The Alaskan Malamute, also called simply the Malamute and nicknamed the “Mal,” is one of the oldest Arctic sled-dog breeds. Its name comes from the Mahlemuts, an Inuit tribe that settled in northwestern Alaska long before it was part of the United States. This breed is sometimes confused with the Siberian Husky because of its similar type and color. However, the Alaskan Malamute is much larger and has a more powerful build, a more outgoing disposition, a denser and harsher double coat and a bushier, plume-like tail, among other breed differences.
The Alaskan Malamute was recognized by the American Kennel Club as a member of the Working Group in 1935. Malamutes are best known for their intelligence, alertness, affection, curiosity, playfulness, strength and endurance. They are extremely popular with people who enjoy outdoor winter activities such as sledding, skijoring, backpacking and weight pulling. They also can excel in the conformation and performance show rings. They are wonderful companions and tend to bond with all family members and friends rather than being a “one-person dog.” They are not particularly good watch or guard dogs. They are prone to vocalizing with what is more of a howl than a true bark.
Malamutes reach an average weight of between 75 to 100 pounds and an average height of 23 to 28 inches at the shoulder, with males being larger than females. Blue eyes are a disqualifying fault in the AKC conformation ring. Malamutes have a thick, coarse outer guard coat protecting a dense, oily, woolly inner coat and come in many colors. Malamutes thrive in cold, snowy climates and will suffer in areas that are primarily hot and humid.