The largest and oldest of the Arctic sled dogs, the Alaskan Malamute possesses great strength and endurance. He is not designed to race, but rather to carry large loads over long distances. Today, many Malamutes are family pets, but are highly athletic and still capable of enjoying sledding, weight-pulling, back-packing, jogging and swimming with their owners. An American breed, the Alaskan Malamute was named after the native Innuit tribe called Mahlemuts, who settled in Alaska. They have always been used as sled dogs for heavy freighting in the Arctic. The breed is cousin to the other Arctic breeds: the Samoyed, the Siberian Husky and the American Eskimo dog.