Alaskan Malamutes are often sought after by families looking for loyal companions who are great with children. The breed is large, strong and known for their dedication to their families and their kind personalities. As pack animals, Alaskan Malamutes enjoy being active with their families. Although they were first bred to be working dogs, they have settled in quite nicely to their reputation as wonderful family companions.
Physical CharacteristicsAlaskan Malamutes are strong, sturdy, impressive looking dogs. Their breed is one that demands respect and they carry themselves with pride.
The coats of Alaskan Malamutes can be a variety of colors. They usually have coats in the light gray/sable color family, but some Alaskan Malamutes have coats in shades of red or light black.
The Alaskan Malamute's fur grows in two coats. The inner, shorter coat is oily and works well to keep the dog warm in frigid conditions. The top coat is longer and softer. These two coats make the Alaskan Malamute not well suited for outdoor activities in very hot weather, as they can be prone to overheating.
Purebred Alaskan Malamutes have brown, almond shaped eyes. They have plumed tails that distinguish them from other breeds. They also have markings on their face that resemble a mask as well as a mark that looks like a cap on the top of their heads.
TemperamentAlaskan Malamutes are friendly dogs who do well in a family setting. They are incredibly loyal animals who enjoy being a part of a family unit.
They often also have a strong willed personality and benefit from early obedience training. It may be necessary to consistently work with the dog to establish the owner's dominant role as pack leader, as the breed tends to favor dominance as a rule.
The breed is also known for being very intelligent. Alaskan Malamutes enjoy playing and learning new tricks.
Alaskan Malamutes are very high energy dogs. They require a good amount of exercise on a daily basis to satisfy their innate need to run and work.
Alaskan Malamutes are not very loud barkers, but they do howl on occasion. They also love the water and enjoy swimming whenever the opportunity arises.
Families should be aware that a natural hunting instinct can exist in this breed. Dogs may run after and pursue cats and other small animals. Care should be taken to ensure that other small pets in the home are protected.
Care & GroomingAlaskan Malamutes have very thick hair that requires regular grooming. They need to be brushed and bathed on a regular basis.
Due to their double fur coats, different brushes can be used at different times of the year. In the colder winter months a standard slick brush is sufficient for grooming purposes. Alaskan Malamutes shed a great deal in the summer and will require a rake brush with longer, sturdier bristles.
Many Alaskan Malamutes suffer from a serious condition called bloat. Bloat occurs when the stomach fills with food, air or fluid and then presses on nearby organs. To avoid bloat, Alaskan Malamutes should be monitored when eating to avoid them eating too quickly or too much at a time. Consider feeding several small meals instead of two large meals daily to avoid bloat.
HistoryThe Alaskan Malamute breed originated in Alaska approximately 2000 years ago. They were bred to be used as sled dogs in the Arctic. Thanks to their strength Alaskan Malamutes are still used today as sled dogs.
The breed was named after the Mahlemut Innuit tribe in north western Alaska. They were used to carry large, heavy freight for tribe members, making them incredibly useful to the tribe.