Breed info

The Alaskan Malamute is a descendant of the dogs of Mahlemut (now known as Kuuvangmiut or more commonly Kobuk) tribe of Iñupiat ethnic group in upper western Alaska. It is the largest of the Arctic sled dog breeds and is considered to be one of the oldest breeds in the world (3,000-4,000 years), as well as the oldest breed which lived together with human companions.

These dogs had a prominent role with their human companions – as a utilitarian dog, working, hunting, and living alongside humans. Malamutes were renowned for their excellent hunting abilities and were used to hunt large predators such as bears, as well as aid their owners in finding seals. The interdependent relationship between the Mahlemut and their dogs fostered prosperity among both and enabled them to flourish in the inhospitable land above the Arctic Circle.

A brief breed description

Their ‘standard’ size and weight ranges from 58 cm at the shoulders and 34 kg for female dogs, to 64 cm and 38 kg for males.

Life expectancy averages from 12 to 16 years.

As dogs, whose evolution passed in some of the harshest environments of our planet, they are very food-efficient. Malamutes eat less food than other breed of this size and weight. And though every self-respecting Malamute will always pretend to be hungry, they should under no circumstances be overfed – obese dogs can and probably will end up developing serious health conditions and losing their purpose to work.

Malamutes are perfect companions and have no problem living in a cramped urban flat, yet this breed needs to do one thing it was originally meant to do by mother nature – work. This means long walks and jogs from the very first months to everyday canicross, bikejoring, skijoring, packing, rig pulling, sledding, weight pulling and other types of sports later on during their whole life.

This is and should be the main factor when choosing this breed for home – everyone should consider if they will be able to join these dogs in enough daily activities. Otherwise, Malamutes will compensate the lack of purposeful activity with devastating behaviour and stubbornness.

There are many myths surrounding the training of Nordic breeds: stubborn (kind of true), never let them off a leash, prone to training in general… But these myths usually prove wrong. Malamutes are absolutely trainable for basic obedience and can be trained for walking without a leash in any environment (though it should never be done near roads). They can excel at all sorts of fun commands, pitch-and-go, agility, lure coursing, tracking and many other activities. Long story short – Malamutes are very intelligent dogs, but everything will depend on whether their master (or, simply – Alpha) will be patient, resourceful and able to help the dog understand the purpose of the task.

Every owner of an Alaskan Malamute will have to figure out how to become a “reasonable alpha” – these dogs will expect the owner to possess these properties, or otherwise, they will try to overthrow the authority. And just like in Game of Thrones, until the authority is finally set and all wars are won, the attempts to win the Iron Throne (or at least parts of it) will become a daily tradition.

Alaskan Malamutes are perfect with children, can live indoors with cats without any problems (if introduced early) and, thanks to mandatory early socialisation lessons, will not pick a fight with other dogs.

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