Where Are Alaskan Malamutes From?
The true origin of the Alaskan Malamute is unclear, however, many think the breed’s wolf-dog ancestors migrated to North America via the Bering Strait some 4,000 years ago. They have been noted as the arctic sled dogs of indigenous people hundreds of years before Alaska was part of the United States. The Mahlemut were an Inuit tribe located in northwest Alaska that used the breed as sled dogs to carry their belongings from place to place. Their powerful, massive bone structure was built for strength, not speed, and the Mahlemut were content with their leisurely pace. The Mahlemut were known as peaceful and hardworking people and that demeanor was clearly passed on to their sled dogs. The breed was well respected among other Inuit people for their courage, incredible stamina, and ability to hike mountainous terrain.
As dog racing became widely popular in the early 20th century, the Alaskan Malamute was mixed with outside strains to improve their speed. This caused a decline in true arctic sled dogs, and the breed nearly vanished. In 1926, after a resurgence in sled dog racing in the United States, breeders began developing pure strains of the Alaskan Malamute. Since that time, they have been used for expeditions and even missions in World War II. In 1935, the Alaskan Malamute was recognized by the AKC and has maintained its popularity in the U.S. ever since.