Alaskan Malamute: Exploring the Charm of This Genuine Sled Dog

Discover characteristics, temperament and care tips of this majestic breed

Photo of author

By Alex

alaskan malamute

The Alaskan Malamute is a dog breed renowned for its strength, endurance, and unwavering loyalty. Originating from the cold landscapes of Alaska, these majestic primitive dogs have captured the hearts of many with their striking appearance and captivating personality.

In this guide, we’ll delve into the fascinating world of the Alaskan Malamute, exploring its origins, physical characteristics, temperament, care needs, and much more.

Origin

The Alaskan Malamute traces its roots back to ancient Arctic tribes known as the Mahlemut, who inhabited the region that is now Alaska. Bred for their strength and ability to pull heavy loads, these dogs played a vital role in the survival of the Mahlemut people, assisting with tasks such as hunting, hauling, and transportation. Their history is intertwined with the harsh Arctic environment, where only the strongest and most resilient could thrive.

Physical Characteristics

One glance at an Alaskan Malamute, and you’ll be struck by its powerful build and wolf-like appearance. The Alaskan Malamute stands out as the largest and most powerful of sled dogs. Its appearance is perfectly suited to this activity: it boasts the typical compact build of Spitz-type dogs, with a deep chest and strong shoulders, allowing it to more easily pull heavy loads.

Its ears are rather small and triangular in shape, with almond-shaped eyes usually in shades of brown – blue is not permitted. The tail, resembling a waving plume, is thickly coated, standing erect or slightly curled and carried over the back at a slight incline.

Alaskan Malamute

The Alaskan Malamute boasts a majestic appearance. These dogs are large and sturdy, with males typically standing between 24 to 26 inches tall at the shoulder and weighing around 85 pounds, while females are slightly smaller. Their dense double coat provides insulation against the cold, with a coarse outer layer and a soft, woolly undercoat.

Alaskan Malamutes come in various colors, including shades of gray, black, sable, and red, often with distinct facial markings and a signature “mask” around the eyes.

The Alaskan Malamute’s Coat

Its thick coat serves as protection against the cold. Consisting of an oily undercoat and a dense topcoat, slightly longer around the shoulders and neck.

The coat’s color range typically spans from light gray to black, and from sable to red, with white markings. The Alaskan Malamute’s head usually features a mask on the muzzle or markings resembling a cap. Ideally, the markings should be symmetrical according to the standard. Completely white specimens are also accepted.

The Alaskan Malamute’s Temperament

This northern sled dog impresses not only with its imposing stature but also with its distinct personality. Its traditional breeding for sled pulling is reflected in its character.

The Malamute is highly independent and extremely hardworking and diligent. It craves and demands daily activity and possesses a strong will. Without proper training, this beautiful four-legged friend will independently set its own agenda. Early socialization and consistent training are crucial to channeling its intelligence and energy effectively.

Nevertheless, it is generally a very friendly dog that isn’t easily overwhelmed. If it trusts its human, it will willingly follow. Despite its imposing size, the Alaskan Malamute is a gentle giants at heart, often forming strong bonds with its human counterparts.

Even strangers are usually greeted with calmness and a certain indifference. It typically displays the same attitude towards its peers. However, it’s best not to provoke it. This strong and proud canine should never be underestimated.

Diet

A balanced diet is essential to keep your Alaskan Malamute healthy and thriving. High-quality dog food formulated for large breeds is recommended, providing the necessary nutrients to support their active lifestyle.

Protein-rich sources such as meat, fish, and poultry should be prioritized, along with carbohydrates for sustained energy. As with any breed, portion control is key to preventing obesity, which can lead to various health issues.

Grooming

Due to their dense double coat, Alaskan Malamutes require regular grooming to keep their fur in top condition. Weekly brushing helps to remove loose hair and prevent matting, especially during shedding seasons. Additionally, occasional baths can help keep their coat clean and free from dirt and debris.

It’s of paramount importance to pay attention to their ears, nails, and teeth as well, ensuring they remain clean and healthy.

Alaskan Malamute

Care

Providing adequate exercise is vital for the physical and mental well-being of Alaskan Malamutes. These dogs have high energy levels and thrive in environments where they can engage in activities such as hiking, running, or participating in canine sports. Mental stimulation is also essential to prevent boredom and destructive behavior, so incorporating training sessions and interactive toys into their routine is beneficial.

Life Expectancy

On average, Alaskan Malamutes have a lifespan of 10 to 14 years when properly cared for. However, like all breeds, they may be prone to certain health issues, including hip dysplasia, arthritis, and eye problems. Regular veterinary check-ups and a proactive approach to health care can help mitigate these risks and ensure your Malamute enjoys a long and fulfilling life.

Alaskan Malamute Puppies

Welcoming an Alaskan Malamute puppy into your home is an exciting experience, but it’s essential to be prepared for the responsibilities that come with it.

Early socialization and training are critical to shaping its behavior and temperament, setting the foundation for a well-adjusted adult dog. You’ll need to confidently demonstrate to your puppy that you’re the rightful “pack leader.” Otherwise, it will try to take your place. This is because this breed tends to exhibit dominant behavior. Generally, once you’ve earned its affection and recognition, this proud sled dog will gladly cooperate with you.

Additionally, providing plenty of opportunities for exercise and mental stimulation is key to promoting the full development of your puppy and preventing behavioral issues.

A cute Alaskan Malamute puppy
A cute Alaskan Malamute puppy

Alaskan Malamute in Summary

The Alaskan Malamute is more than just a dog breed – it’s a symbol of strength, loyalty, and resilience. Find here a summary of its most striking features:

 

Category Characteristic
In Brief The Alaskan Malamute is the largest and most resilient sled dog breed, originating from northwestern Alaska. Its name is inspired by the Inuit Mahlemut, the Eskimo population who first raised it. Used in many polar expeditions, it requires regular vigorous outdoor exercise and should only be raised by experienced individuals. It cannot live in a city apartment or warm regions.
Temperament Independent, hardworking, diligent, possessing a strong will, friendly
Height at Withers Up to 26 inches (males), up to 24 inches (females)
Weight 85 pounds
Coat Dense coat with thick, rough topcoat and dense, oily undercoat
Coat Color Ranges from light gray to black and from sable to red with white markings. Often has a white mask on the muzzle or one resembling a cap on the head. Pure white also accepted.
Eye Color Generally brown
Care Low maintenance, but sheds a lot
Recommended for Beginners No
Barking Tendency High
Suitable as Apartment Dog No
Compatibility with Children Generally yes
Compatibility with Cats Generally no
Life Expectancy 10/14 years
Possible Diseases Hip dysplasia, dwarfism, and zinc-responsive dermatosis
Price 1.000-2.000 Dollars
Exercise Need High
Training Difficulty High
Country of Origin Alaska (USA)

 

More on this Topic

You might also like these guides dedicated to know and lesser know dog breeds:

Discover these articles on dogs’ behavior: