65 Fun Facts About the Alaskan Malamute

Alaskan Malamute Standing in the Mud

No doubt about it, the Alaskan Malamute is a beautiful breed, but what makes the Malamute different than the Siberian Husky? What’s it’s story?

Well, if you’ve ever been confused, curious, or just in love with the Alaskan Malamute, these fun facts are for you.


1. The Alaskan Malamute was officially recognized by the American Kennel Club in 1935.

2. But their true origin far predates that—the breed is over thousands of years old.

3. An early version of the Malamute is said to have accompanied Siberian nomads across the Bering straits into what is now known as Alaska.

4. Those nomads were called Mahlemuts, which is where the breed gets its name.

5. The dog came to be a cornerstone of Inuit life for hundreds of years. They were used to hunt seals, chase away polar bears, and sled dogs. 

Alaskan Malamute in Snow Covered Forest

6. Some believe the Alaskan Malamute is the oldest breed of dog in North America.

7. Some believe the breed was created as a cross between an earlier breed of dog and a wolf, though there is some contention on the subject.

8. They were used as sled dogs and rescue dogs during World War II, drawing on their natural ability to drag heavy loads through the snow.

9. They were extremely sought after during the Gold Rush because of their ability to pull heavy weights.

10. There are different strains of Alaskan Malamutes, such as the “Kotzebue” strain and the “M’Loot.” However, finding a “pure” M’Loot or Kotzebue Malamute is extremely rare today. 

11. The Kotzebue Malamutes were always white and grey, stocky, and normally short-legged. They had agreeable temperaments, were less irritable, and loved to be around people.

12. The M’Loot Malamutes were taller with narrower chests, they had bigger ears and longer snouts. They came in all colors and were more aggressive than Kotzebue.

Alaskan Malamute in the Snow

13. The two strains were bred together to build the breed after WWII—during an exploration, an explosion in Antarctica resulted in almost completely wiping out the breed.

14. The Alaskan Malamute was recognized as a breed the same year (1935) the Alaskan Malamute Club of America was formed.

15. However, there were so many losses of Alaskan Malamutes in WWII that the Club had very few Malamutes to use as examples of the breed.

16. Today, all registered Malamutes relate to the original Kotzebue strain.


17. They’re considered to be part of the Spitz breed, which includes the Japanese Akita.

18. Alaskan Malamutes are  powerful and substantially built. They have extremely muscular bodies built for optimal sled-pulling.

19. The markings on their face are a distinctive feature.

20. They have a dense double-coat perfect for the freezing Arctic temperatures, but they shed a lot due to their thick undercoat. And because of their thick undercoat, their fur is somewhat feathered.

21.The coat ranges from many shades of gray to black, but there can be red-coated Malamutes, too.

Two Alaskan Malamutes Walking out of Woods

22. Sometimes their tail forms in the shape of a corkscrew.

23. Their bones are thicker than most dogs’ bones.

24. The Malamute is the largest of the Arctic dogs.

25. Their ears stand erect on the tops of their heads.

26. Their feet are large and their pads resemble snowshoes.

27. Their eyes are almond-shaped.

Alaskan Malamute with Tongue Out Excited

28. Malamutes are slower than other sled-racing dogs.

29. Despite it’s history, the Malamute breed has stayed more or less the same for centuries.


30. The Malamute craves exercise.

31. They chew a lot, almost as if they’re teething. So remember to pick up your shoes! 

32. They are very fast learners, but are often disobedient and mischievous.

Alaskan Malamute on a Couch with Tongue Sticking Out

33. The Malamute is not very sociable, but is extremely outgoing with people he knows. 

34. They do well with children, but as all dogs should, they should be supervised when with your child.

35. They don’t make good guard dogs, because they’re not particularly threatening.

36. Still, they do very well with children.

37. They don’t get along with dogs of the same sex. Nor do they get along with small animals, as their instinct is to prey on them.

38. In all, Malamutes are rather aggressive, but they are not overly violent.

Alaskan Malamute in the Forest and Snow High Saturation

39. They can become easily bored without stimulation, so it’s important to keep their mind occupied.

39. Without things to do, Malamutes can become hyperactive and destructive.

40. They’re slow to train, so it takes a lot of patience to get them to be obedient. 

41. They’re a pretty quiet breed, they don’t bark too much, but they do howl occasionally.


42. This breed doesn’t need to eat as much as its appetite requires. So watch how many treats you feed them. 

43. If he eats too much, he can become bloated or at the risk of becoming over weight. 

44. As an extremely active breed, the Malamute needs a lot of daily exercise.

45. Their coat needs to be brushed twice a week as the undercoat is prone to shed fur all over the place.

46. This makes bathing unnecessary, as the undercoat gets rid off all of the dirt that accumulates under the coat.

47. They’re not suited to live in enclosed spaces, as they have active personalities.

Alaskan Malamute Walking on a Trail

48. It’s important to clip their toenails once a month.

49. They need their teeth brushed two to three times a week.

50. Their ears need to be cleaned as well, because they can develop rashes pretty easily.

51. It’s ill-advised to clip the Malamute’s coat because the shedding often keeps it at a reasonable length.

52. When brushing the coat, the brush needs to reach all the way down to the Malamute’s skin so it can get the undercoat.

Alaskan Malamute Standing in Water

53. A Malamute’s need for exercise is of the utmost importance.

54. If left without activity for too long, a Malamute might destroy your home.

55. Exercise doesn’t just mean letting the Malamute outside, either. You have to help it along.

56. Exercising with a Malamute keeps him  from becoming bored and lonely at the same time.


57. The main problem with Malamutes is with their eyes. They can develop cataracts at a very young age, leading to blindness.

58. Malamutes are prone to being born with Chondrodysplasia, which is a type of dwarfism.

59. As most large breeds are, they’re genetically prone to hip dysplasia which can cause limping in their back legs.

60. They can develop hypothyroidism, which can cause their coats to dry out and make them seem like they’re in a haze.

Alaskan Malamute Head Turned Around in Forest

61. They’re also prone to day blindness, which is where they are not able to see as well during the day because of their eyes’ sensitivity to light.

62. In addition to hip dysplasia, they can develop different forms of neuropathy which can lead to poor coordination. 

63. They’re also prone to von Willebrand’s disease, which can cause extensive bleeding. It’s sort of like hemophilia, but less severe.

64. They can develop thrombopathia, which is another type of hemophilia that often affects other Spitz breeds.

65. Other than all of these things, they’re very healthy dogs.

Alaskan Malamute in Dead Grass

If you’re interested in adding an Alaskan Malamute to your family, look around for a reputable breeder or search out Malamute rescue groups and/or local animal shelters.

Bonus: The Alaskan Malamute is an Arctic breed, just like these other snow dogs. And if you’re still confused about the difference between Siberian Huskies and Alaskan Malamutes, go here.

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