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Alaskan Malamute

Alaskan Malamute

A wolf-like breed in appearance, the Alaskan Malamute is a large, imposing breed of dog who has typical Spitz characteristics (a tail often curled over the back, a very thick coat, erect ears, and a wedge-shaped head.

The need-to-know
  • Dog suitable for experienced owners
  • Some training required
  • Enjoys vigorous walks
  • Enjoys walking more than two hours a day
  • Large dog
  • Some drool
  • Requires grooming every other day
  • Non hypoallergenic breed
  • Very vocal dog
  • Guard dog. Barks and alerts
  • May require training to live with other pets
  • May require training to live with kids

Key Facts

Lifespan: 12–15 years
Weight: 38–56kg
Height: 58–71cm
Colours: White and light grey to black, and from gold to red and liver, with markings
Size: Large
Kennel Club group: Working

Ratings

Family-friendly: 4/5
Exercise needs: 5/5
Easy to train: 4/5
Tolerates being alone: 1/5
Likes other pets: 2/5
Energy level: 5/5
Grooming needs: 3/5
Shedding: 5/5
Alaskan malamute looking up.

Personality

The Malamute dog is an affectionate, friendly dog who is devoted to their family, though not the ideal breed for a first-time owner as they can be challenging to own. As well as their almost insatiable need to run, they love to dig and howl, are often escapologists, and can have a high prey-drive for small, furry creatures – be it squirrels, cats or even small dogs. For owners who understand them and can give them what they need to be healthy and happy however they make outstanding and head-turning companions.

Alaskan malamute on the background of Alaska Range.

History and Origins

Country of Origin: United States

The Malamute is one of the oldest and strongest of the northern sled dogs and was beloved of the Mahlemut people of Alaska for whom the breed took their name. It is unclear just how old the breed is but there is history that suggests that they have been working in Alaska for over 5000 years. Their size, strength and stamina meant that they were used to transport heavy loads - and a team of dogs would have been able to drag half a ton across challenging terrain for hundreds of miles. When they weren’t needed as sled dogs, they would be employed as livestock guards and used to help hunt moose or bear.

When outsiders began to arrive in Alaska, the sport of sled-racing become popular. The Malamute wasn’t best suited for this as they were built to pull heavy loads over long distances rather than for speed. This led to outsiders crossing the Malamute with smaller faster dogs and the original breed went into sharp decline. Fortunately enough, there were parts of Alaska too remote for visitors, and enough dogs remained to recreate the breed and by 1936 the breed was recognised by the AKC and their future secured.

did you know?

Did You Know?

  • Along with the lighter Siberian Huskies, Alaskan Malamutes were involved in The Serum Run of 1925 when 150 sled dogs transported diptheria antitoxin across Alaska coering 674 miles in just over 5 days, saving the small town of Nome and the surrounding communities from an epidemic.
  • In World War 1, 450 Alaskan Malamutes were sent to France to deliver supplies to French army troops in mountain outposts.
  • Previously they were used to deliver mail and transport supplies for the early settlers in Alaska.
  • Alaskan Malamute’s were used in the Gold Rush to haul food and supplies over mountain passes.
  • This breed was used to sniff for mines, carry weapons and act as search and rescue dogs in World War II.

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