This is the dog breed you’ll most likely see running in front of the sleigh in polar expeditions, where the cold keeps normal humans away. They have very thick and soft fur that easily protects them from the cold, and they are accustomed to cold climates as well. It is a dog breed that will grow into a very calm and intelligent adult, but they never lose their playfulness. They have a very strong natural hunting instinct however, and even though they are otherwise very loyal and easy to teach they will react naturally when “prey” appears.
They love running, and need as much exercise as possible. Most Alaskan Malamutes live approximately 10 years, and the only known health issue for this race is cancer (which kills about 36%). The Alaskan Malamutes exist in warmer location around the world, but are not suited for this at all and should typically be kept in a colder environment where their thick furcoat comes to good use. Though Alaskan Malamutes are normally used to transport people or material using sleds, they are sometimes also involved in racing and kept as family pets. Although they are great companions and very loving, the Alaskan Malamute can be ver stubborn, so they are best suited to those with experience in dog ownership who can quickly establish who is boss. The Alaskan Malamute is also very possessive when it comes to food, so feeding should be separate from other dogs or animals.
The Malamute is a descendant of dogs from the Mahlemuits tribe of upper western Alaska. This breed had an important role towards their human companions – working, hunting, and living alongside them. The relationship between the Mahlemuits and their dogs was good for both of them. They helped each other out and managed to survive in the otherwise not very welcoming Arctic Circle. For a short period during the Klondike Gold Rush of 1896 the Malamuites and their sled dogs became valuable to the settlers roaming around the area, and they were frequently crossbred with imported breeds as an attempt to improve the breed, or to simple create more of them to be used. This seems to have had no long standing effect on the modern Malamute, and recent DNA analysis shows that Malamutes are one of the oldest breeds of dog, genetically distinct from other dog breeds. The Malamute is one of the most “unaltered” of breeds, retaining its original form and function.