Are Alaskan Malamutes hypoallergenic?

helloBARK! staff
By helloBARK! staff
Updated on July 21, 2020
Fact Checked

Alaskan Malamute aren’t considered a hypoallergenic dog breed.

These northern dogs are instantly recognizable for their sheer size.

The Mahlemuit Inupiaq nomads were responsible for breeding these dogs over 1,000 years ago.

Alaskan Malamutes played a big role in the Gold Rush thanks to their ability to pull large loads on sleds over long distances.

In the 21st century, these Spitz dogs have become much-loved family pets around the world.

However, if you’ve got an allergy to dogs, you’ll want to know whether Alaskan Malamutes are hypoallergenic and if the breed shed a lot.

Editor's note: The content on this website is meant to be informative in nature, but it should not be taken as veterinary, medical or professional advice. There's no such thing as a 100% hypoallergenic dog in spite of claims that breeders might make. It’s always best to speak with your vet or your doctor before deciding to get a dog if you suspect you may have allergies to pets.

We’ll tackle those two questions in this article as well as given you some insight into hypoallergenic dog breeds.

With the introduction over, let’s start by getting an understanding of the word hypoallergenic.

What does hypoallergenic mean?

Hypoallergenic was a term that was first coined by the cosmetic industry rather than being used alongside dog breeds despite what you see on Google search results today.

The cosmetic industry used the word hypoallergenic in the 1950s to denote a cosmetic product that was less likely to cause an allergic reaction than another cosmetic product.

To be clear, although such a cosmetic product might be described as hypoallergenic, it wasn’t a guarantee that an allergic reaction wouldn’t occur. It just made it less likely.

Let’s take a look at a clear and concise definition of the word hypoallergenic to ensure we’ve got a proper understanding of what the term means.

Here is WebMD.com’s definition of hypoallergenic:

If you see “hypoallergenic” on makeup or a skin care label, it means that that maker claims its product causes fewer allergic reactions than other ones. That doesn’t necessarily mean it is allergy-proof or gentler for your skin.

So you should still approach a hypoallergenic product with some caution as it’s not a guarantee that no reaction will occur.

What are hypoallergenic dogs?

Some studies suggest that around 150 million people in the United States of America own a dog. That equates to 44 per cent of the population. It’s a fair assertion that the USA is a nation of dog lovers – or animal lovers.

However, the American College of Allergy, Asthma, and Immunology claim that 10 per cent of the US population is allergic to dogs (although more Americans are allergic to cats).

Considering nearly 32 million Americans suffer with dog allergies, it’s little wonder that so many people are researching hypoallergenic dog breeds online.

The American Kennel Club make it clear on their website that there’s no such thing as a completely hypoallergenic dog breed despite what you might read elsewhere online. The AKC write:

While no dog is 100% hypoallergenic, there are a variety of breeds that do well with allergy sufferers. These dogs have a predictable, non-shedding coat which produces less dander.

So if you’re a dog lover but suffer with allergies to dogs, there’s still some hope. The AKC list 19 breeds that they recommend as a more hypoallergenic than other types of dogs.

What causes an allergy to dogs?

If you’ve never experienced dog allergies or don’t know anyone who is allergic to canines, there’s a good chance you won’t know what triggers the allergies.

You’d think the natural culprit is dog hair, hence why people usually search for low shedding dogs when trying to find a hypoallergenic dog breed such as a Poodle.

While dog hair plays a part, it the hair itself isn’t necessarily the allergen.

Dander tends to be a bigger problem that dog hair, although the latter can be a mode of transport for the former.

The American Lung Association offer a good description of dander on their website:

Pet dander is composed of tiny, even microscopic, flecks of skin shed by cats, dogs, rodents, birds and other animals with fur or feathers. These bits of skin can cause reactions in people who are specifically allergic to these triggers.

Dander is usually the main allergen but it isn’t the only culprit. Dog salvia and urine can also set off someone’s allergies.

A dog can also carry allergens into the home on their coat such as pollen from plants.

What are symptoms of a dog allergy?

If you suspect that you’ve got an allergy to dogs, you may already be aware of the symptoms. But some dog lovers could still be in the dark.

The American College of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology list some symptoms to look out for:

• Sneezing or a runny or stuffy nose.
• Facial pain (from nasal congestion)
• Coughing, chest tightness, shortness of breath, and wheezing.
• Watery, red or itchy eyes.
• Skin rash or hives.

If you suffer from any of these symptoms around dogs, you should make an appointment with your local doctor to discuss further.

Are Alaskan Malamutes hypoallergenic?

Alaskan Malamutes have many pros but they aren’t considered a hypoallergenic dog breed. Therefore, if you’re allergic to dogs, you may want to think twice about bringing home an Alaskan Malamute.

Do Alaskan Malamutes shed a lot?

Alaskan Malamutes have a double coat that helps to protect them against the harsh northern conditions.

The undercoat is oily and wooly, with the potential to grow to two inches in length. The outer coat is coarse and stands off the body.

These sled dogs will usually shed their coats twice a year.

If you live in a warm climate, an Alaskan Malamute could develop a slightly lighter double coat.

Alaskan Malamute maintenance

Alaskan Malamute will need to have their coats brushed two or three times a week. Doing so will remove dead hair, debris and prevent infections.

The American Kennel Club suggest using an undercoat rake during shedding season to effectively remove dead or loose hair.

Alaskan Malamute can be bathed every six to eight weeks.

Hypoallergenic dog breeds

Both the American Kennel Club and the Kennel Club in England offer recommendations for those looking to acquire an hypoallergenic dog.

Let’s start with the AKC’S list of 19 breeds:

• Affenpinchser
• Afghan Hound
• American Hairless Terrier
• Barbet
• Bedlington Terrier
• Bichon Frise
• Bolognese
• Chinese Crested
• Coton de Tulear
• Giant Schnauzer
• Irish Water Spaniel
• Kerry Blue Terrier
• Lagotto Romagnolo
• Maltese
• Peruvian Inca Orchid
• Poodle
• Portuguese Water Dog
• Russkaya Tsvetnaya Bolonka
• Soft Coated Wheaten Terrier
• Schnauzer
• Xoloitzcuintli

England’s Kennel Club offer an more extensive list of 31 breeds:

• Lagotto Romagnolo
• Irish Water Spaniel
• Spanish Water Dog
• Bouvier des Flandres
• Giant Schnauzer
• Portuguese Water Dog
• Russian Black Terrier
• Hungarian Puli
• Komondor
• Bichon Frise
• Bolognese
• Chinese Crested
• Coton de Tulear
• Havanese
• Maltese
• Yorkshire Terrier
• Lhasa Apso
• Intermediate Mexican Hairless
• Miniature Mexican Hairless
• Standard Mexican Hairless
• Miniature Schnauzer
• Standard Poodle
• Toy Poodle
• Miniature Poodle
• Shih Tzu
• Tibetan Terrier
• Bedlington Terrier
• Dandie Dinmont Terrier
• Glen of Imaal Terrier
• Sealyham Terrier
• Soft Coated Wheaten Terrier

Anything else to consider?

For those with an allergy to dogs, we advise speaking to your local healthcare expert before you decide to adopt a pup whether they’re a so-called hypoallergenic breed or not.

As we mentioned above, there’s no guarantee that a hypoallergenic dog won’t trigger allergies. Furthermore, each dog could be hypoallergenic to different degrees.

In conclusion

So there you have it, Alaskan Malamutes aren’t hypoallergenic.

These sled dogs will usually shed twice a year, with an inner and outer coat.

However, the AKC do recommend some hypoallergenic breeds that could be a good fit.