Spitz-type dogs like Alaskan Malamutes are loved all around the world for their friendliness, dedication, and thick, fluffy coats. The Alaskan Malamute was bred to work closely with humans, particularly by hauling heavy loads over long distances. This close relationship also makes Alaskan Malamutes incredibly good companion animals for dog lovers of all ages, including kids.
Remember that the Alaskan Malamute is a big dog, though, and there are precautions to take when you introduce one to your family, especially if you have younger children. While the temperament of individual dogs can differ a little, they’re all friendly and gentle companions. This guide will introduce you to the Alaskan Malamute and demonstrate why they’re so good with kids.
Alaskan Malamute Overview
First developed in Alaska, the Alaskan Malamute is one of the oldest sled dogs. They were developed by the native Inuit tribe that resided in northwestern Alaska, the Mahlemiut.1
As a cousin to other sled dogs, the Alaskan Malamute is frequently confused with the Siberian Husky due to their appearance and similar histories. Both were originally bred to be sled dogs, but they have different origin stories, temperaments, and skills.
Unlike the Siberian Husky, the Alaskan Malamute was bred to haul heavy loads over long distances. They are freighters so they travel slowly, but they’re just as loyal, hardworking, and energetic as other spitz-type dogs.
Alaskan Malamute Temperament
Some individual Malamutes can be more or less friendly toward children, but most Malamutes have similar temperaments. They’re intelligent, playful, and loyal. Most importantly, they’re people-oriented due to their past as working dogs. Several traits in particular make this breed a wonderful companion.
One of the most important traits of the Alaskan Malamute is how gentle they are. There are a few exceptions, of course, such as if they have trauma from an abusive home. They have also been known to be aggressive toward other dogs or smaller animals due to their prey drive.
However, toward humans, the Alaskan Malamute is the definition of a gentle giant. They’re also incredibly patient despite their energy levels and intelligence. As long as they know that you’re with them, they’re more than happy to meet new people, play with children, or do anything else that you ask of them.
As friendly as they might be, the Alaskan Malamute isn’t ideal for new dog owners. They’re incredibly intelligent and aren’t afraid to take a mile for every inch that you give them. While they’re eager to please and their smarts mean they learn new things quickly—including how to play gently with children—they do get bored easily. They need consistency, firm instructions, and fun, reward-based training for the best results.
Alaskan Malamutes are incredibly people-oriented. This trait makes them perfect companions for singles or families. While they don’t make good guard dogs because they’re more inclined to befriend everyone, their friendliness is the biggest reason that they get along with kids so well.
They adore being around their owners, but the more people in the family there are, child or adult, the happier your Alaskan Malamute will be, simply because there are more people to interact with.
This does have the downside that they’re prone to separation anxiety and strongly dislike being left on their own for too long. However, they do appreciate time to themselves, so you’ll have to find a balance between too much attention and not enough.
Are Alaskan Malamutes Good With Kids?
Overall, Alaskan Malamutes are good family dogs. They’re friendly, sociable, and playful, with a gentility that makes them excellent and highly-desired companions. There are a few things to keep in mind before you introduce a new dog to your home, though. Also, Alaskan Malamutes will be more or less suited to children depending on the dog’s age, socialization, and training.
You need to consider the age of your Alaskan Malamute and your children to determine whether these dogs will be good with your kids. While Malamutes get along with children of all ages, their energy levels and size usually match better with older children.
For example, puppies are slowly learning how to control themselves and behave appropriately. While they learn, they can be prone to hyperactivity, mouthiness, and nipping. Their exuberance might make playtime more fun, but it can lead to a few accidental injuries when your puppy bites or accidentally bowls over younger children.
Don’t forget that adult Alaskan Malamutes are big dogs and just as playful. If they’re properly trained, they won’t be likely to nip as much as puppies and will be more used to playing gently. That said, they can still be prone to accidentally knocking over small children due to their size and weight.
Whether your Alaskan Malamute is comfortable around children is important to consider. They might be happy to befriend everyone, but children have a boundless sort of energy that some dogs might find disconcerting, even when they’re as playful as the Malamute. Socializing your dog when they’re a puppy will help them learn how to play with children of all ages nicely and help them grow into a confident adult.
Regardless of how gentle your Alaskan Malamute is during playtime or how experienced your kids are with dogs, it’s always a good idea to supervise them when they’re together. You might not need to do this as much if your children are older and you’re comfortable that they know how to properly interact with dogs.
For younger children, though, you should always make sure you’re nearby to intervene if a game gets too hyper. It’s not just your Alaskan Malamute’s excitement to consider either. Children who are younger or not as familiar with dogs might pull on your Malamute’s tail or ears or accidentally scare them. While Malamutes are generally friendly, they are still animals and will defend themselves if they feel threatened.
How well-trained your Alaskan Malamute is will make a difference. You need to make sure your puppy is socialized with people, especially children, and other pets, and they also need consistent training.
They need to know how to play gently with you and your children, and they should listen to you when you give them directions. While these dogs are naturally gentle, they’re also intelligent and not afraid to push the boundaries that you set them. Without firm guidance, they’ll be difficult to manage.
Gentle, friendly, and playful, the Alaskan Malamute is an excellent companion for singles and families. Bred to work in a pack alongside humans as sled dogs, they’re a loyal breed that is dedicated to their owners. Their size and energy levels mean they can easily knock over small children by accident and they’ll need to be supervised, but they’re a breed that gets along with kids of all ages.