|Sensitivity to strangers|
|Affection for family|
|Suitable for first-time owners|
|Ease of grooming|
A truly brave and strong sledge dog; and a hard-working dog like no other: we are talking about the Alaskan Malamute.
The Alaskan Malamute, often just called by its short name “Malamute”, belongs to the Great North dog breed group. We are talking about the Arctic dog breeds which were born and raised in the freezing and extreme areas of the Planet.
We are referring to those places that are actually hard to inhabit; far regions like Siberia, Lapland, Greenland and Alaska. However, there are some dog breeds that along the centuries have adapted to this highly inhospitable climate conditions and we can assure that these dog breeds consider those glacial sceneries as “their homes”.
Here we are talking about dog breeds such as the Siberian Husky or the Greenland Dog, who we can refer to as the Malamute’s “cousins”.
In this article we will try to provide a general description about the main characteristics of this Arctic dog breed; from its wild and rural origins, to its more frequent “tasks” and the main psychophysical characteristics of these snow giants.
Unfortunately, we can start by saying that the Alaskan Malamute is frequently confused with its most famous cousin, the Husky. Certainly, the similarity is undeniable, and like we previously stated we are talking about dogs that belong to the same family tree and ancestors.
However, without being an expert or a cynologist, taking a second look it would be enough to notice the differences between the two dog breeds. This is not only in terms of the physical aspects, but also in relationship with their temperament.
Let’s Take a Few Steps Back and Analyze the History of This Dog Breed: How Did the Alaskan Malamute Was Born?
This dog breed took the name from the homonymous tribe with which it shared and lived since it was first born: Malheamute tribe. They were an ancient lineage who settled in Alaska and their humble lifestyle was based mainly on hunting. We do not need to clarify that Alaskan Malamutes developed a strong temperament thanks to these hostile territories, that is why we say that “every dog has its own character”.
The quiet life of these silent hunters was disrupted by Imperialism, as the colonists were the ones who contributed to reduce the presence of this dog in these territories. The “original” Alaskan Malamute, pure and pristine like the lands it used to inhabit, was actually never endangered, but the colonists changed its destiny forever.
In fact, they crossbred the Malamute with other dog breeds. American colonists adopted the breed, but they did it in such a way that today we can consider the Malamute as a dog with “stars and bars”.
As one can infer, this classic sledge dog is a suitable dog to do hard work in extreme and exhausting conditions, always with big responsibility. Therefore, the Alaskan Malamute has more of a hard working spirit than a warrior soul; despite being a brave and strong dog.
Before we start talking about the Malamute’s temperament, let’s analyze its body and esthetic characteristics. In the same sense, this breed reflects our idea of a sledge dog who has a strong body but is also agile and toned, with a proud gait, that is why it is known as “bear dog”.
Certainly, this dog breed as well as its “cousins” we have mentioned before, remind us of the wild wolf, who we can consider its ancestor.
Alaskan Malamute: Physical Characteristics
We are talking about a medium-to-large sized dog that tends to be big because it is well-muscled. Average males are a little bigger than females; they can weigh around 79 lb (36 kg), while their height can be of 23 inches (58 cm).
Obviously, the Alaskan Malamute‘s coat must be like a “blanket” suitable to the coldest temperatures of its territory of origin, therefore it is rough, straight and thick with a soft undercoat.
And What About the Color of Its Coat? There are Many Colors but the Most Common are:
- From Light Grey to Black with all the intermediate shades in the middle.
- There are some specimens Brown, Gold or Dark Red colored.
However, the standard’s stomach, muzzle, paws and legs must be strictly white.
The head is similar to a Wolf: big and imposing, which conveys respect. However, the smile-shaped lips give the Malamute an almost human expression, joyful and friendly.
Its ears are small and triangle shaped but slightly rounded. The tail is elegant and long with an attractive fur which is always raised even when the dog is standing without doing anything.
Particularly the eyes are most likely dark brown. The jaw is quite powerful, although it is not an aggressive dog, it could cause severe damage.
Also these dogs have an excellent sense of orientation; this attribute is well appreciated as they are sledge dogs in hostile territories.
Alaskan Malamute: Temperament
Let’s move on to this “snow horse” temperament, warm during its long crossings and passages through the middle of the ice. Of course, esthetically it reminds us of an indomitable wolf, but in regards to its character it is easy to train, affectionate and tender.
Obviously, The Malamute has a “Nordic temperament”, however it is always friendly and affable, sometimes more than necessary; even to the point of getting attached to strangers and people that might be malicious.
In this sense, it is not a good idea to consider the Malamute as a guardian dog.
We could say that the Alaskan Malamute “only thinks about pulling the sled”. However, it does not mean the Malamute is a silly dog; its nature simply does not allow it to detect danger in comparison to other “similar dogs”, that are more distrustful. This dog breed manages to balance a healthy curiosity with a quiet and independent temperament.
The Malamute is loyal and relatively easy to train: you must train your dog in the proper manner, so that it can understand correctly who its owner is from the beginning.
In fact, this dog breed is a hierarchical dog (its legacy is in its group) but once it has established hierarchy it is 100% a reliable dog (either with its owner, family or even other dogs).
Alaskan Malamute: Health
The Alaskan Malamute is a dog used to a “hard” life style, thereby it does not need too much attention. You must pay extra attention to its ears as this might be the most delicate part of our icy friend. If you want to learn more, here you have some extra information:
- Tips to Clean Your Dog’s Ears without Being Invasive
- How to Bathe Your Dog: All the Best Tips to Correct Hygiene
As for everything else you can sleep and dream peacefully.
In regard to the coat, it will only be necessary to brush your friend’s fur a few times a week, and Malamute’s “winter blanket” will be always as good as new.
A tiny piece of advice about its feeding: you can add a tablespoon of oil to its food. This is not something related to its stomach but to its fur; the oil will benefit the coat leaving it strong and shiny.
One of the most recommended diets for this particular dog breed is the BARF Diet (bones and raw food) which includes a percentage of bony meat mixed with vegetables, entrails, fruits and other quality supplements.
Alaskan Malamute: Puppies For Sale, and Price
Even though you must always carefully check the dog’s pedigree along with specialists on this matter, the price of a Malamute is not cheap. An Alaskan Malamute’s puppy may cost between 900 and 1500 dollars, 800 to 1300 English pounds. It is imperative to purchase from a reliable breeder, to insure that your puppy has been:
- Raised to have good character and good health;
- Carefully selected (its parents were chosen without any genetic diseases);
- Properly socialized, so that it is not too aggressive or fearful;
- Vaccinated and well-cared for.
When you adopt a puppy, a reliable breeder provides you with an official veterinarian certificate, in which it is formally stipulated that the animal is in perfect health and dewormed.
Now that we have mentioned the most important aspects, you can go to your new four-legged friend, who is certainly waiting for you.
You may be interested in reading another article related to other dog breeds such as:
- Maremma-Abruzzese Sheepdog
- Greenland Dog
- White Swiss Shepherd Dog
- Labrador Retriever
- Alaskan Malamute
- Bavarian Mountain Hound
- Basset Hound