Alaskan Malamute: everything you need to know

Name Alaskan Malamute
Origin Arctic
Life expectancy Between 10 and 14 years old
Colors White or white mixed with black, gray, reddish, bluish…
Hair Average length
Height 63.5 cm for males / 59 cm for females
Weight 38 kg for males / 34 kg for females
Temperament Energetic, loyal, affectionate
Needs Daily brushing and exercise
Perfect for Training, physical activity

Origin and history of the Alaskan Malamute

The Alaskan Malamute is one of the oldest Arctic sled dog breeds, selected by the Paleolithic nomads 4000 years ago. They were bred by the indigenous tribe known as the Mahlemut. They came to North America through the Bering Strait and were used to hunt seals, pull heavy loads and protect themselves from polar bears, scaring them away.

During the gold rush in America in the 19th century, they almost became extinct. The demand for sled dogs was so great that they began to crossbreed with other breeds. Thanks to the Mahlemut, the Alaskan Malamute breed remained intact and, a few decades later, was recognized by the American Kennel Club.

The Alaskan Malamute was used during World War II and expeditions in Antarctica. This almost caused the extinction, for the second time, of the Alaskan Malamute dog. The dog breed arrived in Europe in the 1950s, gained notoriety ten years later and began to interest the competition and show worlds in the 1980s.

Types of Alaskan Malamute

Due to the exploitation of the Alaskan Malamute, the standard that established the characteristics of its breed was extended. There are three breeding lines, from which all Alaskan Malamutes are currently bred:

  • Koztebue: original line originally approved by the American Kennel Club, bred by Mrs. Seeley.
  • M’Loot: line included in the standard after WWII, bred by Paul Voelker.
  • Hinman: line included in the standard after World War II, bred by Dick Hinman.

Focus Colors

The most characteristic color of this breed of dog is white. We can see dogs of this breed completely white or mixed with other shades: reddish brown, gray, silver, black, red, bluish gray, orange brown… clicking here you will find images that illustrate each of these mixtures.

Hair type

The Alaskan Malamute has a fairly thick coat, although their hair is not excessively long. Their coat is double-coated, which means that they have a dense layer of hair underneath their covering coat to protect them from external aggressions: cold, dirt, sun, rain… The length of the coat is medium, although it may seem longer because of the volume created by the undercoat.

The Alaskan Malamute puppy

This is a dog with a great drive to hunt prey. The Alaskan Malamute puppy needs early and proper socialization with other pets to avoid (as much as possible) that, once adult, it hunts small animals. Training the Alaskan Malamute puppy is very important to burn off excess energy so that it grows up healthy and happy.

Character of the Alaskan Malamute breed

Dogs of this breed are very sociable and need attention and companionship. Although they are not barkers, they will howl if they feel lonely or bored. They do not act well as guard dogs, as they are a rather trusting breed. Although they are perfect for training, adopters should be familiar with correcting certain behaviors from puppyhood.

Alaskan Matute dogs are very intelligent, but they are also stubborn. This makes them difficult to control for those who are not used to dealing with the training of large, energetic dogs like these. This breed is also affectionate and playful. It enjoys a lot of activity, but will also be happy to curl up next to you at the end of the day.

Alaskan Malamute Dog Health

If we want to take care of an Alaskan Malamute, we have to keep in mind that they are prone to complications such as hip and elbow dysplasia, a condition that causes discomfort in the dog’s joints. They are also prone to cataracts, which can lead to blindness, and hemeralopia, which causes daytime blindness.

Hereditary disorders that can occur during the lifetime of this dog breed include: von Willebrand’s disease, which causes blood clotting; chondrodysplasia, also known as dwarfism; hypothyroidism, which means it has an underactive thyroid gland; and polyneuropathy, which causes lack of coordination and instability.

Typical care of the breed

Alaskan Malamutes are cold-ready dogs, so you should especially protect them from the heat. They will always need shade and fresh water. In summer, it is very important to control the temperature of the environment and not to take them for a walk in the hottest hours of the day. They are a very active breed, so make sure they get enough exercise. They tend to wander, so they are not good for living in small spaces.


The double-coated coat of the Alaskan Malamute requires special care. The undercoat has a tendency to knot, which can lead to itching, wounds or irritation. It should be brushed daily with a metal comb, while checking the undercoat for fungus and infections. If knotting is found, a good conditioning spray is recommended.

In the shedding season, we should rake our Alaskan Malamute’s undercoat to help remove excess hair. It is advisable to bathe them weekly, although they can go six to eight weeks without a bath.


The skin of this breed of dog is protected by the undercoat, so proper care of the coat will prevent further complications. If excessive tangles, irritation or eczema are found, it is advisable to visit a veterinarian.


Like the rest of the dogs, it is necessary to cut their nails once or twice a month, brush their teeth two or three times a week and take care of their ears weekly, to avoid redness, bad smell and infections.

What is the best food for the Alaskan Malamute?

Due to their size and high activity level, Alaskan Malamutes eat a lot. It is important that they meet their nutritional requirements, as they will make use of their nutritional intake throughout the day.

Puppy stage

Alaskan Malamute puppies should eat, according to experts, between one and two cups of food per day to ensure proper growth. This amount of food can be divided into four mouthfuls throughout the day. After the first three months, it is advisable to reduce the feeding to three times a day, and to two when they reach six months of age.

Adult stage

When they reach adulthood, depending on the characteristics of our dog and veterinary recommendations, we can decide to reduce the food intake to once a day or leave it at two feedings a day. A combination of dry and wet food is the most advisable to keep their teeth, coat and skin healthy.

Senior stage

The Alaskan Matute can develop different conditions throughout its life, so it may need to follow a veterinary recommended diet. These foods are intended to help improve certain disorders. Wet food becomes more relevant as the canine’s teeth become weaker.

After knowing in detail the characteristics and needs of this dog breed, it is not surprising that you consider adopting a dog, especially if you take into account its extraordinary beauty and playfulness.

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