Description

The Alaskan Malamute is a large, strong Arctic dog with a thick, coarse double coat and a plumed tail held over the back. It is a ponderous dog, well built, with a solid body, wide head, and a proud expression. The feet are furry and have tough pads. It has erect ears and small, dark, almond shaped eyes. The eyes are obliquely placed in the skull. Eyes are brown, almond shaped and of medium size and look like those of a wolf, but with a sweet expression. Dark eyes are preferred. Blue Eyes are a Disqualifying Fault. The coat averages one to three inches in length and comes in white, black & white, wolf gray, wolf sable (red undercoat with dark gray outer coat), or red, often with darker highlights and sometimes with a dark mask or cap. The legs and muzzle are almost always white. In some areas, dogs may be either smaller or larger than the official standard.

Temperament

The Alaskan Malamute is like a rambunctious puppy. Extremely loyal and intelligent, sweet and most affectionate toward it's master. Great with children who are old enough to play with him safely. Generally they mature into a dignified and mellow adult dog. They are very friendly and therefore are not suitable as a guard dogs. Malamutes are happiest living outdoors as long as they receive enough companionship, but they also enjoy living indoors where their human "pack" lives. Without attention, these dogs may become destructive nuisances. In one case, a single dog ruined an entire living room of furniture valued at $15,000 in just three hours! Malamutes love outdoor activities and even do well in obedience with firm encouragement. Although it can be difficult to train Malamutes for formal obedience, it is not particularly hard to train them to be well-mannered because they love to please. Males can be very dominant. Some dogs may be difficult to housebreak. This breed is a thrifty feeder and needs less food than you might expect. However they do tend to wolf down whatever is offered, which can lead to obesity and bloat. Malamutes are quiet compared to most dogs but they do like to howl and dig. This breed should be supervised around unfamiliar small animals, as they have a strong pry instinct. This does not mean they are not good with small animals. Some Malamutes have been known to raise small kittens as their own. Both sexes can be combative with other dogs, especially with the same sex and breed. Firm handling and training are necessary. Proper socialization with people and other dogs is imperative. Obedience training is highly recommended.

Health Problems

The Alaskan Malamute is generally a very hardy breed. Be careful that you are not buying your Alaskan Malamute from a puppy mill, as some dogs have been having health and temperament problems. They are prone to hip dysplasia, but no more than any other large breed and less then many others. Some are prone to chondrodysplasia, which is dwarfism. Some clubs require OFA, CERF, and CHD (dwarfism test) certification of both parents. Prone to bloat.

Living Conditions

Alaskan Malamutes are not recommended for apartment life. They are fairly active indoors and should have at least a large yard. If you live in a suburban area, a high fence is a must, but bury the base, because they are likely to dig their way out. Alaskan Malamutes like to roam in what he considers to be his territory. The Malamutes coat allows them to withstand extreme cold, but be careful to keep the dog cool in hot climates. Make sure they have shade and plenty of clean cool water.

Exercise

Malamutes need a reasonable amount of exercise. But be careful not to overdue it in warm weather.

Grooming

The Alaskan Malamute has a dense coat and should be brushed twice a week. This breed is a massively heavy shedder. The undercoat comes out in clumps twice a year. Bathing is most unnecessary, as the coat sheds dirt readily. Dry shampoo occasionally. This dog is clean and odorless.

Origin

The Alaskan Malamute is a Nordic dog, descended from the Arctic wolf. Its name comes from Mahlemuts, an Alaskan tribe that raised and cared for these beautiful snow dogs. Originally used 2000 to 3000 years ago by these Mahlemuit Eskimos of Alaska, the dogs were their only form of transportation and were highly valued. They pulled light traveling sleds, and hauled heavy loads (including food and supplies). Later, the Malamute went with Admiral Byrd's expeditions to the pole. This breed has amazing strength, endurance and heart. The Malamute is a sled dog. Packs of Malamutes have participated in many polar expeditions, for which they are particularly well adapted due to their tenacity, sense of direction, and excellent sense of smell. They have appeared as unforgettable characters in the stories of Jack London and Rudyard Kipling. In the last decades, they have proved themselves to be civilized and good-natured in this role. Some of the Alaskan Malamute's talents are sledding, carting, search & rescue, weight pulling and racing.