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You are here: myPetSmart.com > Breeds > Alaskan Malamute

Alaskan Malamute

Origin: USA

AKC Group: Working

Height: 23 - 25 inches (Male)

Weight: 75 - 110 pounds (Male)

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Alaskan Malamutes are strong independent dogs that love the outdoors, especially when it's cold. Some of these dogs are professional weight pullers that can pull over 1,000 pounds. Malamutes will become destructive if they're confined or left alone too long.

They love to howl and dig. Some breeders say female Malamutes will even dig den holes in your sofa. Most Malamutes are friendly with strangers and good with older children, but they're often aggressive with other pets.

The Alaskan Malamute is a working dog. In general, working dogs pull sleds and carts, guard homes and serve in the military. Because these dogs are intelligent and capable of learning almost anything, they make excellent companions.

Their very size can make them difficult to control, so they must be trained by a competent professional. Most working dogs are pack dogs, so they're often aggressive with strange dogs and other pets.

Male height: 
23 - 25 inches
Male weight: 
75 - 110 pounds
Rough coat that's one to two inches long with a dense undercoat. Brush at least twice a week. Ears prick up; tail curls like a plume over the back.
Black, Alaskan seal (black with a creamy undercoat), sable (black with a red undercoat), wolf gray (gray with a gray or creamy undercoat), or red. More rare is solid white. Most dogs have white markings on the face, neck,chest, legs. Unlike the Siberian Husky, Malamutes have brown eyes, although red dogs sometimes have lighter eyes. Nose is black, or flesh-colored on red dogs.
Special considerations: 
The Alaskan Malamute is extremely strong and needs professional training, so it's not recommended for novice dog fanciers.

In the harsh environment of northeastern Alaska, Malamute Eskimos - now known as the Kobuk - needed a dog who could withstand the cold and literally "pull his weight" to find and put food on the table. These selective breeders were renowned for producing intelligent, reliable and strong dogs. In time, the Kobuks' Alaskan Malamutes earned a great reputation and became very difficult for non-Eskimos to acquire. The Klondike Gold Rush of 1896 brought all kinds of people to California and north into Alaska, and they soon learned the value of the sled dog. Malamutes were especially prized, but they began to become interbred with smaller, faster dogs as well as dogs better known for weight pulling and fighting. When the crosses were unsuccessful, people returned to breeding for true Malamute type and the breed has been preserved ever since.

The Alaskan Malamute is a free-spirited, affectionate and playful dog. He has a great sense of humor and is very devoted to his people. Powerful and independent, the Malamute is appreciated by experienced dog owners who understand how to train and socialize this unique, hardworking breed.
At home: 
The Alaskan Malamute can do well in the suburbs or in larger spaces but doesn't typically make the best apartment dog due to his boisterous nature, energy needs and copious shedding. However, he keeps himself extremely clean and can usually be housetrained quickly. He loves to frolic in the snow during the winter, and in the summer, appreciates a small pool filled with water in which to cool off. He's not a barker but does howl - a sound almost indistinguishable from that of the wolf.
Keep in mind what the Malamute was originally bred for - pulling sleds over great distances and hunting. This is a seemingly tireless dog who need lots of exercise.
A high-quality food is essential for the Alaskan Malamute. Many owners feed their Malamutes on a schedule - usually twice a day - rather than leave a large amount of food out all day because this breed has a tendency to gobble up the entire bowl in minutes.
Handling a large, strong, intelligent dog can be a challenge, making training necessary. The Malamute's sensitivity and smarts make him most receptive to positive, motivational and creative training, preferably from an early age. Harsh methods will devastate this independent-minded breed. Socialization is a necessity with an Alaskan Malamute, or he can become sullen and unpredictable.
Malamutes get along well with children, although other dogs can bring out their domineering side. This breed needs to be well socialized with other pets and should not be left alone with small animals.
The average life span of the Alaskan Malamute is 10 to 12 years. Breed health concerns may include autoimmune hemolytic anemia (AIHA); bloat; cancer; chondrodysplasia; coat funk; diabetes; epilepsy; eye problems; hemeralopia; hip dysplasia; hypothyroidism; immune diseases; polyneuropathy; and skin problems.
Fun fact: 

Alaskan Malamutes were not bred for speed but rather for endurance, as they needed to haul sleds over long distances.

Grooming blurb: 
The Malamute's thick undercoat sheds almost constantly, and about twice a year, he "blows" his undercoat and clumps of fur fall out (which means that you will need a great vacuum cleaner). He requires daily brushing with a stiff bristle brush and steel comb.
Copyright by T.F.H. Publications, Inc. This document has been published with the intent to provide accurate and authoritative information in regard to the subject matter within. While every reasonable precaution has been taken in preparation of this document, the author and publisher expressly disclaim responsibility for any errors, omissions, or adverse effects arising from the use or application of the information contained herein. The techniques and suggestions are used at the reader's discretion.