The Alaskan Malamute German Shepherd mix, also known as the Alaskan Shepherd, is a large wolf-like dog that combines the German Shepherd’s intelligence and courage with the strength and imposing build of the Malamute. Designed to turn heads, these dogs make loving and devoted companions at home.
Sometimes stubborn and born with an independent streak, Alaskan Shepherds can be demanding pets and may not be the right choice for an owner who prefers Netflix to a long hike.
Nevertheless, they can make excellent, tireless working dogs, and with their dire wolf looks, they are bound to turn heads wherever they go.
History of the Alaskan Malamute German Shepherd mix
Although the Cockapoo is often touted as the first designer breed, German Shepherds were crossed with Alaskan Malamutes to haul heavy freight as far back as the early 1900s.
And although its exact history is difficult to verify since it is not an AKC recognized breed, much can be gleaned about this designer dog by understanding its parent breeds’ history.
Background on the German Shepherd
The German Shepherd was bred from European herding dogs to become one of the world’s best working dogs by Max von Stephanitz in the early 1800s. Aiming for versatility, work ethic, and intelligence, he created a dog that still functions today as a tireless service or protection dog.
It should be noted that the German Shepherd has split into essentially two different lines—three if you count those that are simply bred to be good companion dogs.
There are the working lines, which are usually too highly driven to be a normal housedog.
Then there are the show lines, which are often bred too much for looks and sometimes exaggerated features such as the sloping backs and over-angulated hind legs.
These dogs are sometimes nervous or dopey, as temperament is not always the show breeder’s focus.
If picking an Alaskan Shepherd puppy from a reputable breeder, make sure you meet the parents to see if the German Shepherd parent is more suited as a companion dog than either of those from the working or show lines.
Background on the Alaskan Malamute
The Alaskan Malamute predates the German Shepherd by millennia. In fact, the Malamute is considered a basal breed, which means it is closer to the dog ancestor that initially split from the wolf than almost any other dog.
Raised by the Inuit in Northern Alaska, the Malamute hunted seals, sledded, or pulled heavy freight.
Because of these ancient genes, any of its offspring is also likely to make good hunters and excellent sledding dogs, although they are common companion dogs today.
What are the physical features of a Malamute German Shepherd mix?
The Alaskan Shepherd is typically an impressive, big-boned dog with an alert expression and dark eyes.
It is sometimes thought that Alaskan Shepherds can have blue or pale eyes, but blue eyes in a Malamute indicate that the dog is crossbred—likely with a Siberian Husky. Since neither the GSD nor the Malamute should have blue eyes, the Alaskan Shepherd should be born with dark or hazel eyes.
The Alaskan Malamute is a large dog that typically stands between 23 and 25 inches tall at the withers (dog’s shoulder blades) and weighs about 75 to 85 pounds.
In terms of build, the German Shepherd is similar with a height of around 22 to 26 inches and a weight of 50 to 90 pounds. In both breeds, males are larger than females.
The similarity in the parent breeds’ size means that you can confidently expect your Alaskan Shepherd to weigh between 50 and 90 pounds and stand between 22 and 26 inches, depending slightly on gender.
However, some Alaskan Shepherds have been known to grow much bigger, reaching as much as 120 or 130 pounds, so be prepared for a possible giant!
Their coat is usually dense, short to medium-length, and straight, although some have been seen with sleeker coats more similar to the short-haired German Shepherd. Colors can range from the sable or red and blacks typical in the German Shepherd to white or white with tan, silver, grey, or black.
General Care of the Alaskan Shepherd
The Alaskan Shepherd is likely to be a high-energy dog who needs loads of activities and exercise to keep it from falling destructive behaviors. Because collars can cause trachea damage, it’s best to invest in a good no-pull harness for this dog on walks.
Any Malamute mix should not be considered an apartment dog. While adaptable, these dogs need the space to run, and a big yard or a house close to some hiking spots are best. They are also deeply attached to their families and will do better inside the home.
Food & Diet Requirements
As a basal breed, the Malamute would only have transitioned to pellets very recently, so there is a strong argument to be made for the raw diet when feeding the Alaskan Shepherd.
Regardless of which diet you choose, make sure to speak to your vet about your dog’s specific nutritional needs to ensure they are being met.
With its thick double coat, the Malamute crossed with the German Shepherd will need to be brushed three to five times a week, paying particular attention to the area underneath its collar and behind its ears, which tend to mat.
During seasonal changes, the Alaskan Shepherd will need additional grooming for when it molts.
In addition to the coat, ears and teeth should be cleaned regularly to prevent infections or The health and nails should be trimmed at least once a month.
Health of a Malamute German Shepherd mix
The PDSA recommends a minimum of two hours of exercise per day for both the German Shepherd and the Alaskan Malamute. This means you can expect the same for the Alaskan Shepherd.
Luckily, this dog will excel at a variety of activities, including hiking, mushing, bikejoring, and carting.
Severe Health Problems
Mild to Moderate Health problems
Occasional Health Problems
Hip and elbow dysplasia
Cancer (mainly, but not limited to; renal cystadenocarcinoma, nodular dermatofibrosis, osteosarcoma, lymphosarcoma, hemangiosarcoma)
Gastric Torsion or Bloat
Exocrine Pancreatic Insufficiency
Heart issues (including murmurs or atrial deformities)
Von Willebrand’s Disease
Although the Malamute is quite a hardy breed, the German Shepherd comes with various health conditions.
It can be argued that so-called ‘hybrid vigor’ means that the Malamute's good genes should cancel out any of the German Shepherd’s bad ones. However, both parents may still carry specific genes, such as those for hip and elbow dysplasia, putting your Alaskan Shepherd puppy at risk.
Always seek out a reputable breeder and always ask to see the DNA reports and hip and elbow scores of the parents before purchasing a puppy. This way, you do not encourage irresponsible breeding practices.
Some other genetic issues to look out for include cartilaginous exostosis, which involves bony enlargements on any part of the skeleton except the skull, and chondrodysplasia, which sometimes affects Malamutes. It is a type of dwarfism that creates abnormally shaped limbs.
Malamutes should also be screened for idiopathic polyneuropathy, day blindness, hypothyroidism, and cataracts before they are bred.
In terms of the German Shepherd parent, genetic disorders include degenerative myelopathy, resulting in complete paralysis of the hindlegs, and exocrine pancreatic insufficiency. This problem can lead to digestive issues.
German Shepherds are also prone to various cancers, such as renal cystadenocarcinoma and nodular dermatofibrosis. These cause skin nodules and kidney tumors. German Shepherd crosses have been known to inherit these genes.
An Alaskan Shepherd is also at risk for Von Willebrand disease, a blood-clotting disorder. While some dogs may never show any symptoms of this disease, others might bleed profusely from orifices like the nose, and cuts and scrapes can turn quite serious.
Finally, since this is an active breed with a hearty appetite, its diet should be monitored if it eats a little more than it burns off exercising, as Alaskan Shepherds have been known to struggle with obesity.
What is the lifespan of an Alaskan Shepherd?
The German Shepherd is often not a long-lived dog, which can influence its offspring. However, the Alaskan Malamute is quite hardy, and so the Alaskan Shepherd can be expected to live between 7 and 14 years.
The trainability of a Malamute German Shepherd mix: Temperament and Intelligence
Generally, the Alaskan Shepherd inherits a high working drive from both parents, meaning it is at its happiest when it has a job to do. It also usually has the intelligence of the German Shepherd, making it moderately to highly trainable.
One trait it will also likely gain from its GSD parent is its guardian instincts. However, this might be affected by the Malamute parent, as Malamutes are incredibly affectionate to all people and are usually not good guard dogs.
They rarely bark, although they are great “talkers,” often making “woo woo” noises at their owners or howling like a wolf. Many Alaskan Shepherd owners report their dogs making the same hilarious sounds.
However, like many ancient breeds, the Malamute is an independent and sometimes domineering dog with little patience for repetition in training and a strong mind of its own. It may well pass this willfulness down to the Alaskan Shepherd.
Therefore, training is done best with an experienced handler who can use the dog’s innate drives to shape the desired behavior and use positive training techniques.
Sociability with Other Pets
It should also be noted that while the Malamute typically loves people, it also tends to have a high prey drive, making it a challenge to keep in homes with smaller animals.
It has also been known to be dominant and sometimes aggressive with other dogs. So much so that it is recommended never to keep these dogs with others of the same gender.
It is hoped that in the Alaskan Shepherd mix, although some of this may be less prevalent, that you socialize the dog from an early age and establish yourself as a pack leader.
The Malamute German Shepherd mix’s best home is an active one, where at least one member of the household is experienced with dominant dog breeds.
Preferably it should live in a cooler climate, better suited for its double coat, and should be given access to as much space as possible.
Do German Shepherd Malamute mixes make good family dogs?
The Alaskan Shepherd is the perfect dog for the right family. They tend to be protective and loving with children, although they should always be supervised because of their size.
So long as their need for stimulation, challenges, and exercise are met, they are loyal guardians and devoted companions.
Raising a German Shepherd Malamute mix puppy
As a large to possibly giant dog, the German Shepherd Malamute cross needs to have its exercise carefully monitored while young to avoid undue stress on its joints. This is no small task since a young Alaskan Shepherd is likely to be rambunctious and rowdy.
This means it will need carefully structured exercise and early socialization and training to deal with any potential aggression problems. Training should be kept short and positive to avoid problems with its stubborn streak.
It will also need specially formulated food to help it grow. For this, it is best to speak to your veterinarian and make sure he is on a balanced diet.
What's the price of a Malamute German Shepherd mix?
Since it is a mixed breed, the exact price can be hard to pinpoint. Still, in general, German Shepherd crosses go for upwards of $450, and specialized breeders who are breeding multi-generational Alaskan Shepherds might ask for over $1,000.
While this may not be the breed for a passive home, it can make an excellent companion, hunter, and sledding dog for anybody willing to put in the time. With enough stimulation, exercise, and training, the Alaskan Shepherd is likely to make one of the best dogs a person could own. If you are interested in this breed or have any experience with them, be sure to let us know about it in the comments below.
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