Are Alaskan Malamutes Protective of Their Owners?

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Are Alaskan Malamutes Protective of Their Owners?

Known for their uncanny resemblance to wolves, many might think of Alaskan Malamutes as very protective of their owners — in other words, the ideal guard dogs. But does this big, fluffy, lovable canine really have what it takes to protect you against burglars and other bad guys?

In this article, we’re going to examine the characteristics of the Alaskan Malamute and see whether they display protective characteristics.

Are Malamutes protective?

brown Alaskan Malamute on a leash walking in the snow
Photo by Omelnicky on Envato Elements

Alaskan Malamutes are the surviving descendants of the oldest sled dog breeds. Thought to be bred by the ancient indigenous tribe called the Mahlemut, these dogs were made to pull working sleds in their location of origin: the harsh, snowy lands of Siberia.

Primarily working dogs that lived with their tribe’s family, Malamutes are a calm and very even-tempered dog breed. Although their wolf-like appearance is thought of as ferocious, they are actually very playful and docile. As such, most Alaskan Malamutes are not protective of their owners and actually enjoy being around different people.

Are Alaskan Malamutes possessive?

Malamutes can exhibit significant possessive behaviors, such as with food during feeding time. However, this isn’t common for all Malamutes. Rather, this behavior is more likely to appear in Malamutes who are in the middle of determining their pecking order.

This breed of dog has strong pack-forming tendencies, so they are very likely to establish their position in the pack through challenging actions. If they sense that you are not a strong owner and leader, they will likely be more stubborn and possessive about various things.

Due to this, Malamutes, as well as other Husky breeds, are not recommended for first-time dog owners who don’t know how to remain firm with their pets.

Are Malamutes aggressive?

two alaskan malamutes in the snow with a man
Photo by Kiraliffe on Envato Elements

This dog breed was developed to love work and be loyal to their family. Because of that, their aggressiveness is generally toned down.

However, aggressiveness doesn’t just depend on a dog’s breed. It can also be a matter of upbringing and socialization.

If your Malamute suffered from some kind of trauma in the past, they are more likely to be aggressive when they feel threatened. Even perfectly healthy Malamutes might become aggressive to other animals and people if they’re not socialized properly as they grow up.

Characteristics of a good guard dog

Because of their large and furry wolf-like appearance, people often think of Alaskan Malamutes as guard dogs. But what makes a good guard dog in the first place, and do Malamutes have those characteristics?

In this section, let’s discuss the important characteristics needed in guard dogs.

Size

Photo by ertuzio on Pixabay

If you want your guard dog to be intimidating and effective, they need to have the right size for it. 

Your Chihuahua might be trained to attack, but no burglar or harasser would be intimidated by a dog that you can carry around in a small bag. Also, when push comes to shove, bigger dogs have the highest chances of subduing the bad guy.

In this respect, Alaskan Malamutes fit the category well. They are huge dogs, weighing anywhere from 50 to 85 pounds and with a height of 20 to 27 inches, depending on sex. Regardless if they’re harmless or not, most people will probably feel intimidated by their size alone.

Trainability

It’s important for guard dogs to learn how to keep their aggression in check and follow commands. After all, they are likely to be big dogs with a high potential for damage, so it’s important to ensure that they completely obey your commands.

In this respect, Malamutes fit the bill. They’re smart dogs who enjoy doing work, so chances are high that they will follow what you say.

Temperament

alaskan malamute walking through the snow
Photo by Grigory_bruev on Envato Elements

The last and perhaps most important factor in finding the perfect guard dog is temperament.

Guard dogs need to have the right balance of aggressiveness and docility. Some dogs are too docile and friendly to everyone — even to strangers. Obviously, you don’t want your guard dog to happily greet burglars as they enter your home.

However, you also don’t want your guard dog to be overly aggressive. Some people make the mistake of assuming that the meaner their dogs are, the better they are as guard dogs. Unfortunately, this isn’t true. Remember, excessively aggressive dogs are also more likely to attack you. This defeats the purpose of getting a guard dog in the first place — which is to keep you and your family safe.

In terms of temperament, the Alaskan Malamute falls into the docile category. They are friendly and affectionate, and they’re practically never aggressive. Although they look may look intimidating, they don’t usually attack first and are more likely to act friendly towards strangers.

Do Alaskan Malamutes make good guard dogs?

alaskan malamute chilling on the floor
Photo by Peter Andi on Unsplash

All told, Alaskan Malamutes won’t make good guard dogs protect against other people. Developed to be pack animals that live together with their human families, they are friendly and affectionate and will rarely bark. In most cases, you can’t rely on an Alaskan Malamute to fight burglars or attackers for you. 

However, because of their size and appearance, burglars may be more likely to hesitate to enter a house with a Malamute, especially if they’re not familiar with this dog breed.

That said, Alaskan Malamutes make good guard dogs against wild animals. Unlike with humans, they can be aggressive towards other dogs of the same sex, especially if they feel threatened.

Final thoughts

As great as Alaskan Malamutes are, they’re not typically protective of their owners. They also don’t make good guard dogs against burglars or robbers, as their default temperament leans more towards the gentle and playful side.

In this article, we learned that:

  • Because of how they are developed, Malamutes are often not protective, possessive, or aggressive.
  • Malamutes can be possessive when they’re testing the pecking order.
  • They can also be aggressive when they’re traumatized or unsocialized.
  • Dogs need to have the right size, temperament, and trainability to be effective guard dogs.
  • Although Malamutes are huge and trainable, their temperament is largely unsuited for guarding against other people.

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