Named for the Mahlemuts, the Inuit tribe that developed the breed
Colors: black and white, red and white, grey and white, sable and white, and all white
Eyes: brown to yellowish brown
Weight: male 84-85 lbs, female 75 lbs
Weights can range up to 120 lbs
Built for endurance and pulling heavy loads, not for speed
Of all the sled dogs, the Alaskan Malamute is the largest and most powerful.
Malamutes are very smart and being a working dog, they require a stimulating environment. Therefore, when training a Malamute the trainer must always work with positive reinforcement/reward-based training. Malamutes are generally very food driven, which can be to your advantage during training. Being a Northern Breed dog, they shed heavily twice a year. Malamutes are also masters of digging. If you value a perfect looking yard, the Malamute is not the dog for you. The Malamute is extremely social and thrives on being a “family member”. They will go looking for social contact if it is denied them at home.Malamutes, like most Nordic breeds, can have a predatory nature. Especially if they are not socialized very early to smaller animals. However, anecdotally there appear to be more small animal tolerant Malamutes than Huskies. Malamutes are sometimes not dog friendly with dogs of the same sex. This is something that can become apparent at social maturity (between 1-3 years of age). Many Malamute owners find success with opposite sex pairings if there is more than one dog in the home. In this way they generally differ from Huskies (who often do well in multi-dog homes). Malamutes, in general are friendly with people. Being a large dog, it is very important that they be socialized in a positive manner with children. If you want a dog that will alarm bark or further protect your property or person, the Mal is not the breed you are looking for. If you want a dog that will be happy to see visitors and new people, including delivery people, prowlers, meter readers and the mailman – the Malamute can have what it takes!
Developed as sled dogs by the Chukchi tribe of northeast Asia
Colors: red and white, black and white, grey and white, all black, all white and piebald (spotted – rare)
Eyes: blue, green, brown, black, parti-colored, or each eye a different color (bi-eyed)
Weight: Males 45-60 pounds; females 35-50 pounds
Built for speed and endurance
Siberian Huskies are very social, outgoing, fun loving, gregarious, mischievous, affectionate… and exasperating animals. They love being with people and other dogs, and working in large teams in activities such as mushing (runners on snow) and carting (wheels on dry ground). Because they are so social, it is important they be part of the family and not relegated to the back yard. A lonely Sibe is a miserable Sibe who will try escape to find a “pack” to be with and cry, scream, bark, howl to be rescued from their “abandonment”.
Siberians are working dogs – meaning they need a job. They are born to pull and run — and can do so with heavy loads for long distances. Without stimulation, they become easily bored. The results of their boredom can include digging up your garden, running down the street onto a freeway, jumping a six foot fence, or otherwise making or getting into trouble. Additionally, because they are so smart Sibes will begin to mimic people. They have been known to learn how to open doors, gates, and refrigerators by watching people do it. It is critical not to let your Siberian run loose! It is in their genes to run long distances and fast! Lots of exercise and stimulation is key.
With Siberians, “obedience is optional.” Huskies are extremely intelligent and may not want to do what you say. So if you want a dog who will be at your beck and call, get a Golden Retriever! A Siberian is not the dog for you. They work with you, not for you. This independent behavior comes from a long history of being entrusted with a musher’s (and other team members’) lives. If a musher tells a dog to go right, but the dog (having superior canine senses) knows the ice there will crack, the dog disobeys and goes to the left and safety. A savvy Sibe person recognizes the dog’s instincts and is grateful.
So if you want a challenge, pair up with a Siberian Husky or two. Your life will never be the same… and you’ll be very glad!
Sammie, unlike other Nordic dogs such as Malamutes and the Huskies, actually make fair watch dogs, as they will not allow a stranger to approach without taking notice, usually by barking. They are not guard dogs, as in biting, but rather alerting to danger. Samoyeds are active dogs, with a curious nature. They are very social and make poor backyard dogs – they need to interact with their people and be part of the family.
In our present day world, a working breed dog is great for rollerblading in harness or skijoring as well as carting and pack hiking. A Samoyed is more than just a pet – it’s an adventure!