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. The Malamute coat is thick and coarse, with a plumed tail carried over the back. The coat usually ranges in color from light gray to black or from sable to red. Face markings, including a cap on the head and a bar/mask on the face are often distinguishing features.