Alaskan Malamute

Personality:Affectionate, loyal, playful but dignified

Coat & Grooming:The thick double coat requires frequent brushing to minimize shedding; the undercoat sheds out about twice a year

Energy Level:Somewhat Active; A very strong dog built for heavy work, the big guy craves regular exercise

Originally: Alaska

Nicknames: Mal

Size: Large

Meet the Alaskan Malamute

​The Alaskan Malamute is a powerful, rugged working dog standing 23 to 25 inches at the shoulder and weighing 75 to 85 pounds. Everything about Mals suggests their origin as an arctic sledge dog: The heavy bone, deep chest, powerful shoulders, and dense, weatherproof coat all scream, “I work hard for a living!” But their sweet almond-shaped eyes have an affectionate sparkle, suggesting these big bruisers enjoy a good snuggle with their humans when the work day is done.

What's Their Story?

​The Malamute gets its name from the Mahlemiut, an Inuit tribe that settled in north Alaska a long, long time ago. The dog the Mahlemiuts developed is a sledge dog, created to haul heavy loads at low speeds over long distances. (Sled dogs, like the Siberian Husky, pull lighter loads at faster speeds. Huskies are racers; Malamutes are freighters.) Mals also earned their keep in the Arctic as hunting partners, backpack carriers, and loyal family companions.

What are they Like?

​Malamutes are pack animals, and a pack can have just one leader. And in your family “pack,” the leader must be you. If a Mal doesn’t respect you, he’ll wind up owning you instead of the other way around. Firm but loving training should begin in early puppyhood. That said, a well-behaved Malamute is a joy to be with—playful, gentle, friendly, and great with kids. This breed is especially good for families who enjoy outdoor fun like hiking and camping.

See more Alaskan Malamute photos here

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