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Alaskan Malamute - Appearance & Grooming

Source: PetWave, Updated on July 16, 2015
Alaskan Malamute


Alaskan Malamutes are one of the oldest breed of Arctic dogs, and their broad, muscular build and confident stance gives them an air of power and wisdom. Malamutes have broad heads and erect, pointed ears. They have long muzzles and distinctive markings on their face that are unique to the breed. Their eyes are dark colored and the rims of their eyes, nose and lips are black, as well. A Malamute's eyes should be wide-set and there should be a furrow at their brow. This breed can come in a variety of colors ranging from solid white to two-toned white with black, bray, red, or sable markings. Their long tails curl upward towards the dog's back, and some are corkscrewed. Some dogs can actually cover their nose with their long tail, which came in handy in the Arctic to keep their noses protected from the cold.

Size and Weight

This is a large breed, but can vary greatly in height and weight. Alaskan Malamutes range in size from 23 to 25 inches at the shoulder, but their weight can span from under 75 to well over 100 pounds. The acceptable AKC range, however, is between 75 and 100.

Coat and Color

Like many breeds for the cold northern regions of the world, the Alaskan Malamute has a double coat. Their undercoat is approximately two inches long and is thick and oily to repel water and keep the dog warm in harsh temperatures, while the topcoat is short and coarse. Malamutes shed lightly throughout the year and heavily twice per year.

The Malamute's belly, feet, legs, and most of his face should be white (or predominately white). The rest of his body can range in color from black, through the spectrum to gray. They may also be red, sable, or any shade in between. Some dogs may also sport a white blaze at their forehead or on the neck. Rarely are Malamutes one solid color – except for white, the only accepted solid color by AKC standards.

Grooming Needs

Malamutes shed daily, so regular brushing two to three times per week is necessary to keep things under control. Twice a year the Malamute will shed heavily, and they lose their fur in clumps. Using a heavier brush during season changes can keep the mess to a minimum. Other than brushing, regular nail clippings, teeth and ear cleanings, Malamutes are very low maintenance. Like felines, they keep their fur naturally clean, so they only require baths a few times per year. No trimming or stripping of the coat is required.

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