Fascinating Alaskan Malamute Facts

by Anne-Marie Smith
Alaskan Malamute

The Alaskan Malamute is a massively strong, heavy-duty spitz-type dog that is affectionate, loyal, and playful but dignified. He is easily identifiable by his well-furred plumed tail carried over the back, erect ears, and substantial bone. 

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Facts About the Alaskan Malamute:

 Size and Behaviors 

Size and Behavior

The Alaskan Malamute stands 23 to 25 inches tall and weighs 75 to 85 pounds at the shoulder. Everything about Malamutes screams arctic sled dog: They are a breed with a large bone structure, a deep chest, powerful shoulders, and a dense, weatherproof coat.

However, their almond-shaped brown eyes sparkle with affection, indicating that Alaskan Malamutes enjoy snuggling with their humans at the end of the workday. Alaskan Malamutes are solitary creatures. And you must be the leader of your family’s ‘pack.’ If an Alaskan Malamute does not respect you, he will eventually come to own you rather than the other way around.

Training the Alaskan Malamute

Training a Malamute

Early puppyhood is the ideal time to begin firm but loving training. Having said that, a well-behaved Alaskan Malamute is a delight to be around, playful, gentle, friendly, and excellent with children. The Alaskan Malamute is bred for strength and endurance, which is the breed’s original purpose and what the breed standard requires of breeders.

The Alaskan Malamute, like all dogs, responds best to positive reinforcement and reward-based training. This includes both verbal and physical rewards. Because the Alaskan Malamute dog is a highly intelligent breed, training should be simple. These dogs, however, can be stubborn, and they require a firm and consistent trainer to show them who is in charge. If you’ve ever trained a dog before, you’ll discover that training the Alaskan Malamute is a breeze.

The Appearance of the Alaskan Malamute

Malamute Stacked Out

The Alaskan Malamute’s coat is double. The undercoat is oily and woolly in texture and can be up to two inches thick. The outer guard coat is coarse and extends further away from the body at the withers but not more than an inch away from the sides. The ears are small in comparison to the head and stand erect when alert. Alaskan Malamutes are large dogs with a more intimidating nature and structure than Siberian Huskies, which are bred for speed.

The usual colors are various shades of gray and white, sable, and white, black and white, seal and white, red and white, or solid white. There is a wide range of markings in the breed including face markings, blazes, a splash at the nape of the neck, and a collar or half collar.

The eyes of the Alaskan Malamute are almond-shaped and are varied shades of brown; however, the darker eye is preferred. The physical build of the Alaskan Malamute is compact and strong with substance, bone, and snowshoe feet. The Alaskan Malamute’s tail is well furred and is carried over the back like a waving plume.

Their ears are generally upright, wedge-shaped, small in proportion to the head, and set to the side of the skull. The muzzle is deep and broad, tapering slightly from the skull to the nose. Nose and gums are black, but some Alaskan Malamutes have a snow nose, which is black with a pink undertone that can get darker or lighter, depending on the season.

Physical Ability of the Alaskan Malamute

Sled Dog

Alaskan Malamutes are still in use as sled dogs for personal travel, hauling freight, or helping move light objects; some, however, are used for the recreational pursuit of sledding, also known as mushing, as well as for skijoring –  Skijoring is Cross country skiing and dog sledding mixed together in this sport, bikejoring -It’s a sport where one dog or a group of dogs run in front of a bike, pulling.

It started with mushing, which is when dogs pull a sled for the musher, carting, and canicross- Originating in Europe as a way to train during the off-season. Canicross is a team sport in which a dog and a human run together. The dog races ahead in canicross, while the runner guides him/her from behind using verbal instructions.

An adult male Alaskan Malamute can pull around 500–1,500 kilograms (1,100–3,300 lbs.) of weight, depending on build and training.

The Temperament of the Alaskan Malamute

Malamute Side Profile

Due to their origins and breeding, Alaskan Malamutes, like other Northern and sled dog breeds, can exhibit a high prey drive. This may mean that they will occasionally pursue smaller animals, such as other canines, rabbits, squirrels, and cats. While Alaskan Malamutes are generally very sociable around people and can be trained to tolerate smaller pets, caution should be exercised when they are around smaller animals.

Alaskan Malamutes are generally quiet dogs that rarely bark. When an Alaskan Malamute vocalizes, it frequently sounds as if it is “speaking” by vocalizing a “woo woo” sound. The Siberian Husky, a similar-looking Spitz dog, is much more vocal. 

 The Health of the Alaskan Malamute

Alaskan Malamute Puppy

Musculoskeletal (hip dysplasia) and hereditary cataracts are the most frequently reported health problems in Alaskan Malamutes. The breed has health issues, including seizure disorders, which can affect both young puppies and adults, epilepsy, congenital heart problems, kidney problems, and skin disorders.

Additionally, elbow dysplasia, inherited polyneuropathy, osteochondrodysplasic, cerebellar hypoplasia, heart defects, and eye problems occur in Alaskan Malamutes (particularly cataract and progressive retinal atrophy).

Canine diabetes, which typically manifests itself in middle age, is a growing problem among arctic dog breeds, including the Alaskan Malamute and their cousin, the Samoyed (5 to 7 years). Zinc deficiency is another health issue that Alaskan Malamutes face. This breed has a limited ability to absorb zinc, which can result in infections, skin and coat problems. Thyroid disorders are the most common hormonal problem in dogs, and Alaskan Malamutes frequently exhibit hypothyroidism. 


Alaskan Malamute with a Child

World War II-related losses nearly wiped out the breed. In 1947, with only about 30 registered dogs remaining, the studbook was reopened. Robert J. Zoller became involved in the breed at this point and used the opportunity to cross M”Loot and Hinman/Irwin dogs with selected Kotzebues to create the Husky-Pak line.

All modern Alaskan Malamutes are descended from the primitive strains and exhibit a variety of characteristics to varying degrees. As a result, we now see natural differences. Alaska’s official state dog, the Alaskan Malamute, was named in 2010. 

The Malamute gets its name from the Mahlemut tribe of the Inupiat people, who raised these dogs. They would share their food with their dogs because they thought of them as family.

The Mahlemut put their babies between dogs in extremely cold weather since dogs are warmer than people and that was the only way to survive Alaska’s harsh winters. This is why they are thought to be so good with babies.

In the past, the Alaskan Malamute dogs were used to hunt seals, fight off polar bears, and carry a huge amount of food or supplies over a long distance at slow speeds.


The modern Alaskan Malamute is a pleasant and affectionate breed that makes a wonderful family pet. Despite the fact that these dogs have high exercise requirements, they are easy to teach and simply want to be with their family at all times. A strong and confident owner is required since the Malamute may be stubborn and will struggle for their place in the home hierarchy. The Alaskan Malamute, on the other hand, will be your best friend if you’re willing to be active and pay attention to them.

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