What Should You Know Before Getting an Alaskan Malamute Puppy?

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Alaskan Malamutes are one of the oldest sled dog breeds, and they’re a particular favorite for people who want big and loyal dogs.

Before getting an Alaskan Malamute puppy, there is some essential information you need to be aware of, including: 

  • A typical Malamute temperament
  • Common health issues they may encounter
  • How much they cost to look after each year

Keep reading to learn everything you need to know before you commit to this demanding and fulfilling breed.

Malamute Personality

Alaskan Malamutes are large working dogs used to pull heavy sleds, making them suitable for active families and individuals.

Malamutes are very loyal and affectionate and love to spend time with their owners.

Remember that while Malamutes love affection from their owners, they are also very independent. Alaskan Malamutes will benefit from alone time, and you must be able to respect their personal space boundaries to form a trusting relationship.

However, you must be able to provide regular structured exercise and have a large area for them to move around since they were bred to work.

A yard with a tall fence and plenty of toys is required to keep their minds active and physical health in good shape.

Given the unique needs of this giant breed, we recommend getting a strong and sturdy leash that won’t snap if pulled hard and a suitable harness to improve control. You should also provide them with large dog rope toys that remain durable even during playtime.

Alaskan Malamutes are not a ‘one-size-fits-all’ family dog. They can be difficult to socialize with other dogs and cats and often do better in households with no other pets.

If you already own other dogs, make sure to be patient during the introductory stages and be prepared for your Malamute to display alpha behaviors once they’re all grown up.

Common Health Concerns

Alaskan Malamutes are mostly purebred sports dogs, so they are relatively healthier when compared with other breeds.

However, you need to be aware of conditions caused by their genetics and large size. The most common to occur are listed below.

Elbow And Hip Dysplasia

Hip and elbow dysplasia is hereditary and is caused by a hip or elbow joint defect during growth. It mainly affects larger dog breeds, and Malamutes are prone to it.

Once this orthopedic problem develops, your Malamute may find it challenging to experience stability and optimal function in their hips and elbows.

The symptoms of elbow and hip dysplasia tend to appear in later life, between the ages of 4 and 6 years, but some Malamutes may experience it much earlier.

Unfortunately, there is no way to prevent it, but the condition can be managed with both surgical and non-surgical treatment options.


This is another genetic condition that occurs in Alaskan Malamutes. Though rare, this alarming neurological disorder will interfere with the functioning of your dog’s nerves.

Polyneuropathy is characterized by a change in gait, weakness in the legs, tremors, and lack of coordination, amongst other things. Diagnosing polyneuropathy is difficult due to the vagueness of symptoms, which could be attributed to other symptoms.


This medical condition is caused by an underactive thyroid, thus leading to weight gain, lethargy, and thinning skin.

This mainly affects your Malamute’s hormone regulation and metabolism but can be treated with daily medication.

Dental Diseases

To many people’s surprise, dental diseases affect 80% of dogs by age three.

However, the genetics of Alaskan Malamutes make them prone to dental issues and bacterial concerns, so professional dental cleaning sessions can cost as much as $700.

The medical expenses for this breed can get high due to their active nature. Sound Dollar’s article on pet insurance highlights that illnesses and injuries are the top reasons people want to get insurance for their dogs.

Pet insurance lets you get treatments for your playful puppy’s injuries or illnesses without worrying about the high medical costs. Some plans even offer coverage for genetic conditions like hip dysplasia, making it particularly beneficial for Alaskan Malamute owners.

Average Expenses for An Alaskan Malamute Per Year

Alaskan Malamutes are mostly purebred, making them more expensive than mutts or mixed dogs.

Members of the Alaskan Malamute Club of America have noted that this breed can cost as much as $2,500-$4,000 to buy.

Remember that buying a purebred puppy is not the only way to get a Malamute – hundreds of Malamutes end up in rescue shelters yearly. Rescuing reduces the initial cost of getting a Malamute and provides a home to a dog who needs it most.

When it comes to their medical expenses, GOBankingRates states that their estimated medical bills can reach around $7,700 over an average lifespan of twelve to fifteen years.

You’ve probably already guessed – big dogs eat big meals!

Feeding an Alaskan Malamute can cost over $100 monthly for the high-quality food needed to sustain such an active breed. Also, their large size means you will have to pay premium prices for grooming services (average $85 per session) and dog beds (around $100).

Alaskan Malamutes are a fantastic breed to own but also one of the most costly. We ask that you only consider adopting a Malamute if you have the funds to give them a happy and healthy life.

In Summary

Alaskan Malamutes are great furry friends, especially if you need an affectionate and active dog.

However, before you get an Alaskan Malamute puppy, consider its personality, health concerns, and costs to check if they’re the right match for you.

You also need to make sure you can commit to their exercise requirements.

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About The Author

Caitlin is the owner and lead writer for The Malamute Mom. She has over 10 years of experience with Alaskan Malamutes and Huskies. She is currently working on getting her PhD in materials science but continues to write for The Malamute Mom in her spare time.

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