Pet Facts in Brief
- Gentle, friendly, good-natured
- Brush twice weekly; more when undercoat is blowing
- Requires regular, vigorous exercise
- Adapts well to urban living, but needs space and exercise
- Ineffective guard dog
|Male:||63-71cm / 25-28in||41-52kg / 90-115lbs|
|Female:||58-66cm / 23-26in||38-50kg / 85-110lbs|
Though the Malamute may look intimidating, the breed is indiscriminately affectionate and friendly, making them ineffective guard dogs. They lack the territorial nature of many breeds better suited to protecting property, but they will make a great deal of welcoming noise when someone arrives.
The breed has a long history of fond affiliation with children, heralding from their long association with the Mahlemut Inuit people of Alaska (Siino 1997). But though they are affectionate and gentle, their size and excitement requires they never be left unsupervised with children.
Malamutes will frequently not tolerate other dogs, and early socialisation is necessary. They have a strong predatory instinct that also requires careful introduction of smaller animals, such as cats. Malamutes rarely suffer other dogs of the same sex and will often become aggressive toward them.
If you are considering getting more than one Malamute, it is advised you buy one of each gender, or be prepared to contain them separately as they mature.
Malamutes are incredibly strong-willed and will test their owner constantly, requiring an owner remain attentive and vigilant at all times. Like most dogs, the Malamute will take control of a family pack if they perceive the leader - you - as weak or ineffective. Unlike most other breeds of dogs, reasserting the pack hierarchy can be difficult. Once the roles have been reversed the Malamute will test harder and more often.
It is in the Malamute's best interest that they have a strong master, and they want a strong pack leader because they are especially sensitive and oriented toward the pack hierarchy. (Siino 1997).
Their loyalty is easily bought by treats, however.
The Alaskan Malamutes is often mistaken for a Siberian Husky. The Malamute, however, is heavier in the chest, taller at the shoulder, and much wider across the skull, with wide-set and smaller ears than the lighter, sleeker Husky. Huskies frequently have pale blue eyes, a mix of blue and brown eyes, or just brown eyes. Malamutes only have brown eyes, and the darker brown the better. Both breeds are of the Spitz variety, easily recognised by their tail 'plume' which they carry high over their back.
Huskies are much lighter of frame and are generally smaller; built for speed rather than endurance, making them a popular racing breed. Malamutes are heavier-set, with the stamina to pull a heavy load across great distances, making them effective freight animals.
I like to consider the Huskies as thoroughbreds, and Malamutes as draft horses.
Malamutes, like Huskies, have a white undercoat, which 'blows' in warmer months, approximately twice a year depending on the climate where they live. This coat is dense compared with the longer, coarser guard hairs. They also have a white underbelly and legs. Malamutes have two main colours - 'wolf grey' and 'seal' - but their coats range in shades and may include wolf grey, seal, and shades of red. Red Malamutes are rare.