Alaskan Malamute

Country of origin:
Height (cm):
Weight (kg):
Life span (years):
from light gray through intermediate shadings to black, sable, and shading of sable to red; all-white
Hair length:
Recognized by:
FCI code:
Good with kids:
Pros Cons

  • great family companion

  • playful and out-going

  • friendly with houseguests

  • excellent working dog

  • ill-suited for keeping in an apartment

  • needs extensive amount of physical exercise

  • dominant and independent


The Alaskan Malamute is a handsome large dog with harmonious and strong body that fits perfectly for such a challenging task as sled pulling. This dog is listed among the oldest canine varieties and didn’t change much in physique and temperament for over thousand years of its existence. Be mindful that it needs a great deal of physical and mental exercise to become a well-mannered family pet.


Being one of the first Arctic sled canines, the ancestors of the Alaskan Malamute arrived to Alaska with indigenous Siberian people several thousand years ago. One group of these people, which subsequently became known as the Mahlemuts, colonised the north-eastern region of the Seward Peninsula. It’s thought that they were predominantly responsible for development of the Alaskan Malamute so the breed received its name in honour of its home town. Initially it carried out multiple tasks for its human companions including guarding their simple dwellings from polar bears and hunting seals. Nonetheless the main duty of this dog was pulling heavy sledges weighted with provisions and other stuff.

The Eskimos held this breed in very high regard and attached high importance to its working qualities and purity. During the Gold Rush of 1896 lots of foreign dogs were introduced to Alaska so lots of interbreeding was inevitable. Thankfully the Mahlemuts lived in relative isolation from other tribes and their Alaskan Malamutes suffered much less damage from this invasion than other local breeds.

Arthur T. Walden organised his Chinook Kennel in New Hampshire and initiated the breeding program of the Alaskan Malamute. He and his followers, Milton and Eva Seeley, gave away lots of its specimens for the Byrd Antarctic expeditions in the 30s of the XX century. The spouses also tried to recreate the original version of this dog, which came to existence in the North Sound region of Alaska. This bloodline of the Alaskan Malamute was then named the «Kotzebue» strain.

Another breeder, Paul Voelker, Sr. created separate strain of this breed using the dogs, which he imported to Alaska in the beginning of the XX century and later in the 20s of the XX century. His line earned the international recognition under the name «M’Loot». Some of his dogs participated in two World wars and in Admiral Byrd's second expedition.

The Alaskan Malamute achieved recognition of the American Kennel Club (AKC) as early as in 1935. Many its members served as sled dogs during the Second World War and were killed or simply left to die on battlefields. The modern-day dog remains an excellent versatile working animal although it also earned worldwide acknowledgment as a great family pet.


The Alaskan Malamute is a big yet gentle dog that usually develops sentimental attachment to its human family. Nonetheless it stands out for a dominant and independent character and therefore needs extensive socialisation in order to learn its place in the pack order. Immoderate howling may became a serious problem for the masters of this dog if it’s frequently left alone for any substantial period of time. In general this breed is fond of children but it tends to be highly possessive of food. Make sure that your kids never approach this dog while it’s eating.

The Alaskan Malamute has been noted for a very low aggressive level toward humans. However, it demonstrates outstanding skills at discerning the differences between an ill-intended person and a potential friend and usually makes a very responsible guardian. This dog also gets used to watch over the possessions of its first nomadic owners and can effectively perform the duties of a property guardian. However, your dog will be able only to scare off the intruder by its appearance and will almost never attack a stranger.

Commonly the Alaskan Malamute is too authoritative and quarrelsome to get along well with its counterparts. It definitely does best as a sole pet although it can be successfully kept together with both canines and household cats once correctly socialised. This breed was frequently used for quarrying Arctic mammals and in most cases becomes a mortal enemy for any street animal.

Health Problems

The most common problems for the breed include:

· autoimmune hemolytic anemia;

· bloat;

· cancer;

· chondrodysplasia (dwarfism);

· diabetes;

· epilepsy;

· eye problems;

· hip dysplasia;

· hypothyroidism;

· skin problems;

· malabsorption of zinc.


The Alaskan Malamute is an average maintenance breed. Its dense coarse coat consists of two layers and needs regular brushing. The dog sheds averagely on a constant basis and will cover all your carpets and furniture with heaps of long hairs. And even the most thorough brushing doesn’t save the day when the seasonal intensive shedding begins. If you can’t stand cleaning your dwelling twice a day or even more frequently from the dog’s hair than this breed isn’t right for you.

In other respects this dog needs very basic care that should include monthly nail trimming, weekly teeth brushing and periodic ear cleaning. The rich coat of the Alaskan Malamute doesn’t require any special clipping in order keep its natural beauty intact.


The training of the Alaskan Malamute requires both time and patience. This dog certainly has a mind of its own and doesn’t aspire to oblige the handler by all means. Additionally it likes to be a boss and will periodically try to take away the position of a leader from its master.

Early obedience training is a must for this breed otherwise it will be impossible to teach it even basic commands in its maturity. The Alaskan Malamute is totally irresponsive to any form of negative reinforcement and absorbs new information most willingly if motivated by plentiful delicious treats and praise.


The daily exercise regimen of the Alaskan Malamute should consists of at least an hour of intensive activity so this breed is very demanding as far as it concerns its activity level. An apartment dweller won’t be able to provide this dog with daily opportunity to run off-leash in a fenced yard and should carefully consider the decision about acquiring it in the first place.

The Alaskan Malamute can’t stand heat and absolutely loves frisking in deep snow. Be aware that this dog suffers psychologically and emotionally without proper physical outlet and tends to demonstrate its disappointment with such a life by unruly behaviour and continuous barking.