Learn All About the Alaskan Malamute

There are few dogs as noble in both character and appearance as the Alaskan Malamute. Alaskan Malamutes are prized for their exceptional physical strength and sense of smell. These dogs are perfect for expeditions in the northern wilds where the winds and snows would throw most dogs off the trail.

Alaskan Malamute

The Alaskan Malamute hails from the wintery lands of northern Alaska. They are both extremely stubborn and highly intelligent. The unique combination makes them one of the most determined and accomplished dogs on the planet. Anyone interested in training one will have their work cut out for them, but in the end, it’ll be worth the effort.

What you should know

Alaskan Malamutes can be white or a mix of gray, black, and sable in color. Although the Alaskan Malamute was purportedly related to wolves, the notion has been discounted. While the physical traits of Alaskan Malamutes bear an unmistakable resemblance to wolves, they are pure-bred dogs and the only trace of wolves is very ancient. As part of the Spitz family of dogs, they are one of only 14 breeds that feature any semblance to wolves in their DNA.  

Known as the largest of the Nordic Sledge dogs, they are also sometimes mistaken for Siberian Huskies, but they are quite distinct. These dogs can reach up to 25 inches in height and weigh up to 85 pounds.

What sound do they make?

Their bark closely resembles a howl, which can be quite enchanting, unless of course, you’re trying to train one as is the case in this video. Their bark can also be high pitched like that of this young pup.

Group characteristics

Although quite stubborn at times, Alaskan Malamutes make for truly extraordinary, loyal, and loving pets. Despite being touted as an ideal pack dog, they have a strong independent streak. They will for example, not follow commands as easily as a Golden Retriever. Like many dogs, they’re prone to chasing after small animals.

That said, Alaskan Malamutes are exceptionally team-oriented and thrive when they feel a sense of responsibility. You can rely on them to be gentle and careful around children, and they make rather poor guard dogs. When faced with an intruder in the home, most Alaskan Malamutes will not react particularly aggressively.

How many are there?

The years of the Second World War were particularly devastating to Alaskan Malamute populations. Only 30 of them were left remaining by 1947, leaving the breed nearly extinct.

Watch a video

In this video, you can learn more about the great Alaskan Malamutes and what makes them different from their cousins the Siberian Huskies.

Pop culture

Alaskan Malamutes have enjoyed honorable mention in pop culture, especially in popular literature. Jack London’s writings did much to glorify this magnificent breed in his treasured work, ‘The Call of the Wild.’ Another legendary author that brought more attention to the Alaskan Malamute was Rudyard Kipling. 

Interesting facts

One of the most unique characteristics of the Alaskan Malamute is their extraordinary ability to survive in dangerously low temperatures. Masters of the northern climate, these dogs can survive when it’s 70 degrees below.   

The breed was named after the Mahlemuits, the Inuit tribe from northwestern Alaska. These dogs boast a proud history of being reliable companions to early adventurers including miners in the late 1800’s. They were particularly instrumental to prospectors during the Klondike Gold Rush.

The dogs were also used extensively for hauling hunted Alaskan game like seals and polar bears.  

With such a rich history in the area, this noble breed officially became Alaska’s state dog as recently as 2010.