The Alaskan malamute is a large dog from the sled dog grouping, which was originally and is still widely used to haul sleighs carrying freight across the Alaskan continent. They share some similarities in appearance to other arctic breeds including the Siberian husky and the Canadian Eskimo dog.
Bold, friendly and outgoing with the build and endurance to run all day, the Alaskan malamute requires an experienced owner and plenty of exercise in order to thrive within a domestic environment, and they are not a good choice of pet for all potential owners. In this article, we will cover some of the traits and challenges of the Alaskan malamute, in order to help you to decide if they are the right choice of pet for you. Read on to learn more.
The Alaskan malamute is a bold, outgoing and very independent breed, which is hardy and well suited to life in the cold arctic climate. They are resourceful, tenacious and inquisitive, and like to be involved in everything!
The malamute is a very personable dog that enjoys company and making new friends, and they are friendly and affectionate with their families, and also usually equally keen to make friends with strangers! This means that they are good all round dogs that are not prone to any form of aggression towards people, but also makes them highly ineffective as guard dogs.
They do not tend to be overly noisy or bark for no reason, but they do have a range of different vocalisations at their disposal, including howling, and various chattering sounds!
The Alaskan malamute requires significant levels of exercise that should amount to several hours a day, every day. They are not well suited to a couple of quick walks per day or low levels of exercise, which means that fulfilling all of their needs can be challenging within a domestic environment.
They suit people who are able to devote a lot of time to walking them and finding them places to go running, and who spend several hours out of doors each day. They like to be outside, and require a large, well fenced garden as they do also have a propensity to let themselves out and find their own entertainment on occasion!
The Alaskan malamute is an intelligent, tenacious dog that is more than capable of learning and following a wide range of commands, when it suits them! They can be stubborn and have a tendency to suffer from selective deafness when asked to do something that they do not wish to do!
They require a knowledgeable, experienced trainer who can manage a challenging and sometimes stubborn dog, and one that is able to keep training interesting and varied.
The coat of the malamute is thick and double layered, and tends to shed heavily. A couple of times per year they will blow their coats around the change in the seasons, which means excessively heavy shedding for a couple of weeks at a time.
Regular brushing and grooming is necessary in order to keep up with the coat’s shedding, and to keep your home from becoming covered in dog hair!
Generally, the Alaskan malamute is sociable, outgoing and friendly with other dogs, and they are more than used to living and working in packs, making them a good choice of pet for a multi-dog household. Like all dogs, they need sufficient socialisation when young in order to learn correct behaviour with other dogs, but they are generally friendly and play well with others.
The Alaskan malamute has a strong prey drive and a pronounced tendency to chase smaller animals, which means that they can pose a threat to wildlife outside of the home, as well as roaming domestic cats. They have also been known on occasion to stalk or hunt small dogs, such as the Chihuahua, all of which means that they need careful supervision.
When properly introduced, the Alaskan malamute can share their home with a cat, but this should be carefully managed, and successful integration does not mean that the dog will then fail to chase other cats outside of the home!
As a very friendly, bold and playful dog, the Alaskan malamute generally thrives in homes with children, and will greatly enjoy being involved in children’s games. However, they can be rather boisterous in play, and may knock smaller children over. They also sometimes tend to herd or boss young children around, which of course should be nipped in the bud early on!
The Alaskan malamute is generally trustworthy and reliable to be left around children, providing that both the child and the dog are used to each other and get on well.