Giant Alaskan Malamute: Does This Breed Exist?

The Giant Alaskan Malamute is a selectively bred Malamute that exceeds 100 pounds in weight.

Historically Giant Malamutes were bred to pull heavy goods between cities throughout Alaska. They have been recorded to pull loads up to 1,100 pounds!

These days they are used as sporting companion dogs for events such as bikejoring and skijoring.

This larger than life breed stands at over 35 inches and looks like a mix between a wolf and a bear.

They are known for their incredible loyalty and strength. Want to find out more about this giant dog? Read on…

Giant Alaskan Malamute

What Is A Giant Malamute?

The Giant Alaskan Malamute was first discovered in the 1700s by settlers exploring Alaska.

They are selectively bred by mating the largest Malamute puppies to produce a dog that far exceeds the 100 pounds in their breed standard.

Breeders took the largest Malamute puppies and started breeding them to develop this giant bloodline.

This breed is considered giant when they weigh more than 150 pounds and measure over 30 inches.

The versatility of this breed is what makes them incredible.

They are more than capable of pulling heavy loads through winter terrains and can make the perfect companion for many winter sports such as bikejoring and skijoring.

This breed is not a companion pet and is much happier as a working dog.

There are a handful of misconceptions that come with this huge breed.

The first misconception is that they are lazy and comes from the fact they are hefty, but they were bred that size to pull heavy cargo loads. This dog was bred to run for ten miles each day and needs a lot of exercise.

Many people also think this breed is not a good family dog. This is wrong. Provided they are given a working role, and plenty of supervision is given around children, they can make a good family pet.

While they can make a good family pet they are not suited for first time owners or people that live in apartments.

Malamutes are stubborn and hard-headed. They need an experienced owner with plenty of room to run. They are also known for being very vocal.

They are also not suited for older owners due to their sheer size and how easily they can knock people over.

Malamute Origin

Two Alaskan Malamute Dogs Pulling A Sled

The origin of this breed is unknown. It is thought they first lived among the Inuit people in the 18th century.

The Inuit people used this breed to haul big game on sleds. These dogs were respected parts of Inuit families, however they were treated as working dogs and not pets.

Their hardiness and incredible strength made them very useful dogs.

When gold was first discovered in Alaska in 1896 their popularity took hold. They were used for pulling large loads of gold across Alaska.

Giant Alaskan Malamutes were never used for racing however they were used to breed racing dogs such as Huskies.

Another factor that made this breed popular was the Serum Runs. Many people have heard the story of Balto. The dog that delivered medicine to the village of Nome to prevent a diphtheria outbreak. There were several teams of dogs and many had Alaskan Malamutes.

These dogs have always been used as a working breed.

In 1933 they were used to explore the South Pole and a decade later were used during World War II to pull freight.

Why We Love Malamutes

The first Malamute was discovered in the 18th century. They didn’t become popular until the early 20th century, however there are many interesting facts that surround this giant dog:

  • It is thought that without the help of this giant breed the state of Alaska would never have been inhabited.
  • These dogs are very slow growing and don’t reach their full size until three years of age.
  • Giant Alaskan Malamutes are very independent.
  • They are one of the oldest dog breeds and their ancestors date back to over twelve thousand years ago.
  • It is the state dog of Alaska and is still used to move supplies between different cities.

Breed Facts

DogWeight

Weight

~200 pounds

DogSize

Height

30 – 35 inches

DogPrice

Price

$2,500

DogHealth

Lifespan

8 to 12 years

Giant Alaskan Malamute Puppies

Giant Alaskan Malamute and Puppy

Most people interested in this puppy first fall in love with their adorable fluffy appearance.

There are not many people that actively breed Giant Alaskan Malamutes because their standard sized siblings are already a large breed.

Occasionally a standard sized Malamute can produce a giant puppy in their litter.

However these puppies are very rare so it can be difficult to find a reputable breeder.

Because this breed is rare and expensive it is important to avoid puppy mills or irresponsible breeders. Never purchase from a pet store as they are often stocked by puppy mills:

  • Good breeders will focus on one or two breeds while puppy mills tend to have three or more breeds.
  • Irresponsible breeders will charge more based on their size and color.

Breeders should test the hips and elbows of both parents for hip dysplasia before mating. Hip dysplasia is the biggest danger in this breed.

You should also find out if the parents have a history of epilepsy as it is fairly common.

Make sure to ask the breeder about the parents’ temperaments and how the puppies are raised. It is very important to have a well socialized puppy because of their future size.

How Much Is A Giant Alaskan Malamute?

The price of these puppies can range from $2,000 to $3,000. More expensive dogs will come from health-checked parents and working bloodlines.

There are typically four to eight puppies in each litter.

A good breeder should be able to match you and a puppy based on temperament and lifestyle.

Never take home a puppy before eight weeks of age. Puppies should already have their first vet check and vaccinations before going to their forever home.

When you meet the litter it is important to note how healthy the puppies are.

They should be bright-eyed and lively. The puppies should be in a large whelping area that is clean with plenty of stimulating toys.

Giant Alaskan Malamute puppies grow fast but don’t reach their full size until nearly three years of age.

It is important to make sure that nothing puts extra strain on their joints during their growing phase. You need to keep long walks to a minimum and don’t encourage your puppy to do too much jumping. This can cause lifelong joint issues.

Where to Adopt

It is rare to find this dog in a shelter. There are no organizations dedicated to the rescue of giant variations specifically. However you can try the Moonsong Malamute Rescue or the Alaskan Malamute Assistance League.

Because the Giant Alaskan Malamute exceeds the maximum weight in the breed standard of 85 pounds they are not recognized by any kennel clubs.

Standard sized versions are recognized by the American Kennel Club and United Kennel Club. They are classified in the working breed group.

Breed Appearance

Portrait Of A Giant Alaskan Malamute

The Giant Alaskan Malamutes looks very similar to their smaller siblings, except they weigh over one hundred pounds more.

Giants tend to have longer coats that make them appear even larger.

All Giants will have white markings along their legs, stomach, and on their face. These striking markings are commonly seen in Siberian Huskies too.

Giant-sized Malamutes almost never have the blue eyes of their standard-sized siblings. They normally have dark brown or amber eyes.

This dog is very large and resembles a wolf more than a dog with their thick, shaggy coats.

How Big Is A Giant Alaskan Malamute?

These large dogs often reach 150 to 200 pounds. Males stand slightly taller than females at 30 inches! As their name suggests this breed is giant.

Because of how similar they look to normal-sized breed it can be hard to distinguish them as puppies. Their size is the only way to distinguish this dog. No other northern breeds can grow to over 150 pounds.

Coat and Colors

This dog has a long thick double coat:

  • Their undercoat is thick with a wooly texture
  • The outercoat is coarse and is about one inch long.

Their coat is extremely dense and helped to keep them warm during the harsh Alaskan winters.

Giant Alaskan Malamutes shed a lot and require frequent brushing. Twice a year, these dogs will also “blow” their coat and need brushing daily.

They can come in a wide variety of colors including black, seal, sable, gray, red, or chocolate.

Alaskan Malamute Temperament

Strong-willed and loyal to their family is the easiest way to describe their temperament:

  • Protective
  • Loyal
  • Friendly
  • Prey drive
  • Energetic
  • Stubborn

Giant Alaskan Malamutes are a working breed with an independent temperament.

They love to pull and run so many owners use these dogs for skijoring – a sport where you hook yourself to a dog and let them pull you through the snow.

When they are not running they love to play tug or fetch and easily play for hours.

They play very well with other family dogs but can be standoffish or aggressive with strange dogs so be careful with new introductions.

The Giant Alaskan Malamute is not the most aggressive breed, but they are not the friendliest. They can be standoffish with strangers and won’t react well to a strange dog coming onto their territory.

This breed will risk their life for the safety of its family. They are watchful over their family and protect them from any danger.

It is best to keep them in a home that does not have other small animals or livestock. They were originally used as hunting partners for Inuit tribes and their hunting instinct is still strong.

Due to the potential danger of them getting to other animals and injuring them it is best to avoid owning other pets.

Like most Nordic breeds the Malamute is not quiet. They will howl and bark to alert to people at the door or anything strange.

Characteristic Rating
Friendliness
Confidence
Protectiveness
Prey Drive
Social Tendencies

Are They Good Family Dogs?

It is unfair to compare this breed to dogs such as Labradors. However, they can still make a good family dog.

They do well with young children and teenagers. However, due to their large size they must be closely supervised.

This breed cannot live in a family with other small pets but they do well with other dogs. They are used to living in a pack and do not do well being the only dog in a household.

They are protective of their house and can be aggressive with unfamiliar people, animals or sounds.

Are Giant Alaskan Malamutes Healthy?

Giant Alaskan Malamute Dog

The Giant Malamute is a relatively healthy breed that lives for between eight to twelve years.

The biggest concern for a dog this large is their joints.

Hip and elbow dysplasia are common in this breed. This deformity can only be corrected by surgery, and even then is very difficult to fix. Along with this, arthritis is very common.

A few other diseases that are less common include:

  • Progressive retinal atrophy – causes gradual vision loss.
  • Hypothyroidism – can cause other issues such as epilepsy.
  • Von Willebrand disease – a blood clotting disorder.

Finding a good breeder is extremely important in avoiding these health issues.

Healthy dogs from working lines should have had their elbows and hips tested before breeding.

Care Guide (Grooming, Feeding & Exercise)

Alaskan Malamute Dog

These dogs are not the most intense breed to care for.

The most important part of caring for them is managing their energy levels and giving them a suitable environment with space to run.

These dogs have incredible stamina and can run for hours at a time.

They are not a good breed for someone living in an apartment or a city. Instead they do best in a household that has plenty of space.

Other than their large exercise needs they also need a good amount of grooming.

The best owners are young or middle-aged adults that enjoy going for walks or hikes and don’t live in a city.

Feeding Guide

Daily Food Consumption
Guide ~3,000 calories
Cups of Kibble Six Bowls of Kibble Required per Day

The best type of dog food for Malamutes is raw or high quality kibble.

If your dog regularly does heavy work then they need an even higher protein feed of around 22%.

Meals should be split between morning and evening.

Exercise Requirements

Daily Exercise
Minutes 120 minutes
Activity Level This is a high activity dog breed
Favorite Exercise Running

The best way to exercise this dog is to take them on a run or hike. They are typically too stubborn to do sports such as agility or flyball. Many owners use specialized halters to hook their bike to their dog and allow their dog to pull them.

They need at least one good walk a day.

If you don’t meet their exercise needs, expect to have a dog that will howl and chew.

Summary

Very few dogs are as loyal or devoted as the Giant Alaskan Malamute.

The ideal home for this breed is with an owner that has the time to put in daily hikes no matter the weather.

If you are considering this breed, first ask yourself if you have the time to devote to exercising them?

For some owners, their size and exercise needs can be too much. However, if you like going for hikes and can ignore the excessive shedding and stubborn attitude, then this breed might be the one for you.

Let us know what you think about this huge northern snow dog in the comments below.

John Woods Headshot
John Woods is the Founder of All Things Dogs and leads our editorial team as our Editor in Chief. A member of the Association of Professional Dog Trainers, he has been a dog lover since he was 13 years old. John is parent to Nala, a working lab retriever. John has also volunteered at multiple animal shelters, where he gained firsthand experience of rehabilitation and force-free positive reinforcement training methods.
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