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Alaskan Malamute

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Unlike many of the dogs that originate from near the Arctic circle, the Alaskan Malamute was built for strength and endurance rather than speed.

Nowadays, their love of people makes them excellent family dogs though their friendliness neuters any chance their formidable stature might scare off an intruder.

Where I'm From

The Alaskan Malamute is said to originate from a small corner of upper western Alaska. Amongst the Iñupiat people of the region, the malamute is a prominent member of the community. Apart from companionship, it is an excellent working dog, able to pull immense loads. It is also an excellent hunter, able to take on polar bears and seek out seal breathing and haulout holes on the pack ice.

Recognition for the breed did not come until 1935 even though it had been credited with helping various polar expeditions in previous years as well as miners during the Gold Rush of 1896.

What I Look Like

Its colouring, wide head and erect ears give a wolf like appearance though malamutes have more of a proud and friendly expression. The ears themselves are small in comparison to the head whilst the muzzle is long and broad, only slightly wider at the skull than the tip of the nose. Malamute eyes are almond shaped and almost always a shade of brown.

This giant of a dog has a stocky build with a thick waterproof coat that can be black, grey, sable or red with distinctive white markings. It actually has a double coat, the undercoat being oily and wooly in texture whilst the outer guard coat is coarse. The feet are large, excellent for traversing the snowy northern lands.

Its tail is large, well furred and plumed, great for covering its nose to keep it warm during a blizzard.

How I Act

Alaskan Malamutes greet everyone as a friend with their playful nature. As pack animals they excel when part of their human, family making sure they are part of the activity currently being played out.

Their temperament is dependent on a number of factors, including heredity, training and socialisation. Get the right puppy, expose it to plenty of different people and situations and it should grow into a well-rounded dog.

They need space and plenty of opportunity to exercise. If they don’t, boredom can lead to destruction. Don’t get this confused with Alaskan Malamutes love of digging. They cannot help themselves so its own place to dig in the yard is the best policy to have.

Looking After Me

Long walks are a must for Alaskan Malamutes and if you’ve got something for them to carry, all the better. Make sure though that the amount of exercise is relative to the dog’s age and health level.

A daily five minute brush is a must as is a good vacuum cleaner. These dogs shed heavily once a year in the case of males and twice yearly with females. Malamutes have a tendency to groom themselves regularly and an added bonus is that their coat is odorless. Unsurprisingly, as Arctic dogs, Malamutes are sensitive to heat. They are not well suited to hot and humid climates but if so, they will need plenty of shade and fresh water and no exercise during the hottest parts of the day.

In general they are a healthy breed but can be prone to particular ailments such as chondrodysplasia, hip dysplasia, hypothyroidism, inherited polyneuropathy cataracts and hemeralopia.

Just like people, dogs don’t all need the same amount of food. Four to five cups of high quality dry food divided into two meals over the course of a day should suffice.

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Cockatiel plucking her feathers

Hi! I hope you can help me with my cockatiel, I write from Spain and here they aren't that common so vets don't know much about treating them. I have a 5 years old female cockatiel and she is very affectionate, 2 years ago I had to spend a couple of months at a hospital and my parents during that time were either working or visiting me, so she felt lonely and started plucking her feathers. Even after I went back home she continued with this behaviour and hasn't stopped. I took her to different vets, they told me to give her small amounts of a syrup that was meant for calming itching and an antibiotic in case it was something producing an itching, but neither worked. I also tried a spray called "Pluck-no-more" with the same results. In case she was lonely we got her a mate, but it may be also female since they don't pay attention to each other at all. She rubs her cloaca on the perch often but the other tiel ignores it (the pet shop said it was male but they said the same with her and then she laid an egg...). The layer that covers the feather while growing (not sure of the name in English) doesn't grow normally, looks more like bland plastic than a hard cover like the ones on my other birds pin feathers (besides her, I have another cockatiel and a lovebird). Is as if the feathers on the plucking areas aren't growing correctly. The areas she plucks are under the wings, the part where wings join the body, and the body area that is covered by the wings while resting. While plucking she lets out small cries. The fluff covers these areas so by just looking at her isn't easy to tell, unless you watch her while preening. I let her play outside of the cage very often, but lately she can't fly well and I think it may be caused by the loss of these feathers. As I said, vets in this area are more specialized in cats and dogs and know little about parrots, so I hope you can advise me since these birds are native to Australia. Is there some kind of balm or spray I can apply on her skin to soothe it? Some medicine I can ask my local vet to use? I love her and it hurts seeing her in pain everytime she preens. Any advice would be much appreciated. Greetings from Spain!