Alaskan malamutes are best known as large, wolf-like dogs, most at home in Arctic conditions. This is a strong breed, built for power and endurance. Yet many people do not consider the Alaskan malamute a dangerous dog breed. This can be a dangerous misconception, though. These are large and powerful animals, and the evidence shows that an Alaskan malamute bite can be deadly.
Are you looking for the best dog bite injury lawyer? The skilled attorneys of Bisnar Chase can help. If a dog has bitten you, we want to ensure you get the compensation you deserve.
If you are a dog bite victim, want information on the Alaskan malamute breed, or want to learn how to pursue a dog bite lawsuit case, read on. We provide a comprehensive profile of the Alaskan malamute, a rundown of the dog bite laws in California, and much more. We know that any dog attack can be traumatic, and we are dedicated to helping victims find justice.
Alaskan Malamute Dog Breed
History of the Alaskan Malamute
The Alaskan malamute is one of the oldest breeds of dog in the world. These working dogs were initially bred by the native Iñupiat people in Alaska. A tribe within the Iñupiat people called Mahlemuts was responsible for developing and raising the dogs, which is where the malamute name comes from.
Alaskan malamutes were bred as all-purpose dogs, performing a wide range of vital functions in freezing Arctic conditions. This breed was one of the earliest forms of sled dogs. They were also used in hunting missions, tracking, and killing larger targets. Early malamutes were highly-valued companions to their human masters, who depended on the dogs to survive in harsh, icy conditions.
The Klondike Gold Rush of 1896 saw the Alaskan malamute breed shoot to greater prominence. Malamutes were used to help gold prospectors, who were new to the Antarctic regions, transport their gear and supplies by sled. This newfound fame helped the breed to spread across America. However, it wasn’t until 1935 that the American Kennel Club (AKC) officially recognized the Alaskan malamute.
Malamutes were also used as search and rescue dogs during World War II, but are now mostly owned as domestic pets. They remain most prominent in Alaska, though, where the malamute was named the official state dog in 2010.
Alaskan Malamutes vs Huskies
What is the difference between an Alaskan malamute and a Siberian husky? Many people cannot tell the two breeds apart at first glance, but there are a few subtle differences.
Malamutes and huskies share a similar look. They were both bred to be sled dogs, capable of pulling heavy loads in extreme conditions. They also have similar coloring, as well as endless energy levels, and thick coats and tails that help them survive in the freezing cold. A malamute’s coat will often be a little longer than a husky’s, with a fluffier look.
While both are sled dogs, huskies are leaner, and a little more athletic. They are built for speed. In contrast, Alaskan malamutes are larger dogs. They stand slightly taller and carry considerably more weight. The typical weight of a malamute ranges up to about 95 lbs (sometimes even larger), compared to 60 lbs for a husky. Alaskan malamutes are about power and endurance, rather than speed. They are capable of pulling extremely heavy loads and have incredible stamina.
Of the two breeds, huskies are far more widely-owned in the United States. In the annual ownership rankings compiled by the AKC, Siberian huskies are the 12th most popular breed. Alaskan malamutes are sitting at number 59 on the list (as of 2017).
Characteristics of Alaskan Malamutes
- Height: Males – 24-26 inches / Females – 22-24 inches
- Weight: Males – 80-95 lbs / Females – 70-85 lbs
- Color: Typically gray/black/white blend. Other variants are possible.
- Coat: Dense double coat
- Eyes: Usually brown, almond-shaped
- Ears: Triangular and alert
- Tail: Heavy, curled
- Life Span: 10-14 years
Alaskan malamutes are large and powerful dogs, with a size akin to dog breeds such as German Shepherds. In terms of physical characteristics, they often look wolf-like. They have broad heads and bulky muzzles, with powerful and muscular bodies that allow them to pull incredibly heavy sled loads.
The malamute’s fur often blends black, white, and gray. They can also have alternative coloring, including various shades of red and sable. Its thick double coat of fur is designed to keep the malamute warm in freezing conditions. It will also result in heavy shedding for domestic owners.
This dog’s tail is incredibly thick and can be used as a tool for extra warmth. When a malamute is happy, its tail is usually curled over its back. This can be misconstrued as a sign of overconfidence or aggression by other dogs, leading to potential altercations. If an aggressive Alaskan malamute is considering an attack, its tail will usually stick out with a stiff wagging motion.
Alaskan Malamute Temperament
Alaskan malamutes are complex creatures with a wide range of behavioral characteristics and variable temperaments. Here are some of the key behavioral elements of the malamute:
- Easily bored
- High prey drive
- Heavy digger
- Loyal to pack/family
This breed is highly intelligent and trainable – but novice dog owners should be wary of owning a malamute. They are known for being stubborn and challenging their owner. A strong-willed malamute needs a firm and confident master to train it properly.
Without proper training, an Alaskan malamute might become prone to biting and other aggressive behavior. They also traditionally have a high level of mental toughness. This trait has always been vital to the breed’s ability to survive in harsh and freezing conditions.
Alaskan malamutes are generally pretty calm, with an even temperament. But they are also exceptionally high energy. If they are not given plenty of exercise, they might experience behavioral problems. Malamutes are easily bored and can become destructive without regular engagement. These dogs also have a high prey drive and enjoy a good chase.
Malamutes are prone to digging – a lot! Owners should be aware of this character trait because their dog may try to dig underneath a yard fence and escape. An Alaskan malamute attack is much more likely if a dog is in a strange environment surrounded by unfamiliar people. Owners of a malamute should have fencing set into the ground to avoid this happening, or else risk facing a dog bite lawsuit.
Alaskan malamutes are not natural guard dogs but provide an intimidating presence due to their size and power. They are usually very loyal and affectionate with family members and, if trained well, can be reasonably happy around strangers. However, no two dogs are alike, and not all malamutes are happy and friendly with unfamiliar people. There have been several documented Alaskan malamute bite incidents involving strangers.
|Siberian Husky Characteristics|
|Good for Novice Owners||★|
|Friendly with Other Dogs||★★|
|Tendency to Bark or Howl||★★★★|
Do Alaskan Malamutes Have Aggression Problems?
Some Alaskan malamutes can display aggression problems, including vicious bite attacks—statistics show that they can be extremely dangerous dogs.
The core numbers of Alaskan malamute attacks are not overwhelmingly high. However, they are still very concerning. One study examined the number of dog attacks by breed over the past 30 years. According to these figures, there were 17 attacks by Alaskan malamutes, six of which were fatal.
This seems like a low number. However, when looking at dog bite statistics, it is essential to consider breed population size.
As the 59th most-owned breed in the United States, there are far fewer malamutes out there than many other types of dogs. Another study examined deadly dog attacks in the U.S. between 1979 and 1998. The figures revealed by this study were then adjusted based on population size by dog bite documenting website PitBullInfo.org.
The adjusted stats show that malamutes actually pose one of the very highest dog bite fatality risks. The figures revealed that Alaskan malamute bites resulted in 6.79 deaths per 100,000 malamutes owned. This is the most of any dog breed.
Dog Bite Statistics in the U.S (Infographic). Download or share our dangerous breeds dog bite info-graphic to educate others on the dangers of approaching a dangerous dog.
Malamute Attacks on Humans: Case Studies
There have been some high-profile Alaskan malamute attacks that have made headlines due to their brutal nature. Here is a small selection of some of the most frightening in recent years – not just in the United States but across the world:
Colorado girl killed by Alaskan malamute in her back yard – 2005 – Fruita, Colorado
A young girl was killed in her backyard by her family’s new dog. When the incident happened, kate-Lynn Logel, aged 7, was alone with two dogs. The pair of Alaskan malamutes had been adopted by her family just three weeks earlier. The girl’s mother found her bleeding heavily, having been mauled by one of the dogs. She was rushed to hospital but tragically died from her severe wounds.
Girl’s arm torn off in savage malamute attack – 2015 – Valentine, Australia.
A young girl lost her right arm after a horrific Alaskan malamute bite attack. Thalia Standley, aged 8, was playing next to a fence in her backyard when the incident happened. A vicious Alaskan malamute managed to grab Thalia’s arm through a small gap underneath the fence. As others rushed to help her, the aggressive malamute chewed through – and tore off – the girl’s arm. She recovered well after eight surgeries but will be permanently disfigured by the attack.
Baby fatally mauled by Alaskan malamute – 2014 – Pontyberem, Wales.
A baby girl just six days old was killed in a deadly attack by her family’s pet malamute. The distraught parents of newborn Eliza-Mae Mullane called the police after the tragic incident. The youngster was airlifted to a nearby hospital but did not survive. It is unclear what made the previously-docile Alaskan malamute turn on a defenseless family member.
Owning an Alaskan Malamute
Alaskan malamutes can be difficult for inexperienced owners to deal with, for a variety of reasons. Forget the fact that malamutes are heavy shedders. This will take a toll on your vacuum cleaner but is harmless enough.
Much more concerning is the strong will of the malamute, which can cause more significant issues without an experienced owner taking charge. These dogs have a pack mentality. They observe a hierarchy of authority and tend to display dominant behavior if allowed. Owners must be confident and assertive to command an Alaskan malamute’s respect. Without solid and consistent training, Alaskan malamutes can be unpredictable. They may display quick mood changes and react negatively to perceived challenges.
How to Stop an Alaskan Malamute Puppy from Biting
The best way to stop an Alaskan malamute puppy from biting is with calm and practical training. Many Alaskan malamutes bite when they are puppies. But these are some of the critical steps you should take to train your malamute pup:
- Alaskan malamute puppies like to nip and nibble. Use substitutes such as chew toys to teach the dog acceptable chewing behavior.
- Compile a list of must-know commands and concentrate on teaching them to your malamute. These should include the biggies such as sit and stay orders. These commands may be vital to ensuring the safety of people and dogs that your pet comes into contact with.
- Depending on the behavior of the dog, steer clear of overstimulating activities. A game of tug of war could turn ugly with an aggressive dog. Try to encourage positive behaviors.
- Make training engaging. One of the greatest challenges in training Alaskan malamutes is combating boredom. They are intelligent but need to be stimulated to maintain their interest.
- Include the whole family in training. Malamutes are large and powerful, so you should be careful around children. But the dog needs to recognize the entire family as authority figures to obey.
You should consult a professional if you have an aggressive malamute puppy who is not heeding its training.
There are also a wide variety of reasons that might make an older dog bite. Follow our guide for tips on what might cause an Alaskan malamute to bite.
What are the Different Types of Dog Bite?
There are six primary levels of dog bite or attack. All such incidents are serious and could lead to a victim taking legal action. However, there are varying levels of attacks (and associated dog bite injuries) that you should be wary of when confronted by a malamute.
- Level 1 – Aggressive dog behavior, such as snarling, teeth-baring, and lunging. This can cause fear and trauma without physical damage.
- Level 2 – Impact injuries such as scratches and bruising caused by a malamute scratching, pawing, or jumping up.
- Level 3 – Puncture wounds caused by a bite. The criteria for this level of injury include 1-4 punctures that break the skin and can leave scarring.
- Level 4 – Deep punctures left by an Alaskan malamute biting down with force. The wounds must measure at least half the length of the dog’s canine tooth in depth.
- Level 5 – This level of dog bite includes multiple deep level 4 bites. It could also include torn flesh if the dog shakes its victim when clamped onto them.
- Level 6 – A dog bite attack resulting in death.
Dog bites can result in infections, broken bones, torn ligaments, and worse, leaving victims in considerable physical pain. Anyone bitten by a dog should watch out for signs of infection. A dog bite wound should be cleaned regularly with soap and water to prevent problems from taking hold.
There is also the emotional pain to consider. Being the victim of a dog attack can be frightening and traumatic, and the pain and suffering they can cause should not be underestimated.
What are the Dog Bite Laws in California?
The type of dog bite laws used within a state will dictate who is liable in the event of a dog bite or attack.
Different areas of the United States use different dog bite laws. Some states use a regulation called the ‘one-bite rule’. This essentially gives a dog and its owner one free pass if the dog attacks someone. It applies if the owner has no prior knowledge of a dog’s aggressive tendencies and has no reason to expect such behavior.
However, a strict liability rule is used in dog bite lawsuit cases in California. If an Alaskan malamute bites someone, its owner will be liable for that action. This is the case even when a dog has no history of violence.
Some people see this hard stance taken by California dog bite laws as harsh. But dog bites can be deadly and will often leave victims with life-altering injuries. Owning a dog is a big responsibility. Owners must be held accountable when their recklessness or lack of care results in another person or animal being hurt by their dog.
When a dog bite injury victim pursues legal action against their attacker’s owner, they may be awarded compensation. The amount of compensation will depend on the circumstances and the result of the attack.
Contributing factors to compensation levels can include:
- The type and severity of injury sustained
- Medical bills and type of medical treatment undergone
- Rehabilitation costs
- Lost wages as a result of attack injuries
- Pain and suffering
Use the Bisnar Chase dog bite victim rights guide for more information.
Contacting a Large Breed Dog Bite Injury Attorney
If you have been injured by a vicious malamute, it is time to contact a knowledgeable dog bite injury lawyer. They will be able to help you take effective legal action.
Before contacting a dog attack attorney, there are a few steps you should take.
What Should a Victim Do After Being Attacked by a Dog?
The actions that a person should take after being attacked by a dog can be divided into two categories: ‘time-sensitive’ and ‘evidence collection’.
Immediately after an attack, you should:
- Seek appropriate medical attention for any personal injury sustained – from first aid to hospital treatment
- Call 9-11 and make a report to the police
- Document your injury if possible
- Collect the contact details of anyone who witnessed the incident
After dealing with the most urgent issues following a dog attack, you should collect all related evidence. This can include:
- Medical records relating to your injuries
- A copy of the police report from the incident
- Eye witness accounts from people who saw the attack
- Any proof of the attack, such as cell phone pictures or videos
- Pictures of the location
- A first-hand written account of the incident
- Anything else relating to the incident which you believe will boost your case
At this point, you should contact one of the expert dog bite injury attorneys of Bisnar Chase. They will be able to assess your case and help you take it forward.
Superior Client Representation with Bisnar Chase
Those looking for the best dog bite injury attorneys in California should look no further than Bisnar Chase. Our personal injury lawyers are committed to providing quality representation in Alaskan malamute bite cases.
We know how traumatic a dog attack can be. That’s why Bisnar Chase is dedicated to ensuring that victims receive the best compensation possible for their pain and suffering. Our law firm has extensive experience in handling all kinds of personal injury cases, having been in business for 40 years. Over that time, we have maintained an outstanding 99% success rate and collected more than $750 million for our clients.
At Bisnar Chase, we pride ourselves on providing superior client representation. This includes offering a ‘No Win, No Fee’ guarantee, ensuring everyone has access to high-quality legal services. Contact our skilled dog bite lawyers now if you have suffered an injury from an Alaskan malamute attack. Call (800) 561-4887 for a free consultation.