Alaskan Malamute – Full Breed Profile

Written by: Bojana Radulovic
Alaskan Malamute is a powerful dog of large size. They are often mistaken for Siberian Husky, although they do have some similarities. Check this article for more info on Alaskan Malamute.
Dog Breed Group:
Working Dogs
1 foot, 11 inches to 2 feet, 1 inch tall at the shoulder
75 to 100 pounds
Life Span:
12 to 15 years

Breed Characteristics:

Apartment Friendly


How well will this breed adapt to apartment living? Is the apartment size the most important factor when it comes to proper living conditions? Is the breed suitable for apartment living?

Good For First-Time Owners


Some dogs aren't suitable for first-time dog owners. Is this breed a good match for someone with no dog experience? Can training help them be on their best behavior with owners with no dog experience? Are they suitable to be handled by someone who is just entering the canine world?

Overall Sensitivity


Some dogs are sensitive. Certain breeds are rough on the outside, while having the softest heart on the inside. In other words, some dogs are 'thick-skinned' while some are 'easygoing.' Is this breed prone to sensitivity?

Tolerates Being Alone


Separation anxiety in dogs is a serious condition that can affect a dog's life quality. Is this breed prone to this condition? Can you leave him alone for hours? How destructive this breed can become when bored, neglected, or not loved enough?

Affectionate With Family


How affectionate this breed will be around his humans? Will he welcome new family friends easily or he will choose to be shy? Some breeds can be clingy with owners, while others don't attach a lot. Will this breed act as the family's best friend?



Some dogs will tolerate children, while others will adore well-behaved ones. Dogs and children should always be supervised, no matter how well trained the dog might be. Will this breed act as a nanny dog or he will stay away from children?

Friendly Toward Other Dogs


Some dog breeds cannot wait to run to the dog park and run with others. Others prefer to be with their humans, and not to be a part of a multi-pet household. Is this breed dog lover or not? How friendly this breed will be toward other dogs?

Friendly Toward Strangers


Some dog breeds tend to be reserved toward strangers and highly suspicious. Others are fast to walk away with them easily. How welcoming this breed is toward strangers?

Drooling Level


If you love to clean all the time drooling level in dogs is a trait that you should mind. Is this breed less likely to drool, or you will always need a towel on hand?

Easy To Groom


Heavier shedding during the shedding season is something that every dog needs to go through. However, some dogs shed just a bit all year round. Is this breed one of them? How often should you groom this dog?

Overall Health


What can you expect from this breed in terms of health? Are there any genetic conditions to vary about? Is obesity a major issue in this breed? By knowing more about the dog's health, you are learning how to help him live a longer and healthier life.

Prone To Obesity


Treats are a great addition to training sessions. Dogs love sweet bites of dog treats but they should be served in moderation. Treats can lead to obesity, next to poor nutrition. Can this breed gain extra weight from treats? How prone to obesity this breed actually is?

Trainability Level


Training some dogs is easier than others. How easy this dog will be to train? What can you expect? Some dogs are huge people pleasers and they will master commands easily, while others will try to outsmart you.

Intelligence Level


Dogs are smart beings. We do our best to train them, but they do still end up training us to adapt to their needs. How intelligent is this breed? Will he try to outsmart you? Or he will need multiple training sessions to master basic commands?

Prey Drive


Dogs were bred for a specific purpose. Those who were bred to hunt have natural instincts to hunt, even today. This is why many dogs, like Terriers, will chase other animals. They will also have a hard time concentrating on your commands when there is something small moving. Is this breed prone to following his prey instincts?

Barking Level


How vocal this breed is? Can you expect neighbors to ring you often to calm your dog? Or you can sleep without worries of hearing your Fido bark? Some breeds are highly vocal, others have unusual sounds, and some are silent. Is this breed prone to barking?

Energy Level


Low-energy dogs are happy with regular walks and indoor chill times. High-energy dogs are always ready for action. Is this breed a couch potato, energetic dog, or somewhere in between?

Exercise Needs


Some dogs are more than happy with a slow stroll down the street. Others need hours of active time to stay happy and fit. Is this breed demanding in terms of exercise? How much exercise this breed needs to stay happy and healthy?

Playfulness Level


Some dogs never lose that puppy spirit, not even in their senior years. Others are more serious and prefer having a job to do. Is this breed demanding in terms of playfulness? Can you expect playfulness in their senior years as well?

Alaskan Malamute is a strong dog of spitz type.

Similar to the globally popular Husky dog, this breed is equally recognizable thanks to his erect ears, love toward the cold temperature, and well-furred plumed tail carried over the back.

This is an arctic sled dog with powerful shoulders and a dense and weatherproof coat. This isn’t a breed for first time dog owners.

They are so powerful, unique, and independent that they need proven leadership to avoid becoming bored or even challenging to handle. Dogs of this breed are known as powerful and equally sensitive.

This means that nothing else but positive reinforcement should be used to train this powerful dog. They need plenty of companionships, regular and well-organized training, next to open space.

They can live in an apartment, but it’s not an environment where they could thrive properly. Plus, bear in mind that with so powerful coat shedding season will be a possible nightmare.

They will need plenty of brushing and regular grooming to keep the coat and the entire body shiny and healthy. Do they shed? Yes! How often? Every day of the year, and a bit extra during the shedding season.

This is definitely something that you should have in mind when thinking about getting the powerful Alaskan Malamute. This breed is often qualified as a high-energy breed, which means that they need regular and vigorous exercise.

Alaskan Malamute will do great with experienced owners, who can provide a large backyard and a cooler climate. If you can meet this breed’s needs then this dog could be your best furry friend for life.

Quick Facts

Real name: Alaskan Malamute
Other names: Mal, Mally
Origin: United States (Alaska)
Breed type: Working Dogs
Weight: 75 to 100 pounds
Height: 1 foot, 11 inches to 2 feet, 1 inch tall at the shoulder
Lifespan: 12 to 15 years
Litter Size: 4 – 10 puppies
Color: Variety of colors, including black, red, sable or gray, always with white. They could be all white as well
Coat: Double and thick coat, with strong undercoat

Alaskan Malamute History

Did you know that the Alaskan Malamute is one of the oldest sled dog breeds of the Arctic?

Dog historians believe that the Alaskan Malamute is a close relative of wolf dogs who followed the Paleolithic hunters 4,000 years ago.

The name ‘Alaskan Malamute’ comes from the Inuit people. These people lived in Kotzebue Sound in northwestern Alaska, and called this powerful dog ‘Mahlemiut’.

Originally, these dogs were developed to be sled dogs and to work in packs, as one team. Over time their tasks have become more challenging and their tasks go to be more physically demanding.

In no time, these dogs became imperative for powerful dogs who could pull heavy loads for long distances. Their main skill was endurance because they could pull heavy loads for a distance at low speed.

They were equally used to carry loads during the summer and the harsh wintertime. All in all, this breed will do better in more cold areas.

Breeds like Siberian Husky are also known as sled dogs but can pull loads at a faster speed.

The Alaskan Malamute is so a powerful dog that he could often chase away polar bears. Did you know that Alaskan Malamute is often described as a teddy bear dog? Over time the popularity of this breed only grew, until in 1935 the American Kennel Club has officially recognized the breed.

During World War II, the majority of registered Alaskan Malamute dogs were sent off to war, to perform various tasks.

At the time the demand for sled dogs was on the rise. As expected, many of them never returned to their owners.

During World War II, most registered Alaskan Malamute dogs were destroyed while serving on an expedition to Antarctica.

Alaskan Malamute Physical Appearance

The Alaskan Malamute is a large size dog. This breed is known for its powerful posture and endurance. They are always big in appearance with a well-muscled body.

The head of this dog is always broad, while the ears are triangular. When on duty or alarmed, ears will be erect.

Another massive trait of this breed, next to a powerful body, is the breed’s coat. The coat is heavily thick with a strong undercoat.

They may come in different colors, but they will most commonly look similar to Siberian Huskies. The tail of the breed is heavily furred and carried over the back.

Males are slightly larger than females, standing up to 23 inches and weighing up to 85 pounds. The neck is strong, while the entire body is compactly built, with rear legs being heavily muscled.

During the summer, the breed’s coat will be less thick and easier to brush. Just like with Siberian Husky and German Shepherd, grooming and brushing this breed is a serious task.

Alaskan Malamute Personality

Alaskan Malamutes are big and puff dogs. They may be large in size, but they are even bigger when it comes to loving humans.

They are massive people-pleasers and love nothing like keeping their humans happy. These dogs are pack animals, and they tend to suffer when left alone or neglected.

If not treated right, they may develop separation anxiety and even show some signs of destructive behavior.

They are highly friendly, just like Siberian Huskies are, and they have no issues with going with strangers easily.

Still, they are extremely loyal to their family members, but sometimes curiosity can get the best of them. Alaskan Malamutes aren’t much of barkers, but they do howl.

In fact, they are known for making that ‘woo woo’ sound. This is something that can be managed through proper training and early socialization.

Alaskan Malamute With Children and Other Pets

Malamutes are soft giants and they will enjoy all the attention that children can give them.

They are calm and patient around children. However, they’re fast-growing dogs who can forget just how large they are next to smaller children.

This breed is energetic and as puppies that can easily overpower children under the age of five. Simply said, they can knock a child over while playing.

This is why children and dogs should never be left alone, without supervision.

On the other hand, children should be educated on how to behave around dogs.

This means that they should know:

  • Not to pull dog’s tail
  • Not to pull dog’s ears, or try to put their hand into dog’s mouth
  • Not to disturb dog while eating, drinking, or sleeping
  • To know basic dog house rules
  • To know how to react with dogs properly

With proper training, proper care, and early socialization Alaskan Malamute should be a well-behaved canine citizens.

Large Alaskan Malamute should get along with other dogs of any size. He may be prone to chasing smaller animals, such as cats. However, this shouldn’t be an issue if they are raised together.

If your home is multipet households, make sure that you do introduction between animals properly.

Also, make sure that you supervise their interactions.

There is also a chance, that Alaskan Malamute may see outdoor cats and other small animals as running partners, so make sure that walks are always on a leash.

Alaskan Malamute Training

No matter how well-behaved a dog might be and no matter how mild his temperament could be, training plays a huge role in a dog’s life.

Proper training next to early socialization plays a huge role in shaping a dog with a great personality.

Obedience training is your first goal when you bring Alaskan Malamute home. Dogs are more than capable of mastering basic commands at only eight weeks of age.

During the vaccination period, your dog should go outside and meet other dogs, which is why this period is great for training time.

Training and early socialization are great times to teach your Alaskan Malamute not to be pushy with children and other animals. This period will let certain behaviors be created.

Training can also help to keep certain behaviors in balance, such as digging. If you have a backyard, make sure that your fence goes deeply into the ground.

If you want a guarding dog, this ain’t the breed for guarding duties. They are eager to be friendly with everyone and as such, they will not perform guarding duty.

They are primarily and companion dogs. If you want a guarding or watching dog, skip this breed.

Alaskan Malamute Exercise

Malamutes are active dogs. As such they will demand proper training, fun outdoor time, and indoor games, especially when days are rainy.

Otherwise, next to regular toilet walks, you should provide additional active time. This means that Malamutes should get around two hours of heavy exercise every day.

This can include:

  • Regular running
  • Longer hikes
  • Well-structured and frequent walks

They will also need free time to explore. If you have a large backyard this could do. They need to let off steam, and they do need extra playtime.

Don’t focus on physical time only, because dogs thrive on mental stimulation as well.

They have to keep their brains busy and active, which is why indoor games are so great option. Having some interactive games cannot harm.

If you are based in a cold climate and love running, this breed is for you – as long as you have experience with dogs. This breed will excel as long-distance running partners.

Plus, they love being active when there is a bit of cold air. For how long they could run?

Malamutes can run up to 10 miles and more, depending on their fitness. Avoid running or any kind of heavy activity if you are based in a warm area or when weather conditions are too humid.

Alaskan Malamute Grooming

If you’re not a fan of regular grooming, especially brushing then you might choose a breed that is more of low maintenance.

Malamutes come with a dense double coat. The outer coat is thick, and should never be too soft ot long.

On the other hand, the undercoat is around two inches deep. The undercoats is also wooly and wheater-repellant.

The coats serve as amazing protection during the cold winter night and rainy days. If you notice your Alaskan Malamute not minding exploring the yard while training, know that he isn’t too much bothered due to the rain, he has his coat protecting him.

If you get this dog know that walks on a rainy day are a normal thing (like super long walks).

Does a significant amount of hair mean that you will have to invest more time into brushing? Simply said, yes.

However, the whole brushing process can be a lot easier if you have the right grooming tools on hand.

If grooming and brushing are too much for you, think about hiring a professional dog groomer.

It might be costly, but it will save you time. The rest is basic care:

  • Trim or grind nails regulalry
  • Clean ears
  • Brush weekly
  • Bathe only when really needed
  • Brush teeth is veterinarian demands it

Overall, make grooming is a positive experience. This way your Alaskan Malamute will love being handled.

Make sure that you offer treats after every grooming session, no matter how short it might be (like nail grinding).

Alaskan Malamute Health

All in, Malamutes are healthy dogs. They may develop some conditions over their life, but it has more to do with their age than anything else.

Just like any other breed, they may be prone to certain conditions. Also, genetics plays a huge role in a dog’s overall health.

This doesn’t mean that every breed’s representative will get certain conditions, but it means that you should know more about it and provide regular veterinarian check-ups.

Commonly seen health conditions in Alaskan Malamute:

  • Cataracts
  • Hip dysplasia
  • Day Blindness
  • Hypothyroidism
  • Chondrodysplasia

The Bottom Line

Is Alaskan Malamute right for you? If you want a working breed, large in size, and physically powerful then this is a breed to consider having.

This isn’t a breed for first time dog owners, because they will try to outsmart owners, and will behave too mischievously.

Are you an outdoor person? If you are not, then this breed isn’t for you.

Alaskan Malamute will demand a significant amount of outdoor time, and those needs aren’t met he will become unhappy.

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