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Alaskan Malamute Facts
General Alaskan Malamute Facts & Stats


The Alaskan Malamute is the oldest and largest sled dog breed of the Arctic.  He originated in Alaska.

This breed was bred 2000-3000 years ago not for sped, but to carry heavy loads over long distances in the icy, snowy environment of Alaska.

This breed was named after the indigenous Alaskan Innuit tribe called Mahlemuts. The Mahlemuts lived along the shores of Kotzebue Sound located in north-west Alaska.

While some are still used in this way, most are now simply loving family pets.

The Alaskan Malamute breed was recognized by the AKC in 1935 and are classified in the Working group.

Males can reach a weight of 85 lbs. (38.5 kg).

Females can reach a weight of 75 lbs. (34 kg).

Males will reach a height of 25 inches (63.5 cm) measured from floor to shoulder.

Females will reach a height of 23 inches (58.4 cm) from floor to shoulder.

Life span is 13 years on average with a range of 11 to 15 years being expected and normal.

Average size litter is 6 puppies, with a range of 3 to 8 considered normal.

Common nicknames for this breed are: Mal and Mally,

Color and Appearance

The coat will always hold some white.  Other colors that can be present are: The coat color will range from a very pale grey to a dark black….others will be a sable color that blends into a deep red.
Fur will be more than 1 color…Except for the solid, pure white Alaskan Malamute.

Those with red in the coat may have brown eye rims, nose and lips.  All others will have black eye rims, nose and lips.

Eyes are brown and almond shaped on all purebreds. No other eye color is present in the bloodlines.

Ears are erect and will slant slightly forward.

The tail is carried over the back.

Many Alaskan Malamutes have facial markings. This can be a cap of color on the head and/or a mask (a darker hue of fur around the eyes)

They have a double coat…. The inner layer is very thick and somewhat oily. The outer layer is of medium length and a bit longer over the shoulders and neck.


The Alaskan Malamute is a double coated breed, meaning that this dog has both an inner layer  and an outer layer of fur, which makes the coat very thick.

Most have a heavy shed as summer approaches…And for this reason the coat will be a lot thinner during that season.  

Some may also have an additional 2nd shedding during the year.

During times of heavy shedding, brushing through the coat twice per day may be needed. 

A slicker brush works well for normal grooming. A rake brush works well for times of heavy shedding.

Behavior and Temperament

They are a friendly breed and make excellent family pets.

The Alaskan Malamute is both intelligent and stubborn which can lead unsuspecting, first time owners to be surprised in regard to training. This breed often learns commands quite fast, however can then refuse to follow lead afterward due to a stubborn streak, boredom or  a combination of both.  Owners are encouraged to keep commands interesting, always challenging and make a conscious effort to establish themselves as "leader" of the Malamute's "pack".

Malamute puppy factsThey are very affectionate and love to be in the company of people.

This breed is known for excellent swimming abilities and owners should not be surprised if their Alaskan Malamute jumps into a pond, lake or pool to take a swim.

Some may be guarded or even show aggression toward other dogs of the same gender. In other cases, they will get along well with other dogs. For this reason, one should always test their disposition when in contact with another dog before allowing any unsupervised interaction.

Due to a strong hunting instinct (ancestors were used to hunt seal, among other animals), the Alaskan Malamute may not do well in household with other small pets including cats, hamsters, rabbits.  Outdoors, he may chase after squirrels, chipmunks and other wild animals.

Unlike many other breeds, it is an Alaskan Malamute fact that they rarely suffer from motion sickness, therefore they do very well when taken for rides in the car.

They bond closely with their human family members and would much rather spend time in the home with their owners than outside alone.

While this breed can live outdoors (only in cool to cold months), they are much better behaved when they are allowed to live inside the home to have daily human companionship (and given plenty of outdoor exercise and opportunities to run and be active).

Alaskan Malamutes howl (a common trait with pack orientated canines).


A point of information to note is that this breed is very athletic and for this reason an Alaskan Malamute requires a good amount of exercise.  A daily walk is a must, lasting from 30 minutes to 1 hour. In addition, they will be eager to play and receive cardiovascular exercise by playing catch, allowed to run in an enclosed fenced in yard, etc.

They do not do very well in hot weather and for this reason outdoor exercise should be limited to early mornings or late evenings when it is hot outside.  In addition, it will be important to take breaks in the shade and to offer the dog cool water.


Traditional baths only need to be given 1 time every 2 months or so, this is because the texture of the coat prompts the release of dirt and debris.  However, a dry shampoo should be used 1 time per month.

Nails grow quickly, needing to be trimmed every 2 to 4 weeks.

Prone to the serious condition of bloat, offering a high quality food to eliminate fillers and using a slow-eat bowl or placing a portion pacer into an existing bowl can help this dog eat slower to help avoid this particular health issue.

Being outside a lot, flea and tick prevention is an important part of care.

Hairs can grow out too long from between the paw pads and these hairs should be routinely trimmed to be flush with the pads.



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