injured human kids can be. Similarly, this breed should always be supervised around unfamiliar small animals, as it may consider them to be food unless told otherwise. Your Malamute wants to please you, and will accept your other small (non-canine) pets if properly introduced. Other dogs are another story – this is a combative and territorial breed - expect frequent turf battles. For all these reasons, early socialization and obedience training are a must. A Malamute needs a strong, confident owner to be its unquestioned pack leader – once accepted as such, it will be possible to train the dog with kindness and firm patience.

The Malamute is happiest spending its days in a big fenced-in yard, or else hanging out in the house with you. It’s important that this dog gets plenty of loving attention from its human “pack” - without attention, this dog will suffer, and so will you - it’ll quickly become a destructive nuisance. The last thing you’ll want is a depressed, frustrated howling-and-digging machine on your hands. If your lifestyle doesn’t include the ability to spend most of every day with your devoted pet, you may want to consider a different breed.

The Malamute’s coat allows it to withstand the cold, but conversely this breed doesn’t do well in hot climates. Make sure it has shade and plenty of clean cool water, and take care not to over-exercise your dog in warm weather.Its dense coat should be brushed twice a week. In season, you’ll need to brush more often, as this breed sheds like crazy - the undercoat comes out in clumps twice a year.

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Alaskan Malamute Health

Health Ailments

The Alaskan Malamute is generally a very hardy breed, although some pups from less reputable breeders or petstores have shown health and temperament problems. The Malamute is prone to hip dysplasia; some are prone to chondrodysplasia, which is dwarfism. This breed may also be prone to copper and zinc deficiencies.

Take care not to overfeed your Malamute - it will tend to wolf down whatever is offered, which can lead to obesity and bloat.

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Alaskan Malamute Community

Your Alaskan Malamute

Send us pictures and stories about your Alaskan Malamute.

Alaskan Malamute Discussion Group

Get tips from other Alaskan Malamute lovers – and submit a few ideas of your own.

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