About Alaskan Malamutes

While Alaskan Malamutes are husky by definition, they are not Huskies! The Siberian Husky owns that name. However, just to make life confusing, dog sledders raise and race a breed they call Alaskan Huskies!

People often ask, “What is the difference between an Alaskan Malamute and a Siberian Husky?”

Looked at by the casual observer, not much! However, the Mal is a much larger animal than the Sibe. Think of Malamutes as the 18 wheelers of the North, and Siberian Huskies as the imported pickup and you will get the idea. We have included the American Kennel Club Standard for the Alaskan Malamute for your reference.

Alaskan Malamutes are a true American breed. They were used by the Eskimo people to haul freight on heavy sleds. Many people still pull sleds with them – or compete in weight-pulling competitions.

Alaskan Malamutes generally prefer to be outside, where they will make any changes to your landscaping that they feel necessary.

Malamute with toy in mouth
They also have a hunting instinct, and most will chase anything that runs. If you have other pets, you will want to consider this statement carefully before deciding on a Malamute.

The Alaskan Malamute is not one of those clever canines who know exactly what you are thinking, or will go and round up a herd of sheep when he thinks they need herding. He (or she) is not going to guard your home, although many will be quite protective. They do have a sense of humor, although often what they seem to find amusing is beyond our comprehension. Throw a ball for a Malamute, and he might go and retrieve it once or twice, but many will decide to keep it (and probably eat it) if you throw it a third time. If you are going to get a ball for your Malamute, get a nice, bright color, so you will recognize it when it comes out the other end.

Alaskan Malamute wearing sunglasses
Although they are a large breed, they really don’t need as much food as you would think – they manage with very little. If they had required a lot of food, their value as a sled dog would have been reduced – they would have had to carry more food on the sled! If you obtain a Malamute, please pay very careful attention to their weight. As with people, it is much harder to take weight off than to put it on, and fat dogs are not healthy dogs.

Alaskan Malamutes, like people, all have individual personalities. Some are more outgoing than others. They are all trainable, but it is a challenge to get them to do things they don’t feel like doing. For the most part, they will not respond as a Golden Retriever would. If you want that kind of dog, don’t get a Malamute!

John & Jackie Telling    E-mail canusa4@juno.com