Alaska Mammals: Alaskan Malamute

alaska is home to many wolves
The Canidae family is divided into two tribes: Canini (related to wolves) and Vulpini (related to foxes). In Alaska there are five types of canines. They include the domestic dog, arctic fox, red fox, coyote, and gray wolf

The Alaskan Malamute, as the name suggests, originates from Alaska, and was developed for pulling sleds and drafting. These dogs were also used for hauling and hunting in larger numbers. These working dogs were first registered with the AKC in 1935. Perhaps one of the most undisputed facts about the Alaskan Malamute is that he is one of the most unaltered breeds found today. They are descendants of dogs that lives with the Mahlemut Tribe that was located in upper portions of western Alaska. These were very distinctive and necessary animals and often were just as important to the people in their area. They helped with virtually all facets of life including hunting and working with them as well as living with them.

General Appearance
The Alaskan Malamute is a large, strong Arctic dog with a thick, coarse double coat and a plumed tail held over the back. It is a ponderous dog, well built, with a solid body, wide head, and a proud expression. The feet are furry and have tough pads. It has erect ears and small, dark, almond shaped eyes. The eyes are obliquely placed in the skull. Eyes are brown, almond shaped and of medium size and look like those of a wolf, but with a sweet expression. Dark eyes are preferred. Blue Eyes are a Disqualifying Fault. The coat averages one to three inches in length and comes in white, black & white, wolf gray, wolf sable (red undercoat with dark gray outer coat), or red, often with darker highlights and sometimes with a dark mask or cap. The legs and muzzle are almost always white.  This well built dog has a beautiful plush tail.

The Alaskan Malamute is a dog that may grow into a dignified, calm adult, but some may continue being playful and puppy-like even when they are older. This is a breed that loves to play, and is therefore well suited to those that enjoy spending time outdoors and enjoying exercise. It is important to spend time with this breed and not neglect them, as they can become bored easily and this can lead to destructive behavior. This is a dog that loves to play and excise in colder weather, and their friendly disposition makes them a joy to be around, although this also means that they are not the best watchdogs. The breed can be aggressive around same sex dogs, as well as with other smaller animals. The Alaskan Malamute is an intelligent and clever dog. They were bred for many years because of their ability to haul and work hard, making them a perfect like bred with this combination. They are dependable and responsible, also qualities that are good for training.


The double coat of the Alaskan Malamute will need to be brushed around twice a week in order to keep it in good condition. This breed is a massively heavy shedder. The undercoat comes out in clumps twice a year. Bathing is most unnecessary, as the coat sheds dirt readily. Dry shampoo occasionally. This dog is clean and odorless.

Health Problems and Life Expectancy
The Alaskan Malamute does have some health conditions that should be paid attention to. For example, they are known to have hip dysplasia and often have chrondodysplasia and inherited polyneuropathy (muscle tone and weakness problems). Another problem that is often found is that in their eyes. They are prone to developing cataracts and often have vision problems as they begin to age. The life expectancy of the Alaskan Malamute is around 10-12 years. These dogs do not fare well in warmer climates, and need to be protected from the heat.

Activity Level

The Alaskan Malamute is a highly energetic animal and for that reason need to be exercised and played with often. Since they were raised for use in the workforce, they are able to devote a lot of attention. They want to be kept busy. You will want to spend time playing physical games with this breed. You should also give him at least a full hours worth of walking per day for exercise. If you live in a suburban area, a high fence is a must, but bury the base, because they are likely to dig their way out. Alaskan Malamutes like to roam in what he considers to be his territory. The Malamutes coat allows them to withstand extreme cold, but be careful to keep the dog cool in hot climates. Make sure they have shade and plenty of clean cool water.


Alaskan Malamute is the Alaska state dog

Alaskan malamute is the state dog for Alaska

Alaska Mammals:

With 112 mammal species, Alaska ranks 12th of the 50 U.S. states in mammalian diversity.

Learn more about Alaskan mammals

Shrewss Bats Cats
Canines Bears Weasels
Ungulates Rabbits Rodents