A Rainbow of Colors

sable alaskan Malamute
gray alaskan Malamute
red alaskan Malamute

Snowlion Alaskan Malamutes come in a variety of colors: from light red to brown; seal and black, various shades of sable as well as gray.

Snowlion Puppies

Seal & White Alaskan Malamute
Black & White Alaskan Malamute
Sable & White Alaskan Malamutes
Red  & White alaskan malamutes
  Brown & White alaskan malamutes
Gray and White Alaskan Malamutes
Light gray & White Alaskan Malamutes
Light gray

The AKC Alaskan Malamute standard recognizes all these colors as well as solid white. The primary color designation--gray, red, black, sable, seal-- refers to the undercoat color of the body. The "and white" part of the color designation refers to the legs and underside of the dog. Any of these colors are acceptable for the show ring as long as the dog is evenly marked and has no large uneven splashes or piebald spots.

Coat color will change from puppy to adulthood. Many of our gray and white puppies will appear beige-to-light gray at 8 weeks with little to no black evident. Our sable pups will have a pronounced brownish-red undercoat. By 9 months as the adult coat develops, black-tipping will appear on the outer coat, giving the pups a darker grey and black guard coat over a light gray & buff undercoat for the grays and black-tipped guard coat over a brownish coat for the sables. This is a typical progression of color change from puppy to adult coats. Please note this black-tipping on the guard coat does not make the dog a black and white.

Colors and markings are strictly cosmetic; we do not even consider them when selecting pups to keep for our breeding program and sled team. Temperament, conformation and gait always take priority.

Color Variation

Each of the color categories (with the exception of the true solids: white or black or brown) will vary, since the overall appearance depends on four factors:

In contrast, the distribution of pigment in the solid colors is more uniform: guard coats and undercoats are similar in color--all white (with some cream or biscuit variation possible); all black, with dark charcoal gray to black undercoat; all brown or mahogany red including the undercoat.

Distinguishing between a Seal and Black & White

seal alaskan malamutes
Seal & White
black alaskan malamutes
Black & White

At a distance, some seal and white malamutes appear to be black. To distinguish between dark seals and true blacks check the color of the undercoat. True blacks have solid black guard hairs from tip to base, and dark charcoal gray undercoats, where seals have a lighter colored undercoat--cream or light gray. At birth it is not always easy to seperate the dark seals from the "true" black and whites. Many seals will develop silver tipping of the guard coat along the sides and the overall 'black' appearance gradually lightens.

The Sables and the Reds

Sable alaskan malamutes
Sable & White
red malamutes
Red & White

How to tell them apart? Sables have black noses, eyelids, and a varying amounts of black tipped guard coat. Reds do not have any black pigment: they have liver-colored noses and no black factor in their coats. Both sables and reds come in a variety of shades.

A look at markings

open face
Open Face
mascara often fades
Puppy Tai with mascara
open face malamute
Tai Adult- Open Face

Open face malamutes have a 'cap' of color and no other facial markings. Some malamutes have full masks: both a bar down the nose and goggles under the eyes. Others have only goggles or only a bar. Any of these markings are acceptable for the show ring. Markings and coat colors can lighten or darken as a dog matures.

Full masks

Seal with full mask
Seal & White with full mask
Black & White and Red  full masks
Black & Mahogany Red full masks
Brook with full mask
Seal & white with full mask

More Markings: bars & goggles

Gray with goggles
Gray & White with light goggles
Gray & white with bar
Gray & White with Bar
gray with goggles
Gray & White with goggles

Please keep in mind that a puppy's color or markings should not be the basis for selecting a show, working or companion dog. These traits have no bearing on a dog's personality or performance. We've finished dogs of every color and produced five Best in Show males that were gray, red, and black. Here at Snowlion Kennels, we are 'color blind.'

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