The 18 Wheelers of Sled Dogs – Dogster

During the Yukon Gold Rush, men relied on tough, tough dogs to carry their supplies. And there was no dog more suited to the job than the Alaskan Malamute. A single Alaskan Malamute has been known to pull over 2,600 pounds of cargo a short distance over snow. So get ready!

Read more interesting things about the Malamute

  • The Alaskan Malamute can be confused with the Siberian Husky, but the Malamute is larger, tends to carry its tail higher, never has blue eyes, and is not commonly seen in colors other than the gray to white. It can also be confused with the Akita, but the Malamute has a longer body, has a less curled tail, and again is not commonly seen in colors other than gray fading to white. It can also be confused with the German Shepherd, but the Malamute is taller, shorter, heavier-boned and, again, not commonly seen in colors other than gray fading to white.

  • The Malamute is a member of the Spitz family, which have in common curled tails, small erect ears, and aloof fur, all of which help ward off the cold.
  • DNA studies show that Malamutes are one of the oldest breeds. They were developed in Alaska to hunt seals and polar bears and to carry heavy loads.

  • First known as the Mahlmuts, from “Mahle” (Inuit tribe name) and “mut” (dog).
  • During the Alaskan Gold Rush, interbreeding with other dogs nearly caused the breed to become extinct. He was rescued in the 1920s by a dog sledder in New England. The fact that the DNA data comes from modern Malamutes confirms that these dogs can be traced back to the original Mals or at least other equally ancient sled dogs.
  • Mals took part in Admiral Byrd’s trek to the South Pole in 1933.

  • Males served in World War II as cargo carriers, pack animals, and search and rescue dogs, primarily in Greenland. After World War II the numbers were down to only about 30 registered Mals, so the herd book was reopened to allow new unregistered stock to enter.
  • They rarely bark, more often making a series of woo-woo-woos. Many are screaming.
  • Malamutes are generally not used for sled racing because their forte is strength, not speed. They are the breed of choice for freight or for long distance transport.
  • In 1994, the U.S. Postal Service issued four AKC Centennial stamps honoring America’s purebred dogs. One of the four breeds was an Alaskan Malamute.

  • The Alaskan Malamute was named the Alaska State Dog in 2010.
  • the star wars The Chewbacca character was inspired by George Lucas’ Alaskan Malamute, Indiana – who also inspired the name Indiana Jones. In the movie Indiana Jones and the Last CrusadeIndiana Jones’ childhood home is shown with a Malamute!
  • The Alaskan Malamute has been shown at the Westminster Dog Show since 1936 but only one won the working group, in 1998.
  • A Malamute named Costello (Champion Nanuke’s Snoklassic No Boundaries) won Best in Show at the 2006 AKC Invitational dog show, along with $80,000 in prize money.

  • The highest earning AKC show of all time, Malamute, is Champion Nanuke’s Take No Prisoners, which won 75 Best in Shows.
  • A Malamute played as king of yukon in the television series of the same name. Two Malamutes were in the movie eight below. Malamutes are the main characters in Mal’s owner Susan Conant’s Canine Mysteries.
  • The Malamute is currently the 57th most popular AKC breed – exactly where it was ten years ago!

  • Owners include Herbert Hoover, George Lucas, Robin Williams, Vida Blue, Steve McQueen, Dom Deluise, Melissa Gilbert, Cheryl Ladd, Daniel Pinkwater, Lowell Thomas, Judy Collins and John Elway.

Do you own a Malamute? Have you spent time with one? Let’s hear what you think of this fascinating breed in the comments! And if you have a favorite breed you’d like us to write about, let us know too!

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About the Author: Caroline Coile is the author of 34 books on dogs, including Barron’s best-selling Encyclopedia of Dog Breeds. She has written for various publications and is currently a columnist for AKC Family Dog. She shares her home with three naughty Salukis and a Jack Russell Terrier.

Bette C. Alvarado