Photo by Julia Ballarin

Alaskan Malamute - Breed Profile:

Origin: Alaska (United States)
Colors: White, black and white, wolf gray, wolf sable, red
Size: Large
Type of Owner: Experienced
Exercise: Extensive
Grooming: Twice a week
Trainability: A bit difficult to train
Combativeness: Tends to be dog-aggressive
Dominance: High
Noise: Likes to howl

Physical characteristics

The Alaskan Malamute, also known as the Mal or Mally, is a large powerful dog with good boning and muscular body. They are not fast runners but they possess naturally high endurance and strength. They are built to pull and carry large loads over long distances. The broad head is rather massive but well-proportioned to the body. The medium size eyes are brown and almond shaped. Unlike the Husky, Mals do not generally have blue eyes. Moreover, blue eyes are considered a disqualifying fault. The triangular ears are erect and relatively small. Regardless of the coat color (unless it's red), the rims of the eyes, the nose, and the lips should be black. The teeth meet in a scissor bite. The plumed tail is carried over the back. Mals have a steady, confident, and balanced gait.
Adult Malamutes weigh 75 to 85 pounds. Females tend to be smaller.


Extremely intelligent and loyal, Alaskan Malamutes make wonderful companions for those who want a dignified and mature pet. Devoted, friendly, and playful. They need a firm owner that will give them a lot of daily exercise, both physical and mental. Otherwise the dog can become unruly and wilful. Proper socialization is also a must as they have a natural tendency to be aggressive towards other dogs, especially of the same sex. Males can be very dominant. Supervise your Mal with unfamiliar small animals since this breed has a strong prey instinct. It's known, however, that some Malamutes have raised small kittens as their own.
Photo by Paul Moody

Coat and grooming

The double coat is thick and well-suited for severe northern weather. The guard hair is coarse and thick, the undercoat is dense and wolly. Twice a week grooming should be fine. More frequent grooming is required in shedding periods for Malamutes tend to shed a lot.
The colors range from light grey to shadings of black, sable, and red. White prevails on the underbelly, parts of legs, feet, and part of face markings. Mals can also be solid white - it's the only solid color allowed in the breed standards.


Naturally healthy. Unlike many other large breeds, Mals are less prone to hip dysplasia. A type of dwarfism known as chondrodysplasia can be a problem in some lines. Even though their summer coat is shorter and less thick, Malamutes should be given shade and plenty of cool water in hot weather.
The lifespan is about 12 years.

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