Alaskan malamute (mălˈəmyōtˌ) [key], breed of strong, compact working dog believed to be one of the oldest arctic sled dogs. It stands about 23 in. (58.2 cm) high at the shoulder and weighs from 70 to 85 lb (31.75–38.5 kg). Its coarse coat is composed of oily, woolly underhairs and a thick cover coat. It may be colored any shade of gray or black with white markings. Named after the Malamutes, an Innuit tribe of N Alaska, it has been raised for centuries as a sled dog. The malamute is by nature a gentle and devoted companion; claims of wolf ancestry have never been proved. The malamute is often called a "husky," a term which properly applies to one purebred arctic dog, the Siberian husky. See dog.