Alaskan Malamute4 May 2023
Reviewed by Dr Jill McMaster BVM&S MBA MRCVS, Veterinary Surgeon and in-house expert at BorrowMyDoggy on 26 May 2023
Let’s talk about… Alaskan Malamutes
- Alaskan malamutes as their name suggests, originate from Alaska, United States and were bred to pull the sledges of the Mahlemut peoples of the region they are from.
- They were often used in Arctic expeditions, due to their abilities to pull sledges and sustain cold temperatures.
- They are often confused with Huskies, but Malamutes are larger.
- The males can reach up to 64cm in height, while the females tend to be up to 58cm.
- They can weigh between 34 and 39kg.
What is the lifespan of Alaskan Malamutes?
On average they live up to about 11 years old.
What is the temperament of Alaskan Malamutes like?
- Malamutes are very loyal and friendly, and just love a good cuddle, but there can be times where they can be independent and want to go and do their own thing.
- But most of the time they want company, and can be prone to separation anxiety when left alone. Working with them as puppies to cope with being alone can be beneficial, see our canine behaviourist’s top tips for separation anxiety here.
- Malamutes are best suited to older kids, as much as they can enjoy the company of smaller kids, they sometimes don’t know their own strength and can knock over little ones.
- If they are used to dogs and cats at a young age they can be social, but sometimes they do not like the company of other animals.
- Although they don’t often bark, malamutes are very chatty dogs and do like a good bow wow wow!
What kind of exercise do Alaskan Malamutes need?
- Malamutes need a lot of exercise. As they were traditionally bred to pull sleds, they have a lot of energy to be used up.
- They need over two hours of exercise a day, and are not the breed for someone looking for a calm, lazy dog.
- They can go off on their own adventures if something sparks their interest so are best kept on lead or in an enclosed area for a good run.
- Be very cautious in hot weather, as they have very dense coats, so make sure to keep exercise to a lower level in the heat.
Do Alaskan Malamutes need a lot of grooming?
- Colours of malamutes are most commonly wolf-grey, black with white or white.
- Malamutes have a double-coat, with a coarse, thick outer coat, and a woolly undercoat.
- Malamutes benefit from daily brushing, to remove shedded hairs.
- They can shed quite a lot, particularly in the summer months, so while they’re not the most difficult to groom, that can leave a lot of hair around the house which is not ideal for anyone with pet allergies!
- Like any dog, regular tooth brushing with a dog-specific toothpaste twice daily is ideal. If you can’t manage that often, just do it as often as you can.
Are Alaskan Malamutes easy to train?
- Malamutes are super smart, and respond well to training, but need to have a confident handler.
- They will get easily bored, so need exercises to be changed up regularly, while still staying consistent with commands.
- A lot of malamutes love advanced training like agility, obedience or sled running.
- They can also get distracted due to their high prey drive, so when starting out training them make sure to do it in an area without exciting things that may draw their attention away from you.
What do Alaskan Malamutes eat?
- Malamutes should enjoy a good quality dog food twice daily. If they eat very fast they can benefit from a slow feeder. Always be sure not to exercise, play or take them in the car straight after eating.
- As puppies, they should be given a high quality, large breed, puppy food until they are between 12 and 18 months. Each brand of food is different and should be able to advise you.
- Malamutes that don’t pull sleds or work do not need working dog food. The extra calories in these foods, although helpful for Malamutes that are pulling a sledge up a hill, can just add weight to a pet with a more chilled lifestyle.
Are Alaskan Malamutes healthy?
Malamutes are a generally healthy breed, but like any breed are more likely than some other breeds to get certain conditions. These can include:
- Behaviour -
- Separation anxiety - this is when dogs feel distressed and overwhelmed when left on their own
- Bones and Joints -
- Chondrodysplasia - this is when puppies are born with deformities and as they grow their limbs are abnormal lengths and shapes
- Hip dysplasia - a condition where the thigh bone and pelvis do not sit together properly at the hip joint
- Eyes -
- Cone degeneration - this inherited condition causes Malamute pups to be blind in bright light
- Cataracts - this common condition leads to clouding of the lens of the eye, whi can lead to blindness
- Gastrointestinal -
- Gastric Dilation Volvulus (GDV) - this occurs when the stomach twists and gas and contents get trapped inside. It is a very serious condition and a vet should be contacted immediately!
- Hormonal -
- Hypothyroidism - a condition where your dog does not produce enough thyroid hormone
- Nervous System -
- Polyneuropathy - a genetic condition of the dog’s nerves that often shows as a young dog who has difficulty standing and getting up stairs.
Always make sure to have your dog insured, so you don’t get caught out with any unexpected vet bills.
Our vet top tip
Malamutes are lovely, big dogs but be ready for the amount of hair they shed, and make sure to train them to walk to heel, as they are built to pull sleds, so will easily pull you along!
BorrowMyDoggy loves Alaskan Malamutes
BorrowMyDoggy has 902 Alaskan Malamute members.
Here's what they have to say about the Alaskan Malamute breed:
Though 7 years old, Sky still had lots of energy and has her silly puppy moments. She loves walking, and the occasional run/jog. She's great in pubs and loves the extra attention - she's constantly up for tummy rubs!
Alison, Owner of Sky
Simba is a very friendly boy and loves to play with people and other dogs, although he can be a little bit over-excited when he first meets new doggy friends!
- Lucy, Owner of Simba
Malamutes are very hard to handle, especially if you don't have experience with northern breeds as they are very different from other breeds! He needs someone very confident and firm, otherwise he won't listen. It's in his nature.
- Patricia, Owner of Daemon
Ian, Owner of Max says:
He loves roast chicken and roast lamb ribs. His favourite treats are Markies, but his overall favourite food and treat is McVities digestives. He adores them and will do anything for a couple.
Louise, Owner of Munch:
He is likely to push you over if you are a bit wobbly as to show affection he leans on you and pushes!
And Sarah, Owner of Brolin adds:
“Brolin is a typical malamute - always looking for mischief. He is cheeky and boisterous but kind and loving.”
Top Malamute names
The most popular name for an Alaskan Malamute on BorrowMyDoggy is Luna.
Here's the top 10 names for Alaskan Malamutes:
Discover our top 100 Alaskan Malamute names here!
Information on this page should never replace advice given by your veterinarian. Potential health issues presented are given as a guide only and are not meant to be comprehensive. If you ever have any concerns about your dog’s health contact your local vet.
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