Alaskan malamute

An ancient sled dog from the Northern America. They were bred by Malemute Eskimo tribes. It is a faithful dog with an independent personality.

Energy level
Level of affection
Level of friendliness
female: 32—38 kg
male: 36—43 kg
female: 56—61 cm
male: 61—66 cm
require average time
Gives birth to
Gives birth to:
4—10 puppies
United States
in 1935
Life span
Life span:
12—16 years


Alaskan Malamutes are active dogs. It is important to realize that their main task is to haul heavy freight. It is hard to make these pets tired. They will be playing and having fun even after an active walk. This breed is not for people looking for a calm dog. It is incorrect to buy Malamutes only because of their cute appearance. These dogs need to be paid time and attention, taking their features into consideration.

Despite looking similar to wolves, Alaskan Malamutes are affectionate pets. You cannot make guards or hunters out of them. These dogs like people, especially family members. It is important for them to participate in family life: support, help and share affection with family owners. These dogs do not get easily through loneliness. They do not feel comfortable when there is not enough space. In order to have fun, these pets might start damaging furniture and other things. This breed is not for busy people.

Malamutes get on well with children, but situation is not the same with other animals — these pets enjoy being dominant. Nevertheless, it will be safer not to leave a child alone with the dog. Because of being of a large size, a Malamute pet might hurt the child. Alaskan Malamutes cannot bark. They express emotions and feelings by howling and roaring. It is one of the reasons why dogs of this breed cannot be used as guards.


Alaskan Malamutes need to be brought up and trained. These dogs are smart but independent. If they get out of control, problems will arise. You need to put much effort into their training. They have been surviving in packs in harsh weather conditions without help of people for centuries. That is why they need to have a leader. These dogs will only listen to him. It is not recommended to get dogs of this breed to people who do not have experience in keeping dogs.

A puppy needs to be brought up right after its purchase, so that it gets used to house rules. These pets are very active, especially when they are 2–3 months old. That is the period when they need to be calmed down. That is why it is crucial to show your authority to the pet, so that it listens to you. Meanwhile, you should not be too harsh with the dog. Malamutes have a well-developed memory. In order to survive in harsh weather conditions, they had to remember how to get home that was few kilometers away. That is why Malamutes remember who offended them for the rest of their lives. If you hurt the dog once, you can spoil your relationship forever.

Socialization is also very important. Taking into consideration the fact that Malamutes like being dominant, they need to get used to other animals and people. Start the socialization process when the dog is 3–4 months old. Train it at the same time. Teach the dog basic commands like: «sit», «lay», «wait», «no», «come here», «stay close» and others. Patience and persistence are key instruments in training a dog. At first, work with the dog no longer than for 15 minutes twice a day. That is how it will not lose interest. Increase the length of the process with each new month. Praise the pet and give it a treat for successfully completing a command. If you do not manage to train a Malamute yourself, you can take it to a general course of training.


Alaskan Malamutes are large dogs. They look similar to Siberian Huskies, but are larger and more enduring. Their body is graceful and muscular. A smile is always present on their faces.
Long and thick. It consists of 2 types of hairs: stiff hair protects the dog from water and sunlight, soft hair and a thick undercoat, that is 2,5–5 cm long, helps the dog save warmth.
Black and white, gray and white, red and white, sable and white. White always dominates at the bottom of the body, and partially on the paws and muzzle, in the form of a mask. Another popular color is wolf. A mixture of colors is allowed, only on the undercoat and «pants» on the paws.
Big and powerful. It is proportional to body length, deeply set.
Of medium size, almond-shaped, obliquely-set, brown.
Small, triangular-shaped, with rounded tips.
Strong and muscular, slightly curved.
Muscular, with strong bones.
High-set, straight, covered with thick hair.

Basic Care

Alaskan Malamutes require much time to be groomed. Their thick and long hair needs to be brushed 3 times a week. During the molting period — in spring and fall — every day, using a comb and a slicker. You need to do that, brushing one layer of coat after another. Start from the undercoat, then brush the upper layer, holding you dog with a hand. Then pet your dog with wet hands to take away left hairs. You do not need to give Alaskan Malamutes a haircut.

Malamutes are neat dogs that like water. It is their main escape from the heat in summer. However, you should not give your pet a bath very often. It is enough to do that twice a year, because Malamutes do not produce odor. Use shampoos for longhair pets. Then, use a hairdryer. Wipe your pet`s paws after each street walk if it lives in a flat. You should clean their eyes and ears when needed, using cotton pads. Take care of dog`s teeth once in 10 days, using a zoo-paste and a special brush. Claws of Malamutes should be trimmed once in 2 weeks.

Despite being of a large size, Malamutes do not eat much. They can be fed with either natural or dry food of premium quality. It is crucial that their diet includes many proteins — more than 50%. Such natural products can be given to the pet: not greasy meat — beef, mutton and rabbit meat; grains — rice and buckwheat; all vegetables except potatoes; fat free cottage cheese. Once a week, boneless sea fish fillet and a boiled chicken egg can be given to the dog. Grains can be cooked in a meat broth and given to the pet with slices of meat. Calculate the size of a portion following such formula: 140 кcal equal 1 kg of puppy`s body weight; 75 кcal equal 1 kg of body weight of an adult dog. A puppy under the age of 1 year needs to eat 3 times a day, then — twice a day (in the morning and in the evening, preferably at the same time).

Alaskan Malamutes can live either outside or inside. However, they will not have enough place in a small flat. It is better to keep the dog in a spacious aviary. They need some space for games and physical exercises. However, it is crucial that the aviary is not located in sun in the summer. Malamutes do not feel well when it is hot outside. It is important to take into consideration the fact that dogs of this breed like digging. Remember about it when you build an aviary. It is better to strengthen its foundation so that the pet does not have a way to escape. It is better to walk your dog away from the yard and give it a chance to dig and run around. The more active are walks, the better it is for the pet. In winter, you can go sledding with your dog.

Health and Illnesses

Alaskan Malamutes can live up to 16 years if treated well. This breed appeared naturally. There are few hereditary health problems that its representatives are prone to. Most likely, these dogs suffer from acquired conditions.

Polyneuropathy is a complex of conditions of the nervous system. It affects functioning of lower motor neurons. As a result, the pet develops paralysis, decreased speed of reflexes and weak muscle tone. It affects both hind and front legs of the pet. Most often, hind legs get affected. It is hard to cure the disease. The pet has to undergo a long-lasting course of therapy.

Demodicosis is a skin disorder that develops because of demodectic mites. They live in two areas of the body: hair follicles and sebaceous glands. In order to survive, mites feed on the upper skin layer — the epidermis, as well as on keratin. Because of it, dog`s skin starts itching, peeling off and getting dry. While mating, mites get to inner organs through blood: lymph nodes, liver, spleen, lungs, bladder. Demodicosis is transmittable. For example, a pregnant female that has the disorder will pass it on to its puppies 2–3 days after their birth. Demodicosis can be of 2 types:

  1. Local demodicosis appears on 5 areas of the skin. The spots are 2–3 cm long in diameter. It makes the skin become hairless and peel off.
  2. General demodicosis can be noticed on the whole body of the dog. It causes hair loss and formation of wounds. An infection might develop in them. It leads to inflammation and ulcers on the skin.

Demodicosis can be cured with drugs and by therapies.

Glaucoma increases pressure inside the eye, blocking outflow of the fluid. As result, an eyeball gets bigger in size. Retina and optic disc get affected. If you do not take your pet to a vet in time — it might become blind.

Hypothyroidism is a pathology that affects functioning of the thyroid gland: it stops secreting thyroid hormones. These hormones regulate metabolism and help the brain to function. As result, dog`s immune system gets weak. It is hard to diagnose hypothyroidism. Main symptoms of the disorder include: hair loss, obesity, cold, fatigue and swelling of the skin. However, it is hard to diagnose the disorder even following these symptoms. In order to find out what the level of hormones is, analyzes need to be taken. It is impossible to cure hypothyroidism. The dog needs to be on medications for secreting the right amount of hormones.

Volvulus is a common pathology among dogs. It leads to bowel obstruction. Because of it, esophagus gets twisted, too. Leftovers of food and gases accumulate in there. A bloated stomach starts pushing on other organs. The dog feels pain and might die in the period of 20 minutes. That is why it is crucial to control its diet: do not overfeed your Malamute, and do not take the dog outside right after it ate. It is better to wait for 40–60 minutes for the food to get digested.

Adenocarcinoma is a tumor of the mammary gland, therefore, a disease peculiar only to females. It can be surgically cured. However, even a successful operation does not guarantee that the tumor will not develop again. Often, adenocarcinoma develops because of incorrect sterilization.

History of the Breed

Alaskan Malamute is an ancient dog breed. It is believed that they started living with people earlier than dogs of other breeds. These pets have almost not changed in their appearance. It can be proven by skeletons and drawings with their images found during excavations. In 2003, scientists proved that Malamutes are genetically similar to wolves. Most likely, wolves were their ancestors. One year later scientists discovered that Malamutes are also similar to Siberian Huskies.

Pets lived with Eskimos. They were used for protection and hunting. Because of harsh climate, dogs had to adapt to such conditions not to die. Only strong animals survived. The first habitat of Malamutes is considered to be the Anvik River basin in Alaska. Malemyut tribes, that migrated from Siberia, started living there. They bred Malamutes for centuries for their own purposes.

Peak of development of the breed happened in the 19th century. In 1896, in the Canadian city of Klondike, the Gold Rush began. Searchers for gold from all over the world went there. They had to move in snowy slopes and forests. Malamutes, that have been living there for centuries, started being used for that purpose. Thanks to it, popularity of the breed increased. Back then, dogs cost up to 40 000 dollars. People who did not have money to buy Malamutes, used Newfoundlands and Saint Bernards. Someone started crossbreeding them with Malamutes. However, it did not give any results. 

Apart from searching for gold, dog sled racing started becoming more and more popular. However, strong and enduring Malamutes did not know how to work in a team and were slower than dogs of other breeds. Dog handlers started crossbreeding them with small hounds. However, it is not known, who exactly they were crossbred with. It affected pureness of the breed. In 1920, very few Malamutes were left. In order to save them, dog owners from the whole Northern America got together. They began the breeding work. As result, 3 lines of the breed appeared: Hinwan-Irwin, Kotzebue and M’Lut. They set a start to appearing of modern Malamutes.