The largest of the arctic dog breeds, the Alaskan Malamute is friendly and intelligent and loves to bond with its owners.
Known for their large, wolf-like stature, the Alaskan Malamute is a heavy-duty arctic dog first bred for its strength and endurance to pull heavy cargos. Despite their similarity in appearance to wolves, the Malamute is a domesticated dog and not a wolf hybrid.
Possessing an outgoing personality, Malamutes are powerful, active, intelligent, and inquisitive dogs that require both companionship and discipline.
Male: 38 - 56 kg
Female: 38 - 56 kg
Height at Withers:
Male: minimum 64 - 71 cm
Female: minimum 58-66 cm
The Alaskan Malamute has a wolf-like appearance and is a notoriously large dog breed. They are heavy set with a strong and commanding stance, broad chest and have a furry, waterproof coat. Distinctive in colour, the Alaskan Malamute is often recognised from their usual shades of light gray through to black, sable and red.
Exercise Requirements: 1 hour minimum per day, ideally more
Energy Level: Moderate – High
Longevity Range: 10-14 yrs
Tendency to Drool: Low
Tendency to Snore: Low
Tendency to Bark: Low - Moderate
Tendency to Dig: High
Social/Attention Needs: High
Mental Stimulation Needs:
Moderate to high
Working dogs – historically used for sled-pulling and sled-racing
Characteristics: Thick coarse guard coat and woolly undercoat. Plume-like tail.
Colours: Colours range from gray, black, sable, and red with a white underbody. The markings can appear cap-like or mask-like on the face. A white blaze on the forehead, or a spot on the neck can also be seen.
Overall Grooming Needs: High – double-coated breeds shed year-round and routine brushing is required.
AKC Classification: Working Group
UKC Classification: Northern Breed Group
The Alaskan Malamute is a large-sized dog breed built for function and survival. Malamutes have a broad head, wide-set ears, strong athletic body, and large plumed tail. Their thick double-coat can be a variety of colours (grey, black, sable, and red) and often they have white markings on their face, legs, or belly.
Alaskan Malamute's require regular brushing to keep their coat clean and maintained. Males will shed heavily once a year and females twice a year during their seasons, however the double coat is reportedly odorless.
Note, Malamute’s do not need to be washed frequently as it can dry out their coat. As such, caution should be taken to maintain their coat to keep their fur healthy.
The Alaskan Malamute is as strong-willed as it is strong-bodied. As a task-seeker, it is a highly intelligent but stubborn breed that requires regular exercise and mental stimulation to avoid destructive tendencies.
Despite their dominant appearance, they are extremely friendly, affectionate, and loyal dogs.
However, it’s also worth noting that Malamute’s can display aggressive behavior with other male dogs and children should always be supervised to avoid any accidental injuries due to the powerful stature. Their quintessential pack dog mentality means that owners need to be confident and firm to avoid dominant behaviours.
Alaskan Malamute’s require ample companionship and open space to run around and burn energy. As a result of this, they are well suited to homes with large gardens or outdoor areas, and would struggle to be kept in an apartment.
While they tend not to bark too much, they do howl (which can be a discerning sound if not familiar) and like to dig.
Owners should ensure that they provide an environment for the dog to do both. Due to their large size, strength, and intelligence, it’s recommended that this breed is enrolled in training from early age to ensure that discipline is instilled before they are large or strong enough to outwit their humans. Failure to do so, could result in behavioral issues.
Developed by the Inuit tribe Malamutes in Northwest Alaska, Malamutes are among the most-ancient breeds of dogs.
While Malamutes have ancestry similarities with other arctic breeds (Siberian Husky Samoyed of Russia and Eskimo dogs of Greenland and Labrador); Malamute’s were bred for their impressive stature and were popular among miners needing sled dogs during the gold rush of the 1800s.
While the breed wasn't officially recognised by the American Kennel Club till 1935 and later the United Kennel Club in 1947, it is reported that Malamutes contributed to the polar expeditions of Cook, Byrd and Perry by pulling loads.
Although generally healthy, Alaskan Malamutes can experience certain issues which include:
Bloat (also known as Gastric Dilatation Volvulus (GDV) is a serious condition that primarily affects large and deep-chested dog breeds. An abnormal accumulation of gas or fluid in the stomach can cause stomach twisting which can lead to restricted blood flow and tissue damage.
Cataracts is an eye condition which manifests as clouding of the lens in the eye and can lead to impaired vision.
Chondrodysplasia is a genetic condition that affects the skeletal system leading to abnormal development and bone growth.
Epilepsy is a neurological disorder that is characterised by recurrent seizures or convulsions that are caused by abnormal electrical activity in the brain.
Hemeralopia (Day Blindness): this is an hereditary disorder that causes a dog to have reduced vision or complete blindness in bright light or daylight conditions while retaining normal vision in low-light or dark environments.
Hip Dysplasia is an orthopedic condition that alters the inner workings of the hip joint.
Hypothyroidism (a Thyroid issue) can cause insufficient thyroid levels in the body. Possible signs include: thinning coat, lethargy, weight issues, slow heart rate and changes in behaviour, such as dullness.
Polyneuropathy (DNA test available) is a condition characterised by the dysfunction or damage to multiple peripheral nerves.
Note, not all Malamutes will get any or all these diseases, but it's important to be aware of them if you're considering this breed. Reputable breeders should test for these health issues where possible.
It is advised that any prospective pet parents are aware of potential health challenges faced with ownership and that you think carefully before bringing a new dog home.