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Alaskan Malamute Dog Information: Get to Know This Historical Breed

How Long This Breed Has Been Man's Best Friend

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Alaskan Malamute photo

Is the Alaskan Malamute good for you?

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    The Alaskan Malamute temperament makes them the perfect companion dog who will thrive in social situations.

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    Although a very intelligent dog, regular training is necessary.

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    If you are looking for a guard dog, this loveable dog is definitely not the right breed for you.

HISTORY

The Alaskan Malamute's history can be traced back to around 3000 B.C. This breed of dog got their name from the Mahlemut tribe who inhabited northwestern Alaska in that time. The main purpose of this breed during that period was to pull traveling sleds and haul heavy loads. The Alaskan Malamute descended from the Arctic wolf, and is among the oldest arctic sled dogs. Later on, Alaskan Malamutes were used in large numbers for hunting and hauling.

The Alaskan Malamutes are the largest of all the Arctic sled dogs. Their thick coat, Duracell-bunny-like endurance, and herculean strength make them perfect for working in frigid conditions. This dog gets its name from Mahlemut people, an ancient tribe that migrated from Siberia to Alaska around 2000 to 3000 years ago. This puts malamutes in the elite list of the few truly ancient breeds in the world. Apart from sledding and general companionship, the Inuit tribesmen used these dogs to hunt seals, and a group of malamutes was formidable enough to stand guard against polar bears.

Even though they were originally bred for work, most Alaskan Malamutes are now a family breed. Their work has evolved from pulling a sled, to being a great companion to all family members. Thanks to their genetic makeup, this breed also makes a great hiking and jogging partners. Away from the snowy conditions, the Alaskan Malamute breed is now forced to adapt to a new reality. Instead of raw seal meat and fat, their bowls are now filled with store-bought dog food. The breed has also learned to live in warmer climates. If you are thinking of bringing home a malamute, there must be a lot of questions plaguing your mind. Following are few of the most frequently asked questions about this breed that you should know the answers to.

Alaskan Malamutes, What's Good About Them?

A Malamute shares all the cute doggie traits one expects from a well-mannered dog. However, this is a dog that was specially bred for work. Their enhanced weight-pulling capability makes them excellent search-and-rescue dogs, especially in colder regions. A healthy adult dog is more than capable of pulling out a large man stuck underneath the snow. Thanks to their strength and resilience they are an integral part of many Alaskan rescue groups operating near skiing areas and popular hiking destinations. If their superhero-like abilities were not enough, Alaskan Malamutes are also surprisingly quiet. These large dog breeds almost never bark. However, they can howl if they are depressed or lonely.

How Are Alaskan Malamutes with Cats and Other Small Animals?

Alaskan Malamutes have predatory instincts, which can be a real cause for concern if left alone with cats and other animals. It's best not to trust a Malamute with a small animal unless the pair has grown up together and are known to be friendly with each other. Their natural prey drive can also cause them to chase and kill intruding animals such as rodents and neighborhood cats. Like any other dog breed, this a trait that can be muted through proper training. Following in the footsteps of Ferdinand, some dogs even grow up to be friendly towards other animals.

How Do You Tell the Difference Between an Alaskan Malamute and a Siberian Husky?

Siberian Huskies and Alaskan Malamutes have a lot in common. Both of these dog breeds have a wolf-like appearance, beautiful almond-shaped eyes, and thick coats. They also have a long history of being used by native tribes as sled dogs. The malamute is typically a larger dog breed and they thus have more pulling strength. A Siberian Husky, on the other hand, is known for having extreme endurance. An adult husky is generally a lot slimmer, weighing 15 to 30 Kg, while a malamute can easily tip the scale at 38 Kg. An Alaskan Malamute is also typically a few inches taller. Another key factor that differentiates the two is adaptability. A husky can live in slightly warmer and humid regions. However, its Alaskan cousin has a difficult time thriving in warm climatic zones. Lastly, malamutes typically have brown eyes while huskies have different colored eyes, including the very-recognizable blue shade.

Where to Adopt an Alaskan Malamute?

Alaskan malamute is not a pet breed that's hard to find, especially if you live in Alaska, Canada, and the colder regions of the United States. The American Kennel Club regularly raises funds to support local shelters and rescue abused dogs. AKC also recognizes rescue groups such as AMAL (Alaskan Malamute Assistance League) that specifically works to rehabilitate mistreated Alaskan Malamutes. This is a highly active group that routinely conducts rescue missions. Contacting them and other ethical dog rescue groups should help you on your way to providing a nice home for a pet Alaskan Malamute.

When Does an Alaskan Malamute Stop Growing?

An Alaskan Malamute can reach its full size within 2 years. According to AKC dog breed information, an adult male dog typically grows up to weigh around 38 kg or 85 lbs. According to the kennel club, a female fully-grown malamute should typically weigh around 34 kg or 86 lbs. When it comes to height, a male malamute can reach 25 inches while females are usually 2 inches shorter.

Do Alaskan Malamutes Make Good Guard Dogs?

Back in the day when this breed used to roam with the Inuit people, they stood guard against polar bears and wolves. Still the perfect Eskimo dog, this dog breed continues to protect people living in Alaska from wild animals. While they have a strong-willed and aggressive demeanor when protecting their families against animals, they are often excessively friendly when encountering humans. Their natural inclination to please all humans around them makes them poor guard dogs. While they can be trained, they are certainly not natural-born guard dogs like German Shepherds and Dobermans.

What's the Best Temperature Range Suited for Alaskan Malamutes?

This breed originated in the cold mountainous regions of Alaska. After the Alaskan Gold Rush, people from other parts started to migrate to these regions. Loved by the migrating population, this native dog started to spread across Canada and the United States. Alaskan Malamutes are dogs that are at home in snowy conditions. A dog that's forced to live in a hot climate may develop health issues or temperamental changes. Pet parents living in warmer regions often complain about Alaskan Malamute temperament and health problems. Being the state dog of Alaska, it makes sense to adopt this dog only if you live in cold climatic zones. It's best advised to bring home a pet malamute dog only if you live in an area where the temperature never soars above 80 degrees Fahrenheit.

quick facts

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    Size

    Extra Large

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    Lifespan

    12 to 15 years

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    Hair Length

    Long, Medium

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    Male Height

    23 to 25 inches tall

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    Male Weight

    75 to 85 pounds

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    Female Height

    23 to 25 inches tall

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    Female Weight

    75 to 85 pounds

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    Litter Size

    5 to 6 puppies at a time

APPEARANCE

The Alaskan Malamute is a strong and powerful dog. They are heavily-boned, well-muscled, and have a deep chest, fox-like face, erect ears, and a curled tail. They have a thick, coarse double coat that comes in colors like black and white, white, wolf sable, red, or gray. Their feet are furry and have tough pads. Usually, an adult Alaskan Malamute weighs around 70–85 pounds and can grow up to a height of 25 inches.

PERSONALITY

The Alaskan Malamute is a wonderful companion and loves the company of people. They are a very friendly, loyal, and intelligent dog, but because of certain destructive tendencies, they shouldn’t be kept as guard dogs. Care should be taken that this dog isn’t left alone unattended for longer durations. Regular and firm training is necessary, and this dog should be socialized from an early age.

color

The coloring of their coats ranges widely. They are often various shades of white and grey. Other combinations include black and white, pure white, red and white, and sable and white.

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health concerns

Though a very hardy breed, the Alaskan Malamute is prone to health problems such as:

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