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.
Am I the pet for you?
- Alaskan Malamutes have a great temperament if they have had the right training and are suitable for any family with space or at least access to space.
- If you are a long distance runner, Alaskan Malamutes are excellent running mates, just watch for how hot they are getting
- Alaskan Malamutes are a proud and distinctive dog and there aren’t too many about so great if you’re looking to stand out from the crowd.
- An inactive Alaskan Malamutes will seek out and destroy property if it is not regularly exercised.
- Not the best breed for the majority of the Australian climate. It is an Arctic dog not well suited to the extremes of an Antipodean summer.
- Early training is a must. These are smart animals that will take advantage of withering owners.
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