Sometimes it can be hard to distinguish between a reputable breeder versus a breeder who's breeding for the wrong reasons.

The easiest way to see a reputable breeder is by the health tests and clearances they perform on their dogs. Just saying "I've never seen a problem" is a terrible excuse! It's important to know what health conditions their dogs have and reputable breeders health test their dogs. You can look dogs up publicly on the OFA website ( Make sure you can get proof that their dogs were tested - some people are dishonest enough to lie about it.

Be wary of breeders who only do DNA tests through Embark or WisdomPanel. Although they "test for 200+ genetic diseases", malamutes are only prone to about 3-5 of them. It's good information to have, but it is NO substitute for actual evaluations such as hips, eyes, heart, etc. 

  • A responsible breeder will always take their dogs back. They will have a health warranty on their puppies.
    • They also won't guilt you into keeping a dog by threatening to euthanize your dog! There are breeders who offer to take a dog back but tell you they'll have the dog put to sleep. Barring any serious issues, that's a way to guilt trip you into not returning a dog. 
  • Responsible breeders don't breed often. You'll be lucky if you find a litter just when you're looking for it. If a breeder that you like does not have puppies in the time that you are looking, ask for a reference to another reputable breeder.
  • A reputable breeder has a reason behind every breeding. They should be able to tell you why they picked those particular two dogs.
  • A reputable breeder cares about where their puppies go. If a breeder's biggest concern is how you'll pay for the puppy, they are only in it for the money.
    • Spoiler alert - if they have a link to Paypal or another payment service on their website, run far away.
  • Reputable breeders keep their puppies until at least 8 weeks of age. Personally, I think 9-10 weeks is best so the puppies get optimal time with their littermates and mother. 
  • Not every reputable / responsible breeder participates in conformation shows, BUT claiming a dog has "champion bloodlines" is a crock. Malamutes have a very small gene pool compared to some other breeds. *Every* malamute has champion bloodlines because they all go back to the same dogs! 
    • If there aren't dogs within the last 2 generations of the pedigree with some form of titles (either conformation, working, or performance) ask the breeder what they do with their dogs. If they work their dogs in harness but don't compete, that's different than someone breeding two non-working, untitled dogs together. Having a dog occasionally work does not make it a working dog; that makes it an active pet. With all the dogs in rescue, there is no need for two pet dogs to have puppies; they won't be contributing to better or preserve the breed. 
  • Reputable breeders have a contract on their dogs, because they care about their future. They want to do whatever they can to ensure the dog will have a happy and healthy life with their new family.

 Visit our friend's webpage on Decoding Breeder Websites!

Finding a Reputable Breeder

A great resource to look for a responsible breeder is on the Alaskan Malamute Club of America website. Even if a breeder in your area doesn't have puppies, they can direct you to someone that they trust for other options. 

The average price of a malamute puppy ranges from $1000 to $2500.. If a breeder is charging differently based on size, coat color or coat length, run away. A puppy with a long coat is no more or less valuable than a regular coat, there are no rare colors that are worth more money, and there are NEVER blue eyes! 

Questions you may want to ask a potential breeder include: 

  • Do the parents have health clearances? (Ask for their registration numbers so you can find the results yourself, or ask for proof elsehow)
  • Are your puppies sold on a contract? What does the contract entail?
  • What is your health guarantee and warranty on the puppies?
  • How are your puppies raised? (Many people have had lovely dogs come from kennels. Others only want puppies raised in the house, and others still want them raised in the living areas of the house without any kennels, etc.)
  • What sort of support do you provide for puppy buyers? (This is also personal preference. You may never want to speak to your breeder again, or you may want them to remain in touch throughout the life of your dog. Either way, if you're both on the same page, it makes for an easier relationship on whatever level you choose).
  • How do your malamutes get along with other dogs? Some malamutes are aggressive, some are reactive, and some (rare ones) do get along with any other dog. 
  • Do you do any activities with your dogs? 
  • Think of what's important to YOU. Hopefully you'll have your new dog for at least 10-12 years. What kind of dog do you want for that length of time?

    Here is a blog with even more in depth questions to ask, once you know they're a responsible breeder: Ruffly Speaking's Questions to Ask a Responsible Breeder