10 Incredible Alaskan Malamute Facts

Written by Janet F. Murray
Published: September 22, 2022
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The Alaskan Malamute is one of the native Arctic dog breeds. People often confuse this breed with Siberian Huskies. Both species may be sledding dogs, but the Alaskan Malamutes and Siberian Huskies have many differences. For example, the Alaskan Malamutes are extremely powerful but also incredibly loving. The Alaskan Malamute makes a perfect family or working dog if you care for it correctly. Let’s explore some of the incredible Alaskan Malamute facts.

1. Alaskan Malamutes Look Like a Larger Version of the Siberian Husky

Alaskan malamute in the snow
Alaskan Malamute facts are they are native to the Arctic and are sled dogs.

©Carina Wicke / Creative Commons

Although Alaskan Malamutes look similar to Siberian Huskies, but they are not the same breed and have many differences. For example, a Siberian Husky weighs between 45 to 60 pounds. Alaskan Malamutes weigh between 71 and 95 pounds and are 22 to 26 inches tall. Both breeds are sledding dogs but perform different types of sledding. Sled drivers use Siberian Huskies for speed, but use Alaskan Malamutes when they need powerful animals to pull heavy cargo.

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Because of this, if you want to have an Alaskan Malamute as a pet, you will need a lot of space. Apartment space is unsuitable for this breed as they need to exercise and run around. Owners should also be vigilant when this breed is around children. Alaskan Malamutes are not aggressive, but they are large and physically powerful animals. A lack of awareness of their strength can easily harm a child during play.

2. The Alaskan Malamute is a Working Dog Breed

Alaskan malamute running through the snow
Alaskan malamute running on snow. It is slower than other types of sled dogs, but it can travel longer distances thanks to its great stamina and strength.

©Aneta Jungerova/Shutterstock.com

An important Alaskan Malamute fact to remember is that these dogs need to exercise and have plenty of playtime. But because these are working dogs, they also need a ‘job’ or to complete tasks regularly. These dogs often pull sleds, assist their owners, and can even be watchdogs. If you are an aspiring Alaskan Malamute owner, you must remember that these dogs need a range of tasks or jobs that they can complete. Examples include sledding, pulling a cart or a person on skis, or agility classes. They also need at least 90 to 120 minutes of outdoor playtime each day.

3. Alaskan Malamutes Can Be Stubborn

Alaskan malamute licking his paw.
Alaskan Malamutes were originally bred for endurance and strength.

©Julia Kaysa/Shutterstock.com

Just because this is a working dog breed does not mean these dogs are always obedient. Alaskan Malamutes are opinionated and strong-willed, so owners must give them obedience training at a young age. The dog may become a hassle and a handful if you avoid training them professionally. Obedience training is also necessary for the safety of people around your dog. The Alaskan Malamute is stronger and larger than most dog breeds, making expert training an absolute requirement for owning these animals.

4. Alaskan Malamutes Are Affectionate and Loving Family Dogs

Alaskan malamute rolling and playing on the grass.
Alaskan Malamutes can be good family dogs if appropriately trained.


Although these large dogs require a lot of attention and effort to be happy and healthy, they can be good family dogs. Alaskan Malamutes love affection and will gladly cuddle with their human family members. They are also good with children as long as you train them well. Training this breed to live with children will prevent the dog from jumping on the child, lying on the child, or falling on the child.

5. It’s a Fact That Alaskan Malamutes Must Be Socialized

Alaskan malamute puppies
An Alaskan Malamute has an average lifespan of 12-13 years.


Alaskan malamutes need to be socialized young to get along with humans and other animals. Naturally, this breed can be reserved around unfamiliar people, and often behaves competitively around unknown dogs. This can become an issue due to their size and strength. Socializing an Alaskan Malamute helps them to behave appropriately around unfamiliar people, other children, and unknown dogs. This socialization can also help this breed live with a cat, but it will not be simple as this dog has a strong prey drive.

6. Alaskan Malamutes Love Digging

This breed is obsessed with digging. The reason is unknown because Alaskan Malamutes are not scent hounds like dachshunds. If you have a backyard, prepare to have it filled with holes. The backyard must also be adequately fenced and secured, as a bored Alaskan Malamute will try to escape or catch the neighbor’s cat.

7. This Breed Has a Double-Coat and Sheds All Year Round

Alaskan Malamute running in the snow
Alaskan Malamutes have thick, fluffy coats that provide excellent insulation against the cold


Alaskan Malamutes have a dense double coat of fur and shed all year long. Alaskan Malamute owners must brush and groom their dogs daily to control shedding. However, a simple dog brush is not enough; owners need more robust, heavy-duty brushes. Owners should consider bathing the dogs once a month as this will help keep the amount of shedding at bay. This breed’s coat blows out in the spring and autumn each year. Because of this, owners should consider taking the dog to a professional groomer just before the shedding starts.

8. Alaskan Malamutes Need to Live in a Cool to Cold Climate

Because of their thick double coats, this breed adapts superbly to cold climates. Alaskan Malamutes cannot live in hot climates as they will likely overheat. These dogs can live in warm temperatures as long as they are monitored and kept hydrated, especially during the summer. Owners must ensure that their dog does not overheat and that they have enough water during the summertime.

9. Alaskan Malamutes Are Vocal Dogs

Alaskan malamute walking in the snow
Alaskan Malamutes are vocal, but not as vocal as other Arctic breeds like the Siberian Husky.

©iStock.com/Liliya Kulianionak

Siberian Huskies are highly vocal dogs; luckily, Alaskan Malamutes are not as vocal. But they will occasionally howl, which can become a problem if you have neighbors. Alaskan Malamutes are likely to howl when they are left alone for long periods. Pet owners can train this breed to be quiet when necessary to control this behavior.

10. The Alaskan Malamute is a Relatively Healthy Dog Breed

Alaskan Malamute puppies
This soft Alaskan Malamute is a very popular breed.


Alaskan Malamutes have a lifespan of 10 to 12 years and can be healthy dogs if bought from a good breeder. When you purchase a puppy, you should ask the breeder for a health certificate or detailed medical information about its parents. But, as with all breeds, this one may face specific health issues. Leading health issues for Alaskan Malamutes are hip dysplasia, hypothyroidism, chondrodysplasia, cataracts, polyneuropathy, bloating, and seizures. There are ways to prevent these health issues and screen for them. Your vet can help you with the details.

Up Next – Arctic Sled Dogs

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Light gray and white Alaskan Malamute
Alaskan Malamutes might look like huskies, but they are much bigger and more powerful.

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About the Author

I'm a freelance writer with more than eight years of content creation experience. My content writing covers diverse genres, and I have a business degree. I am also the proud author of my memoir, My Sub-Lyme Life. This work details the effects of living with undiagnosed infections like rickettsia (like Lyme). By sharing this story, I wish to give others hope and courage in overcoming their life challenges. In my downtime, I value spending time with friends and family.

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