Alaskan Malamute: One of the World’s Oldest Dog Breeds

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By: Cassie Moorhead Updated: June 30, 2020

Alaskan MalamuteThe Alaskan Malamute is a powerful working dog breed that was bred to pull sleds and help hunt in the harsh Alaskan climate. A cold-climate, highly athletic dog, an Alaskan Malamute enjoys lots of exercises and having a job to do. Due to their coat and coloring, these furry dogs resemble wolves, often landing them roles in the film industry and even influences for one of the biggest franchises of all time.

Know Chewbacca from Star Wars?

George Lucas’ own Alaskan Malamute was the inspiration behind the pivotal character!

From temperament to tips, there are lots to learn on this fluffy creature.

Alaskan Malamute: One of the World’s Oldest Dog Breeds

So exactly how old?

Alaskan Malamutes are possible dependents of a wolf-dog hybrid that helped hunters during the Paleolithic Area 4,000 years ago migrating to North America through the Bering Straight making them great search-and-rescue dogs.

Alaskan Malamute Size

These are No Teacup Pups!

Alaskan Malamute Puppy

Alaskan Malamute puppies are small and fluffy, but when full grown these dogs can weigh up to 100 pounds and up to 2 feet tall at the shoulder and have thick coats. They need room to run and plenty of exercises.

Giant Alaskan Malamutes can way well over 100 pounds, closer to 130 and 150 pounds.

Male vs Female Alaskan Malamute Size Comparison

Alaskan Malamute dogs can vary in size, males are typically larger than females.  The “ideal” sizes according to the AKC official standard are 23 inches tall at the shoulder and 75 pounds for females and 25 inches tall at the shoulder and 85 pounds for males.

A Pup of Many Colors

  • White Alaskan Malamute
  • Gray Alaskan Malamute
  • Black Alaskan Malamute
  • Sable Alaskan Malamute
  • Red Alaskan Malamute

They come in all shapes and sizes but all are fluffy.


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Stranger Danger? Not Exactly

Alaskan Malamutes Love Meeting Strangers

Alaskan Malamutes do not always make the best guard dogs because they do love meeting strangers. Hospitality runs in their blood.

Very social and loving animals, they enjoy meeting new people.  Alaskan Malamutes are energetic dogs but have a naturally easy going nature so perfect for active days and chill nights.

Adaptability: Things Malamutes Need to Thrive

Alaskan Malamutes need more exercise than the average dog because they are a working breed.  They were bred to pull heavy sleds and have jobs, keeping both their mind and body occupied. When not given enough activity, these dogs can grow bored, which can lead to behavioral problems like chewing, barking, and howling. So you better come prepared with the best of the best chew toys.

Also wise to say, because of their furry and fluffy coat, they will require lots of grooming and maintenance. No matter where you live.

Not for First Time Puppy Parents

These Dogs Need to Know Who Their Alpha is!

Alaskan Malamutes are more instinct with their ancestors, Wolves, who thrive in a pack mentality.  The pack was led by the alpha leader (eventually a human once domesticated) to perform specific tasks like hunting and pulling heavy loads.

Alaskan Malamutes must be taught they are not the alpha from a young age, as they are naturally headstrong and can be prone to eating too much food, tearing up toys, and animal aggression.

Alaskan Malamute Temperament

When properly trained, Alaskan Malamutes are intelligent, strong, and playful dogs that enjoy companionship and make great exercise partners. These dogs are naturally strong-willed and confident, but enjoy following a strong alpha leader.

When socialized properly, Alaskan Malamutes can be great around children and other pets.

The Importance of Training and Socializing Alaskan Malamute Puppies

Alaskan Malamutes were bred to work, which included hunting. These dogs have a natural prey drive, which can lead them to go after smaller (and sometimes larger) animals. They must be socialized as puppies, introduced to other animals, dogs, children, and strangers. Alaskan Malamutes can be destructive and become possessive of their belongings (including their human family) and need to be trained from a young age.

What is the Average Alaskan Malamute Lifespan?

The average lifespan of an Alaskan Malamute is 10 to 12 years. These dogs are prone to hip dysplasia, like many large breeds, along with Von Willebrand’s disease.


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Alaskan Malamute vs Siberian Husky: What’s the Difference?

Origins: Siberian Husky vs Alaskan Malamute

The Alaskan Malamute was named after the Mahlemut tribe in North Western Alaska, according to Practical Paw.  During the Gold Rush in 1896, people brought many different working breeds, particularly the Siberian Husky to help pull loads and help transport materials. The Siberian husky was bred by the Chutski tribe in the Siberian area of Northeastern Asia. They were also used as sled and hunting dogs.

Character Traits: Alaskan Malamute vs Husky

The Alaskan Malamute sheds more, but is better with children, making the breed more of an ideal family pet. They also tend to be a little taller but weigh a lot more than the Husky breed. Both breeds are working dogs, particularly sled pulling, but Alaskan Malamutes were used for their strength, while Huskies were used for their speed.

Alaskan Malamutes can be calmer, while Siberian Huskies are more social and prefer to live in a household with other dogs.

Alaskan Malamute Husky Mix: The Best of Both Breeds!

An Alaskan Husky is the best of both worlds, a hybrid of the Alaskan Malamute and the Siberian Husky.

This mixed breed is known for its intelligence, strength, laid-back behavior, and sociability (when socialized at a young age). Both parents breeds have similar exercise requirements and trainability.

These dogs have thick double coats that shed, requiring brushing and grooming. The outer coat is coarse, while the undercoat is soft and keeps them warm and cool in different temperatures.

Learn more about the comparison of the Husky and Malamute here!

The Alaskan Malamute German Shepherd Mix: Beautiful, Brainy and Brawny!

Alaskan Shepherds are a hybrid between the Alaskan Malamute and the German Shepherd.  German Shepherds are known for their intelligence and loyalty, making them excellent working and service dogs. Alaskan Shepherds making great companion animals for active people and need lots of exercises or can get bored easily. Just like the two separate breeds, the doggo is made of.


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3 Tips to Owning an Alaskan Malamute

1. Invest in obedience training as a puppy.  Alaskan Malamute training is important.  Puppies need positive, firm, and consistent training to avoid adopting bad habits as an adult.

2. Socialize.  Alaskan Malamutes can be very social dogs, who get along with animals (sometimes not dogs of the same sex), and children, but need to be socialized (at the dog park or puppy classes) at a young age.

3. Exercise.  Alaskan Malamutes were bred to work and when bored can become destructive. You can satisfy their natural working and heritage instincts with exercises like sledding, weight pulling, and backpacking according to the Alaskan Malamute Club.

Alaskan Malamute Puppies for Sale

Giant Alaskan Malamute Puppies for Sale

Giant Alaskan Malamutes are not an official breed, but rather a label for the Alaskan Malamutes puppies that are bred to be at the higher weight and height class of the breed.

Wakon Giant Alaskan Malamutes are supposed to be “pure-bred” dependents from a larger ancient breed of Malamute but are not recognized by the AKC. These dogs can have health problems due to over breeding, research and find a reputable breeder with parents on premise.

Alaskan Malamute Price

Alaskan Malamute puppies should start at around $500 for unregistered or cross-bred puppies and up to $2,000 for puppies from pure-bred registered parents.

How to Find Reputable Alaskan Malamute Breeders

Check out the Alaskan Malamute Club of America. Finding a reputable and responsible Alaskan Malamute breeders will help ensure your puppy is healthy and has a good temperament.

Not Looking for an Alaskan Malamute Puppy? Consider an Alaskan Malamute Rescue!

Alaskan Malamutes can become difficult dogs when their exercise needs are not being met. They are not ideal apartment dogs and can howl, become aggressive, destructive, and even try to run away. As large dogs that are not easy to travel with (except on road trips), they require dedicated owners who understand their headstrong temperament.

Alaskan Malamutes end up in shelters, neglected and sad, as they are prone to separation anxiety.  So these puppies require a lot of time, energy, and training, and if that doesn’t fit your lifestyle, perhaps choose another breed.

Adopting an Alaskan Malamute can save their life, and you can check your local shelter,, or rescue group like the Moonsong Malamute Rescue.alaskan malamute dog on snow is the cutest

Fluffy but Sturdy: The Alaskan Malamute

Despite the resemblance of wolves, they enjoy companionship from their owner and want a family that loves and exercises with them. Training is important, but always remember, they have to have their daily playtime.

Whether they are working as sled dogs or making snow angels with you, the Alaskan Malamute is a great dog to bring home as your furever family.

Common Questions on the Alaskan Malamute

How do I maintain a nice, healthy coat for my Alaskan Malamute?

Is a Malamute a Husky?

Alaskan Malamute size: How much do they weigh full grown?

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