Updated 17-06-2023

Alaskan Malamute Characteristics, Facts & Traits

The Alaskan Malamute, a spitz-type working dog with enormous strength and stamina, is an amiable, loyal, and lively canine with upright ears and a robust frame. The Alaskan Malamute is a medium-sized dog with a height and weight range of 23 to 25 inches at the shoulder.

The body of the Alaskan Malamute is strong and durable, making it an excellent dog for long-distance travel. It holds the distinction of being one of the oldest canine breeds whose original appearance has remained virtually unchanged over time. To prevent getting bored or difficult to manage, this bright dog requires a task and regular leadership.

Beware, would-be pet parents. This breed's sensitive nature needs a home with many people and lots of room to run around. High-shedding dogs require a lot of maintenance to keep their coats healthy, and they're not good for living in an apartment. All year round, expect to deal with dog dander, but it's most prevalent during the shedding season.

This breed thrives in a home with an experienced pet parent, enough room to run around and burn off energy. A loving, clever, highly-trainable companion awaits you if you can meet the needs of this breed. Below are all the traits of Alaskan Malamutes.


  • Not recommended for first-time dog owners because of their intellect and stubbornness, which can make them a challenge for those who are unfamiliar with dog behaviour.
  • In the home, Malamutes will be a serious contender for the top spot. Everyone who lives with the dog needs to be able to deal with this and clearly clarify that no one in the household is to be pushed around in any way.
  • Alaskan Malamutes are strong, independent canines that can get bored or destructive if not properly educated or exercised.
  • Malamutes can learn to get along with other dogs and indoor cats with early socialisation and training. All tiny animals, such as outdoor cats, will be fair game for them.
  • A Malamute's high prey drive can encourage the dog to stalk and kill small animals, such as birds, squirrels, cats, and even smaller dogs. They must be properly socialised and introduced to other pets.
  • Alaskan Malamutes are infamous for digging. It is imperative that any fencing be buried to prevent the animals from escaping.
  • When it comes to Alaskan Malamutes, they shed a lot. Because of their thick double coats, they are poorly suited to hot climates
  • • Malamutes rarely bark, making them a generally peaceful breed. They do converse with you, making "woo woo" noises or long, loud howls to convey themselves.
  • Never buy a puppy from a puppy mill, negligent breeder, or pet retailer if you want a healthy dog. A shelter or rescue that provides medical care and vaccines for their dogs is a good place to look for your pup. Before deciding to adopt a dog, play with the one you're interested in and see whether you enjoy their personality.


Social Appearance 


A little dog isn't inherently better for an apartment than a larger one, contrary to popular opinion. Many tiny dogs have too much energy and are too yappy to live in an apartment building. There are several attributes that make a good apartment dog: low activity, serenity indoors, and politeness toward other neighbours are among them. Your dog's personal space in your apartment can be improved by purchasing one of these fantastic dog cages.

Sensitivity Level

Some dogs take a strong rebuke in stride, while others take even the tiniest hint of a sneer into account. If you have a loud or forceful owner, an erratic schedule, or a dog that is more "easygoing," "tolerant," "resilient," or even "thick-skinned," you should consider getting one of these breeds. Does your life revolve around entertaining, having a full-time job, having small children, or being in a band? Choose a dog that isn't overly sensitive.

Protective nature

A dog's ability to notify you to the presence of strangers. If the mailman or a squirrel outside the window comes knocking, these dogs are more likely to respond aggressively. As long as they're welcomed by their owners' family, these breeds tend to get along with visitors.

Potential for Playfulness

What a breed's propensity for play is like, even when it's not a puppy anymore. There are some breeds that will continue to play tug-of-war or fetch well into their mature years, while others will prefer to curl up on the couch with you.

Personality Appearance


In the same way that dogs who were raised to run all day need to work out their bodies, so too do dogs who were bred for professions that involve decision making and intelligence, like herding sheep. Without cerebral stimulation, they'll make their own work often with activities you despise, such as digging and chewing which you'll have to put up with. A dog's brain can benefit from activities such as obedience training, engaging dog toys, and dog sports and occupations like agility and search and rescue.

Energy Level

Dogs with a high level of energy are always ready for action. Due to their heritage as working dogs, such as retrieving game for hunters or shepherding animals, they have the endurance to work long hours. These animals require a lot of movement and mental stimulation, and they're more prone to jump, play, and explore any new sights and smells.

An energy-sucking dog is one who prefers to laze around the house all day. Take into consideration your own degree of physical activity and lifestyle while choosing a dog breed.

Easy To Train

Dogs who are easy to train are more adept at quickly making a link between a cue (such as the phrase "sit"), an action (such as sitting), and a result (such as receiving a reward). Other dogs require a greater investment of time, patience, and repetition.

The majority of breeds are intelligent, but when it comes to training, they tend to have a "What's in it for me?" mentality, necessitating the use of incentives and games in order to get them interested in following your instructions.

Family Affection Level

Affectionate With Family

This trait measures how friendly a dog is towards people he knows well, such as family members or close friends. It is possible for some breeds to be distant from everyone but their owner, whilst other kinds treat everyone of their acquaintances as if they were their own family.


The degree to which a breed is tolerant to and patient with the antics of children, as well as its general family-friendliness it is imperative that dogs be closely watched whenever they are in the presence of youngsters, especially those who have had little or no prior experience with dogs.

Dog Friendly

Friendliness toward dogs and a human's friendliness are two separate concepts. Even if a dog is a big fan of humans, it is possible for it to attack or try to dominate another dog. Other dogs prefer to play rather than fight, and some will simply go away. It's not only a matter of what kind of dog you have. At six to eight weeks of age, puppies should have spent a lot of time playing with their littermates and their mother, and they are more likely to have good social skills.

Physical Appearance

Amount of Shedding

The amount of hair and fur that a dog sheds when it sheds. When it comes to pet care, high-shedding breeds demand frequent brushing, are more likely to aggravate allergies, and necessitate more frequent vacuuming and lint rolling.

Drooling Potential

How prone to drooling a breed is. When it comes to dogs, if you're obsessive about cleanliness, you may want to avoid dogs that leave slobbery strands on your arm or large wet spots on your clothing.

Easy To Groom

Some breeds of dogs can simply be brushed and gone, while others require frequent bathing, cutting, and other grooming in order to remain healthy and clean. It's important to think about whether you have the time and resources to properly groom a dog or if you can afford to hire someone else to do it.

Exercise Needs

Evening walks around the neighbourhood are perfectly acceptable for some breeds. Those who were initially developed for physically demanding jobs, such as herding or hunting, require regular, rigorous exercise to maintain their health and fitness.

These breeds may put on weight if they don't get enough exercise, and their pent-up energy may manifest itself in unwanted behaviours like barking, chewing, and digging. Breeds that require a lot of exercise are ideal for folks who enjoy spending time in the great outdoors or who want to train their dog for a high-intensity canine sport like agility.

Average sizes and life expectancy of the breed


75 to 100 pounds


12 to 15 years


1 foot, 11 inches to 2 feet, 1 inch tall at the shoulder


The harsh Arctic climate shaped the Alaskan Malamute, like most spitz-type canines. When it was initially discovered in Norton Sound on Alaska's northwest coast by an Inuit clan called Mahlemuts, the breed's origins remain a mystery. Mahlemut is a combination of the Inuit tribe name Mahle with the phrase "village," which denotes a community. The dogs carried the big loads back to their homes as hunting companions for large animals. 

Due to their size and strength, rather than speed, these dogs were able to perform the duties of several lesser dogs with ease. They were an indispensable part of the family and were loved as if they were members, despite the fact that they were never treated like pets. First-time visitors to the region were awestruck by the tenacity of the dogs and their owners' apparent devotion to them.

Outsiders flocked to Alaska after the finding of gold in 1896, and they entertained themselves with weight-pulling contests and dog races. The native breeds were crossed with those brought in by settlers in an effort to create a faster racer or simply to meet the high demand for dogs during the gold rush. The purebred Malamute was at risk of extinction.

Dog racing enthusiasts in New England began breeding Malamutes in the 1920s after acquiring several high-quality dogs. Admiral Byrd's 1933 expedition to the South Pole was made possible by some of the breed's members. The Malamute was once again called into service during World War II, this time as freight haulers, pack animals, and search-and-rescue dogs. The AKC recognised the breed in 1935, and it entered a new phase as an imposing display dog and a faithful companion.

Personality and Temperament

Powerful, self-confident, and fun-loving, the Alaskan Malamute is the perfect dog for a family. The malamute is a dog that thrives on physical activity and socialising with its family. If they are given regular exercise, Malamutes will be well-behaved in the house. 

They can become irritated and destructive if they don't get enough exercise. When meeting new people, this dog is outgoing and eager to please, but he can be dominant among other animals and should be introduced to them slowly. Some can be abrasive and aggressive, digging and howling.


Because of their size and power, Alaskan Malamutes require obvious, solid leadership from their handlers. To maintain a long and healthy life, this breed necessitates a lot of grooming and physical activity.


Alaskan malamutes are susceptible to hip and elbow dysplasia like many other large breeds of dog. Due to a hereditary disorder known as thrombopathia, they are also at risk for blood clotting problems. Breeders should also check their breeding animals for inherited polyneuropathy, another genetic condition. This illness can induce paralysis of the limbs and face, as well as a slowing heartbeat. Chondrodysplasia (dwarfism), hypothyroidism, day blindness, and von Willebrand's disease may also affect Malamutes.

Responsibly breeding purebred animals is the key to minimising these issues. Take your new dog to a veterinarian to ensure that he is in good health before you bring him home.

In summary, the biggest health threats to the Alaskan malamute are:


Many breeds of dogs can be affected by canine cancer. When cancer is discovered in its early stages, chemotherapy, radiation, or surgery can often be used to treat it.

Elbow and Hip Dysplasia

These conditions affect your dog's joints as they mature. Physical treatment can occasionally treat dysplasia, although surgery may be necessary in more severe cases.


As a result of the lack of coordination and instability, the patient's stride is referred to as "bunny-hopping." It might range from a minor case to a life-threatening one. A dog with this condition may stumble, walk on the tips of his toes, or simply appear to be unsteady in his movement. In most cases, the onset occurs within the first year of life.


Due to the fact that diagnostic tests for hypothyroidism are not specific and can be erroneous, this ailment is frequently misdiagnosed. Thyroid hormone production is unusually low in people with hypothyroidism. 

Symptoms might range from a dry, coarse, or sparse coat to eye discharge, pale mucous membranes, and mental dullness, depending on the severity of the case. A daily thyroid replacement tablet can effectively treat hypothyroidism. The dog must be given medication for the rest of his or her life.

Hemeralopia (Day Blindness)

Observant owners can immediately spot the onset of hemeralopia (day blindness) in puppies as early as eight weeks of age. Stumbling and bumping into items are common occurrences in dogs who are afflicted. They may choose to remain in the shade rather than venture out into the hot heat. 

Whether they're navigating the house's steps or looking at the sun, they appear to be unsure of themselves. At night, the clumsiness disappears completely. The dog's quality of life can be improved by controlling hemeralopia.

Von Willebrand Disease 

This disease impairs the blood's ability to clot.

Gastric Dilatation-Volvulus (GDV or Bloat)

Bowel gas builds up and twists in large breed dogs, making them more prone to the condition known as "Blot". It is possible for your veterinarian to undertake preventative surgery, known as prophylactic gastropexy.

Recommended Health Tests 

  1. Hip Evaluation
  2. Ophthalmologist Evaluation
  3. Polyneuropathy DNA Test


Keep your Alaskan Malamute happy and healthy by feeding it a nutritious food. It's best to feed these dogs several smaller meals a day rather than one or two large ones, as they are more prone to overeating or developing Bloat if they eat too quickly.

Plan your Malamute's diet and portion sizes with the help of your veterinarian, who will take into account your dog's age, weight, and activity level. This is a critical step in preventing your dog from becoming obese, which can lead to a host of other health issues.


This breed's excessive shedding may be its most difficult obstacle. These dogs have a lot of hair because they have a strong, impermeable double coat. If you want to avoid fur flurries, brushing and vacuuming your dog on a daily basis is recommended, but this is not required.

Spring and fall are the best times for Malamutes to shed their undercoat because they shed twice a year. You'll need to brush your dog every day and use an undercoat rake to keep stray fur from taking over your home during this period of severe shedding. 


  • As long as its high exercise requirements are met, this dog is a pretty peaceful home pet.
  • Every day, you'll need to go for a long walk or jog, or run for a long time in a confined space.
  • Pulling sleds or large objects is one of his favourite things to do.
  • The majority of Malamutes should not be let to run around unless the area is completely walled in.
  • Mental exercise is provided by games and tricks.
  • It may choose to stay indoors if it's freezing outside. When it's hot outside, it's usually better to stay inside.
  • It is well-suited to chilly climates thanks to its thick coat.



  • The domineering character of these dogs might lead to them bullying other pets if they are not properly trained.
  • While some Alaskan Malamutes have been known to be abrasive toward children, most owners find their dogs to be patient and devoted.
  • To raise a dog that respects and obeys you as it grows and matures, the best approach is to begin obedience training as soon as he or she is a puppy.


Before you introduce an Alaskan malamute puppy into your home, it is important to puppy-proof your home. Puppyhood is a breeding ground for destructive behaviour for this breed, and this is especially true for this breed. You'll need safe toys for your malamute to play with as a puppy to help him burn off some of his energy. Crate training is a must because he'll need a safe place to rest his head at night.

You can begin training your new pup right away because of the breed's high level of intelligence. Sit and stay can be taught to him around 8 to 9 weeks of age in a controlled environment. This simple but continuous training will help you build a bond with your new puppy and demonstrate to him that you are his master from the beginning. You should enrol your puppy in puppy school as soon as he's old enough to get the needed vaccines. This will aid with proper socialisation and obedience training.

Children and other Pets

Puppies of the active Alaskan Malamute breed can easily overwhelm a youngster under the age of five, despite their patience and love for children. They are capable of knocking a toddler down in their zeal.

To avoid any biting or ear or tail tugging, make sure children know how to approach and touch dogs, and always be on the lookout for any encounters between dogs and small children. Teaching your youngster not to approach a dog when it is resting or eating is important. A dog should never be left alone with a child, no matter how old they are.

Your Malamute should be able to get along with other dogs if it is properly socialised and trained at an early age. Small animals, such as cats, may be a problem for him unless he has been raised with them and is taught not to. You must supervise their contact with other animals in the house and introduce them to them gradually. Cats and other small animals will be fair game for them.

Dog breeds related to Alaskan Malamutes 

Siberian Husky

Even though they're smaller, Siberian huskies have a similar appearance and disposition to Alaskan malamutes.

American Eskimo dog

The American Eskimo dog shares the affable nature of the Alaskan malamute but is smaller in size. The toy, which stands approximately 9 inches tall at the shoulder, to the standard, which reaches about 19 inches tall, are all variations of this breed


Although the Chinook is a smaller dog than the Alaskan malamute, it shares many of the same positive personality traits that make these two breeds good companions for families..