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Origins

The Alaskan Malamute is often mistaken for a Husky, but they are larger than most of the other “Spitz” type dogs which includes the Husky and Samoyed. Malamutes are native to Alaska as their name suggests. They were bred by an Inuit tribe called Mahlemuts to pull sledges and, as highly skilled hunters they helped their masters track down food, creating an interdependance between dog and man. These dogs were bred to be resilient and strong enough to cope with the harshest Artic climate and they share the same ancestry as other dogs from artic regions of the world, namely the Eskimo dogs of Greenland, the Labrador, the Siberian Husky and the Russian Samoyed.

Similar to the Husky, recent DNA analysis shows that the Malamute is one of the oldest breeds of dog on the planet, but it was only in 1935 that the breed was officially recognised by The American Kennel Club and then here in the UK a little later on. In 2010, the breed was named as being Alaska’s official state dog.

Characteristics

Malamute males can grow to be between 64-71cm in height and weigh between 38-56kg. While females tend to be smaller, at 58-66cm in height, they can still weigh between 38-56kg just like their male counterparts. They are heavily boned which adds to their overall impressive appearance. Malamutes boast large, broad heads with a large muzzle that’s as wide as their skulls. They have almond-shaped, brown, medium sized eyes, although lighter coated dogs have lighter coloured eyes. This breed is incredibly strong, and their bodies are very well developed for strength and to cope in harsh elements. Their coat can be a variety of light grey to black, a gold colour from various shades of red to liver, or solid white.

Character

Alaskan Malamutes are known for their intelligence but can sometimes be slow to learn commands. These dogs are very friendly around people, but may not be the best dogs for families with small children and or smaller pets. They have a heightened prey drive and if they do live with children it is important to teach them to be calm and the proper way to act around these dogs to avoid them being scared. The ideal owner would already be familiar with this type of dog because the breed is known to be a very independent and self-reliant character by nature.