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The Alaskan Malamute - Breed Standard


Prepared by


The Alaskan Malamute Club of America




Articulate the nuances of the breed to help judges, breeders, owners and enthusiasts by explaining and picturing the official Standard.



Official Standard and Explanations:


The official Standard is shown verbatim in bold print.

The explanations are shown in standard print.


Use of “he” and “his”:


“He” and “his” are used throughout the document as a generic term to refer to the Alaskan Malamute and should be considered to refer to either a male or female. “She” or “her” are equivalent alternatives. The Standard gives no preference to the sex of the Alaskan Malamute. The committee considers that using “he/she” or “his/her” would be tedious and distracting.






The Alaskan Malamute we know today has evolved from an arctic dog with a long and remarkable history of service to man. To properly evaluate the Malamute, one must understand something of the severe arctic conditions under which these dogs did their job, and their invaluable contributions to the survival of the people who kept them.


The early explorers venturing to the land known as Alaska discovered dogs of unbelievable hardiness, able to work in the brutal arctic climate, often on starvation diets. These dogs had several functions, including hauling heavy sledges and packing. Although their existence was one of heavy work, the dogs were often part of the Eskimo family, playing with children and sleeping in the shelters helping to keep the family warm.


During the Gold Rush, the demand for working dogs resulted in breeds from “outside” being brought in and bred with the native sled dogs. As a result the breed was all but destroyed.

However, the Mahlemut people, from whom the breed takes its name, lived a remote, isolated life. Because of this, their dogs remained largely pure.


In the early 20’s and 30’s some in the US became involved with sled dogs. Dogs brought from Alaska were thought to be Malamutes, but with no pedigrees, or kennel club to look to for verification, no one was sure. There were substantial differences among these dogs, but the Kotzebue strain had consistent type and size. These dogs were later registered by Milton and Eva Seeley. The M’Loot strain, developed by Paul Voelker, was larger, with less angulation and more variation in coat and color. Mr. Voelker wasn’t interested in showing, so these dogs were initially not registered. The Hinman/Irwin dogs were not an identifiable strain, but rather a few individual dogs, neither Kotzebue nor M’Loot but offering qualities the others did not.


Breed recognition came in 1935, largely through the efforts of Mrs. Seeley. At that time many dogs were of unknown ancestry. Those who appeared purebred were used for breeding, others weeded out. After a few years the registry was closed.


Losses from service in World War II all but eliminated the breed. In 1947 there were estimated to be only about 30 registered dogs left, so the stud book was reopened. Robert Zoller became involved in the breed and took this opportunity to combine M’Loot and Hinman/Irwin dogs with selected Kotzebues to create what became the Husky Pak line. All modern Malamutes are descended from the early strains, and show combinations of characteristics in greater or lesser degree. Thus the natural differences we see today.


The Alaskan Malamute has a proud heritage as an intelligent and tireless worker in conditions most of us couldn’t imagine. When you are privileged to judge our breed, please keep in mind his purpose, and the characteristics necessary to survive and complete his mission.


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