Instagram | @two_malamutes

Alaskan Malamutes Are Stubborn, Lovable Floofs

Amy Pilkington 23 Jul 2020

When Game of Thrones was fresh in the zeitgeist — you know, before it fizzled into a narrative black hole — people were really into it. Like, it wasn't a "nerdy fandom" thing, but so mainstream that people were naming their babies Arya or Khaleesi.

Another result in the show's early popularity was an increase in people looking to adopt dogs similar to the fantastical dire wolves.

Usually, that meant either the Siberian husky, or the feature of this article, the Alaskan malamute.

Instagram | @malamuterony

Compared to many domestic dog breeds — such as the shih tzu snoozing beside me as I write this — both look quite wolf-like.

They are also quite easily confused for one another, since their breeding as Arctic working dogs resulted in a very similar behavior and appearance between the two distinct breeds.

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Alaskan malamutes are believed to be direct descendants of domesticated wolf-dogs common thousands of years ago.

Instagram | @i_gingilli_di_willy

Specifically, the ones who crossed the land bridge from Asia to the North American Arctic some 4,000 years ago. They're named after the Inuit tribe, Mahlemiut, of northwestern Alaska.

While other Arctic breeds, like huskies, were bred for speed, malamutes are more focused on strength and endurance.

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As such, a quick way to tell them apart is through their sheer size.

Instagram | @malamutedays

Malamutes grow to be about 75-85 pounds, while huskies tend to be between 40-60 pounds. Another easy way to tell them apart at a glance, is that the malamute's tail curls up and over its back.

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A lot of Thrones fans learned the hard way, though, that these are high maintenance dogs.

Unsplash | Daniel Tuttle

They do best in cooler climates and shed heavily, with two big blowouts per year. Daily brushing is needed to prevent matting or hot spots. Alaskan malamutes also require lots of exercise, since they were bred to work.

Though incredibly friendly, they can be dominant and pushy if not properly trained and socialized as puppies. Once they stop respecting a person, it can be impossible to train the stubbornness out of them.

h/t: American Kennel Club

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