Caitlin UltimoBehavior / Breed Lists

Alaskan Malamute Dog Breed

Bred for its strength, the Alaskan Malamute was originally used by the Inuit to pull sleds with heavy loads. It is only more recently that the Alaskan Malamute became a favorite racing dog breed.

Alaskan Malamute Physical Characteristics

The Alaskan Malamute is large and robust. It has a triangular head with small erect ears and a bushy tail that curls over the back.


The Alaskan Malamute is seen in several color combinations, including black/white, grey or silver/white, red/white and brown/white.


Medium to long coat that is thick and heavy.

Alaskan Malamute Personality and Temperament

Activity Level

Moderate to High


The Alaskan Malamute is a friendly, playful and patient dog breed — all of which makes it a good choice for families with children.

Things to Consider

The Alaskan Malamute can be stubborn and has an abundance of energy. It is also the type of dog that sheds often.

Alaskan Malamute Care

Ideal Living Conditions

The Alaskan Malamute fares well in the country or city, though preferably not in an apartment setting. Ideally it should be placed with a family that has an active lifestyle.

Special Requirements

The Alaskan Malamute requires regular grooming.

Alaskan Malamute Health

Hip dysplasia and bloat are conditions commonly seen in Alaskan Malamutes.

History and Background

Although the origin of the Alaskan Malamute is not clearly known, it is generally considered to be a descendant of the Mahlemut dog. An ancient Inuit tribe, the Mahlemut were the native people of Norton Sound, an inlet on the northwest coast of Alaska.

Mahlemut is derived from the word Mahle, which is the name of an Inuit tribe, and mut, which means village. Just like many dogs belonging to the spitz family, this breed developed in the Arctic region and was shaped by difficult climatic conditions.

Originally, the dogs functioned as partners when hunting for polar bears, seals, and other big game. Because the Alaskan Malamute was strong, large and fast, it could easily perform the task that would require many small dogs, such as carrying the large carcases back to the master’s home. The Malamute became so intertwined with people’s lives, that it soon was regarded as a member of the family, no longer treated as a mere pet.

In the 1700s, foreign explorers of Alaska – many who came during the gold rush of the late 19th century – were genuinely impressed with the large dogs and the owners’ affection for them. They entertained themselves by staging races and weight-pulling contests among the dogs. The native Alaskan Malamutes were eventually crossbred with each other and with the dogs brought by settlers, in order to create good racers or to provide the large number of dogs required for gold searching activities. This posed a threat to the purity of Malamute breed.

A dog-racing enthusiast in New England, however, obtained viable specimens of the breed in the 1920s, and began to develop the native Malamute.

As the breed garnered fame, it was used in various means. In 1933, for example, some Malamutes were selected to aid Adm. Richard Byrd with his Antarctic expedition. The Malamute was again used in the Second World War, to act as a pack animal, freight hauler, and search-and-rescue dog.

The American Kennel Club recognized the breed in 1935 and since then it has become popular as a faithful pet and impressive show dog.

By: Chewy Editorial