Alaskan Malamute Dogs
Alaskan Malamutes may look like lone wolves, but they could not be more fun, playful and friendly. They love to goof around, play games and be rowdy (in a pleasant way, of course). As Alaskan Malamutes mature they do become more mellow and easygoing, but they never really lose touch with their inner-puppy. Take them outside on any given day and they’ll frolic with the best of them.
Alaskan Malamute Pictures
- 70 - 95 pounds
- 22 - 26 inches
Ideal Human Companions
- Cold-climate dwellers
- Outdoorsy types
- Experienced dog handlers
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- Wolf-like appearance
- Mellow but playful
- Eager to please
What They Are Like to Live With
These dogs seem to get along with everybody—even other dogs. They are very pleasant and open-minded, allowing everyone the benefit of the doubt. Aside from their intimidating looks, they have no real guard-dogging qualities.
Things You Should Know
As you can tell by looking at them, Alaskan Malamutes prefer cooler temperatures. If you happen to live in a warmer area, keep your Malamute in the cool indoors on hot days. They will thank you for it.
Bred to run great distances, Alaskan Malamutes are very active and need lots of exercise. They might not do so well in apartments. Ideally, they should have a big yard with a high fence. Be warned, however: These dogs like to dig. Also, if you live in the country or on a large piece of land, expect your Alaskan Malamute to roam around and patrol the borders.
A healthy Alaskan Malamute can live as long as 15 years. Common health issues include hip dysplasia and eye problems. They are also prone to bloat: If a big bowl of food is left out for them, they will devour it. So, it’s probably a good idea to feed them small portions throughout the day. Alaskan Malamutes need daily brushing. They shed fairly heavily in the spring and fall.
Alaskan Malamute History
Alaskan Malamutes were named after the Mahlemuts—an Inuit tribe based in the northern part of Alaska. These Arctic dogs, which probably descended from the wolf, were bred to haul sleds and other gear through the snow. No one knows exactly when these dogs originated, but it’s likely that some interbreeding occurred when Europeans and other settlers brought dogs to Alaska. In the 1920s, the popularity of sled dog racing encouraged dog enthusiasts to take notice of the Malamute. Formal breeding began in 1926, and the AKC first registered the breed in 1935.
The Look of a Alaskan Malamute
Alaskan Malamutes have strong, big-boned, wolf-like frames covered in soft double-thick coats. Their wide heads have rounded skulls, large muzzles, triangular ears and black noses. They have almond-shaped eyes with a wolf-like but kind and curious expression. Their strong, slightly arched necks slope down to strong backs and plumed tails that curl over the back. Their coats are dense and thick, and they usually come in solids or various combinations of white, gray, sable, red and black. Overall, Alaskan Malamutes carry themselves with dignity and power.
Talk About Alaskan Malamutes
A thinking breed
The Alaskan Malamute is like living with a teenager for its entire life. They are fun and need lots of exercise, so they keep you active. They are a thinking breed and want to help you out in work and fun.
When you make them part of your family, they make you part of theirs, and will give there life for you. I have 29 years of living with them. I love them and they love me.
~Betty W., owner of an Alaskan Malamute
Great dogs for the experienced owner
I own seven Malamutes, and I can tell you straight off that they are absolutely not for the beginner. Mallies are extremely intelligent dogs, whose loyalty tends to disappear when something more interesting comes along. Therefore you must constantly reinforce the rules. They won't do something simply because you tell them to, you will have to make it worth their while! They are also terrible guard dogs - they'd greet the burglar with licks, not bites. Also, continued socialization is a must. They are pack dogs that will most likely challenge other dogs and chase smaller animals. Small children must also be introduced to a mature dog carefully to prevent that same challenging response.
Some of the great things about them are their fun personalities, great energy and distinctive way of "talking" to everyone they see. They are beautiful dogs and some of the most expressive of any breed I have owned. They also have a great sense of humor (one of my boys loves to bite other dogs' butts and run, another has to get up and join in anytime I hug anyone...) It may sound like there are more cons than pros, but in the hands of strong leaders they can be amazing (and amazingly fun) companions!
~Stephanie, owner of seven Malamutes
You have to be strong, fair, and consistent
Yes, I am a glutton for punishment. My first dog is an Alaskan Malamute. Before I adopted her (at 8 weeks old from the Humane Society), I performed due diligence. I read every article on the web and even with the warnings, I had to have her.
Ten years and a cross-country move later, we are still together. And I need her now more than ever. I am now disabled and have trained her as my balance/mobility service dog. Oh, she still has all the traits, good and bad, of the typical Malamute but she now has an important role -- life partner. Some service dog trainers turn up their noses when she talks to people in public. But she performs her duties and that is the most important aspect!
Before getting a Malamute, please read the warning pages on the websites of the Malamute rescues. Then seriously and honestly ask yourself if you will be able to handle all aspects of owning a Malamute. And please do not disregard any information as being exaggerated. Believe me, it's not. These dogs need a strong, fair, and consistent owner/leader to follow.
If you do not have the ability or personality to be a dominant leader, please reconsider. You have to be more stubborn, more determined, more rigid, more strict, more conniving, more creative, and always on your toes. But, in the end, you will have a dog that provides entertainment, affection, love, and enjoyment.
~Kathryn B, owner of an Alaskan Malamute