Alaskan Malamute Dog Breed: History, Temperament, Care, Training & more

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Alaskan Malamute Dog Breed Information

Alaskan Malamute
Level of Energy    
Exercise Needs   
Level of Affection  
Climate Tolerance     
Good With Children    
Tolerance of Animals      
Suitable as Watch Dog      

Alaskan Malamute – Just The Facts

  • AKC Popularity:  57
  • AKC Breed Group: Working
  • Size of Male:  85 lbs., 25 in.
  • Size of Female:  75 lbs., 23 in.
  • Color:  All White, Light Gray to Black, or Red to Sable + Markings
  • Average Lifespan:  10-12 years
  • Breed Origin:  Alaska
  • Purpose:  Freighting Dog

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General Description

Their wolfish appearance might make you uneasy at first, but the Alaskan Malamute doesn’t really make the cut for watchdog material. They are rather friendly and playful creatures who enjoy frolicking in the snow. For the cold-loving, outgoing pet owner, there’s no doubt that this dog breed will make a fine family addition.

Origin and History

Alaska is obviously the home of this handsomely coated breed, but the origin and history of the name is familiar to those who have studied the Innuit tribe that frequented the region. This working dog breed used to live with the “Mahle” people in their “mut” or village.

The Alaskan Malamute’s size and strength made them ideal haulers, sled pullers and big-game hunting companions. Today, they double as family companions but will gladly pick a fight with other dogs.

Alaskan Malamute Temperament

If there’s one thing you need to brace for with this large dog breed, it’s animal aggression. Though known to work in packs, the Alaskan Malamute has hunting instincts which can very well place pets, small animals and same-sex canines at risk.

The breed can also be strong-willed and will readily boss you around. For this reason, they are better suited for the veteran pet owner.

Care, Grooming, Diet & Exercise

Living Environment – You should think twice about raising an Alaskan Malamute if you live in the tropics or in a quiet subdivision. A loud howler, the breed does well in cold environments and poorly in hot climates. Due to the dog’s hunting instincts and energetic lifestyle, access to a securely fenced and shady yard is crucial. They will not pass up any chance to explore and can wander away for good.

Grooming – These dogs sheds a lot, and even more heavily at least twice a year. Nevertheless, coat care is relatively undemanding. Your pet requires no more than 2 brushings a week to remove dead hair. Baths aren’t necessary, as this breed’s coat doesn’t allow dirt to stick easily.

Diet & Exercise – As with several canines, there are 6 dietary essentials for an Alaskan Malamute: water, protein, fats, minerals, vitamins and carbohydrates. Chicken is the highly recommended protein source, while bones and table scraps are strongly discouraged. If free feeding your puppy doesn’t work, you should schedule the feedings to thrice daily until the first 8 months have lapsed. Afterwards, downsize the frequency to twice or once a day.

There’s no question that exercise forms part of your dog’s everyday routine. Two long, leashed walks are the norm. Alternatively, you may allow your dog to roam your yard or join hikes with you. It’s best not to leave the pooch unsupervised though. Digging, howling and exposure to heat can spell trouble not only for the dog, but for you and your neighbors, too.

Health – Chronic heart disease is a major health concern for this dog breed. Apart from this, they are also prone to inherited polyneuropathy, cataracts, hip dysplasia and, in some cases, gastric torsion.

Alaskan Malamute Trainability

Alaskan Malamutes are generally challenging to deal with, but don’t mistake their stubbornness for a lack of intelligence. The dogs are wise. They just won’t allow you to train them unless you are able to establish yourself as the pack leader.

Remember to start training early. Puppy habits never get broken during this dog breed’s adult life! Experts often recommend that you enroll your pooch in puppy classes first prior to any obedience training.