Is an Alaskan Malamute a smart dog?

Think you’ve met intelligent dogs? Then you haven’t had the chance to observe a husky-eyed, sharp-minded Alaskan Malamute. Wondering, is an Alaskan Malamute a smart dog? Well then, in terms of obedience and working intelligence, this breed is nothing short of a canine prodigy, besides being widely recognized for their remarkable adaptive intelligence!

Named after the native Inuit tribe called the Mahlemiut, the Alaskan Malamute possesses characteristics that have floored many dog lovers worldwide. This breed is not just captivating for its striking appearance, but also its remarkable ability to learn and adapt, surprising even the most experienced of dog trainers.

Alaskan Malamutes, often mistaken for a large husky, are indeed a sled dog breed. They have towed sleighs over snowy terrains, carrying heavy loads for miles. To achieve this, not only did these dogs need to be physically strong but also mentally robust. They had to solve problems, make decisions and work as a pack – which all involve intelligence.

Now that we’ve uncovered their rich heritage let’s delve deeper to gauge the intelligence of these admirable companions to give you a fuller picture.


When you consider a dog’s intelligence, it comes under three categories – instinctive, obedience and working, and adaptive intelligence. Alaskan Malamutes have all these types of intelligence in spades, which indeed makes them smart dogs.

Their instinctive intelligence revolves around what they were initially bred to do. In the case of this breed, their work was pulling sleds over significant distances in challenging terrains, indeed something that can’t be handled without being smart.

Their obedience and working intelligence lies in understanding and executing commands effectively. While Alaskan Malamutes rank 50 out of 138 breeds for obedience and working intelligence, this doesn’t pronounce accurately on their smartness. These dogs are known to be independent thinkers. They evaluate commands instead of just obeying blindly. This characteristic makes them problem solvers rather than just command followers.

Among the most impressive of the Alaskan Malamute’s intelligence quotient is their adaptive intelligence i.e., how quickly they can learn for themselves. Owners have tons of stories where their Malamute outsmarted them, showing their remarkable ability to adapt and learn. Some have learned to open doors, others have managed to escape rooms, and some have even turned on the tap.

Then again, gauging a dog’s intelligence just using standard parameters won’t do justice to their individuality. Each Alaskan Malamute will be unique in their behaviour and intelligence. So, judge your dog based on your shared experiences, and you’ll no doubt discover the genius inside them.


As with any other intelligent breed, an Alaskan Malamute’s mental needs are as essential as their physical needs. They need stimulation to keep their minds engaged. Incorporate interactive and puzzle toys in their playtime. Training sessions should be an integral part of their routine; they enjoy the mental challenge that it offers.

Consider investing in obedience or agility training to channelize their intelligence constructively. While they might be a bit stubborn, their eagerness to learn new things makes training interesting. Be patient, use positive reinforcement, and soon enough, you can enjoy an obedient and well-trained companion.

Creative outlets for their intelligence will not only keep them happy but will also prevent destructive behaviours born out of boredom. Remember, an idle mind is a destructive playground, especially for these smart dogs.

In conclusion, Alaskan Malamutes are indeed smart dogs, with a distinctive intelligence quotient. Their instinctive, obedience and working, and adaptive intelligence, all vouch for their smartness. However, their intelligence needs nurturing through stimulation and training, making them perfect companions for individuals who are capable of spending quality time with them.

So, if you’re considering bringing this remarkable breed into your home, be ready to welcome an intelligent, energetic, and incredibly agile member to your family. And remember, to fully appreciate the intelligence of an Alaskan Malamute is to live with one. So, prepare for a journey filled with surprising moments and loads of fun, with an Alaskan Malamute as your companion.