Alaskan Malamutes are natives of northwest Alaska, where they served as hunting partners, pack dogs, and sled dogs for the Mahlemut people, an Innuit tribe. The Alaskan Malamute dogs were vital to the peoples’ survival. In the mid-1900s, Malamutes were used in many Arctic exploratory expeditions and served in World War II.
Alaskan Malamute dog breed is large and substantial, standing 23 to 25 inches tall and weighing between 75 and 85 pounds, although many are larger. His head is broad and deep, ears are upright, and eyes are medium-sized, almond-shaped, and dark brown. With a deep chest, powerful shoulders, heavy bones, strong legs, and good feet, this breed is designed to work hard.
The outer coat is thick and coarse; the undercoat is dense. The tail is a plume that is carried low when working. Alaskan Malamutes need brushing at least twice per week, but during the shedding seasons, primarily spring and fall, daily brushing is needed to keep the hair under control.
Exercise is important; the Alaskan Malamute is a working dog bred to carry packs or pull sleds. A long, brisk walk morning and evening and a play session in between is the least exercise this dog can tolerate. A Malamute would be thrilled to have an owner who does skijor, sled dog training, carting, hiking, or backpacking. Although they were bred to work, and Malamutes love to have something to do, they can also be a little independent and often have a touch of stubbornness. The key is to make training interesting and fun. Don’t battle a Malamute; intrigue him instead and teach him compliance. Socialization is also important and should begin early.
The Alaskan Malamute breed is a wonderful companion for people who are leaders; he can be domineering over people who are too soft. The breed may be dog-aggressive; males especially may be aggressive toward other male dogs. All interactions with small pets should be carefully supervised. Health concerns include hip dysplasia, bloat, and torsion.
Alaskan Malamute at K9 Research Lab