Are Malamutes the ones with blue eyes?
No, Malamutes always have dark eyes. Siberian Huskies can have blue eyes, brown eyes, or one of each.
What's the difference between a Malamute and a Siberian?
Lots! The Alaskan Malamute and the Siberian Husky differ in physical characteristics as well as purpose. Each breed has specific differences found in characteristics such as ear set, coat length and tail set. The Malamute is a larger, heavy-boned dog bred for freighting and hauling heavy weights over long distances. The Siberian Husky is a smaller dog bred for speed and agility.
For a more complete explanation plus pictures, please see the Malamute versus Siberian comparison chart.
Don't they get hot in the summer?
If they have adequate shade and water, they will tolerate the summer heat without problem.
Don't they eat a lot of food?
Malamutes, as well as most northern breeds, eat surprisingly small amounts of food. Perhaps due to their arctic heritage, their nutritional needs are quite modest.
Are they part wolf?
No, they are not part wolf.
How large are they?
They are not considered to be a giant breed of dogs. There is a natural range in size for the breed. The desirable freighting sizes are 25 inches at the shoulders and 85 pounds for males and 23 inches at the shoulders and 75 pounds for females.
How do you teach them to pull?
Most Malamutes are natural draft dogs. They usually have the instinct to pull. See "Teaching Your Dog To Pull" by Terry Miller.
When do you start to work them in harness?
At 6 to 8 months of age they are introduced to a harness and start light pulling.
Where can I buy a harness?
See our equipment page.
How do you control a dog team?
Dog teams are controlled by vocal commands, such as "gee" or "haw". See our glossary for the commands used to control teams.
Do they get along with cats?
The Malamute is by nature a hunter. Consequently as a breed they tend to view all small animals as fair game. However if they are raised with animals such as cats, they can often co-exist quite peacefully with them. It depends on the individual dog.
Are they good with children?
Many families with children also have Malamutes. However, as with any large breed of dog, it must be remembered that they don't know their own strength and can get overly-exuberant in their enthusiasm for rowdy activities. If a Malamute has not been raised with children, it is best to be on the cautious side.
Are they good guard dogs?
Malamutes are total failures as guard dogs. They like people too much and would cheerfully trade the family silver for a pat on the head. A milkbone would be even better!
Do they get along with other dogs?
As a breed, Malamutes tend to be aggressive with other dogs of the same sex. For example, males won't get along with other males. However through years of work, breeders have greatly improved the temperament of the breed. Malamutes can get along with other dogs, as evidenced by their work in dog teams. Early socialization is a primary key to their successful integration into canine co-existence.
Are Malamutes easy to train?
They're not as easy train as some breeds, but on the other hand it's not an impossible task. Many Malamutes have achieved advanced obedience titles, but it does take patience. Early obedience training is the key to a successful relationship with your dog.
Are they noisy?
Malamutes are in general a fairly quiet breed. But all your neighbors will know when it's feeding time!
Do they need a lot of exercise?
They do require exercise to remain healthy and happy. Like many other breeds, if left too long to their own devices without attention and exercise, they can become quite destructive.
Do they dig holes in the yard?
Malamutes are world-class hole diggers and will happily terraform your yard! They dig out of boredom, to help alleviate stress, and to find a cool spot.
How much grooming do they need?
Their grooming requirements are quite modest in comparison to some breeds. In warmer weather they will exchange their heavy winter coats for a lighter summer coat, dispensing large quantities of undercoat in the process. They do need an occasional brushing with a good pin brush, and nails should be cut regularly.
How do I go about purchasing a Malamute?
The Minnesota Malamute Club has members that are active breeders. You can find them listed in our membership directory. Most breeders are aware of breed problems and direct their breeding programs to eliminate them. Please see our breed problems page for further details. Check our Tips page for questions to ask when considering the purchase of a puppy.
How much does a puppy cost?
There is a wide range of prices for puppies. On the average however you can expect to pay several hundred dollars for a puppy. It is important that people looking for a Malamute seek out an ethical and respected breeder with whom you can establish a comfortable working relationship. Temperament, physical health, genetic background, and socialization should be requirements for any prospective puppy, and an established and ethical breeder is a "must".
What is the difference between a pet and a show puppy?
Pet, or companion, puppies generally lack one or more physical characteristics that the breeder considers important to the breed. These characteristics may be completely transparent to the new owner and do not affect the dog's ability to lead a happy, normal life. Consequently they are often sold with a contract to be neutered. A show puppy, on the other hand, is considered to be a very good specimen of the breed and their price is generally much higher than a pet or companion puppy.

Linda Dowdy
Bethel, Minnesota
Comments or questions? E-mail me at

Copyright © 2006-2007 Linda Dowdy, last revision 061031