Alaskan Malamutes are known for their shedding, and if you want to learn everything there is to know about Malamute shedding then this is the guide for you.
Malamutes shed throughout the year and will shed heavier when they are blowing coat, which happens twice per year on average. They require a lot of grooming to maintain their coats and are a challenging breed in this respect.
In this article, I’ll take you through everything there is to know about Malmaute shedding, from how often it happens to methods you can use to reduce it. Le’s get straight into it.
- How Much Do Malamutes Shed?
- Why Do Malamutes Shed So Much?
- Do Males Shed More Than Females?
- Seasonal Variations In Their Shedding
- How Often Should You Groom A Malamute?
- How To Groom A Malamute
- Are There Any Ways To Stop A Malamute Shedding As Much?
- Tips For Managing Alaskan Malamute Shedding In The Home
- In Summary
How Much Do Malamutes Shed?
Alaskan Malamutes are notorious for shedding and will shed year-round quite heavily.
Roughly twice a year they will also go through a coat blow, which will make them shed even more than usual (more on this later).
You can expect any furniture to get coated in hair pretty quickly with this breed, and you’ll become a grooming expert in no time. If you suffer from allergies, this breed is not the right choice.
Why Do Malamutes Shed So Much?
Malamutes shed a lot for two main reasons:
1. They Are Double-Coated
Malamutes are double-coated, which means that their fur has two distinct layers:
- A short and dense wooly undercoat that is used for insulation. This layer helps to keep them warm during cold weather, but also cool during warm weather as well.
- The second layer is a long guard layer that repels moisture and dirt.
2. They Have, Long Thick Coats
Double-coated breeds do shed much more than those with a single coat, but there are examples of dogs with short double coats that don’t shed as much as you would expect, like the Irish Water Spaniel.
It’s the length and thickness of the Malamute’s coat that really exacerbates the issue.
Malamutes simply have a lot of hair which means they shed more often anyway. When you combine this with their double-coat, and also how they are often kept in warmer climates than they are used to, it’s clear to see why they are heavy shedders.
One of the side effects of having a double-coat is coat blowing.
Coat blowing is when a Malamute, or any other double-coated breed, sheds their undercoat to prepare for the warmer months.
This usually happens twice per year, and during this time they will shed even more than usual and require more frequent grooming.
Sometimes when they blow their coats you may notice that they will also shed their guard hairs as well. This typically happens only once per year in the spring, but it is not as common as the undercoat shedding.
Do Males Shed More Than Females?
There aren’t any real differences in shedding rates between male and female malamutes.
The only thing to note is that males do tend to be larger on average in both height and weight, which means that they have a greater surface area for more fur.
So technically males do shed more, but this difference is negligible compared to the factors above.
Malamute Puppy Shedding Vs Adult
Malamute puppies also shed very frequently, but not much more or less than an adult.
The only exception is when they blow their coats and transition to an adult coat. This happens between 1 and 2 years old and is usually super easy to notice as they will lose even more hair than usual during this time.
What About Wooly Malamutes?
Wooly Malamutes deserve a mention here, as they are prone to shedding even more than a ‘regular’ Mal.
A Wooly Malamute is simply one that has been bred for the thickest and wooliest coat possible. The ‘wooly’ gene is recessive, which means that breeders are able to identify which Malamutes have it to selectively breed for wooly Malamutes.
Wooly Malamutes do shed more simply because they have a lot more fur.
Seasonal Variations In Their Shedding
Malamutes are seasonal shedders as they blow their coats twice per year to transition into and out of a summer coat.
In warmer climates, you may notice that they shed even more to help them cope with the warm weather, and of course, they tend to shed less in colder environments.
How Often Should You Groom A Malamute?
In an ideal world, you should groom your Malamute daily.
This doesn’t have to be an intense grooming session, a simple once-over with a grooming comb will do a lot of work to remove loose hairs.
Alongside this, you should groom them properly once or twice each week; but how exactly do you groom them ‘properly’?
How To Groom A Malamute
Grooming a Malamute properly means spending the necessary time to groom both their undercoat and their long guard layer.
To do this you need to start with a Slicker Brush, which is designed to comb through the undercoat and remove loose hairs. Start with areas of dense fur first, like the neck and rump, as these are more likely to contain matted fur.
After this, you should use a de-matting comb. These gently cut stubborn tangles out of their fur – take this bit slowly as it can be quite painful for your Mal.
We then follow up with an undercoat rake, one of the most well-known and widely-used grooming tools. Undercoat rakes target the undercoat specifically to remove hairs while leaving the guard hairs untouched.
Next, use a grooming comb to get rid of any remaining loose hairs. Finish up with a bristle brush – this is a great way to get your Malamute to relax after all the intense grooming, and it will leave their coat looking like new.
Check out our guide to the best grooming tools to see which brands we recommend, as well as a more in-depth grooming tutorial for you Malamute.
Are There Any Ways To Stop A Malamute Shedding As Much?
Malamutes are heavy shedders no matter how much you try to stop them shedding, but there are a couple of things you can do that reduce it slightly.
Feeding A Good Diet
Providing a healthy, well-balanced diet for you Malamute increases the strength of their hair follicles which helps to reduce excess shedding caused by undernourished fur.
You can check out our recommendation for Malamtute food here to make sure you are feeding your Mal a balanced diet.
You also need to provide access to fresh water at all times. Dehydrated skin can shed more, so this is important for their health as well as shedding.
A raw diet can be nutritionally balanced, but it’s super hard to get right in practice.
Feeding raw doesn’t just mean raw meat; you also need to provide vegetables and other supplements to make sure they are getting the right amount of essential nutrients.
If you decide to feed your Malamute raw, it’s a good idea to speak to your veterinarian first as they will be able to give you advice and make sure the diet is not detrimental to your Malamute’s health.
I’d also recommend reading our guide here for more details on feeding Malamutes a raw diet.
Keep Up With A Grooming Schedule
The simple fact of the matter is that there are very few things you can do to actually stop your Malamute shedding, but grooming is probably the most impactful for how much you will notice their shedding.
After all, there’s a pretty big difference between removing the majority of their loose or dead hairs during grooming and getting most of it all over the home.
You really will notice the biggest difference by sticking to our recommended grooming schedule of once per day and more as necessary when they are blowing their coat.
What About Shaving Them?
Shaving your Malamute is a terrible idea for several reasons:
- It exposes their skin to sun and windburn
- It makes it much more difficult for them to regulate their temperature
- It’s very likely that their fur will not grow back in the same way
Shaving a Malamute should only be done under veterinary supervision and at their recommendation, as the process itself can also easily damage the skin if you don’t know what you’re doing.
There are several ‘anti-shed’ products like shampoos and even sprays, but we highly recommend not using them.
A Malamute’s double-coat has essential oils that regulate the coat and keep it clean. Using anti-shedding products will interfere with these oils and actually cause more harm than good.
We have a dedicated guide for the best types of shampoos to use for Malamutes here that gives great suggestions that won’t damage their coats.
Does Bathing Help?
Malamutes should not be bathed often as it can interfere with the natural oils found within their double coat and cause more harm than good.
With that being said, Malamutes should still be bathed once every 3 or 4 months as needed, and if you can time this with when they are blowing coat it can be an effective way to remove lots of loose fur.
For this, you ideally want to use a dog coat blower to dry them afterward which will work wonders for removing any remaining hairs.
Tips For Managing Alaskan Malamute Shedding In The Home
Dealing with dog hair around the house can be annoying, to say the least, so here are some tips for dealing with it:
- Groom Regularly – Yep, this one again. It’s much better to remove as much hair as possible through grooming than letting it come off on the floor or other areas of the house.
- Choose Pet-Friendly Materials – Fabric sofas and carpets are hot spots for hair, so opt for materials like leather and wooden/vinyl floors instead.
- Vacuum Every Day – It’s better to stay on top of hair by vacuuming once every day rather than letting them build up.
- HEPA Filters – Dogs like the Malamute that shed a lot also leave behind lots of dead skin cells called dander which is responsible for allergies. HEPA filters can remove these from the air, and although they are expensive they are a great option if you are concerned about allergies.
Hopefully, this guide has answered just about everything there is to know about Malamute shedding.
Alaskan Malamutes are beautiful and affectionate dogs, but their thick coats require regular maintenance to manage shedding.
With proper grooming and attention, you can keep your home clean and your furry friends happy and healthy. Remember, shedding is a natural part of having a dog, so embrace the fur and enjoy the love and companionship they bring.
(Featured image – Wooly Malamute Toews – Sent in by one of our readers. If you want your dog to be featured on the blog get in touch!)