Dog Breeds 101: Alaskan Malamute

Dog Breeds 101 - Alaskan Malamute - WP
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Given their impressive size, power, strength and endurance it is no surprise that the Alaskan Malamute was considered to be a heavy duty working dog before they earned their status as domestic canines. These sled dogs are similar to other breeds of Arctic dogs such as the Samoyed, the Canadian Eskimo Dogs, as well as the Siberian Huskies.

The ancestors of this breed can be traced back to Mahlemut, a dog historically used by Alaskan tribes to hunt seals and bears. These animals were also used to perform various tasks such as hauling heavy cargo. Since 2010, the Alaskan Malamute has been Alaska’s official state dog. [1]

The Alaskan Malamute’s coat is normally coarse and thick – helping it to tolerate the harsh cold of its homeland. This dog can be found in a variety of colors such as light gray, black, red and sable. These dogs also tend to have striking blue or brown eyes.

The Alaskan Malamute is considered to be the oldest and largest Arctic sled dog. [2] Despite its amazing strength and endurance, this dog was never bred to be a race dog. Instead, their primary purpose is to pull heavy loads and freights over long distances and through snow. Their instinct to pull can make training this dog to walk on a leash extremely difficult. [3]

Today, the Alaskan Malamute’s primary role is to excel in performance or show competitions and be loyal family pets. They are known to be people-oriented. However, they are independent and may not follow their owner’s every command. These dogs are quiet and seldom bark.

Known to be a highly intelligent breed, the Alaskan Malamute learns quickly but is not afraid to be stubborn and disobey its owner. Nonetheless, many families adore this breed because of their affectionate nature.

Since they are athletic and working dogs, owners should understand that this breed needs adequate exercise on a daily basis. Also, brushing and bathing are considered as essential aspects of their grooming regime. They do not do well in apartments and they should be kept away from hot climates. [4]

A healthy Alaskan Malamute can outlive most large dogs. Their average lifespan is 10.5 years; however, some have been recorded to live up to 25 years. Sadly the principal cause of death for these dogs is cancer.




[3] Jack Volhard, Joachim Volhard, and Wendy Volhard, Dog Training For Dummies (John Wiley & Sons, 2005), p.70.

[4] Vince Stead, How to Understand and Train a Alaskan Malamute Puppy Or Dog with Good Behavior (vince stead, 2011), p.8.

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