Alaskan Malamute:
Classification and Relatives

by Katerina Scheuflerova


Alaskan Malamutes are classified differently in different continents and

countries. In North America, Malamute belongs to the ,Working Dog"

class. The same in England. In Australia, Mal belongs to "Utility Dog"

class. In North America, the Mal is classified by the American Kennel

Club and the Canadian Kennel Club (AKC, CKC), in Australia by the ANKC

(Australian National Kennel Council) and in England by the English

Kennel Club (EKC or simply KC). Other situation is in all countries that

are registered by FCI (Féderation Cynologique Internationale -

International Cynological Federation) that is all European countries

(except Great Britain) and in some other countries such as Russia,

Japan, Southern Africa, etc. There, the Malamute belongs to the class 5

,Spitz and Primitive breeds" and in section 1 - ,Nordic sled dogs

-without working tests", where there are four classified breeds. These

are the Mal, the Siberian Husky, the Samoyed and the Greenland Dog.


Alaskan Malamute have many relatives in spitz-type dog breeds, but the

most closely related are these three, respectively five: the Siberian

Husky, Samoyed, Greenland Dog, FCI, AKC, EKC and ANKC unadmitted

Canadian Eskymo Dog and worldwidely unadmitted Alaskan Husky. These all

are sled dogs as they have been created and bred for the same purpose as

an Alaskan Malamute (altrough they have sometimes played other roles

such as hunting, carrying packs and sometimes even herding)! I will try

to introduce you these breeds shortlyÉ


The Husky is smaller than the Alaskan Malamute. He can be from 53 to 60

cm (20,9 to 23,6 inches) tall in withers, ideal size is from 55,1 to 58

cm (21,7 to 22,8 inches) for males and 52,6 to 54,5 cm (20,7 to 21,5

inches) for females. He can have two blue coloured eyes, one brown, one

blue or two brown. His coat can be of any colour, but the only admitted

solid colour is white. Huskies have not been bred for strength, but to

be fast. They are the most popular nordic breed worldwide.

They love activity and have a strong pack and hunting instinct. Huskies

don't bark much and they aren't good watchdogs. They hate to be alone

all day and if left then they may run away. They need a lot of exercise

regularly. They're kind and friendly and that makes them also very good



The Samoyed is beautiful dog with a characteristic "smile". Ideal size

for the males is from 56,1 to 58 cm (22,1 to 22,8 inches), for the

females from 52,1 to 54 cm (20,5 to 21,3 inches). Eyes can be only

brown. Colours are pure white, cream or biscuit. Samoyeds are the third

most popular of the

nordic breeds.

Samoyed have been bred in Siberia for many purposes, like pulling sleds,

herding reindeer, hunting, etc. Samoyeds bark more often than other sled

dogs. Like all their relatives, they need and love activity. Samoyeds

aren't agressive, they're loyal and they love their family. Their

longer coat needs a lot of care.


The Greenland dog is a typical natural breed that has been raised by the

Greenland people for centuries, maybe for thousands of years. Ideal size

for the males is 60 cm (23,6 inches) and more and for the females 55 cm

(21,7 inches) and more. Eyes are only brown. The Greenland Dog can have

almost all colours, such as brown, black, grey or white with or without

white markings. The Greenland Dog is the rarest of all the nordic dogs.

This breed really loves to work.Greenland Dog is always ready for

action. He's more independent than other nordic breeds, altrough of

course he can be a good companion. But the best thing that you can do

with these dogs is to hook them up to the sleds...


Another example of a officially unadmitted breed of nordic dog is the

Alaskan Husky. This dog breed isn't very old, we can trace it's origin

to 60 or 70 of years to the past, altrough some of the other nordic

breeds are maybe thousands of years old. We too can't call it a real

breed, it's only a type of dog.

Alaskan Huskies haven't any official standard. The dogs have been raised

and bred only for character and their working abilities. Alaskan's can

have eyes of any colour including blue. They haven't any definite size

or coat colours or markings. Alaskan's love to work and they are one of

the most popular working sled dogs of the world.

Alaskan Huskie's were (and are) crossed with other breeds such as

Greyhounds to produce faster dogs. These dogs are called "hounds". They

are too sometimes crossed with Alaskan Malamutes or Siberian Huskies or

they are crosses of these two (or other nordic) breeds together...


The Canadian Eskimo Dog (or simply the Eskimo Dog) is unadmitted by all

of the leading cynological organizations except Canadian Kennel Club.

This breed is very old, we can date it's history back some 2000 years.

It nearly became extinct when its numbers dropped from about 20,000 dogs

in the early part of the century, to only 200 in the 1970's.

Fortunately, it was re-established with the help of the CKC and the

diligent breeders. Sadly, it's still very rare...

Ideal size for the males is from 56 to 64 cm (22 to 25 inches) and for

the females from 51 to 58 cm (20 to 23 inches). The dog can be any

colour, or pattern of colour. The only colour that will disqualify a dog

is that of the albino. Eyes should be only brown.

The Eskimo Dog is though, eager, untiring and powerful breed when

working, but it isn't the ideal family dog. Eskimo Dogs are very

strongly pack oriented. They're sometimes quarrelsome and dominant,

altrough the females can be charming and lovable personalities (the

males are more dignified). But put these dogs in the harness and you

will make them the happiest.


We can say that every other spitz-type breed can be near or distant

relative of the Malamute. I don't want to bore you with a list of these

breeds because there is many of them. I have tried to introduce you the

most closest relatives of the Alaskan Malamute. I hope you have enjoyed

this article and "see" you next time...

Photos & text copyrighted 1999 by Katerina Scheuflerova

© 1999,, All rights reserved

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