Why you shouldn't shave your Malamutes
White band of color
encircling the neck
Alaskan Malamute Breed Standard

Breed standards cover the externally observable qualities of the animal such as appearance, movement, and
temperament. The exact format of the breed standard varies, as breed standards are not scientific documents
and change as the needs of the members of the organization which authors them change. In general, a breed
standard may include history of the breed, a narrative description of the breed, and details of the ideal externally
observable structure and behaviour for the breed. Certain deviations from the standard are considered faults. A
large degree of deviation from the breed standard, an excess of faults, or certain defined major faults, may
indicate that the animal should not be bred, although its fitness for other uses may not be impeded by the faults.
An animal that closely matches (conforms to) the breed standard for its species and breed is said to have good
conformation.  (Taken from Wikipedia:  http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Breed_standard)

General Appearance

The Alaskan Malamute, one of the oldest Arctic sled dogs, is a powerful and substantially built dog with a deep
chest and strong, well-muscled body. The Malamute stands well over the pads, and this stance gives the
appearance of much activity and a proud carriage, with head erect and eyes alert showing interest and curiosity.
The head is broad. Ears are triangular and erect when alerted. The muzzle is bulky, only slight diminishing in width
from root to nose. The muzzle is not pointed or long, yet not stubby. The coat is thick with a coarse guard coat of
sufficient length to protect a woolly undercoat. Malamutes are of various colors. Face markings are a
distinguishing feature. These consist of a cap over the head, the face either all white or marked with a bar
and/or mask. The tail is well furred, carried over the back, and has the appearance of a waving plume. The
Malamute must be a heavy boned dog with sound legs, good feet, deep chest and powerful shoulders, and have
all of the other physical attributes necessary for the efficient performance of his job. The gait must be steady,
balanced, tireless and totally efficient. He is not intended as a racing sled dog designed to compete in speed
trials. The Malamute is structured for strength and endurance, and any characteristic of the individual specimen,
including temperament, which interferes with the accomplishment of this purpose, is to be considered the most
serious of faults.

Size, Proportion, Substance

There is a natural range in size in the breed. The desirable freighting sizes are males, 25 inches at the
shoulders, 85 pounds; females, 23 inches at the shoulders, 75 pounds. However, size consideration should not
outweigh that of type, proportion, movement and other functional attributes. When dogs are judged equal in type,
proportion, movement, the dog nearest the desirable freighting size is to be preferred. The depth of chest is
approximately one half the height of the dog at the shoulders, the deepest point being just behind the forelegs.
The length of the body from point of shoulder to the rear point of pelvis is longer than the height of the body from
ground to top of the withers. The body carries no excess weight, and bone is in proportion to size.


The head is broad and deep, not coarse or clumsy, but in proportion to the size of the dog. The expression is
soft and indicates an affectionate disposition. The eyes are obliquely placed in the skull. Eyes are brown, almond
shaped and of medium size. Dark eyes are preferred. Blue Eyes are a Disqualifying Fault. The ears are of
medium size, but small in proportion to the head. The ears are triangular in shape and slightly rounded at the tips.
They are set wide apart on the outside back edges of the skull on line with the upper corner of the eye, giving
ears the appearance, when erect, of standing off from the skull. Erect ears point slightly forward, but when the
dog is at work, the ears are sometimes folded against the skull. High set ears are a fault. The skull is broad and
moderately rounded between the ears, gradually narrowing and flattening on top as it approaches the eyes,
rounding off to cheeks that are moderately flat. There is a slight furrow between the eyes. The topline of the
skull and the topline of the muzzle show a slight break downward from a straight line as they join. The muzzle is
large and bulky in proportion to the size of the skull, diminishing slightly in width and depth from junction with the
skull to the nose. In all coat colors, except reds, the nose, lips, and eye rims’ pigmentation is black. Brown is
permitted in red dogs. The lighter streaked “snow nose” is acceptable. The lips are close fitting. The upper and
lower jaws are broad with large teeth. The incisors meet with a scissors grip. Overshot or undershot is a fault.

Neck, Topline, Body

The neck is strong and moderately arched. The chest is well developed. The body is compactly built but not short
coupled. The back is straight and gently sloping to the hips. The loins are hard and well muscled. A long loin that
may weaken the back is a fault. The tail is moderately set and follows the line of the spine at the base. The tail is
carried over the back when not working. It is not a snap tail or curled tight against the back, nor is it short furred
like a fox brush. The Malamute tail is well furred and has the appearance of a waving plume.


The shoulders are moderately sloping; forelegs heavily boned and muscled, straight to the pasterns when viewed
from the front. Pasterns are short and strong and slightly sloping when viewed from the side. The feet are of
the snowshoe type, tight and deep, with well-cushioned pads, giving a firm, compact appearance. The feet are
large, toes tight fitting and well arched. There is a protective growth of hair between the toes. The pads are
thick and tough; toenails short and strong.


The rear legs are broad and heavily muscled through the thighs; stifles moderately bent; hock joints are
moderately bent and well let down. When viewed from the rear, the legs stand and move true in line with the
movement of the front legs, not too close or too wide. Dewclaws on the rear legs are undesirable and should be
removed shortly after puppies are whelped.


The Malamute has a thick, coarse guard coat, never long and soft. The undercoat is dense, from one to two
inches in depth, oily and woolly. The coarse guard coat varies in length as does the undercoat. The coat is
relatively short to medium along the sides of the body, with the length of the coat increasing around the
shoulders and neck, down the back, over the rump, and in the breeching and plume. Malamutes usually have a
shorter and less dense coat during the summer months. The Malamute is shown naturally. Trimming is not
acceptable except to provide a clean cut appearance of feet.


The usual colors range from light gray through intermediate shadings to black, sable, and shadings of sable to
red. Color combinations are acceptable in undercoats, points, and trimmings. The only solid color allowable is all
white. White is always the predominant color on underbody, parts of legs, feet, and part of face markings. A
white blaze on the forehead and/or collar or a spot on the nape is attractive and acceptable. The Malamute is
mantled, and broken colors extending over the body or uneven splashing are undesirable.


The gait of the Malamute is steady, balanced, and powerful. He is agile for his size and build. When viewed from
the side, the hindquarters exhibit strong rear drive that is transmitted through a well-muscled loin to the
forequarters. The forequarters receive the drive from the rear with a smooth reaching stride. When viewed
from the front or from the rear, the legs move true in line, not too close or too wide. At a fast trot, the feet will
converge toward the centerline of the body. A stilted gait, or any gait that is not completely efficient and tireless,
is to be penalized.


The Alaskan Malamute is an affectionate, friendly dog, not a “one man” dog. He is a loyal, devoted companion,
playful in invitation, but generally impressive by his dignity after maturity.