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Alaskan Malamute

The Alaskan Malamute was breed to pull heavy loads in extreme climactic conditions. Their development was brought about by the Mahlemuit, a tribe of Inuits, native to the Alaskan region of the northern section, of the Anvik River. There prowess as a heavy freighting dog, pound for pound is unsurpassed. Hauling burdening sledges with food and supplies back to the village, was the use the native put them to. Over the years, there have been changes to the breed, as with most things. You will find argument between breeders and enthusiasts alike, over which line is more original, and also more correct to the original dogs. The two main line types are M’Loot and Kotzebue. The breed has been registered with the American Kennel Club since 1935.

Colors are as follows: wolf gray & white, black & white, seal & white, sable & white, blue & white, and the only solid acceptable color of white. The true Kotzebue has only a wolf gray & white coat.

Are Alaskan Malamutes related to wolves?

Only is so far as dogs in general are descendants of wolves, jackals, and other know sources. It has never been proven that Malamutes are related to either of these families. For the best information on this subject, I suggest a book entitled “Wolves & Hybrids, by Dr. Michael Fox from 1973. The Alaskan Malamute is a pure bred dog, domesticated over many centuries. Often mistaken for wolves along with Siberian Huskies, and used extensively in movies, commercials, and advertisements, being depicted as wolves, it must be understood that they are not wolves.

Are they good with children?

Malamutes, like any other dog, will tolerate certain types of abuse, afforded them by children. It must be understood, that it is not recommended a young child be left alone, unsupervised, with any dog.They are gentle by nature and are generally a good family dog. Children do quite well with them but care must be taken in remembering the strength of these animals. Training your child as well as socializing and training your Malamute is an absolute must. This should give you,your children, and your dog, years of enjoyment together.

Are they hard to take care of?

As a general rule, Malamutes are easy keepers. Females blow their undercoats twice each year when they come in season. Male blow their undercoats once a year, and sometimes twice. Sometimes, they will shed much if their outer guard coat as well, but not as often. They do not continually shed like most breeds. When blowing their coats, it is akin to snow. Tuffs and tuffs will come off in handfuls each day for a few weeks, until finished. During this time, you should brush out the lose hairs as often as possible. Your yard will look like the dog exploded somewhere, leaving all that hair, but it’s normal.

How much do I feed an Alaskan Malamute?

Malamutes are a very low maintenance breed dog. Depending on the particular metabolism and exercise activities of your dog, the amounts may vary. As a general rule a high level activity Malamute can eat from 4 to 5 cups of dry kibble each day. In comparison, a German Shepard of the same basic proportions will consume upwards of twice that amount. The reason, is the environment they were produced from.Low maintenance was essential when food was not plentiful along the trails of the frozen north, and they were designed to survive these conditions.

Lower levels of activity can reduce the amount consumed to perhaps3 cups per day. they should be feed twice a day with half rations each time. This, along with pre-soaking the dry kibble, will help eliminate the possibility of stomach distention and bloat. Alaskan Malamute Puppies should be feed three times a day with lesser amounts until approximately 6 months of age.

Are Alaskan Malamutes agressive towards other dogs?

Many people will tell you yes, others will tell you no. I will tell you, it depends on the manner in which the dog is raised, trained, and socialized. By nature, Malamutes are not an aggressive breed.Environmental conditions, and other outside factors, including not being socialized or trained at all, can make the dog aggressive. These are the dogs you have heard are aggressive, thus propagating that myth. Even the Inuits had to teach them manners. they were designed to be sled dogs, and as such had to get along with other dogs in tight quarters, under adverse conditions. Even a child, needs direction and teaching in the social graces. Malamutes are no exception.

I’ve heard they are hard to train, is this fact?

Another topic that is usually answered with a firm yes or no. In reality,it is all perspective. Each dog and each person has their own intrinsic abilities to teach and to learn. No one person trains the same as another, and has the ability to train in the same manner. No one dog has the capability of learning exactly like another dog either. The Malamute is a highly intelligent working animal, with the ability to learn just about anything you wish to teach it. The proof of the inability and / or the difficulty in training one is in your hands, not the dog’s.

They are stubborn, only due to their intelligence. If you can not show a Malamute the reason for doing something, you will have difficulty.They become bored very easily, due to this intelligence, and it isincumbent upon you to keep training sessions active and flexible to keep their attention.

Are they strictly an outside dog?

Let’s just say, they do better outside than inside, depending upon the dog, and the owners. Some are just as happy to be inside as out.Usually, if the dog has been raised as a house dog from the beginning, they may prefer to be inside. If raised as an outside dog, sometimes, they will not want to stay in the house for very long periods of time, and may even seem uncomfortable, wanting to get back out.

As inside dogs, they are fine, except for the times when blowing coat. Your house will look like an eiderdown exploded. They are not as destructive as say a Labrador, in that their tails will not knock everything off the coffee table. They will find the coolest place in the house to sleep or rest, usually on tile, linoleum or hardwood floors. I do not recommend hardwood floors for those that let there dogs chase through the house. They can be ruined with nail scratches, and very expensive to repair. Also, recommend non-skid floor surface. This will help eliminate the chances of pulled muscled, torn tendons, and dislocated hip sockets and joints, especially when young puppies are involved. Please see the section on Hip Dysplaysia in the left hand menu for more on this.

What temperature can they live in?

Malamutes are adaptable to many different climates. The main thing to remember, is that they need cool, clean water, shade, and preferable location where air is not stagnant. These dogs do well from -70degrees Fahrenheit all they way up to 100 degrees, as long as they have the previously mentioned items.

When the temperature rises, do not shave your dog under any circumstances, unless a medical condition arises demanding it.The Malamute’s outer guard coat hair follicles are hollow, and act as an insulator from the heat, almost as much as from the cold.Also, shaving the hair, even partially, exposes the skin to the harmful effects of the sun, and can burn, creating skin problems, and helping disable the body’s ability to dissipate heat.

Dogs dispel body heat through their pads, nose, and tongue. Alaskan Malamute are no different. Sometimes, on hot days, a children’s wading pool, with cool clean water will be a welcome refresher for them to walk into and cool off. If your handy, microbial misters are a great way to stave off heat. ( The kind of mister you see at places like Magic Mountain, or other amusement parks, that spray you as you wait in line for the rides.)

Always keep an eye out for heat related problems in your dog. Indications are, lethargy, heavy panting with little or no moisture present on the

tongue, drooping eyes, and labored breathing. If you see any of these signs, check your dog out immediately. If you believe the dog to be in distress, take him to the nearest 24 hour emergency veterinary clinic.

Do not ever leave your dog in a car unattended, or otherwise. Many dog have perished from unthinking people, or even people rationalizing that it is not a hot day, and they will be fine for a few minutes, if I leave the windows cracked open a few inches, and put the car in the shade. Guess what? The sun moves, so does the shade. A vehicles interior on a 65 degree day, in direct sun, with the windows cracked open 2 inches, will attain a temperature of 105 degrees in 10 minutes. Leave your dog in there for30 minutes, and he will be dead. No doubt. If you can’t take your dog with you, everywhere you are about to go, or make proper accommodations,
don’t take him.

Are they as powerful as I’ve heard

Pound for pound the Alaskan Malamute is most powerful pulling dog on the face of the earth. Mastiffs, St. Bernard’s, Newfoundland’s, and a few others,are much larger, and may be able to pull more weight if trained properly,but for weight percentage pulled, nothing can outpull a trained Malamute.They have been know to pull up to 10,000 pounds under ideal conditions,(not in snow). They are used in extensively in weight pull competition allover the world, and were bred for pulling sledges, with heavy loads, over great distances.

Just how good are they for sledding?

As a general rule, they are not good SLED dogs, in the purest sense of the word. They are however, unsurpassed as SLEDGE dogs. The

difference is in the type of use. Sled dogs, pull a driver and minimum loads on race or excursion sleds. Sledge dogs, pull a driver, passengers,a heavy load at a much reduced rate of speed, on sledges, or freighting sleds. They are still considered sled dogs, but were primarily used as draft animals and sledging.

You won’t find many Malamutes running the Iditarod, but you will find them in freighting races, pulling a set number of pounds of weight, in the sled basket, per dog. You will also find them pulling equipment and supplies forArctic and Antarctic exploration trips. They are extensively used instead of snow mobiles, and other man made equipment, due to their strength,endurance, dependability, and ability to withstand the rigors of the climates,
more so than machinery.

How do I keep one in good condition with exercise?

An adult Malamute will do well with walking, hiking, backpacking, and accompanying you when you ride a bike, roller blade, or roller skate.Backpacks are available for the dogs, and should be used with proper instruction, and incremental weight build up. As with any exercise for ahuman athlete, treat your dog in the same manner. Bones muscles,tendons, and respiratory systems, must have time to develop gradually. Do not take your puppy, or sedentary adult out one day, and decide to
put a heavy pack on and go for 10 miles, or hook up and pull weight on a cart. These things take time, and careful training. Once learned, they can be a beautiful enhancement for your dogs life, and your own.

As a puppy, up to 18 months, do not do strenuous exercise or weight pulling. Light weights with little resistance are all right for short periods,but this should also be carefully monitored. The body is growing, changing,and developing during this period, and too much stress can break down important part, and injure the dog for life.

To find something to do to exercise a young puppy, take them for walks until 6 months of age, then enroll in a puppy socialization or PUPPY obedience class. Longer walks can be added as the puppy grows and becomes capable. As an adult, if you are so inclined, you can start training for sledding, or weight pulling. Contact local working clubs for information,and were to go for hands on experience, and learning. Learn as much as you can, before brining your dog out, and then work gradually. Check the sledding information section for more details.