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Alaskan Malamute

Alaskan Malamute
Alaskan Malamute
Source: Skyland Malamutes

The Alaskan Malamute is a large northern dog breed originally developed for use as a sled dog. The Malamute is a descendant of dogs of the Mahlemiut tribe of upper western Alaska. Most Malamutes today are kept as family pets or show dogs. The Malamute temperament is friendly and affectionate by reputation, but they are known among dog drivers for their readiness to scrap with other dogs.

From time immemorial northern people have relied for transport on sledge dogs, directly derived from northern wolves. travelers in polar regions argue hotly about the merits of the different breeds, some of which still have the reputation of being unreliable as working dogs and untrustworthy in temperament. However, northern peoples have deliberately bred more disciplined animals. such breeds are the Alaskan malamutes, the national dogs of Alaska; the Russian laikas; the nooka dogs of Iceland, and the samoyeds.

In keeping with the dog;s ancient past, toady's malamute is described in its breed standard as loyal, affectionate, friendly, dignified and devoted. With this standard guiding its breeding, it's little wonder that the well-bred malamute commands such enthusiasm from its human companions.

While many people dream of bringing a new puppy into the house and raising into a lovely adult it is destined to be, doing this right requires a great deal of time and effort.

To raise a puppy correctly, you must for all practical purposes, become the young dog's surrogate mom and commit to molding into a well-behaved adult. This, as any mom can testify, can be a full-time job. Obedience training, household manners, house training, and socialization are the ingredients that lead to a well-behaved adult malamute. Such a dog does not occur as a natural phenomenon; it is the product of hours of nurturing, sweat and consistency.

Those who honestly do not believe that they have the time to raise a puppy, but believe that must have a malamute in the house, may be more interested in adopting an adult dog, that has already received its basic education and experienced the challenging trials of adolescence. In fact, many have found hat they prefer a dog that is 5 or 6 years of age, as this dog will tend to be more settled, its youthful exuberance will have mellowed somewhat, and he will be more content devoting its time to its duties as family companion. If you overcome the prejudice too many people harbor against bringing an older dog into the home, you may just find a treasure.

Malamutes and Children

The Alaskan Malamute is fiercely loyal to its "pack," loves the children of its own family, and gets along with other animals if socialized with them early. However, in mixing Malamutes and children, thought should be given to Mal's independent nature, his dominance level in the pack and his hunting instincts. Care must be taken by the parents to ensure that the child is the dominant partner in the relationship and the child respects the dog. Dominance discipline administered by an adult dog to an infant can be fatal. An infant crying seems particularly disturbing to some Malamutes and may activate a prey response.

A Malamute is likely to endure only so much ear-pulling, climbing, squeezing before expressing his annoyance. Few will accept outright abuse, especially from children who do not "belong" to them. Therefore, you should not stake out a Malamute where children might tease or torment him.

The Alaskan Malamute comes from an Arctic line of dogs. This is a strong, outdoor-loving breed of dogs. The Malamute's thick, course double-layer of fur makes it a more suitable breed for areas with mild to colder climates. While the Alaskan Malamute mostly enjoys the outdoors, they make great house pets. In return for their loyalty the Malamute requires a great deal of companionship and attention from their owners.

The Malamute is friendly and fond of people, especially children. He is very intelligent but also very independent-minded. He needs an owner who is definitely the pack leader and needs plenty of exercise to occupy his mind and body.

Alaskan Malamute Breed Outline
Country of Origin:U.S.A.
FCI Classification: Group 5: Spitz and primitive types; Section 1: Nordic Sledge Dogs.
Utilization: Sledge Dog
AKC Classification:Working Group
Personality:Intelligent, calm, loyal. The large size and solid structure of these dogs can be intimidating, even though in actuality Alaskan Malamutes generally possess a calm and friendly demeanor. They are usually reserved toward strangers.
Size:Large
Height:23-25 inches at shoulders
Colors: The usual colors range from light gray through intermediate shadings to black, sable, and shading of sable to red. Color combinations are acceptable in undercoats, points and trimmings. The only solid color allowable is all-white.
Other Names:Malamute
Average Litter Size:6
Life Span:10-14 years
Grooming Requirements: Low. Malamutes need to be brushed 2-3 times a week to maintain their thick coat in proper condition.
Shedding:Heavy seasonal.
Social skills: Early socialization with other dogs is critical. They can be aggressive toward dogs of the same sex.
Suitability for Children:Malamutes need close supervision while they are around small children to prevent any unforeseen mishaps that can happen between a young child and a large dog.
Exercise Needs:High. Alaskan Malamutes are strong and powerful dogs and need daily exercise for at least 2 hours, preferably several times a day. These powerful dogs need a job in their lives. Without being busy, they can be very destructive and tend to escape in search of adventures.
Train Ability:A bit slow to learn new commands, these giants perform quite well in obedience and agility competitions.
Health Issues:The Malamute is one of the hardiest dog breeds. Hip dysplasia and mineral deficiencies (skin problems) are most common of the few ailments this breed suffers from.

Comments

By alaskan101   Tuesday, March 26, 2013 7:35:13 AM

Hi, I have enjoyed reading your stories, Malamutes are a wonderful breed of animal and the best companions. I researched several breeds for 6 months or more when I was looking for a dog to join our family. My son was 7years old at the time. After meeting with several Malamute breeders we finally got our 5 month old Malamute girl. There were trying times but there were more fun times, I lost her to liver cancer after 8 years, it came on so fast and with no warning or signs. Kemo and drugs could not help keep her and it broke my heart to watch her put to sleep, She was Eyota Miakoda (Power of the Moon) That was in June 2004 and a few weeks later I fostered 2 Malamutes a Male and a Female (they had been together in a family who could not take them with them on a work relocation) so after a couple months they were signed over to me. The female Aneeak was the reincarnation of Eyota Miakoda and it was as if she had come back to me, same colour, features and especially nature, the Male Bello, well he took a bit of getting used to, its 5 years down the track with them and I have overcome obsticales with Bello and he has adjusted to his place in the household, ie number 2 honcho. I am sad as my girl Aneeak has a tumor or cancer in her rib area she has a swelling in her right side and it is getting bigger but she is soldering on, she is now 8 years old the same age when I lost Eyota Miakoda, I told myself when I first took these two Malamutes on that I would not allow myself to become attached to them, but, how can you not. I love my Malamutes and now I am about to loose another, I have shearched for causes and reasons why, but there is no answer, what could I have done to prevent this, I only ever give my dogs the best, I spend more on their wellbeing than I do on myself. And that is so rediculious. But they are my best and most reliable companions since I have been on my own for 7 years now. I read the emails on this site and felt that I needed to talk about my sadness of soon loosing another Malamute to Cancer.



By chewbacca   Wednesday, April 10, 2013 5:37:26 PM

According to kennel experts, the malamute is a domesticated purebred dog, and has been for many centuries. However, there is a disagreement about this, and to deny the influence of wolf in the breed is a bit like stating that the Great Dane has no mastiff in him. Yet the experts are right in that much ado over the wolfness of some of the Alaskan dogs has given them an uncomfortable reputation.





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