The Alaskan Malamute is a dog native to the Arctic and is considered one of the oldest breeds in the history of sled dogs. Its imposing and sober presence gives a false image of its true character.
Its appearance similar to that of a wolf has caused this breed to attract the attention of many people who love dogs and many people who, without loving dogs, have a passion for nature. Sometimes it can be confused with the Siberian husky.
It is one of the oldest breeds used as sled dogs due to its. These specimens are solid and capable of transporting relatively heavy weights over a multitude of kilometers without showing fatigue, which is why they are known as the “Arctic locomotive”. Unlike other breeds, this one has a unique purity, because it is not the result of a cross.
The stories surrounding the Alaskan Malamute have also helped to popularize the idea of a resistant, loyal, hardworking and very noble breed. If you want to know a lot more about this breed of dog, keep reading this ‘ Pets Feed ‘ breed sheet.
The Alaskan Malamute breed is native to the Arctic and has the Arctic wolf among its ancestors. These dogs were used by the Mahle people to pull their sleds and collaborate in hunting activities.
It is possible that the word malamute comes from “Mahle muit” which would mean “city of the mahle”. The English phonetics of these two terms would have given birth to the name of the breed.
Over time, transportation in the Arctic has changed and dogs have become less and less important. However, the wonderful Alaskan Malamute is still used by Alaskans and is common in many countries around the world.
Characteristics of the Alaskan Malamute
As soon as you see a specimen of this breed, it is easy to determine that it is a strong and energetic dog, prepared for physical activity. This means that anyone who decides to share their life with this animal must also prepare to be always active, to provide long walks and other activities for their partner. However, it is not an animal capable of keeping property, nor too protective or distrustful of strangers.
The Alaskan malamute is a large corpulent dog, which can measure between 60 and 65 centimeters in height up to the withers, and weigh up to 45 kilos in the case of males. The females are a little smaller, but with equally impressive data concerning their measurements.
The coat of the Alaskan Malamute comes in two layers, an inner one recalling the texture of the wool and an outer one, thick and rough. It is dense and strong, but it is not excessively long, which is a reason for extreme penalty or even disqualification in competition. The predominant color in the coat is gray, although other shades ranging from white to red are also accepted, and there are also specimens that show a dark black color.
Eyes of Alaskan Malamute
Since they tend to be confused with the Siberian husky, it is common for some people to ask questions about the blue or two-tone eyes of the malamute. A total error, because, between the differences of this breed with the husky, it is the color of the eyes, which can only be brown because of its genetics. Indeed, a blue-eyed malamute will be directly disqualified from a dog show.
How are the Siberian Husky and the Alaskan Malamute different?
It is quite common that there is confusion between the Siberian husky and the Alaskan Malamute due to their physical similarity, but the truth is that they are two very different breeds. Certainly, these are two Nordic breeds with fairly similar fur, but it is easy to discover their differences if you see specimens of the two breeds. The Siberian Husky is smaller in size and dimensions, and less bulky than the Alaskan Malamute.
Its proportions are reminiscent of those of a wolf, while in the case of the malamute, its shapes are much more rounded and similar to those of molosoid dogs. The husky and malamute’s bodies are similar in that they are very friendly and affectionate animals. However, the husky is a much more active dog with very high needs for exercise, which outweighs the malamute.
To make a decision on the best breed for you, you will need to think about their needs for space and activity, as well as their temperament. And it is that the Nordics in general, and in particular the Siberian husky, have a behavior which must be understood and understood to make them really happy and maintain a perfect relationship between the animal and its owner.
Alaskan Malamute character
It’s true that the Alaskan Malamute may look like a wolf, but that’s far from it. The Alaskan Malamute is a friendly and loving companion, although it may not be the ideal breed for someone who has their first dog.
The Alaskan Malamute likes to dig and howl, and can feel a great urge to hunt small furry creatures, such as squirrels, cats or small dogs. Therefore, early and full socialization and good obedience control throughout its life are essential, including a reliable answer for you when you call it. The Alaskan malamute is a docile, sociable and affectionate dog , in particular towards its owners and even with foreigners.
It is very important that the Malamute has an experienced person who has been informed of the characteristics of the breed as he needs discipline. He is a very intelligent and independent dog who will not accept orders just for feeding them every day. They look for a responsible and consistent friend in their leader who they can follow. He shows a calm, calm and relaxed character.
It is a playful dog, faithful to its master and protector of the smallest of the house. Although it is not really a protection dog, it is true that it will serve as a surveillance dog. With good socialization and a weekly training dose, we will get a balanced dog because of its high learning potential.
As for the behavior of the Alaskan Malamute with other domestic animals, he should always be under the supervision of the owner, because, due to his strong hierarchical instinct, he may be involved in assaults with others animals, which is another reason that an experienced owner is required with this dog. It is very important to educate our children and our pet on the playground, because the large size of the Alaskan Malamute can be a problem if the play is not correct.
We will avoid pulling the tail and ears of the animal, as well as violent games or difficult body movements. For the rest, you have to be careful in the first days of interaction. Usually, the Alaskan Malamute is a breed that takes on phenomenal proportions with children and can risk their lives to protect the little ones in the house.
Note! Keeping an Alaskan Malamute in an apartment is absolutely not suitable. And even in a private yard, he needs games, walks, constant attention and communication with the owner. Otherwise, he will become aggressive and disobedient.
With proper maintenance and a balanced diet, the Alaskan Malamute can live up to 14-15 years. All Alaskan dogs are naturally endowed with good health and endurance, malamutes are no exception. But problems in this regard are still observed. Most often, the representatives of the breed have the following diseases:
- Diabetes mellitus is not treatable, but with proper nutrition and medication prescribed by your doctor, diabetes can be controlled.
- Eye diseases – cataract, glaucoma, retinal atrophy, etc.
- Autoimmune hemolytic anemia is a dangerous disease that leads to a decrease in the concentration of hemoglobin in the blood.
- Oncological diseases.
- Epilepsy is extremely difficult to treat, accompanied by seizures.
- Bloating – happens due to poor nutrition. If the assistance is not provided on time, the dog may die.
- Chondrodysplasia is dwarfism.
- Skin diseases.
- Dysplasia of the hip joints – leads to impaired motor function of the limbs.
- Hypothyroidism – can happen due to long-term lack of thyroid hormones.
It is possible to detect the disease in time and start treatment thanks to regular preventive examinations at the veterinary clinic. It is also important to do routine vaccination and treatment of the pet for skin parasites.
Note! The so-called “snow nose” is not a disease, but a flaw in the exterior.
The Alaskan Malamute, being a freedom-loving northern dog, does not tolerate tight, closed spaces, it needs space and freedom. An apartment, as well as a cramped enclosure, a chain with a collar – all this is not for a dog, whose ancestors fought with snow storms and ran in sleds on the snow crust.
The ideal option is a country house with a backyard fenced area, in which the Malamute can move freely.
If you decide to settle your pet in an aviary, make sure that it is spacious enough, not closed. When kept in an open-air cage, the dog will need frequent walks. An apartment is the most inappropriate option for an Alaskan Malamute.
A dog with an apartment will suffer and cause inconvenience to all household members. You will need to walk him daily. Walking should be long with active games. Malamute is a working dog, it needs loads, otherwise it will start to spoil the property of the owners, thus trying to throw out the accumulated energy.
Another reason why it is not recommended to keep northern dogs in apartments is their addiction to digging holes. It is in their blood, because the dogs living among the eternal snows have to find food under the snow, and the animals often arrange the night, the snow burst.
Alaskan Malamute dogs living in apartments will spoil the floor with their long claws, it doesn’t matter to them whether it is linoleum or parquet flooring, the main thing is to make a depression in it. For dogs kept in a private yard, it will not be difficult to dig under the fence and escape. Owners need to consider these nuances of content.
Note! Like any other sled breed, they need unlimited space. Even in the aviary, they should not be for a long time, and even more so without constant communication with the family. Alaskan Malamutes do not need to be bathed, but they should be brushed regularly.
Caring for an Alaskan Malamute is not difficult. The most time is spent caring for the coat, if at least for a short time you forget about combing and water procedures, the dog will turn into an unkempt creature. The owner must know all the rules for caring for the coat of a northern pet:
- Brush out the coat 3-4 times a week. During the molting period, combing is carried out every day. If this is not done, tangles form on the coat, the pet will look like a stray animal.
- Frequent bathing is necessary in summer. Malamute loves water, there will be no problems with water procedures.
- It is important to choose the right detergents, if you are using an inappropriate type of shampoo for malamute, its coat may lose color saturation and coat shine.
- After washing with shampoo, it is important to thoroughly rinse the coat, eliminating the slightest cosmetic residue.
- After bathing, the dog must be completely dried, otherwise the coat may roll. Combing is carried out together with drying.
In addition to hair care, hygiene procedures are required:
- Cut the claws as they grow.
- Clean your dog’s ears once a week.
- Wipe eyes once a week.
- Brush your dog’s teeth regularly with a special brush or buy bones to brush your teeth.
The Alaskan Malamute needs at least two hours a day of exercise, preferably more. He loves to run, so early training on the leash is essential. Many like to practice canicross, an activity in which they run with their masters.
Exercise doesn’t have to be extreme, but it should at least be moderate. Care should be taken to avoid thermal shock when exercising the malamute in a hot climate. High temperatures can be a very serious problem for malamutes, as with any other breed of sled dog.
It is important to keep this in mind to avoid potentially fatal thermal shocks. A small apartment or a house is not the ideal place for this breed. It is better to have a garden or a large terrace where the malamute can discharge his energy every day. This does not mean that he is isolated, but gives him the opportunity to “move the skeleton” every day.
To keep your dog healthy, you need to provide him with a complete diet. It can be either dry food or natural. Due to its impressive size, it may seem that the Alaskan Malamute eats a lot, but this is not the case. Its daily food intake is much less than that of other dogs of the same size. If you prefer to feed your dog ready-made food, then, of course, in this case, you should use high quality holistic or at least super premium food.
Training and education
The Alaskan Malamute has a developed intellect, this dog is able to make decisions on its own, it thinks, weighs the situation and may well ignore the owner’s orders if education and training were not carried out correctly. It is important to show the pet from puppyhood that the leader is the owner.
You cannot develop anger and aggression in a malamute. As a result, the dog can become aggressive towards the owner. If you notice the slightest signs of malice, you need to suppress them. Not everyone succeeds in this, it is recommended to use the help of an experienced dog handler.
Thanks to intelligence and ingenuity, the Alaskan Malamute is able to memorize commands from the first time. But he is not in the mood for training, he quickly gets bored with monotonous exercises. He becomes bored and refuses to obey. That is why it is recommended to take a training course under the guidance of a specialist.
Another problem in raising a sled dog is dominance. From puppyhood the Malamute tries to become the main one in the family. Such liberties cannot be allowed. It is important to show from the first days who is the boss in the house. At the same time, too much pressure on the stubborn pet, it is forbidden to use physical punishment.
But it is unacceptable to lose sight of even the smallest faults of the pet. He must clearly understand what is possible and what is not.
The key to success in training the Alaskan Malamute lies in the patience of the owner and in the physical activity that the breed needs, like air and food.
Alaskan Malamute Fun Facts
- Malamutes are very fond of digging. Getting such a dog, get ready for dug flower beds, lawns and any areas of land available to dig.
- The language of Malamutes is not the usual barking or howling, but a kind of grunt or grumble.
- Do not be surprised if in the middle of the night the malamute wants to howl at the moon.
- In the summer, malamutes actively shed and this fluff can really be used to knit medical socks and not only from dog hair!
- They are very fond of tactile sensations, sitting on handles and physical contact with the owner. An adult malamute can easily perch on the arms like a small cat.
- Alaskan Malamutes are very kind and sociable by nature.
- Bathing an Alaskan Malamute is not an easy task. Their undercoat does not let water through, so getting the dog wet is still a challenge.
- The mature age of the Malamute is 3 years. It was at this time that he begins to actively listen, to be more restrained and educated.
- The Malamute foot is designed for walking in the snow. These are a kind of snowshoes that allow you to walk in deep snow and not fall through.
- The claws of Alaskan Malamute, when pressed on the pad of the fingers, come out like those of cats.
- Trained Malamute is able to pull up to 400 kg.
- Malamutes do not belong to likes. They are included in the Spitz group, Section 1 Sled dogs. As a rule, they are not suitable for hunting.
- If an Alaskan Malamute wants something, he will achieve it, whether you want it or not.
- Malamutes do not tolerate heat well, but can withstand -50 degrees of frost.
- Most Malamutes do not like to swim. They say that water and ice are associated with wormwood in these dogs – that is, in their habitats, with death. But it looks like some Malamutes are unfamiliar …
- Would you like an Alaskan Malamute to bring you a stick? Pray him! Maybe it will ride.
Alaskan Malamute Dog Breed Facts
The Alaskan Malamute is a breed that has many virtues, but it also has its downsides. Anyone who plans to have such a pet should study them in order to weigh their strengths and capabilities, to assess whether such a dog is needed.
- The Alaskan Malamute is a friendly, funny and funny dog.
- Very intelligent and quick to learn.
- Generally good around children of all ages
- The Alaskan Malamute has a sense of humor, although sometimes mischievous.
- It is the ideal choice for people who lead an active outdoor life and enjoy dog sports.
- The Alaskan Malamute loses a lot of hair, especially in the spring and fall.
- He can be stubborn.
- He is a very good artist on the run who will easily get out of a garden.
- Not the best choice for first time dog owners.
- The Alaskan Malamute has a strong sense of prey.
- Expensive to buy and keep.
- This active dog needs a considerable amount of exercise and mental stimulation.
- He needs a lot of care and attention.
- May suffer from separation anxiety if left alone for too long.
- Unnatural watchdog.
- Early socialization is compulsory.