A wolf-like breed in appearance, the Malamute dog is a large, imposing breed of dog who has typical Spitz characteristics (a tail often curled over the back, a very thick coat, erect ears, and a wedge-shaped head). The male Malamute dog stands at 64-71cm when fully grown and the female at 58-66cm, and they weigh from 38 to 56kg. The coat comes in a range of colours and shades – from white and light grey to black, and from gold to red and liver, with markings.
- Category size: Large
- Grooming requirements: Daily
- Shedding: Moderate
- Allergies: No
- Noise: v
- Dog Group Kennel Club: Working
- Alone: 1 to 3 hours
- Other pets: Low
- Stability as a guard: Low
A nomadic Inuit tribe from north-western Alaska, called the Mahlemuts, developed this breed to pull heavy loads in extremely harsh weather and to help with hunting. He shares his ancestry with other Arctic breeds, such as the Samoyed dog and the Siberian Husky breed, although he was not built for speed but for power. With his thick, double coat, strength and stamina, it's not surprising that the Malamute dog breed has helped to haul loads on polar expeditions – something few other breeds could withstand.
He might look like a wolf, but he doesn't act like one! The Malamute dog is an affectionate, friendly dog, though perhaps not the ideal breed for a first-time owner. He loves to dig and howl and can have a high prey-drive for small, furry creatures – be they squirrels, cats or small dogs. Thorough early socialisation and ongoing training throughout his life – including work on a reliable recall – is therefore essential.
As with many breeds, Alaskan Malamute dogs can suffer from hereditary eye disorders, and hip dysplasia (a condition that can lead to mobility problems). Eye testing and hip scoring of dogs prior to breeding is therefore important.
The Malamute dog breed needs at least two hours a day of exercise, preferably more. He loves to pull, so early lead-training is essential! Many enjoy canicross, where they run with their owners, but avoid vigorous exercise in heat.
Large breed dogs, as well as having large appetites, benefit from a different balance of nutrients including minerals and vitamins compared to smaller-breed dogs. The Alaskan Malamute dog breed is prone to bloating and stomach problems; smaller, more frequent meals can help minimise this risk.
With a thick undercoat that can be as deep as two inches, together with a thick, coarse guard coat on top, the Malamute breed is well protected against severe, harsh weather. But in a centrally-heated house, there can be considerable shedding! Daily brushing will help to capture a lot of loose hair.
Is this the right dog breed for you?
All dogs have their own, unique personality, but some instincts and behaviours they’re born with. Try our breed selector and find out which dog breeds better match your preferences and lifestyle. If you and your dog enjoy similar things, you will be more likely to live a happy, fulfilling life together.
What to Consider next
It is incredibly fulfilling to adopt a dog from an animal shelter or rescue organization. It often means offering them a second chance in life. There are many dogs waiting for a loving family, a forever home. Reputable centers will be very careful about matching the right people with the right dogs. Staff learns all they can about the dogs they take in, and will spend time getting to know you, your family and your lifestyle, before they match you with any of their dogs. They’ll also be happy to give you advice and answer any questions you might have before and after the adoption.
Finding a good breeder
If your heart is set on a pedigree puppy, then your best bet is to find a reputable breeder. Contact The Kennel Club or a breed-club secretary who may have a list of litters available, or should be able to put you in contact with breeders in your area. Try to choose a breeder who is part of the Kennel Club’s assured breeder scheme.Visit dog shows to meet breeders in person and inquire about availability of pups of your chosen breed.
Welcoming your dog home
Whether you’re bringing home a tiny puppy or rehoming an adult dog, this is a hugely exciting time for everyone. While you’re waiting for the big day you might need to distract yourself, so luckily there are a few things you need to sort out before you welcome your new arrival. Click here for more information