Majestic, lupine, and powerful, Alaskan dog breeds are hard to miss. Their distinctive looks are synonymous with endurance and loyalty.
Truthfully, there is only one native Alaskan dog breed: the Alaskan Malamute. But from these noble and loving dogs has sprung a cadre of arctic canines.
We’ve compiled a list of the dog breeds most common to and suited for the Alaskan climate. Whether bred for sled hauling, racing, or as family companions you’re sure to find your very own wolf-dog among these 10 Alaskan dog breeds.
1. Alaskan Malamute
The iconic Alaskan Malamute is an ancient basal breed that has roots in the Arctic as far back as 4,500 years ago! These powerful dogs were originally developed in the Norton Sound region of Alaska by the Malemiut Inupiaq people.
Alaskan Malamutes are all-star sled and work dogs. They are most comfortable when working as part of a team (or pack) and are highly family-oriented people lovers.
2. Alaskan Klee Kai
A recent addition to the Alaskan dog breed family, the Alaskan Klee Kai was developed around the 1970s. They were bred to embody the intelligence and arresting look of the Alaskan Malamute, but with the focus on creating a companion breed of significantly smaller stature.
The Alaskan Klee Kai comes in three sizes that range from 5 to 22 pounds. These pups are sweet, energetic, and loving family dogs.
3. Alaskan Husky
Alaskan Huskies are the dog of choice for sled racing in the arctic. They have it all – speed, stamina, high work drive, and exceptional teamwork skills.
And no Alaskan Husky is exactly the same. That’s because this breed is not a pure, recognized breed but a “mongrel.” The two genetically distinct versions of the Alaskan Husky are those bred for sprinting, and those for long-distance.
The speed demon Alaskan Husky gets the majority of their genetics from Salukis and English Pointers, while the long-distance runners are predominantly Siberian Husky and Alaskan Malamute.
The massive Great Pyrenees meets the hardworking Alaskan Malamute in this big fluffy hybrid breed. The coat of the Malanees has less body than the Malamute parent, but well suited to cold mountain temperatures. They don’t do so well in hotter climates, and daily river trips are advised during summer.
Malanees are exceptionally gentle with children, affectionate, and though a little stubborn at times, they enjoy spending time with their family.
For the sweetest wolf dog around, look no further than the Alusky. This hybrid breed is a natural mixing of two of the best sled dogs: the Alaskan Malamute and Siberian Husky.
The combination of the stamina of the Malamute, the speed of the Husky, and the high work drive of both make for a powerfully athletic work dog. Alusky dogs are known for their howling, mischievous nature, and fondness for people.
6. Alaskan Malador
A cheerful cousin to the arctic breeds is the Alaskan Malamute and Labrador Retriever hybrid, the Alaskan Malador. Their coats are dense and waterproof, but less suited for bitterly cold weather than purebred arctic dogs.
Alaskan Maladors are eager to please, active, and exceedingly loyal to their family.
7. Alaskan Chinook
This hybrid is a winning mix of Alaskan Malamute and the Chinook, a breed originated in New Hampshire. The cold weather hardiness of the Malamute meets the tireless gait and tough, athletic body of the Chinook for a true workhorse of a dog.
The Alaskan Chinook is playful, affectionate, and especially devoted to children.
8. Greenland Malamute
Another mix of classic sled dogs, the Greenland Malamute is a hybrid breed of the Alaskan Malamute and Greenland Dog. These pups are heavier set even than the large Malamute but have world-class endurance and work ethic.
Greenland Malamutes are loyal and social work dogs. They need a strong pack leader (you!) and work well as part of a team.
9. Samoyed Malamute
Samoyed Malamutes are a hybrid of the nimble spitz-type Samoyed and the solidly built Alaskan Malamute. They are highly trainable, athletic dogs. Their dense, but lightweight coat provides superior protection from extreme cold.
These pups are famed for their doggy “smiles” and wide range of vocal communication. Why just bark when you can talk?
10. Alaskan Poodle
Did you know that there was a time when Standard Poodles ran in the Iditarod Trail? Their stamina and power made them excellent sled dogs. Unfortunately, they are not well suited for the intense Alaskan cold and were soon pulled from the race.
With that bit of history in mind, you can see why mixing the Alaskan Malamute and the Standard Poodle seems like a natural choice. Alaskan Poodles have legendary endurance, and their coat is far more appropriate for extreme cold.
Alaskan Poodles are highly intelligent, trainable, and sociable dogs.
Though there is only one true blue Alaskan dog, the world of sled dogs and racing has encouraged dog breeders to create all manner of arctic-ready pups.
So, no matter what canine qualities you value the highest – sociability, athletic prowess, trainability – there’s an Alaskan dog breed out there for you.
Featured Image Credit: anetapics, Shutterstock