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Meet the breed: Alaskan Malamute

Choosing to add a furry friend to your growing household is a long-term commitment, and picking a breed that fits your lifestyle is the key to a happy home. With over 160 American Kennel Club-recognized breeds, that decision can seem overwhelming. We’re here to help you meet the breed that’s right for you. If you’re looking for an athletic and intelligent family-friendly breed, learn everything you need to know about the Alaskan Malamute.

  • Athletic
  • Kind
  • Playful
  • Family-friendly
  • Easily trained


A close cousin to the Samoyed, Siberian Husky and American Eskimo Dog, the Alaskan Malamute is a Nordic sled dog named after one of Alaska’s native tribes. Not a racing breed, the Alaskan Malamute is built to pull heavy sled loads over lengthy distances. Very respected, this dog not only has a high endurance level and athletic ability, but a high willingness to work as well. A smart breed, the Alaskan Malamute enjoys any form of activity and has a deep love for its owner.

Breed standards

  • AKC group: Working group
  • UKC group: Northern Breed Group
  • Average lifespan: 13 – 15 years
  • Average size: 75 – 85 pounds
  • Coat appearance: Double coated with thick, coarse top coat and oily, wooly undercoat
  • Coloration: Wolf gray, black, black and white or sable with possible red markings
  • Hypoallergenic: No
  • Other identifiers: Athletically built with strong frame, erect ears, almond-shaped eyes that are dark in color, large fluffy tail
  • Possible alterations: May be all white in color or have blue eyes.

Is this breed right for you?

Requiring a lot of activity, this affectionate and athletic breed requires and enjoys a lot of physical play, including hiking, swimming, sledding and more. Friendly, it does best in a family rather than being a one-to-one dog. Due to its thick coat, it is best that the Alaskan Malamute receive regular grooming and live in a cooler climate where it is provided a lot of water and shade in warmer months. Not good for apartment life, this breed needs a yard to roam, play and spend the majority of time in. Without proper training and respect for its owner, the Alaskan Malamute may become temperamental and destructive.

Breed characteristics

A dream day-in-the-life

The Alaskan Malamute will likely sleep outside and come in to greet its family. After a brisk walk around the yard, he will come inside and hang out with those that it loves most. After a few rubdowns and games of catch, the Alaskan Malamute would love to engage in some type of sport before the end of its day. Once it gets the brunt of its energy out, it will settle in with its favorite humans.

Other breeds you may like

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Meet the breed: Siberian Husky

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