AKC Standard with Illustrations By Suz Richardson:
The following drawings are intended to help the reader visualize the malamute as described in the official AKC breed standard. They are not intended to represent any individual dog. These drawings are the property of Realmals and artist Suz Richardson. They are protected by copyright, and are not to be copied or taken off of this page or used in ANY way, by any other party. The wording is the official AKC Standard as provided by the AKC.
Click on blue outlined illustrations to see larger.
This project is a work in progress. Sketches will be added as they are completed. Judging the malamute can be confusing–a wide variation of style of body and head is found in the breed, yet many of these various “styles” still fit within the standard description. Our drawings will attempt to represent this variation as much as possible, as well as provide an in-depth look at gait. .Those who are familiar with the history of the Alaskan Malamute will understand why this variation exists. The current pool of AKC-registered dogs evolved as a natural breed, with dogs of unknown lineage from an unknown number of geographic areas. As such, the conformation and head style seen among the founding animals was radically different in some cases. The result is the range of style still found within the breed today, although with the guidance of the AKC standard, breeders have more clearly defined the overall look of the breed over the years.
AKC Breed Standard
The Alaskan Malamute, one of the oldest Arctic sled dogs, is a powerful and substantially built dog with a deep chest and strong, well-muscled body. The Malamute stands well over the pads, and this stance gives the appearance of much activity and a proud carriage, with head erect and eyes alert showing interest and curiosity. The head is broad. Ears are triangular and erect when alerted. The muzzle is bulky, only slight diminishing in width from root to nose. The muzzle is not pointed or long, yet not stubby. The coat is thick with a coarse guard coat of sufficient length to protect a woolly undercoat. Malamutes are of various colors. Face markings are a distinguishing feature. These consist of a cap over the head, the face either all white or marked with a bar and/or mask. The tail is well furred, carried over the back, and has the appearance of a waving plume.
The Malamute must be a heavy boned dog with sound legs, good feet, deep chest and powerful shoulders, and have all of the other physical attributes necessary for the efficient performance of his job. The gait must be steady, balanced, tireless and totally efficient. He is not intended as a racing sled dog designed to compete in speed trials. The Malamute is structured for strength and endurance, and any characteristic of the individual specimen, including temperament, which interferes with the accomplishment of this purpose, is to be considered the most serious of faults.
Size, Proportion, Substance
There is a natural range in size in the breed. The desirable freighting sizes are males, 25 inches at the shoulders, 85 pounds; females, 23 inches at the shoulders, 75 pounds. However, size consideration should not outweigh that of type, proportion, movement and other functional attributes. When dogs are judged equal in type, proportion, movement, the dog nearest the desirable freighting size is to be preferred. The depth of chest is approximately one half the height of the dog at the shoulders, the deepest point being just behind the forelegs. The length of the body from point of shoulder to the rear point of pelvis is longer than the height of the body from ground to top of the withers. The body carries no excess weight, and bone is in proportion to size.
The head is broad and deep, not coarse or clumsy, but in proportion to the size of the dog. The expression is soft and indicates an affectionate disposition. The eyes are obliquely placed in the skull. Eyes are brown, almond shaped and of medium size. Dark eyes are preferred. Blue Eyes are a Disqualifying Fault. The ears are of medium size, but small in proportion to the head. The ears are triangular in shape and slightly rounded at the tips. They are set wide apart on the outside back edges of the skull on line with the upper corner of the eye, giving ears the appearance, when erect, of standing off from the skull. Erect ears point slightly forward, but when the dog is at work, the ears are sometimes folded against the skull. High set ears are a fault.