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These large dogs might look imposing and intimidating, but they are one of the best breeds for families with young children. These sled dogs, also called Mals, are distant cousins of the Siberian Husky.
They are beautiful dogs with a kind and hardworking nature, but are they for you? Read on and discover all there is to know about the elusive White Mal.
Where did the White Malamute originate?
True to its name, the Alaskan Malamute came from Alaska. Specifically, a small Inuit tribe known as “Mahlemiut”.
The Mals were their heavy weight sled dogs, hunting companion, family guardian, and they depended on one another to survive the harsh and unforgiving Alaskan winters.
When the breed was established, they were mainly Agouti and had the grey silver coats of wolves. White Malamutes are rare and it’s unclear where they came from.
According to the Alaskan Malamute Club of America, one of the very few white champions came as a complete surprise to the breeders when he was born.
Frosty the White Malamute, mistaken at first for a Samoyed, went on to win both American Kennel Club Championship and Companion Dog obedience titles. To date, there are only five White Mally champions.
What does a White Malamute look like?
If you have seen a Malamute before, you know that they are unforgettable creatures. These arctic dogs have the spitz’s double coat, which makes them a sight to behold.
Look at this litter of White Mals, don’t they look like polar bear cubs?
Mals come in many different colors and are used in many different crossbreeds. They have a sturdy appearance which can only be described as handsome or magnificent.
They also have a wonderfully lush plume for a tail, which is carried with grace and elegance.
How big do Malamutes get?
These dogs need open spaces to run and absolutely will not do well in an apartment. Furthermore, their size would not allow it.
Standing at 25 inches (63 cm) for males and 23 inches (58 cm) for females, they aren’t exactly compact-sized.
Also, they can weigh anywhere from 75 to 85 pounds (34 to 39 kg), with males on the heavier end of the spectrum.
Their height and weight can vary a little bit, but that is the ideal, according to the breed standard.
Dogs bigger than that are called Giant Alaskan Malamutes that grow to be quite large. You’re looking at 35 inches (89 cm) and 190 pounds (86 kg). That’s a lot of dog!
There are even small little Klee Kais for people who live in apartments. These adorable dogs look like tiny Malamutes and are often marketed as such.
Coat & Color: Can Malamutes be white?
White Mals are the only solid-colored Malamute recognized by the AKC. They have biscuit-colored shadings on the ears and topline but are otherwise white.
This is caused by a gene known as the Melanocortin Receptor 1 gene (MC1R).
White Malamute’s Temperament and Personality
Malamutes may have wonderful temperaments, but they can be stubborn and hard to train for first-time dog owners.
They need an experienced hand that can work them hard. Don’t forget that these are weight pulling champions and sledding champions.
How to Care for White Alaskan Malamute
These dogs have a dense, wooly coat and will not thrive in climates that are hotter than 80 degrees (26.6 ℃).
A fair amount of care and effort goes into ensuring that they are content and comfortable, especially as house pets.
You can see more about what goes into caring for these beautiful dogs below. Just be warned that they can be rather time-consuming to keep, especially if you lead a busy work life.
Exercising your White Malamute
These dogs are built for heavy, hard labor. They are a working dog and pull sleds with heavy loads over long distances. If you think that they are going to be a couch potato, you cannot be more wrong.
White Malamute or not, you’re looking at 1 ½ or 2 hours of stimulation. You need to work his body and mind hard.
For pet dogs, it might be hard to give them enough exercise or training, that’s why it’s recommended that they join agility or obedience classes.
Other fun activities you can do with your White Mal are skijoring, swimming, and trekking.
Grooming: Do White Malamutes shed?
They have a soft undercoat and a tough top coat made up of guard hairs that protect them from the elements.
As you can imagine, these dogs are unsuited to hot climates and can be quite high maintenance, especially when seasons change.
Saying that they shed a fair bit is an understatement. Anyone who has a double-coated dog is constantly surprised by the amount of fur their dog can lose and still be so fluffy.
You will need to brush them at least two or three times a week, but daily brushings work best.
When it comes to bathing them, less is more. Your Alaskan furkid doesn’t need frequent baths because it can dry out his coat. Also, Mals are quite adept at keeping themselves clean.
If you absolutely need to bathe them, try not to bathe them more than once every six weeks. Keep their nails trimmed and ears clean.
White Malamute Food Consumption
While dogs are mainly meat eaters and require high levels of protein in their diet, different breeds have different needs.
You won’t feed a Bulldog or Terriers a Malamute’s diet because they require specific nutrition to thrive. Small animals need less calories.
A large breed like the Alaskan need specially formulated kibble to keep their heart and joints strong. A working dog will need much more. However, these dogs are known to be able to survive on very little.
White Alaskan Malamute’s Health
For dogs this size, Malamutes are rather long-lived. With proper care, you can expect your White Alaskan Malamute puppy to live 12 – 16 years.
There are no health issues that set White Mals apart from other colors. They are all at risk for hip dysplasia and polyneuropathy.
While many might be familiar with the degenerative joint disorder, polyneuropathy is a neurological problem that affects their mobility.
While it isn’t deadly, it is expensive to treat. The good news is that it is hereditary and can be tested for. Your pup should be safe from it if you got him from a reputable kennel.
Peripheral neuropathy is the killer that you should watch out for. It usually manifests at 8 weeks old and any survivors will likely be impaired for life.
It starts off with numbness in their limbs so you might see excessive worrying at their paws.
Other problems are elbow dysplasia, obesity, dwarfism, and bloat. Bloat or gastric dilatation can be fatal if left untreated.
If you see signs of restlessness, panting, retching, including a swollen abdomen, you need to bring him to the vet right away.
Hypothyroidism, epilepsy, heart problems, hemophilia, and dwarfism are also not uncommon.
How much does the White Malamute cost?
These dogs come at around $1,200 – $2,000. If you’re looking for a cheaper alternative, there are other breeds you can consider which we will list below.
You can also find gorgeous mixed breed dogs which are white. Adoption will also be much easier on the wallet.
White Malamute Breeders
Malamutes tend to have large litters of 6 – 8 puppies and they can vary in color. You might find a Black and White, Sable, Agouti, and solid White all from the same litter.
Specialized White Mal breeders are hard to find. You will have to try your luck with the kennels that breed Mals on the off-chance that they produce one:
- Rocky Mountain Malamutes (Dolores, CO)
- Gemstone Malamutes (Charlotte, NC)
- Teton Malamutes (Rigby, ID)
White Malamute Rescue and Mals for Adoption
Looking for a White Mal to adopt might prove to be a little difficult since they are thought to be as rare as Red and White Mals. But give your shelters a call, who knows, you might just get lucky!
- Moonsong Malamute Rescue (Boise, ID)
- Illinois Alaskan Malamute Rescue Association (Mt. Prospect, IL)
- Alaskan Malamute Rescue of North Carolina (Creedmoor, NC)
- Chesapeake Area Alaskan Malamute Protection (Berryville, VA)
Dog Breeds Similar to White Alaskan Malamute
If you love the idea of a white dog but you’d like to see what other options you have, here are a few breeds that are visually similar to the White Mal.
Also known as Isabella Huskies, they can have striking blue eyes or warm brown eyes, or even one of each. They are playful dogs that are notorious escape artists.
The Samoyed looks very much like the Malamute, but they are a great choice for those without prior dog rearing experience.
American Eskimo dog
These dogs come in three sizes, so if the Mal is too big for your space, you can consider taking on a miniature or toy American Eskimo.
Curious about Malamutes Mixes?
As previously mentioned, Malamutes are popular with the designer dog industry. They offer a great base to work with.
We have a whole list of Alaskan Malamute Mixes which you can read, but here are the two most popular.
These dogs are sometimes referred to as Aluskies. Some of them look like Mals with blue eyes, but most of the time they are slightly smaller. Can be quite stubborn.
With a little Akita and German Shepherd thrown into the mix, and maybe a little Great Pyrenees. King Shepherds are an imposing breed that excels as service dogs.
Who should get a White Malamute dog?
White Mals aren’t for everyone. They need lots of exercise and time commitments from their owners. While they can be kept in kennels as a pack, it has to be very secure.
If you have the patience and experience to train these dogs up, they will reward you with their gentle nature. Arctic dogs are unlike any other breeds as they are aloof but loyal to their last breath.