Traditionally bred as a hardy utilitarian dog to the Malamut people in the region of Western Alaska over 2,000 years ago, the Nordic-type breed was first used in transporting heavy freight, pulling sledges and hunting smaller animals for the survival of its people. Discovered by settlers in the 1750's, the Alaskan Malamute moved into the Northern Polar regions as people slowly began inhabiting the land and is now popular across Europe and America. During WWII, the Alaskan Husky was heavily utilised in search and rescue missions in Greenland, helping to detect and recover those that were lost and trapped. It is generally believed to be one of the oldest known breeds of dog.
Perhaps the most characteristic trait of the Alaskan Malamute is its dense double coat, recognised in white, grey, sable, blue, black and sometimes red. The coat serves to protect the breed from extreme cold, whilst aiding its camouflage in hunting and tracking as its origins were that of the snowy white Alaskan flats. Due to the nature of its coat, hair is continually shed so regular grooming is essential. The breed is further characterised by a stocky body, high-set ears and a proud expression. They are known to chase smaller animals including cats and farm livestock, and are not usually very compatible with other dogs.
An impressive breed in size and stature, the Alaskan Malamute weighs an average of 34-39 kg whilst there are discrepancies across gender, and has a life expectancy of roughly 10 years of age when shown appropriate care, administered the correct diet and given sufficient exercise. Although a traditional hunter, the temperament of the Alaskan Malamute is easy and affectionate, reflecting its natural love of people, and is a breed that requires both physical and mental enrichment for achieving peak health and happiness. If you live in a cold, snowy clime or during the bleaker winter months, it is not unheard of for a Malamute to refuse to come indoors at night, preferring to stay out in its natural landscape.
Typically a healthy and long-lived breed, the Alaskan Malamute is known to suffer from various ailments, including epilepsy, which is easily managed with medication, hip dysplasia, kidney problems, skin complaints and congenital heart disease. Cancer is also a leading cause of death in the breed.