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10 facts about the Alaskan malamute, the state’s official dog

The Alaskan malamute became the Alaska state dog in 2010 after a group of school kids championed the effort through the Alaska Legislature as part of a class project. We think it’s a pretty fitting choice. Here are a few things you might not have known about the official dog of the Last Frontier!

  1. The history of the breed dates back a seriously long time. 5,000 years ago the first settlers of North America kept Alaskan malamutes as their companions and as work dogs.
  2. Some relatives of the Alaskan malamute you might recognize are the Samoyed, the Siberian husky and even the Labrador.
  3. If you want one of your own, keep in mind they need daily exercise (they are sled dogs, after all). They don’t bark much, but they are vocal and love to stretch their vocal chords and howl sometimes.
  4. They’re built to withstand cold temperatures, and were historically used in Arctic expeditions. They helped settlers hunt, track, look out for bears and also helped to haul gear across snowy terrain, pulling heavy sleds.
  5. Alaskan malamutes have even been known to act as babysitters, although we wouldn’t recommend this in 2017.
  6. They’re credited with helping to open Alaska up for settlement and development by performing tasks like carrying mail and transporting supplies.
  7. During World War I, 450 Alaskan malamutes were shipped to France to deliver supplies to French army troops isolated in mountain outposts.
  8. During the Gold Rush, these dogs were in extremely high demand as hopeful prospectors used them to haul massive amounts of food and supplies over mountain passes.
  9. Alaskan malamutes were also used in World War II, this time to sniff for mines, carry weapons and act as search-and-rescue dogs.
  10. Endlessly helpful to their human friends, Alaskan malamutes were also a part of the historic 1925 Serum Run.

Meet a malamute on your next visit to Alaska! View Gray Line Alaska travel specials here.



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