Life With Malamutes interview

By helloBARK!
Updated on 6 January 2023

Life With Malamutes is the biggest Malamutes account on Instagram.

Phil and Niko are two Malamutes living with a cat called Milo and their pet parents Emma and Shane.

Their Life With Malamutes (@lifewithmalamutes) account has 496,000 followers on Instagram, making them the social media platform’s most popular Malamutes.

We spoke to Emma about life with her two Malamutes (and cat!) to give helloBARK! readers an insight into the breed.

In the interview, Emma touched upon the pros and cons of Instagram and YouTube, as well as offering advice for potential Malamute owners.

So let’s start our chat with Life With Malamutes (@lifewithmalamutes).

1) What first attracted you to the Alaskan Malamute breed?

Life with Malamutes (Photo: @lifewithmalamutes / Instagram)

Life with Malamutes (Photo: @lifewithmalamutes / Instagram)

As a child and teen my favourite movie was Eight Below. I always planned to get a snow dog – initially a Husky. The minute we bought our first house and had a move in date we started our research and discovered the Malamute breed. We found out they were even larger than Huskies and that decided it for us.

2) Can you give us a little insight into how you ended up with Phil and Niko?

We used an app called Pets4Homes. We only used breeders who owned both mum and dad and both could be seen and visited. We picked up Phil in Liverpool -we chose him as he was the calmest and sleepiest of the litter. Niko we got about a year later after Phil was trained. We used the same app and travelled to Glasgow. She was the last girl and the runt of the litter.

3) How does Milo fit into the picture? Do all three pets get along ok?

Life with Malamutes (Photo: @lifewithmalamutes / Instagram)

Life with Malamutes (Photo: @lifewithmalamutes / Instagram)

We got Milo three years later. Shane (my husband) said no more dogs but he didn’t specify no more animals so I researched the best cat breeds to have with dogs and Mainecoons / Ragdolls / Siberians came up. I then used the same app again and found a breeder with one ready to collect the same day. I just went instantly picked Milo up and then came home surprised Shane and ‘gifted’ Milo to him. Shane was not happy.

4) Has owning Malamutes lived up to your expectations?

Everything and more! I never had dogs as a child and I’m finally living the life I dreamed of.

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5) What are the frustrating stereotypes surrounding the breed?

They have to be kept on lead. They’re not good with small animals as they have high prey drive, and they’re destructive. We’ve disproved all these silly stereotypes and actively challenge the norm.

6) Alternatively, are there any stereotypes that do ring true for the breed?

They are very smart and stubborn. If I ask for them to do something like sit or stay, they’ll literally weigh up the reward I’m offering and choose whether to do it or not. They’re very intelligent and will decide for themselves.

7) Do Malamutes shed a lot? If so, how often do you have to groom and clean?

Life with Malamutes at Giant's Causeway (Photo: @lifewithmalamutes / Instagram)

Life with Malamutes at Giant’s Causeway (Photo: @lifewithmalamutes / Instagram)

They blow their coats twice a year (at different times)! So four times a year in total! It lasts about two weeks and it’s horrible. It comes out in clumps and there’s no way to keep things clean. But other than that I don’t feel like they shed that much. The cat is worse than them put together on a normal day!

8) How much exercise do Malamutes require?

We do 10,000 steps a day which is an hour power walk plus more at weekends – but they need more than this really.

9) Life With Malamutes is soon to become Life With Malamutes and a newborn! Are you excited to see Phil and Niko adapt to the new family set up?

Yes! I’m sure Phil won’t be bothered as he’s very chill but Niko is already changing. She is super clingy and protective. Her mother instincts are already kicking in.

10) What would you advice would give someone thinking about a Malamute as a pet?

Life with Malamutes (Photo: @lifewithmalamutes / Instagram)

Life with Malamutes (Photo: @lifewithmalamutes / Instagram)

The first 18 months are pure hell! Something in your house will be destroyed as they are pups. There is no way around this but it’s worth it in the end. Never give up as there are far too many Huskies and Malamutes in rescues.

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11) When did you decide to start your Instagram page, Life With Malamutes?

Initially it was my personal page but my friends were getting annoyed with how much I posted about my dog so about two weeks after getting Phil I turned it into his own page and set up my own separate one. My friends made fun and said he’d never get to 200 followers, then 2000 and soon after that they stopped making fun.

12) How and when did you become the biggest Malamute account on Instagram?

After our wedding two years ago. Although at the time I think the largest [Malamute] one was around 180k.

13) What advice would you have for dog owners looking to improve the Instagram game?

Only post quality items, don’t over post, engage with your audience via stories and going live, replying to comments.

14) What are the pros and cons of being such a big Instagram account?

Life with Malamutes (Photo: @lifewithmalamutes / Instagram)

Life with Malamutes (Photo: @lifewithmalamutes / Instagram)

The Cons: It takes so much time and commitment but it’s not something that can fund your lifestyle. You don’t make money off of Instagram. Not enough to give up a full-time job anyway so its literally just a hobby. On YouTube, you get paid based on your views so if your looking to become a full time influencer focus on YouTube rather than Instagram.

15) When did you start your YouTube channel? How does it compare to Instagram?

Our YouTube is a third of the size of our Instagram following with just 113k subscribers but we do make money on YouTube based on our views. Not enough for one of us to give up work but our hope is maybe one day soon and we can spend more time creating good content and focusing on being at home with the new baby. YouTube comments are generally harsher. Instagram has better restrictions in place to filter out hate comments.

Alaskan Malamute pros and cons


• Intelligence – They are super smart once you find what works for your pet and invest time in training them well as pups it pays dividends for years to come.

• Loyalty – They are super loyal. You are their world, they will die for you.

• Protection – They’re very protective. They make good guard dogs if needed.

• Best Friends – They work well together – its good to have more than one for a pack life.

• Fun – You can get into sports with them: rallying, racing, sledding and mountain climbing. We do all sorts of extreme sports with ours.


• Harder to train – They do take a lot longer to train than some breeds as they are so stubborn. It’s not that they aren’t intelligent but they choose to ignore you after a while.

• They are very strong – Two is very hard for me if I have them on leads and a squirrel runs past or something. They can – and have – overpowered me in the past. I have been dragged down hills into puddles, into lakes and all sorts due to their sheer strength.

• Expensive to insure – Honestly the quotes we get to insure these pets is insane especially as they get older. We are actually thinking it’d be better to just put the monthly insurance premium into an ISA and spend it as and when needed rather than trying to claim.

• Expensive to feed – We feed them high quality. A lot of people feed raw which is equally as expensive. We are passionate about feeding grain free which comes at a cost. To adequately feed two Malamutes, it costs roughly £220 a month.

You can follow Life With Malamutes on Instagram:

You can subscribe to Life With Malamutes on YouTube here.

You can follow Milomute on Instagram:

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