Alaskan Malamute

katy towle 26 July 2021

Breed History

The Alaskan Malamute is a large breed, originally bred as working dogs by settlers who migrated from Siberia to Alaska thousands of years ago. The Alaskan Malamute was bred for strength and stamina which allowed them to transport heavy cargo and take down large prey, including polar bears!

General Appearance

It’s hard not to be dazzled by this wolf-like breed. The Malamute has the typical characteristics of a spitz dog, with curled tails, pointed ears and thick coats. Their wolf-like appearance has not changed much since the breed came into existence thousands of years ago.

The males of this large breed can reach up to 43kg and stand between 61 - 66cm tall, whilst the females stand slightly smaller at up to 61cm tall and can weigh in at up to 38kg.

Temperament

Outgoing and playful, the Malamute is likely to greet all humans as friends (not the best of guard dogs!).  Malamutes are known to be great family pets and are good with children, but care should be taken due to their size. They could easily overpower a small child so it’s best to introduce them to a household with older children and to supervise them with small children.

Easy to train, this wolf-like breed has very high energy levels and will need at least 1-2 hours of physical activity each day. A 45 minute to an hour long walk followed by games and mental stimulation should help keep your Malamute satisfied.

Health Considerations

The Malamute is a relatively healthy breed that has an average life expectancy of 12 years. However, as is true with most purebred dogs, there are a number of health considerations common to Malamutes that we should be aware of:

  1. Hip Dysplasia
    This orthopaedic condition can lead to pain and an impact on dogs mobility and quality of life. It’s important to ensure you are buying from a reputable breeder who provides hip & elbow scores for their dogs and breed from those with acceptable scores only. 

Feeding a joint supportive diet such as Pooch & Mutt Joint Care is important for those with joint disease.

  1. Alaskan Malamute Polyneuropathy (AMPN)
    This is an inherited condition which causes a neuromuscular defect. Affected Malamutes may struggle with exercising, have laboured or louder breathing and suffer with muscle atrophy. This condition usually begins to show between 3 and 18 months and the severity can range greatly between individual dogs.

  2. Hypothyroidism
    Malamutes are prone to hypothyroidism, this condition is where the body cannot make enough thyroid hormone and can lead to problems with skin & coat, weight management and behaviour changes. This is a manageable condition that your vet can help with through the use of hormone replacement therapy.

  3. Bloating
    Canine bloat, or gastric dilatation-volvulus (GDV) as it is known, is more common in larger breeds that have narrower chests, like the Malamute. This is a serious and painful condition which, left untreated, can be life threatening. It’s important to seek urgent medical care if you suspect your dog is suffering with Bloat.

    Signs to look out for include:

    - Excessive drooling
    - A hard, swollen belly
    - Retching without vomiting
    - General signs of distress

    A few tricks you can employ at home to try to help reduce the chances of Bloat are:

    - Ensure all feeding bowls are placed on the floor
    - Exercise your dog well before or well after feeding times to give them chance to digest
    - Use a slow feeder bowl

Trainability

Alaskan Malamutes can be a challenge to train. They need a lot of exercise and challenging tasks to avoid them becoming bored and rambunctious.

Grooming

We should aim to run a brush through our Malamutes almost daily to ensure a clean and shiny coat.

Exercise

Your Malamute will need a lot of exercise to keep them as calm as possible. We should aim for a minimum of 2 hours a day, mixing on-lead walking with off-lead running in a secure space. Your Malamute will need plenty of additional mental stimulation on top through games, challenges and free-play.

Feeding Considerations

You'll find a handy feeding calculator on every product page here at Pooch & Mutt to help you identify how much of our health led recipes are right for the age, size and weight of your dog.

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