Alaskan Malamute | Dog Breed Guide

Alaskan Malamute | Dog Breed Guide

by Scritch

An Alaskan Malamute is a heavy-duty and strong dog who loves to be put to work. They have a strong work ethic, but they also like to relax with their owner and show their affectionate side.

Weight: 75-100 pounds

Height - Female: 23 inches; Male: 25 inches

Life Expectancy: 10-15 years

Group: Working group

Temperament: affectionate, playful, and loyal

Energy Level:

Ease of Training:

Grooming Requirements:

History and Personality

The Alaskan Malamute is one of the oldest Arctic sled dogs, and have crossed the land bridge from Siberia to Alaska thousands of years ago with natives. Long ago, the dogs were used for hunting seals, pulling heavy sludges with camp or food supplies, and chasing away polar bears. In 1935, The Alaskan Malamute Club of America was formed and the American Kennel Club (AKC) recognized this breed during the same year.

Alaskan Malamutes are hard-working dogs, but they also like to have some play time. Everyone they meet is greeted in a friendly manner, even strangers. They don’t make a good watchdog, but they are loyal and loving to their friends and family.

This breed is well-known for their fluffy, plumed tail and their erect ears. This dog has a muscular body and a deep chest. With brown, almond-shaped eyes, most would agree this dog is too gorgeous to pass up. These dogs have a distinctive marking that looks like a cap over their head while their face is white or marked with a mask or bar. Their coat is usually solid white or white mixed with gray, black, red, and sable. Additionally, they have white on their feet, legs, and belly.

The Alaskan Malamute is built to pull heavy objects over long distances. They were also used as sled dogs during World War II. Some people believe that this breed is a cross between a wolf and an earlier breed of dog.

While this breed has a passion for working, they can be difficult to train at home. Patience and persistence are needed when trying to train these dogs because they are willful and independent. Alaskan Malamutes like to be in charge, so they don’t always do well with commands. 

Alaskan Malamutes don’t bark a lot like some other breeds; they are generally quiet dogs. This breed can survive outside but it’s ideal to keep the dog living inside to protect his coat and to let him enjoy the company of his family. They are sensitive to the heat so that’s something to keep in mind if your home gets too warm. Additionally, they thrive with a large yard and fenced area so they can dig and run around. They adore children but should still be supervised as they could knock over a small child by accident when they get too excited. With early socialization, this breed can get along with other dogs. They can also do well with cats, but interactions should be supervised initially.

Energy Level

This breed requires a lot of physical activity to be happy. Alaskan Malamutes are good dogs, but if they don’t get enough exercise, they can let their owner know by howling, barking, and become destructive. It’s best to provide at least one hour of vigorous play per day with this dog.


Malamutes have a dense double coat to keep them warm in cold conditions. They shed heavily twice per year, but will shed throughout the year. Ideally, an Alaskan Malamute needs to be brushed daily with a slicker or bristle brush. Be sure to rub him down with chamois for a shiny coat. While a “Furminator” may be a good brushing tool for other breeds, it’s best to stay away from those for this type of dog. The reason is because the Furminator will cut through the guard hairs. This breed tends not to have much of an odor and rarely needs baths unless they get into something smelly. Be sure to keep up with teeth brushing and nail trims.

Health Concerns

  • Cataracts
  • Chondrodysplasia
  • Hip Dysplasia
  • Hypothyroidism
  • Inherited Polyneuropathy
  • Hemeralopia (Day Blindness)

Give your Alaskan Malamute regular exercise to help maintain a healthy weight. Keep up with annual vet check-ups to make sure he is in good health. Being prone to certain health conditions means pet insurance is a good idea for this breed. It can help cover veterinary costs for diagnostics and treatment should your dog develop a medical condition or face an unexpected injury.