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Alaskan Malamute

The Alaskan Malamute is often considered the best tempered of the Nordic sleddogs.  This may be due to the special consideration they received at the hands of the Innuit tribe that depended on them and/or the conditions that meant that breeding programs were spare and carefully considered.  Regardless, this impressive, powerful breed deserves the respect and regard of their family today as well as in yesteryear regardless of our reliance upon them for transportation and livelihood.  This is not a breed to be considered lightly as they are very intelligent and tend toward more independence than other breeds developed exclusively for companionship.  Nevertheless, for those that have spent time with the Malamute attitude, there is no close second.

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General Information
Group(s): WorkingDraft Height: 23-25 inches
Weight: 75-85 pounds Longevity: early teens
Colors: shades of gray to black, shades of sable to red, solid white is the only solid color allowed Coat type: dense, 1-2 inch undercoat with thick coarse topcoat of guard hairs that are never long and soft
Recognized Registries: FCI, NCA, UKC and others
Overall Appearance: Powerful, large Spitz type dog of presence. Prick ears, long muzzled and mask with white blaze is common. Heavily coated and well made for the demands of an Alaskan climate.
Personaility - Behavior - Training
Energy Level: moderate
General Nature: somewhat aloof especially with strangers, relatively independent
  with Children: can be very good if reared properly with well mannered children
  with other pets: can be good but care must be taken with other species of smaller animals (cats, rabbits, etc.)
  with dogs: generally good if reared properly and socialized heavily
Socialization requirements: moderate to high
Ideal home characteristics: One that appreciates the exercise and mental requirements of such a breed. Probably not ideally suited for cities or lifestyles that allow for minimal opportunity to run 'full out
Temperament Notes: Relatively independent as a result of its development as a helper to man but one that was somewhat self sufficient in its native environment and lifestyle.
Training requirement: moderate, heavy socializing, basic manners, control for exercise
Trainer notes: The Alaskan Malamute is not likely to appear at the top of most all breed competitions.  While there is no question that this breed is remarkably perceptive, intelligent and agile, they were developed with an appreciation of the self sufficiency of their wild/feral cousins.  This lack of "companion" oriented dependency makes the Alaskan Malamute generally confident and willing to consider its own judgement first and foremost.  Heavy socializing early in life helps insure that such judgement will be sound.  From there, motivating the Alaskan Malamute for intricate and precise training can be difficult as they might find something more intriguing to consider (even if only as a distraction).  Some dogs seem to view people, especially their people, as gods worthy of worship 24/7.  The Malamute is not one of them.  While the Malamute will hold its people in high regard (if they return a healthy respect in kind) it is not inclined to think that everything suggested by their people is the only thing worthy of their attention. 
Background Information
Year range of first recognition: 2000 or more years ago
Country of Origin: Arctic Alaska, now USA
Original Function: Sledge
History: Likely developed as part of the culture that came across the Bering Straits and settled in Alaska. The dependence of those nomadic civilizations on their sled dogs would tie the development of the Malamute closely to the tribe.
Adoption Information
Deviations from Standard: excessively oversized, excessive substance, soft and/or long coat, poor pigmentation
Health Notes: Hip Dysplasia, Eye Problems, OCD, skin problems, hypothyroidism, polyneuropathy, vWD
Health Testing: OFA, CERF, Thyroid panel, vWD panel
Questions to ask Breeder:  - The Breeder Questions as listed here provided with explanations and answers you will want to be looking for!


  • How long have you had Malamutes?
  • What do you consider to be the ideal Malamute temperament?
  • How do you select your breeding stock?
  • What did you like about this particular breeding pair?
  • What health issues have you seen in the breed?
  • What health issues do you screen your breeding stock for?
  • What titles do you seek for your breeding stock?
  • Will you be keeping a puppy from this litter?
  • At what age do you send your puppies to their homes?
  • What would you consider an ideal Malamute home?
  • Do you have a written contract and puppy guarantee?
  • Will you accept the return of the puppy at any time if the adoptive home should be unable to keep it?
  • How often do you have puppies available? 
  • Which Malamute breed rescue are you active with?


  • How long have you had Alaskan Malamutes?
  • What do you consider the ideal Malamute in temperament and appearance?
  • What health issues have you observed in the breed?
  • What health issues do you screen your breeding stock for?
  • Do you plan to keep a puppy from this litter?
  • How often do you have puppies available?
  • What do you consider to be an ideal Malamute home?
  • Do you have a written contract and puppy guarantee?
  • At what age do you send your pups to their homes?
  • What advice can you offer to someone raising and training a Malamute? Checklist for Selecting a Puppy Things to Ask a Breeder Have You Found a Good Breeder?

Web Sites: - Sleddog Rescue of Tennessee provides us with the great picture of Rohan above.  Don't overlook this and other purebred rescues as an IDEAL choice for your next Malamute (or other respective breed). Is the Alaskan Malamute Right for You? - Things to Keep In Mind Reasons to Consider in getting  a Puppy Questions to Ask Yourself



Other Resources
Breed standard: Standard for the Alaskan Malamute.  Requires Adobe Acrobat to view.

Breeder Ethics:

http://www.alaskan - Alaskan Malamute Club of America Code of Ethics

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