Alaskan Malamute

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75-100 lbs
Mal, Mally

The Alaskan Malamute is the largest Arctic sled dog and got its name from the area it originated and the tribe it lived with, the Mahlemuts. It is a basal breed that originated 4,000 years ago with the Inuit Tribe in Alaska. Although they were originally bred for hunting large game such as polar bears and seals, now they are used for sled pulling and as companion pets. They are a healthy breed, living about 12 years on average, although they do have some congenital conditions such as hip dysplasia and cataracts. With their double-coat, they are able to withstand wet and cold climates. In fact, they actually prefer the cooler weather. Alaskan Malamutes are usually white with gray, red, or black shading and have a wolf-like appearance although their expression is softer.

heavy sled pulling, large game hunting
Date of Origin
ancient times

Alaskan Malamute Health

Average Size
Height: 25-28 inches Weight: 85-125 lbs
Height: 23-26 inches Weight: 75-100 lbs
Major Concerns
  • Canine Hip Dysplasia
  • Chondrodysplasia (Chd)
Minor Concerns
  • Cataracts
  • Glaucoma
  • Skin Problems
  • Diabetes
Occasional Tests
  • Eye
  • Hip
  • Blood
  • Chd Clear Rating

Alaskan Malamute Breed History

Named after the Innuit Tribe, Mahlemuts, this breed was born to work and play in the snow. They descended from the Eskimo dogs of Greenland, Siberian Huskies, and the Russian Samoyed over 4,500 years ago. At the time, the Mahlemuts used the Alaskan Malamutes as hunting dogs to help them hunt polar bears and seals and were used as sled dogs as well. Sometime during the 1700s, explorers were impressed by the Alaskan Malamutes for their strength and affection and this increased the breed’s popularity a great deal. During the gold rush of 1896, the miners started using the dogs in weight-pulling competitions for entertainment. At that time, Alaskan Malamutes were bred with other breeds to make them faster and to increase the number of dogs to race. This caused the breed to be diminished and it took until the 1920s for breeders to start trying to purify the breed again, the Alaskan Malamute as it is today being the result. In 1933, several Alaskan Malamutes were used to help Richard Byrd in his Antarctic expedition. During World War II, these dogs were used as working dogs alongside the soldiers in battle. The Alaskan Malamute is the 59th most popular breed in the United States and was officially recognized by the American Kennel Club in 1935. The breed was featured on a stamp issued by the United States postal service in 1984 and in several other countries. They became so popular in Alaska that it was named the official state dog of Alaska in 2010. This was all due to a campaign by a group of school children.

Alaskan Malamute Breed Appearance

The Alaskan Malamute is seen in nine different colors which include agouti and white, black and white, blue and white, gray and white, red and white, sable and white, seal and white, silver and white, and white. Some have black markings or a gray mask. They have a muscular and powerful body with a proud stance, alert eyes, and keep their head held high. The Alaskan Malamute has a broad head, triangular ears, a bulky muzzle, strong legs, and a furry tail curled over its back. They have a deep chest and powerful shoulders for strength and stamina. Their coat is thick and double layered for protection from the elements, which is why the Alaskan Malamute loves the cold weather so much. This is a large breed that can grow to over 100 pounds so they are able to withstand pulling heavy loads in extreme temperatures. They have dark brown eyes, although some are blue-eyed, and they are almond shaped.

Alaskan Malamute Breed Maintenance

The Alaskan Malamute sheds heavily twice a year and to keep their coat beautiful they need lots of grooming. This breed needs daily brushing with an oval pin brush and metal comb. It is important to brush under their arms and neck and check for mats, which can cause infection. Bathing should be done once every couple of months and you can have them groomed professionally several times a year. Their nails should be trimmed with a veterinary approved nail clipper or grinder once a month. Ears need to be cleaned weekly for wax, dirt, and other foreign materials and tooth brushing daily is recommended. The Alaskan Malamute is a dog with plenty of energy so you need to be ready to give your dog lots of exercise such as walking or jogging. A trip to the dog park can be fun as well since this breed gets along well with others. Apartments are not recommended for this large and energetic breed and they need a large yard to play in. However, they do like to dig holes so you should provide an area where it is safe for your dog to dig.

Alaskan Malamute Breed Activity Requirements

The Alaskan Malamute thrives when they are put to work pulling a load or given a great deal of space to roam and explore, but they also enjoy the companionship of a family. This makes them the perfect addition to a family that likes to include their dog in outdoor adventure. Rest after play is welcomed also, but without ample exercise, your Mally may become frustrated and destructive, with a tendency to howl. Allowing him supervised back yard time is wise as well; however, if left unattended, an unplanned escape may take place.