Alaskan Malamute Breed Standard vs Pet Quality

People often have difficulty recognizing an Alaskan Malamute, or telling a Malamute from a Siberian Husky or arctic breed mix. This page is intended to aid you indentify Alaskan Malamutes of varying "quality".

The comparison chart below is based on commonly seen "pet market" deviations from the AKC Alaskan Malamute standard. This comparison assumes the dog is in good basic physical health and weight. Some allowances should be made for coat quality, weight, and general attitude if the dog is in poor condition or ill health.

Actual size, build, and color of individual dogs will naturally vary. In dogs of unknown origins, too many deviations or excessive deviations from the breed standard may be a strong indicater of mixed parentage.


AKC Breed Standard

Common or Incorrect Quality Deviations

(at shoulder)
Male: 25 inches
Female: 23 inches
Male: 23-29+ inches
Female: 21-27+ inches, 
Common: 1-3 inches over std.
Weight: Male: 85 pounds
Female: 75 pounds
Male: 65-110+ pounds
Female: 55-100+ pounds, 
Common: 5-15 pounds over std.
Build: Powerful, substantial, heavy boned Fine or medium boned for size
Eyes: Brown - darker preferred, almond shape Dark brown to yellow, almond to rounded shape
Ears: Medium, erect, triangular, tips rounded, wide set on skull, and stand-off from side of head when relaxed. Some ears larger and/or thinner, pointed tips. Ear appear higher set with less bulky headed dogs. Occasional weak or flopped ears.
Head: Broad and deep with bulky muzzle Skull not broad, giving head a narrow appearance. Muzzle thin or pointed (snipey). Excessive or slight brow stop.
(alert or happy)
Waving plume, carried up and over the back. Curved plume, over curled (tight tail), under curled (sickle), or curl lays flat to side or on back (snap)
Feet: Large, compact, snowshoe shaped, and well arched. Medium - large, may too oval or too round, loose toed, weak arch
Coat: Thick coarse guard coat with shorter woolly undercoat. (undercoat ALWAYS indicated, even when shed out) Woolly (long &/or soft). Short and plush may be seen occasionally
Color: Gray to black, sable, red, and all white. Chest, legs, underside of tail and belly are white. Variety of facial markings. Broken colors and uneven splashings are undesirable.  Gray to Black most common. Sable trimmings common. Heavy facial markings common in darker dogs. Some dogs may have broken or uneven color patterns. 

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