Giant Alaskan Malamute – temperament, size, and other facts

Giant Alaskan Malamute

Giant Alaskan malamutes are massive furry dogs with wolf-like looks and weighing upwards of 100 pounds. They differ from normal Alaskan malamutes in their size.

Alaskan malamute is a very old dog breed belonging to the Spitz category of dogs which has not changed much in a very long time.

Originally bred to pull the sleds, malamutes need an active consistent leader who can keep them engaged with both mentally and physically stimulating tasks.

If you happen to see one Giant Alaskan malamute, you will most likely be mesmerized with a massive 130 to 150 pounds dog having a wolf-like face, heavy boned powerful body, and a huge furry tail.

Alaskan malamute ranks 58 out of 195 in the popularity list by AKC.

Appearance – Giant Alaskan Malamute

This is where the difference between Giant Alaskan Malamute and standard Malamute lies.

As per the kennel clubs like AKC standard Alaskan Malamute male dog can grow to a height of 25 inches and weigh approx 85 pounds whereas a female dog can grow to a height of 23 inches and weigh approx 75 pounds.

Giant Alaskan malamutes, on the other hand, are known to weigh above 100 pounds up to 130 to 150 pounds. Typically, an Alaskan malamute who is heavier than 100 pounds is considered to be Giant Alaskan malamute.

Alaskan Malamute can live up to 12 to 15 years. Though the lifespan of giant Alaskan Malamute tends to be relatively short.

Beyond the size, both the Standard and Giant Alaskan malamute are similar.

Alaskan malamute is a strong, heavy boned and powerful dog with a broad, wolf-like, wedge-shaped head and a thick muzzle.

They have medium-sized eyes that are almond in shape and brown. Their ears are erect and these dogs are known for their tail which is well furred and has an appearance of a waving plume.

Alaskan malamutes have a dense double coat which helps them to protect from extremely cold temperatures. Their coat color varies from light gray to black, sable, and shades of sable to red.

Giant Alaskan Malamute

Temperament – Giant Alaskan Malamute

Alaskan malamutes or the Giant Alaskan malamute are working dogs that were originally bred for pulling heavy loads. They love being engaged with work or play. And if they get bored, they may find something by themselves which could be destructive.

Alaskan Malamutes thrive on human companionship. So if you are looking to leave your dog alone for a long time, this is not the right dog breed for you.

Here are a few personality traits that you should be aware of about them.

Being alpha

Alaskan Malamutes and especially Giant Alaskan Malamutes may take the position of the leader of the pack if the owner is not a consistent leader.

They must know their place and follow the owner’s commands.

The stranger is not a danger

Malamutes love the human company to the extent that not just loving your family, they will greet the strangers also with love. Thus, they don’t do well as Watchdogs.

Digger and escape artist

Giant Alaskan Malamutes love to dig and they can dig deep enough to escape your fence. Fencing for them should be deep so that they can not find a way around.

High prey drive

Like other northern dog breeds, Malamutes have a high prey drive. This can lead them to go after smaller animals like squirrels, rabbits, and even cats or small dogs.

It is a must for them to be socialized since puppy age to other animals, dogs, children, and strangers.

Further, if it is a Giant Alaskan malamute you are looking for, he can be dominating with his sheer size.

Cautious with children

Giant Alaskan Malamutes are quite massive and powerful dogs. They are bred as family dogs and generally get along with children well.

Still, there are multiple reasons why you should avoid a giant Alaskan malamute in your home if you have young children less than the age of six at home.

  1. They have high prey drive which if trained well can be subverted.
  2. Children may not know how to treat them with respect and they may pull their ears or snatch their food. Malamute may react to these as per his natural response.
  3. They are giant dogs. In their enthusiasm to play, they may knock a child down.

Howling and woo wooing

Alaskan Malamutes do not bark much but still, they are not one of the quietest dogs. They are known for what you may hear as Woo Woo sound and howling.

They may start Woo Wooing to try and talk to you. Malamutes do howl as well when they feel bored or left alone for long.

Experienced dog owners only

With their Giant size, prey drive, intelligent mind, and independent thinking, they could be too much for a first-time dog owner.

They are recommended to experienced dog owners only who have big and a deeply fenced yard.

Care

Alaskan Malamutes were developed and bred for pulling sleds in extremely cold regions of Alaska and Siberia. They are quite tolerant of cold climate but do not do well in hotter regions.

They should be kept under shade to prevent them from getting overheated.

Let us look at other aspects to care them as well.

Nutrition

You should feed your giant Alaskan malamutes large breed designed food. They are prone to overeating and too much weight can put stress on their bones and joints.

The recommended diet may be based on many factors like age, size, growth, and activity level. Take the advice of the Vet as needed.

They need protein in their diet. Meat should be one of the recommended food for your Alaskan Malamute.

Exercise

Alaskan Malamutes are working dogs who require lots of exercise or playtime daily. They are filled with energy and will happily go along with you for running and hiking. You can also let them pull some heavy loads.

If you are not keeping them engaged with some physically and mentally stimulating exercise or playtime, they may become bored which can lead them to be destructive.

Giant Alaskan Malamutes are not recommended for apartment living as they require a lot of space given their massive size and to burn out their energy.

Looking for apartment friendly dogs – https://www.yourdogsworld.com/b/best-dogs-for-apartment-living/

Grooming

Alaskan Malamutes have a water-resistant double coat suitable for extreme cold weather. The outer coat is coarse whereas the inner coat is dense and woolly. The length of their coat is more around their neck and shoulders.

Their large double coat requires a lot of time for maintaining them. It would need long hours to groom or bathe them considering their giant size.

They shed twice a year and do shed a lot especially a couple of times a year when their inner coat blows out. Expect your vacuum cleaner to be used regularly to its full potential.

Malamutes are prone to matting and you should brush them regularly, preferably daily but at least twice a week. If mats are ignored, they may become severe and you may need a Vet to shave their hairs.

Recommended tools for grooming an Alaskan Malamute are Pin brush, Rake, and a Slicker brush.

Give bath to them once in a month. One good thing about them is that their coat is odorless.

You should also brush the teeth of your Alaskan Malamute at least once in a week. This will help to remove the tartar buildup and ensure a fresh breath at all times leading to good dental health.

The toenails of Malamute will require regular clipping to prevent splitting. Nails have veins in them and if they get broken then it can be very painful to the dog.

Training

Given the massive size of Giant Alaskan Malamutes and their inherent prey drive, it is a must for them to get obedience training since puppy age. This will ensure that they will follow your commands once grown up as well.

Being intelligent and active dogs, they may learn the training commands quickly but can be obstinate at times.

They should also be socialized with strangers, dogs, and other animals and children since the beginning.

Alaskan Malamute

Health – Giant Alaskan Malamute

While Alaskan Malamute is typically a healthy breed, giant Alaskan Malamute is prone to a few health issues.

This is due to the massive weight that is put on their bones and joint structure which sometimes they can’t bear. Often, they are seen developing hip or elbow dysplasia.

Let us look at common health ailments that Alsaskan malamutes may be prone to.

Hip dysplasia: This is a medical condition when the hip socket doesn’t fully cover the ball portion of the upper thighbone. Giant Alaskan Malamutes are especially prone to the risk of hip dysplasia.

Elbow dysplasia: This is a medical condition that happens due to multiple developmental abnormalities of the elbow-joint in the dog, specifically the growth of cartilage or the structures surrounding it.

Hypothyroidism: This is a medical condition when Giant Alaskan Malamute does not make enough Thyroid hormone. Signs of hypothyroidism can include dry skin, hair loss, weight gain, or behavioral changes like being fearful or aggressive.

Von Willebrand’s disease: This is an inherited bleeding disorder caused by a lack of von Willebrand factor protein (vWF). This leads to bleeding tendencies.

Inherited Polyneuropathy: It is a neurological disorder prone to Alaskan Malamutes characterized by a dysfunction of multiple peripheral nerves. Symptoms may include a change in gait or weakness in legs.

Hemeralopia (Day Blindness): This is a condition affecting Alaskan Malamute dogs characterized by a severely impaired vision in bright light and normal vision in night or dim light.

This will usually start when the puppy is 8 weeks old and can easily be found with careful observation.

Cataracts: Typically you will see this by 1 to 2 years of age and it rarely leads to blindness and can be cured with surgery.

Origins – Alaskan Malamute

Alaskan malamutes are considered to be one of the oldest Arctic sled dogs. Natives migrated from Alaska to Siberia about 4,500 years ago.

It is then that one of the nomadic tribes known as Mahlemut settled on the north side of the Seward Peninsula, Alaska.

Natives of Mahlemut tribe bred this dog from domesticated wolf dogs to sled heavy load. They were also used for hunting seals and protecting the tribe from polar bears.

Alaskan malamutes were used to sled heavy loads at slower speed over large distances whereas Huskies were used for sledding lighter load at a faster speed.

During the gold rush of 1896, sled dogs like Alaskan malamutes and Huskies were in great demand. As there were not enough Malamute dogs, they were crossbred with other dogs to try and create better dogs and also to have more dogs.

But as the Mahlemuts were a relatively isolated tribe, their Malamutes dogs remained purebred.

Arthur T. Walden established his Chinook Kennel in New Hampshire and began breeding Alaskan Malamutes along with the Seeley family in the 1930s.

It is then ‘Kotzebue’ strain of Alaskan Malamutes was created. Their efforts were recognized and AKC accepted Kotzebue strain as the recognized Alaskan Malamute breed.

After world war 2, the numbers of dogs significantly reduced as most were enrolled for war duty and not many survived. There were only 30 recognized malamutes that were left.

At that time, AKC accepted M’Loot and Hinman strains also as recognized Alaskan Malamute breed. All the present purebred Malamutes come from one of these strains.

Alaskan Malamute

How to get Alaskan Malamutes puppies?

Litter size of Alaskan Malamute is between 5 to 7.

If you have set your mind to get one or two for you, we would recommend checking the rescue center first. Malamutes are often owned without knowing what commitment of time and money would be required. Hence one often finds Malamutes in the rescue shelters.

While you would like to own one of these mesmerizing dog, there may be a dog in the rescue shelter looking for an owner to start a new life.

If you can’t find one and would like to buy the Alaskan Malamute puppy, we would suggest you check with an Alaskan Malamute owner and then with a responsible breeder preferably listed on Alaskan Malamute Club of America.

Pros and Cons

ProsCons
Highly IntelligentHeavy shedders
LoyalDifficult to control due to their sheer size
PlayfulDifficult to train
Awesome looksRequire a lot of exercise
Mesmerizing giant sizeNeed a lot time to groom
Expensive to maintain with high bills on food, maintenance and insurance bill

Difference between Alaskan Malamute and Husky

If not aware, a lot of us may get confused between an Alaskan Malamute and a Husky. Both have a wolf-like appearance and come from Alaska or Siberia where they were used for sledding.

Let us look at some of the differences between them.

Size: Alaskan Malamutes are quite larger than Huskies so this should be your first visual difference.

A husky can grow up to 20 to 23 inches tall and weigh about 35 to 60 pounds.

Alaskan Malamutes can grow up to 25 inches tall and can weigh approx 85 pounds. Giant Alaskan malamute can just be massive with a weight of about 130 to 150 pounds.

Human Company: Alaskan Malamutes love to accompany you while Huskies are independent dogs who tend to remain aloof.

Other Dogs: Malamutes can be more aggressive to other dogs compared to Huskies who are more acceptable to them.

Eyes: Huskies are known for their striking blue eyes (mostly) whereas Malamutes have brown eyes.

References –

  1. http://alaskanmalamute.org/
  2. http://www.malamuterescue.org/
  3. https://www.vet.cornell.edu/animal-health-diagnostic-center/laboratories/comparative-coagulation/clinical-topics/canine-von-willebrand-disease

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