Malamutes are powerful, active and versatile dogs. Their place in the history and culture of northern natives is the same as the horse to western Americans. Their origin as sledge dogs for heavy freighting in the Arctic is fundamental to the structure and temperament of this natural breed. Malamutes need activity and enjoy recreation like sledding, backpacking and skijoring, and performance competitions like obedience, agility, and weight-pulling. Dignified and strong-willed, they respond best to consistent training based on motivation, not force. Malamutes make great companions for the right family, but not good watch dogs, and their heavy coats require regular brushing.