Alaskan Malamutes

Alaskan Malamutes

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Breed Notes

Although probably arriving in North America with early Stone Age peoples from Europe, the Malamute was first noted in more modern times by early Russian explorers to western Alaska. They reported the existence of dogs pulling sleds, carrying packs and hunting seals for the Mahlemut Inuit peoples. More recently he has been part of expeditions to both the North and South Poles. The breed was recognized by the American Kennel Club in 1935.
The Malamute is loyal, 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.
The Malamute's body must be powerful and well-muscled but not clumsy. He should tend toward a single track when he moves. His head is broad with a large skull, brown eyes, powerful jaws and scissors bite. His markings give him a wolf-like appearance. His ears are pricked and slightly rounded at the top. His tail is set high and carried over the back like a plume when the dog is not working. Coat colors may be a combination of any of the following with white: wolf gray, black, sable, or red. A pure white coat is the only acceptable solid color. He is a double-coated dog with dense undercoat to protect him from extremes of weather and longer outercoat to shed ice and snow. Because he sheds twice each year, his coat needs to be kept brushed and free of dirt and dead hair. Malamutes should range from at height of 25 inches at the withers and about 85 pounds for males and 23 inches at the withers and 75 pounds for females. of Memphis writes:

Best dog I've ever had.
He was a monster, just huge and woolly but had the best temperament. His willingness to obey was only limited by my inability to make him understand what I required of him. He was excellent off-lead, loved everyone he met and would not run off. I took him to my akido classes where he would wait in the observation area beside the mat; if he ever stood up all I had to do was look at him and raise an eyebrow and he'd lay down. He lived to be 13 and I miss him every day. They are not for everyone, if you want a great family member and have the time and patience to show your Malamute how to be part of your life, well, have at it. You get out of it what you put into it.

Name withheld by request of Ohio writes:

Not bred to be family pets.
Malamutes are part wolf. They were bred to be tough loners in the Pacific Northwest. They were not bred for temperament and personality. They need strong leadership from their humans and some tough work to do.
Some people choose Malamutes as pets because they like the wildness and wolf-like appearance. But you should never choose a breed for appearance. Malamutes are one of the five WORST breeds in biting people so seriously that the person needs hospital treatment. I know someone who got a Malamute because she liked the wolf part. One day her son was sitting on the couch with the dog lying beside him. The dog jumped up and removed a large chunk of the boy's face. After plastic surgery restoration, the boy is still deformed for life. Don't try to make a wolf into a pet. Some Malamutes adapt to family living okay, but many are dangerous, especially around children.

Name withheld by request of Pennsylvania writes:

Fantastic dogs.
We have been fortunate enough to have owned three Alaskan Malamutes. We have just recently had to put our last beloved Malamute to rest. He would have been fifteen this year. All of our Malamutes have been great. They were all taken to other dogs fantastically and have never had a problem with them being aggressive toward people or other dogs. They all have been very strong-willed, therefore a little difficult in the obedience schooling arena. I love the fact that they don't bark, but really have had little experience with any of them howling. The hair is something we have learned to deal with, and thank goodness I love to vacuum. They are very caring and love to take walks. We have been debating whether to get another dog or not, but if we do it will most definitely be another Malamute. of Wellsville, OH writes:

A hardworking and devoted companion.
As the owner of seven Siberian Huskies and one Malamute, I can honestly tell you there is a BIG difference in the two breeds. Besides the obvious size and weight difference, there is a personality difference. The Malamute has an alpha personality &shyp; a dominance attitude that may be displayed by aggressive fighting among dogs; its size and eye level. This can be very hard to deal with for some people. Most Malamutes are small-prey oriented and shouldn't be around small dogs or cats. I was very lucky in that my Malamute loves our eight cats; to her they are her "babies" and don't you touch them. The only canine that we encountered severe fight-to-death matches with was our wolf-hybrid (natural instinct and enemy). The Siberians joined the household after her and she thought they were her pups and mothered every one when they were small. I could rent her out as an earth-mover due to her digging abilities &shyp; out-dug all my Siberians. I have only found two people she didn't like or take to and they were non-animal people. However, the heart and soul of her belongs to her masters and the mushers whom she desires to please so much. She is the happiest when she is in harness and doing what she loves. I will miss her greatly when the day comes for her to go to the Rainbow Bridge. of New Caney, TX writes:

Very beautiful and worth having one ... if you live in an area with plenty of room.
These dogs are the most beautiful breed of dogs ever. I have owned one, and got great satisfaction just watching her. I believe to have one is a privilege, but to confine it in a very small area is no life for it because of their instict to roam, so wolf-like, and it would not be right to keep it on a leash or chain. As for any antics ... they do howl whenever they feel the wolfish urge, and they love to bounce, so any stranger or dogcatcher would certainly have trouble catching him/her! They are family dogs if trained but normally tend to be attached to a dominant "alpha," ignoring most other members of the family, or only to tolerate them (when roughhousing and such) or shy away. They also tend to paw a lot, but only when playful, and believe me it hurts.
Now to the question: "Are they good watch/guard dogs?" The answer is yes and no, they'll watch, but they won't bark or protect. They'll most likely kick back or run off. They tolerate strangers. At home they make their masters welcome, but do not like to be handled (picked up, pushed, pulled down, stepped on, etc.). They rarely bite and are not temperamental, however when defending their own self they might be. They do not really tolerate other dogs and will not hesitate to attack a strange pup or dog that pounces on it, and when involved in a fight they normally are not the ones who pick the fight, but rather finish them quickly, for they are extremely powerful dogs. They are protectve of their own pups and over time can adjust to caring for helpless pups not of their own. All together they are good dogs, good with children too, and are able to adapt to new dogs or people. In my opinion they are great dogs to have, but only for the right people who are capable of handling one. of Poughkeepsie, NY writes:

A breed with loads of personality!
I couldn't have asked for a better friend and companion! My three-year-old Alaskan Malamute needs lots of exercise (or else she expends her energy on a "search and destroy" mission throughout the house, which usually involves a couple of pairs of my shoes!). Malamutes have boundless energy! My favorite thing about my Malamute is her distinctive personality. She likes to clown around and put on a show, especially for guests. Owning an Alaskan Malamute has been a source of great enjoyment for myself and for others. I'm an Alaskan Malamute lover for life!

Name withheld by request of Virginia writes on 2/27/01:

Not for everyone.
The Alaskan Malamute is a wonderful family pet and our's is great with the FAMILY pets but don't expect them to be this way with other animals especially small animals because of their predatory instincts. We found that our female malamute was easy to train and only howled when greeting the family when we walked in the door. They do shed a lot and will dig quite a bit if not exercised or entertained with toys. of Hawaii writes on 10/12/00:

Not the dog for everybody.
Malamutes are nice dogs, very friendly, but they are not the perfect family dog. They are large, eat a lot of food, are extremely dominant, enjoy howling instead of barking, and need more exercise than their owners probably do or want to give. One must be patient-UNBELIEVABLY PATIENT - to train them (my dog took months to perfect a sit/stay). However, if one can open up their home and heart to such a big, difficult dog, by all means do so. The rewards of friendship, love, and loyalty (in addition to many a hilarious moment)are well worth the work. of Sagle, ID writes on 5/26/00:

The great indoor/outdoor dog.
We have three Alaskan Malamutes and I couldn't imagine life without them. They do not bark, they try at times, but it sounds goofy. All three love to hike and camp and stay close most of the time. There is a lot of training to be done if you do have more than one Malamute. When hiking, they tend to go as a pack and that selective hearing comes into play. But if trained right, they stay close to you as the pack leader, which ours do. It was many frustrating confrontations with them, but they all do wonderful now! They all three are also our indoor kids, and love our two year old like their own. Anyone who plans on owning one should be prepared for a lot of love and exercise. It is very true that they will put food as their number one priority-so carry a fanny pack full of treats. IT WORKS!
We love our Alaskan Malamutes and would never treat them other than family! of Little River, CA writes on 5/12/00:

Both great and wonderful dogs, but think twice before acquiring a Malamute.
They adore people and children and collect a crowd when walking down the street, but they may not be as friendly to every dog. They want to be with you, but they get bored and will climb or dig under any weak fence to visit the neighbors or just go for a good run. They can be trained, but they must have a strong owner and an incentive - treats. Do not expect them to chase a ball without lots of training, but they will gladly put on a harness and pull your cart with no training. They are wonderful, funny, loving pets for those who love exercise and laughter.

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