|Why you shouldn't shave your Malamutes
|~Mellow, but playful
~Eager to please
~Loves Children and people in general
Some Ideal Human Companions:
~Cold-climate dwellers but do well in warmer climates
~True Dog Lovers who spend a lot of time with their dogs
What They're Like to Live With:
Alaskan Malamutes may look like lone wolves, but they could be funny, playful and friendly. They love to goof around,
play games and be rowdy. As Alaskan Malamutes mature they do become more mellow and easygoing, but they never
really lose touch with their inner-puppy. Take them outside any day and they'll frolic with the best of them. They love
to play tug-of-war or with tennis balls. Almost any outdoor activity that you enjoy, they will participate in. They enjoy
hiking, camping, boating, sledding and pulling.
While they do possess intimidating looks, they have no real guard-dogging qualities. They are very friendly and
outgoing. They rarely see a stranger.
Malamutes have tons of hair. They should be brushed weekly to keep the hair floating around your home to a
Malamutes do better when other animals are present in the home, as they are the "Pack Animals."
Things You Should Know:
As you can tell from looking at them, Malamutes prefer cooler temperatures. If you happen to live in a warmer
climate, keep your Malamute in the cool indoors or in the shade on hot days. Give them plenty of cool water to drink.
They can drink an unusual amount of water in hot weather. Mine love to have a swim before their naps. They will
thank you for it.
The Northern Group of dogs is a direct descendant of the rugged northern wolf (Canis lupus). This group, like their
undomesticated ancestors, maintained the characteristics that protect from the harsh environment of the upper
European countries. Weather-resistant coats protect from the rain and cold. There is a long, coarse outercoat that
sheds snow and rain and a dense undercoat that insulates against subzero temperatures. These coats are especially
abundant around the and mouth should the animal be forced to sleep in the snow. Small prick ears are not as easily
frostbitten or frozen as the large and pendulous ears of some of the other breeds. The muzzle has sufficient length to
warm the frigid air before it reaches the lungs. Leg length is sufficient to keep the chest and abdomen above the snow
line. Tails were carried horizontally or up and over the back rather than trailing behind in the snow. (Jane Holabach)
Bred to run great distances, Alaskan Malamutes are very active and need lots of exercise. They might not do well in
an apartment unless exercised regularly. Ideally, they should have a big yard with a high fence. Be warned, these dogs
like to dig. So unless you don't want some cheap landscaping done in your yard, a Malamute may not be for you.
Most of our dogs don't dig and the ones that do are either trying to catch a mole or are nesting, getting ready to
whelp. Some of them dig a Malamute to roam around and patrol the borders. Our dogs walk our fence line daily.
A healthy Malamute can live as long as 15 years. The oldest living Malamute on record was over 20 years old.
They shed fairly heavily in the spring and fall. Malamutes possess a "double coat" which is nothing but two layers of
coat called a topcoat (long "guard hairs") and an undercoat (a layer of thick, downy fuzz next to their skin under the
guard hairs). The undercoat acts as an insulator and grows thick during winter so that they shed and be discarded
during spring and summer. Generally, the male dogs only shed heavily in spring and summer. But the females
frequently shed at the time of their estrus or heat cycle also. Malamutes do not have that "wet dog" smell like other
dogs do. Regular bathing is unnecessary as the Malamutes coat sheds dirt readily and the dog is clean and has little
odor. They are a very clean dog, grooming themselves frequently. Some of my dogs go to bed filthy dirty from
swimming in the pond and wake up squeeky clean. The Malamute Bath Fairy must come in the night and bathe them.~
The Alaskan Malamute was ranked 58th out of 174 dog breeds in 2004 AKC registrations.
White band of color
encircling the neck
|History of the Alaskan Malamute
In the Alaskan Malamute’s 5000 plus years in North America, it's been involved in every important era of Alaska's history.
Earliest Native People (3000 BC to Present)
The Alaskan Malamute, one of the twelve ancient breeds and one of the oldest Arctic sled dogs, was named after the native Inuit tribe
called Mahlemuts, who settled along the shores of Kotzebue Sound in the upper western part of Alaska, within the Arctic Circle over
5,000 years ago. They worked closely with early the Arctic settlers to hunt and track and pull heavy sledges loaded with supplies. They
kept a lookout for bears and guarded the caribou herds. They even baby-sat the Inuit children while parents were out on hunts, which is
one reason they make very good family pets. They were so gentle that they allowed the human babies to crawl in and snuggle up with
their puppies. Their use of dogs was a partnership for survival.
European Explorers -- 1700-1800’s
The journals and logs of Captain Cook and other European explorers to Alaska showed that they were VERY impressed by the big,
strong, hardworking Alaskan Malamute who got along and worked so well with humans. They note that the dogs kept by the Mahlemut
people were better cared for than was usual for Arctic sled dogs, and this seemingly accounts for the breeds affectionate disposition.
Russian Alaska -- 1731-1867
Travel logs of the early Russian and English explorers often reported a superior and better kept type of work dog kept by the Mahlemut
people. They wrote about them being less “wild”, more friendly and easy going, and capable of an enormous amount of work, both hunting
Alaska Purchase & Statehood -- 1867-1959
and could pull very heavy loads to areas that were otherwise not accessible. Often, they carried a thousand pounds of mail at a time, and
it is said they would arrive in Nome, frisky and ready to run again. Their efforts helped to open up Alaska for settlement and development.
By the time of the Gold Rush, Alaskan Malamutes, with their ability to haul equipment and people, were in high demand. They were so
highly valued that a prospector would pay $500 dollars for one good dog and $1500 for a small team!
Polar Expeditions -- Multiple expeditions between 1909-1956
Alaskan Malamutes contributed to the polar expeditions of Perry, Amundsen, and Byrd to the South Pole. They were employed to pull
the heavy supply sleds. The successful exploration of this vast continent could not have been accomplished without the help of the
Alaskan Malamute. They were able to work for weeks on end without negative effects of the daily strain. They still actively do this work
Helping France in World War I. -- 1914-1918
During World War I., the Alaskan Malamute was called into service by the French army where troops in far-reaching mountain outposts
were surrounded and cut off from supplies. The Nome Kennel Club shipped 450 Alaska Malamutes to France where the dogs easily
tackled the harsh conditions and moved needed supplies to save the day.
The Serum Run -- 1925
Alaskan Malamutes participated in the historical 1925 Serum Run to Nome, a fact that most people do not know.
World War II. -- 1939-1945
The Alaskan Malamute was important to America’s efforts during World War II. They pulled sleds in snow covered areas that were not
accessible to other, more mechanical means of transportation. They were used as pack animals to carry weaponry and ammunition,
served as search-and-rescue dogs, and sniffed for mines. The military tried to make the Alaskan Malamute guard dogs, but they failed
the test because they just liked people too much to attack a person.
Working in the Expeditions that First Discovered Prudhoe Bay -- 1906-Present Day
Alaskan Malamutes provided transportation for Ernest de Koven Leffingwell’s pioneering mapping of the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge
geology and the Arctic coastline. They were there when Leffingwell first speculated that Prudhoe Bay would one day become what it is
today…the largest oil field in North America.
Jamie Rodriguez, Polaris K-12 School in Anchorage
|There is only one known health survey of Alaskan Malamutes, a 2004 UK study. The
median lifespan of 10.7 years measured in that survey is very typical of a breed their size.
The major cause of death was cancer (36%). However, Malamutes in the US typically have
longer life spans (12.6 yrs) and less genetic issues than those in the UK, since the UK
population stemmed from a smaller number of imports with a higher proportion of inbreeding.
Much anecdotal evidence suggests they have on average one of the longest lifespans of
large dogs, up to 15 years.