The Alaskan Malamute: A Complete Guide

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If you are looking for a dog that looks and pretty much acts like a wolf during the full moon (howls) but is completely family-oriented and a big baby, the Alaskan Malamute might be just the dog you were looking for.

This dog comes with a sturdy and powerful body build that provides him with enormous strength and stamina.

This is one of the oldest dog breeds in the world, and its look hasn’t changed pretty much at all since the beginning.

The Alaskan Malamute is an intelligent working dog that needs to stay busy and needs a firm leader or he can become problematic, especially when bored.

A close up of a Alaskan Malamute's face
The Alaskan Malamute is one of the cutest dog breeds.

But, with proper training and getting to know which routines work best with his temperament, you can have one big baby dog that will love spending time with you and your family.

He will even cheerfully greet the neighbors as well! Yeah, not much of a guard dog, you’ve noticed.

However, if you have decided to check if the Alaskan Malamute is the breed for you and your family, you are in the right place.

Finding a high-quality puppy of one of the oldest dog breeds can be tricky. But, luckily for you, we are here to help you out.

In this guide, you will first learn how to look for a reputable breeder so that you go back home with a great, healthy puppy that carries great genes and even better personality.

Later, you will find out what to expect when living with the Alaskan Malamute puppy, and how to take care of it so that it grows up into a well behaving adult dog.

First, let’s start off with the puppies and what you need to know before you buy one.

The Alaskan Malamute Puppies – Before You Buy…

Before saying “okay, I will buy this one”, there are some things you first need to check and questions to ask.

First of all, you need to know what is the average price range so that you don’t overpay or buy a puppy you thought was a great deal, to only turn out that you have to spend much more money on vet bills later…

What price are the Alaskan Malamute puppies?

So, when it comes to an average price range for Alaskan Malamute puppies, they are a bit pricey.

If you want one from a reputable breeder that has plenty of experience with this breed and stands behind every single one of his dogs, you can expect to cash out from $1200 to $1700.

Sure, you will probably find puppies online for $500, but that is nothing but bad news and stress later so skip such deals.

How to find reputable Alaskan Malamute breeders?

Finding a reputable breeder that doesn’t want to rip you off is never an easy task.

Even if you do manage to find a breeder that is not killing you with the price, the puppies you buy from him will be nothing but trouble and stress and most likely additional bills for the medicine and possible surgeries.

If you want a purebred Alaskan Malamute puppy without any hidden health issues that might surface later, you need to know what to pay attention to.

For example, stay away from breeders that have many different litters throughout the entire year. Those are puppy mills and the conditions there are horrible.

The puppies are sick and with who know genetic defects.

Also, if the breeder doesn’t have a clue about the breed and the caring and raising of the puppy, just back out.

Especially if he seems like he just wants to sell you the puppy and see your back, you are either dealing with a backyard breeder or a puppy mill owner. Whichever the case is, don’t buy the puppy!

A reputable breeder, on the other hand, will be more suspicious of you that you are of him. His goal is to make the breed healthier and better, and that means finding good homes for his pups.

If he decides that you are a fit for his pup, he will teach you everything he knows about the breed.

Also, he will give you great advice about taking care of the puppy, as well as all the medical paperwork that proves the parents were healthy and that the genes are great.

You can rest assured that when buying a pup from a reputable breeder, you are getting a high-quality puppy without any hidden issues.

3 Little-known facts about the Alaskan Malamute puppies

A side view of a Alaskan Malamutes face
The Alaskan Malamute is a sled-pulling dog.

Before you go through your home door with the puppy in your hands, there are a few things you should know about it.

Better to know what to expect and be ready for it, then get caught by surprise, right?

  • They are dominant even from their puppy days

The Alaskan Malamute pups will start challenging you for the role of the Alpha even when they are some 3 months old.

If you live with a family, you all need to make him realize that he is on the bottom end of the chain of command of the pack and that you are all above him.

  • They love to dig

They LOVE to dig! And, if you have a neatly arranged yard, get ready to have it rearranged.

Also, you need to make sure that the fences are deeply buried in the ground because the pups are capable of digging under them.

They need early training

The Mals are known to be independent and powerful.

Meaning, if you don’t start the training as soon as possible, you will have a problematic dog that can get destructive when having nothing smarter to do in a given moment.

Physical Traits of the Alaskan Malamute

It’s time to see how big can these wolf-looking dogs get, and also discover how long to expect them to be a part of the family.

How big is a full-grown Alaskan Malamute?

The Alaskan Malamute males can grow up to 27 inches in height while weighing around 85 pounds. There are also cases where they were much bigger and heavier.

For example, 30 pounds heavier and a few inches taller, but their body is not meant to grow that much so that is bad for their health and such Malamutes usually doesn’t live long.

The females, on the other hand, are smaller and lighter, and not known to have growth exceptions. They in most cases have around 75 pounds of weight and can grow up to 24 inches in height.

What is the life expectancy of the Alaskan Malamute?

The Alaskan Malamute has an average lifespan of 12 to 15 years, which is a lot considering that this is not a small dog breed.

Of course, this is all possible if you feed him with a proper diet and provide enough exercise to keep that healthy.

Intelligence, Temperament and Personality Traits of the Alaskan Malamute

A Alaskan Malamute in the park
The Alaskan Malamute is one of the oldest dog breeds in the world.

The powerful Alaskan Malamute is a working breed and is the ideal match for people or families who love spending time in the great outdoors, especially during the winter.

This dog loves playing hard and is most happy when pulling something heavy, be it a backpack, or sleighs, of his owner on skis.

As you can see, the mentioned activities, mostly include snow, meaning, this is not a breed meant to live in warmer climates because of their thick, double coat.

As for living with an Alaskan Malamute, it can get rather complicated, especially when the training is concerned.

If they don’t have enough exercise, and if they are not occupied with something, they can get bored, which can lead to destructive behavior and loud howling.

There’s nothing worse than a bored Malamute.

You can easily wake up in the morning to find a new crater in the yard, right where your roses were, or, you can discover a fully shredded sofa after leaving him home alone for one day…

They can also be aggressive towards other dogs, males especially, and keeping two Malamutes of the same sex is never a good idea unless you have vast experience with this breed.

Furthermore, they can be dangerous for smaller animals such as cats, and will only tolerate them if they grew up together.

Otherwise, you won’t be seeing cats going through your backyard anymore if you welcome a Malamute.

Speaking of yards, if you plan on leaving your Malamute outside, you need to make sure all, the fence is secured and dug in deep so that he doesn’t dig under it and run away.

Keep in mind that once he escapes, his instinct takes over and no commands can bring him back. They will turn on their hunting drive and terrorize other animals.

Once loose, they won’t come back when you call them and they may run deer and molest livestock.

But, there’s no need to worry actually, because the Alaskan Malamute is not aggressive when it comes to people.

They may look all scary and dangerous, like a wolf, but they are useless as guard dogs because they will greet anyone who comes close to the fence or even enters the household.

All things considered, despite the fact that they are great with humans, Alaskan Malamutes can be a treat for other animals and that is why early training and socialization are a must!

Though one thing is sure, they are great family dogs in terms of really loving the family, but it pretty much ends there. The rest of the dog is a “working horse”, for pulling, digging and sniffing out.

Alaskan Malamute Diet

You should feed your Malamute with high-quality dog food.

Whether you use home-made or commercial, you should consult the breeder and the vet about the schedule and dose the meals.

Regardless of the type of diet, it should be appropriate for your dog’s age, and you should keep an eye on the caloric intake.

Alaskan Malamutes are known for gaining weight quite easily, especially if you are using treats during the training. So, they should be counted in, in the daily food intake as well.

Consult your dog’s vet about which human foods you can feed your Malamute with, and which ones to avoid.

Also, always have an available bowl of fresh water easily accessible to your dog, especially during the warmer months of the year.

How much Exercise does an Alaskan Malamute need?

Okay, the Malamute is not a racer, that much we know. But, he is a worker, meaning, he needs daily exercise to burn out that need for pulling, digging, and carrying heavy stuff.

Sure, letting him make a mess in your backyard might partially do the trick. But, what he needs are long walks, possibly by nature. His stamina is amazing and he could walk for miles if you can keep up.

However, since such long walks are pretty much impossible for a modern, working person, taking your Malamute to activities such as weight pulling, sledding, competitive ski pulling, and similar, will suffice his need for “work” and he will be in a much better mood when you go back home.

The Alaskan Malamute Health and Conditions

Generally, Alaskan Malamute is a breed that is healthy. How can someone coming from such harsh living conditions be with weak health, right?

Also, what is unusual is that despite his size, the Malamute has a lifespan of some 15 years! Pretty impressive.

But, like with any other dog breed, certain conditions are characteristic just for Malamutes.

  • Hemeralopia
  • Chondrodysplasia
  • Cataracts
  • Hip Dysplasia
  • Inherited Polyneuropathy
  • Hypothyroidism

So, you should be aware of this condition, and as a matter of fact, ask the breeder before even buying the puppy.

Once you have the proof that the pup’s parents didn’t suffer from any of the mentioned conditions, you can think about choosing the puppy from the litter.

My final thoughts on the Alaskan MalamuteThe Alaskan Malamute dog breed

We have reached the end of our Alaskan Malamute guide.

Let’s take a quick look at the most important facts about this amazing wolf-looking, sled pulling dog.

Everyone who takes a look at the Alaskan Malamute for the first time is instantly impressed by his appearance.

And how not to be, he looks like a wolf, and even howls at the moon like one.

But the truth is that when it comes to people, he is useless as a home protector because all the protection he offers is his scary look, and that’s it.

He will get aggressive with other animals if not properly socialized from the beginning, and he will raid your trash or dig a hole in the backyard deep enough to reach China, but if an intruder shows up, the Malamute will want to play with him.

They are horrible housekeepers!

But, if you want a huge fluffy “wolf” to love and be loved back, or to pull the kid’s sleds when the winter comes, it doesn’t get any better than the Alaskan Malamute.

Thank you for reading!

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