The Alaskan Malamute or Mally, as the fans often call him, is a Nordic Spitz-type dog originating from Alaska, USA. The breed was developed some 2.500 years ago by an ancient Inuit tribe from the northwest coastal region of Alaska. The name of the breed is derived from the old name for these Eskimos – Mahlemuits. These dogs are actually direct descendants of the Arctic wolf, which is quite obvious at first sight. Malamutes were developed primarily for sled travel and transportation in a harsh winter climate, but were also ordinarily used for hunting too. Alaskan Malamute belongs to the Nordic Sledge Dogs group in the class of primitive dogs. These are large and powerful working dogs with huge stamina and even bigger heart. They are almost identical to Siberian Husky. Both of these beautiful breeds are very popular around the world, and they’re often mistaken for each other.
What Is An Alaskan Malamute Like
The Alaskan Malamute is a tough and agile dog with strong will. He is independent, gracious and dignified, always ready for some fun. Mal has an unmistakable sense of direction, huge stamina, and incredible sense of smell, all of which makes him a perfect working dog in the cold and unforgiving climate of the Arctic circle. As a plus, he is brave, smart, persistent, and he is always willing to please his master. Main Alaskan Malamute characteristics are endurance, agility, strength, speed, independence, intelligence, resourcefulness, playfulness, curiosity, and loyalty. Malamutes are in general very clean dogs and they rarely bark. However, they are like wolves prone to howling, especially when they are bored or sad. So, to prevent this, dedicate as much time as you can to your Mal. Also, these dogs express their feelings with weird vocalizations, which can often sound quite hilarious :)
The life expectancy of the Alaskan Malamute is usually between 13 and 16 years. This is generally a healthy dog breed, but it is prone to hip dysplasia and gastric dilatation volvulus. Mally is a very active dog with huge pools of energy, so the regular daily exercise is a must. If possible, it would be best to take your dog for a long walk in nature, at least once a day, where he can let loose his wild spirit and enjoy exploring surroundings. Yeah, this dog likes to explore and roam a lot, especially around the territory he considers his own, which often encompasses all of your neighborhood :) Because of that, he is prone to run away, which is the reason enough to have a high wall or strong fence around your yard. In the case you have a fence, check if it’s stuck deep enough into the ground because these buddies are excellent diggers. This rule applies to your garden too ;)
The Alaskan Malamutes are not good watchdogs or guard dogs because they’re usually friendly with strangers. However, they are known to possess a strong prey drive. They will chase and kill every cat or any other smaller pet they spot. Yes, they can live in harmony with other pets, but only if brought up together. Also, Malamutes can be aggressive with other dogs of the same sex, doesn’t matter if it’s male or female. So, if your Mally wasn’t properly socialized, it would be wise to not let him off-leash while outside! But, socialization and training of this buddy can be a problem. You see, the Alaskan Malamute is very stubborn and independent. Also, it is not that easy to get him invested in the training process. That’s why he demands an experienced and dominant leader, who is able to apply correct training through smart and focused lessons while the dog’s still a puppy.
Wonderful Family Companion
Similar to other Nordic breeds – the Greenland Dog, Samoyed or Siberian Husky, Alaskan Malamute is a pack-oriented dog. That’s why, he likes to be in the company all the time. This quality makes him a wonderful family dog, who is very affectionate with its owner and other members of the household. On top of that, Maly is a very loyal and well-mannered dog in comparison to other breeds from this category. So, you can safely keep your Alaskan indoors after a proper potty training, but make sure you never leave him alone for a long time since these dogs are more than likely to make some mess when bored. Malamutes also enjoy playing a lot, which is why they are generally tolerant and good with kids. However, parents with toddlers should heed the warning – because of their size and strength, these dogs can accidentally hurt small children, so make sure you always keep an eye on your dog.
Physical Characteristics Of Alaskan Malamute
So, what does an Alaskan Malamute look like? Well, first of all, he is a large, heavy dog maintaining the gracious stance. He has a powerful, sturdy, compact and well-muscled body covered with long (1-3 inches) double coat, which is waterproof. The coat, as usual for Nordic breeds, has a soft and wool-like underlying coat, and a bit longer, coarse and stiff overlying coat. Needless to say, these dogs shed a lot, which is why the regular daily grooming is a must, even when they aren’t shedding. Also, it is important to note that because of this thick and dense fur, Mally can’t stand excessive heat. So, it is necessary to keep your dog in some shaded, cool space during hot summer days! Main Alaskan Malamute colors and markings are the varying combinations of white (stomach, legs, chest, muzzle) with different shades of grey, red, black or wolf sable. The only solid color allowed is white.
The Alaskan Malamute has a broad, wolf-like, wedge-shaped head with the bulky muzzle with scissor jaws, which is just slightly tapered close to skull. The erect, triangular and well-furred ears are small in comparison with the size of the head. The almond-shaped eyes with black eye-rims are of the brown color, which can vary in shades. However, preferred are the dark brown eyes. Blue-eyed Malamutes are not accepted. The long, plumed tail is set high in the shape of a sickle atop the dog’s straight and powerful back. Mally’s chest is broad and deep, defying his robustness. The front legs are straight and firm, and the hind legs are very muscular and strong-boned. The paws with hard pads are well-furred to prevent any frostbite. When you take into account all of his physical characteristics, it is more than evident that Alaskan Malamute is a powerful and tough dog.
Alaskan Malamute Dog Size And Weight
– Height between 24 and 26 inches (61-66 cm)
– Weight between 80 and 100 pounds (36–45 kg)
– Height between 22 and 24 inches (56-61 cm)
– Weight between 70 and 90 pounds (32–41 kg)
Powerful Sled Dog
The Alaskan Malamute is a remarkable sled dog, who has proven its worth numerous times during the long history of the breed. These dogs have been used for transportation of goods, hauling freight, polar expeditions, personal travel, dogsled racing, and mushing, which is not at all surprising considering their qualities. Malamutes are strong and powerful, they have huge stamina, they are very resilient and hardy, and they can successfully cope with the harshest of the winter environments. Also, these dogs can easily work on low food supplies, which is very important in such ruthless circumstances. However, although Mally has been used for dogsled racing, he is not that good in this sport because of his weight and size. So, if you have in mind to participate in this sort of competition, well, then better look for some lighter and smaller breed, like the Greenland Dog or Siberian Husky.
Great Competitor In Various Dog Sporting Events
Superb physical predispositions and incredible endurance of an Alaskan Malamute are the reasons enough, he is such a great competitor in various dog sports. He is a dog of many qualities – he is fast, resilient, agile, energetic, resourceful, and intelligent. It is more than obvious, when you combine all of these qualities, that this dog is capable of different feats. With the adequate training, Malamutes can successfully compete in weight pulling, skijoring, backpacking, mushing, bikejoring, canicross, etc. They can also compete in dog agility and obedience trials too. As you can clearly see, the list is quite big, and so is the worth of this fantastic dog. The Alaskan Malamute is such a special and popular breed for many reasons. He is beautiful, loyal, kind, cheerful, and affectionate, which is more than enough to be highly prized and loved all around the world.