The Malamute retains more of its original form and function than many other modern breeds. The Malamute personality is one of strong independence. This dog has a long genetic foundation of living in the harshest environment imaginable, and many of its behaviors have adapted to survive in such environments. Independence, resourcefulness, and natural behaviors are common in the breed.
Malamutes, like other Northern and sled dog breeds, can have a high prey drive, due to their origins and breeding. This may mean in some cases they will chase smaller animals, including other canines, as well as rabbits, squirrels, and cats; however, this has been difficult to document in detail beyond anecdotal, observational data and many Malamute owners have observed varying levels of prey drive between individual dogs. So while Malamutes are, as a general rule, particularly amicable around people and can be taught to tolerate smaller pets, it is necessary to be mindful of them around smaller animals and, as always with the larger breeds (and some others such as the Chihuahua), supervised around small children.
Malamutes are very fond of people, a trait that makes them particularly sought-after family dogs, but unreliable watchdogs. Malamutes are nimble around furniture and smaller items, making them ideal house dogs, provided they get plenty of time outdoors meeting their considerable exercise requirements. If they are year-round outdoor dogs, letting them play in a baby pool filled with cold water in summer keeps them cool. In the winter, they love snow.
Malamutes are usually quiet dogs, seldom barking. When a Malamute does vocalize, it often appears to be “talking” by vocalizing a “woo woo” sound. It may howl like a wolf or coyote, and for the same reason.