0e008b8a 2546 45bc 9d89 748c11654e66 61 Alaskan Malamute

Alaskan Malamute

Sociable / Gentle / Loving

There’s a lot more involved in being a good pet parent than it might seem at first. Here at Spot Pet Insurance, we believe that journey starts with choosing the right breed. You need a well-rounded understanding of the breed’s qualities to make the best choice.

That’s why we’re back today with another informative dog breed guide, this time on the Alaskan malamute.

There’s no mistaking the powerful build and majestic, wolf-like coat of the Alaskan malamute (except when it is confused with the Siberian Husky).

These Arctic sled dogs have many positive qualities, including their beauty, affection, and intelligence. They also come with challenges, especially related to stubbornness, training, grooming, and exercise needs.

Read on to learn what it takes to thrive with an Alaskan malamute in your family!

0e008b8a 2546 45bc 9d89 748c11654e66 61 Alaskan Malamute

Health

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Personality

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Lifetime Care

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Breed Profile

Height

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  • Males: 25 inches
  • Females: 23 inches

Weight

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  • Males: 85 pounds
  • Females: 75 pounds

Lifetime

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  • 10-12 years

Health Risk

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Cataracts

What is it?

A cataract is a cloudy or opaque lens in the eye that can inhibit vision or, in extreme cases, result in complete vision loss in an affected eye.

This condition can be inherited or caused by eye injury or other diseases. It can also appear without obvious cause. Malamutes are especially vulnerable to hereditary cataracts.

Unfortunately, noticing the signs of a cataract isn’t always easy until the late stages of the disease, when risks are higher. If you notice any cloudiness in your dog’s eye, take them to a trusted vet for a closer examination.

Thankfully, cataracts are treatable and rarely result in complications.

% Dogs affected:

Unknown

Clinical signs:

  • Clouding or opaqueness in the whites of your dog’s eye(s)
  • Difficulty seeing (slower, more careful movements and hesitation)

Treatment:

  • Surgery
  • Eye drops

Other risks:

  • Surgery isn’t for every case. Eye drops to reduce inflammation may be an alternative that can reduce pain and further problems but won’t restore vision.

Average Vet Bill

$3700

Amount a Spot accident & illness plan would cover*


90%= $3330

80%= $2960

70%= $2590

*Hypothetical reimbursement examples illustrate reimbursement of an eligible vet bill at the noted reimbursement rate, assuming the annual deductible had already been met.

Personality

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  1. How well do Alaskan Malamutes get along with their owners?

Malamutes are pack animals, which means they will form tight bonds with their family. It also means they have an innate desire to be the alpha, so make sure you establish yourself as the leader early on.

Once the hierarchy is firmly in place, you’ll have a loyal and affectionate companion.

  1. Are Alaskan Malamutes aggressive towards strangers?

The friendliness of this breed extends from people inside the family to those they have never met. Malamutes are great with human strangers, although they can be less accepting of unfamiliar animals. Socialization helps keep any potential aggression in check, limited to caution but not reactiveness.

  1. How well do Alaskan Malamutes adapt to new situations?

Adapting to new environments isn’t always easy for an Alaskan malamute. These dogs have particular traits bred for their environment of origin, and they’re working dogs meant to endure cold climates.

Small living spaces, such as apartments, are difficult for this breed. They need extensive time outdoors and room to run.

In terms of your schedule, try to avoid leaving your malamute isolated for too long, especially if they haven’t yet had lots of exercise. Destructive behaviors usually follow.

  1. Do Alaskan malamutes make good guard dogs?

Alaskan Malamutes are not ideal guard dogs. They are very accepting of human strangers, which can be great for other purposes, but not so much for protecting your home.

  1. Will an Alaskan malamute be a fun dog to have around?

Thanks to their high energy and clever temperament, malamutes can be equally fun and frustrating, depending on what you are prepared for.

If you have the energy and time to dedicate to exercising and playing with your malamute, you’ve found the perfect companion. If high maintenance is not your thing, you may not enjoy caring for this breed as much as e other lower-energy breeds.

  1. Are Alaskan malamutes good with children?

Children are part of the pack and will be loved as such by a malamute.

However, a universal rule with any breed is to never leave children unsupervised with a dog. This isn’t due to potential aggression but the risks of accidents. Most children don’t know how to interact respectfully with a dog (especially large dogs), and dogs aren’t always able to control how they wield their size.

  1. How are Alaskan malamutes with other dogs?

Proper socialization can prepare a malamute for smooth social interactions with other dogs. Be sure to train your malamute not to chase and socialize them with small animals, including cats. Otherwise, their prey drive is likely to take over when they see one.

Lifetime Care

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Coat

Alaskan Malamutes have a thick double coat of medium length.

Coat colors

  • Agouti & White
  • Black & White
  • Blue & White
  • Gray & White
  • Red & White
  • Sable & White
  • Seal & White
  • Silver & White
  • White

Markings can include:

  • Black Mask
  • Gray Mask

Hypoallergenic

No, this breed is not hypoallergenic.

How often do Alaskan Malamutes have to be groomed?

Grooming is a daily exercise for this breed.

Using a metal comb and pin brush is recommended. Brush your pup’s coat every day, checking carefully for clumping and knotting. Use an undercoat rake during shedding season, which occurs twice each year (usually just before the winter and summer).

Standard care routines suffice for a malamute’s nails, teeth, and ears.

What is the lifetime care cost of Alaskan Malamutes?

Caring for an Alaskan malamute costs an average of $23,625 over the dog’s lifetime.

How to be the best pet parent for Alaskan malamutes?

The best way to approach pet parentage for an Alaskan malamute is with lots of patience, diligence, and a willingness to learn and understand the breed. 

These dogs can be just as stubborn as they are strong and intelligent, so it’s essential you know what you’re doing as an owner to avoid headaches and power struggles between you and your dog. That’s why we write informative guides like this one here at Spot Pet Insurance. 

How much does an Alaskan malamute dog or puppy cost?

Adoption fee (puppy): $500-2,500

Yearly care cost (first year): $4,275

Yearly care cost (following years): $1,850

Basic training and behavior etiquette for your Alaskan malamute

The intelligence of malamutes is matched by their force of will. These dogs like to make their own decisions and can be stubborn when told no.

As such, obedience training is imperative. Like most breeds, the earlier you start your training, the better. Make sure your malamute knows who is in charge of the pack, or they will try to take that position for themselves.

  1. Patience will be required. Malamutes are willful and independent creatures. Living in such harsh conditions, they had to be! This can translate into training time, so be prepared for a long (but incredibly rewarding) journey ahead.
  2. Maintain fair and consistent rules to establish trust and clear boundaries.
  3. No amount of training can replace the need for proper preventative measures and boundaries in the case of certain behaviors, such as digging, chewing, and chasing. 
  4. A secure fence (which goes below ground) for any outdoor space is a must due to inevitable digging. A dedicated digging space such as a sandpit provides a safe way to channel instincts.
  5. Toys for chewing can satisfy cravings to chew everything else.

What types of foods should Alaskan Malamutes never eat?

You should be careful to avoid foods that are toxic to dogs. If your malamute gets a chance to snatch a bite, they almost certainly will.

Here are some foods to avoid either due to toxicity or general unhealthiness for dogs:

  • Alcohol
  • Almonds
  • Avocado
  • Apricot
  • Caffeine
  • Chocolate
  • Grapes
  • Raisins
  • Bones
  • Dairy
  • Macadamia Nuts
  • Fat Trimmings

Exercising tips to keep your Alaskan malamute staying fit and healthy

Alaskan Malamutes need plenty of exercise every single day. Remember that they were bred to endure long hours of work, often hauling lots of weight over great distances.

You certainly don’t need to buy a sled for your malamute’s daily exercise but be prepared for at least two hours of exercise each day, so get ready for many long walks. 

Walking, running, hiking, and swimming are wonderful for basic fitness sessions. The breed is well suited to more involved activities, too, including skijoring and sledding, or more common sports like agility, rally, obedience, and weight-pulling.

Alaskan malamute life stages

Puppy: 18 – 24 months

Adult: 1 – 8 years

Senior: 8 years – end of life

Conclusion

We hope you find the perfect breed and pup to fit your family! Consider adding Spot Pet Insurance to your family as well to help care for your pet and keep them safe. Learn more by visiting our FAQs and getting a quote today!

Sources:

History | The Malamute Blog

Most Popular Dog Breeds of 2021 | American Kennel Club

Alaskan Malamute Dog Breed Information | American Kennel Club

Alaskan Malamute Dog Breed Hypoallergenic, Health and Life Span | PetMD

Breed Health Statement | Alaskan Malamute Club of America

Cataracts In Dogs | VCA Animal Hospitals

How Much Does Dog Cataract Surgery Cost? (2022) | Spend On Pets

Hip Dysplasia in Dogs: Signs, Treatment, Surgery | PetMD

Dog Surgery: Estimating the Costs | Vet Info

Foods Your Dog Should Never Eat | WebMD

What Is Skijoring And Where Can You Do It? | Forbes 

Alaskan Malamute | PDSA