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About Alaskan Malamutes

The Alaskan Malamute is a very large and sensitive breed of dog. He responds well to his owner and is a lover of all people. He is not a one man dog, rather a pack dog. He will love a complete stranger as much as you. He is cuddly, loving, and fun spirited. Often considered the class clown, Malamutes are always entertaining and doing something silly. That is, inbetween digging up your back yard and begging for food.

It takes a very special person to take on an Alaskan Malamute. As they say, "These dogs are not for the faint of heart".

The Malamute is very independent, girls seem to be more stubborn then boys but are more submissive as well. They are very eager to please and easy to train. Some will argue their train-ability ease, but this depends on one's personal experience with dogs of all breeds and also that person's expectations. I consider Alaskan Malamutes easy to train for the following reasons~
They are food obsessed. A dog that has little interest in treats is nearly impossible to train, especially in a class setting or around other dogs. They may work at home for a toy, but try using the "toy" reward in public and it will normally fail.

Things you should know about Alaskan Malamutes

1. They are massive shedders. They are the heaviest shedders of all the breeds. It doesn't get any hairy then a Malamute in the spring! They shed twice a year, in the spring and fall. Other then that, I wear black every day and never find hair on me.

2. They are SMART. Although they some times act like they have rocks for brains (usually when they are trying to be cute or funny), they will outsmart you in a heart beat. They pre-meditate and think things through. They seldom act on a whim as do many, more popular, breeds. Even when they are playing with each other they are displaying pack behavior and alpha-omega status.

3. They are often thinking of ways to outsmart you! They always want to be "top dog" or alpha of the family, that includes over YOU. This may exclude the runt of a litter & is less noticable when you only have one Malamute. This is where their intelligence comes into play & where it becomes important you understnad pack behavior well. While they want to please you, they also have instincts urging them on to become alpha. They are not trying to hurt you or be unloyal, they consider you a pack member and love you even beyond what other breeds provide. Through these instincts, they learn, as human children do in pre-school, how to find their place in your family and in your world. You must know how to handle him in a loving but firm mannor. If you fail, or go about this in an abusive mannor, you may end up with a very dominant or agressive dog on your hands who you can not control. Your Malamute, between 6 and 24 months, might seem as if he will forever be trying to "rank up". But these adolescent months shall pass!

A good example of their intelligence is when you tell him to "sit" and before the words have finished rolling off of your tongue, the dog's ears and body language perk up as if there is something very interesting in the next room that must be checked out a.s.a.p.! The dog then goes flying in the next room at full speed to investigate! An inexperienced owner would think for sure that something, or some one, has broken into the house and is hiding in the dining room! Once he has eluded you, the dog stops his alert as quick as it started and simply lays down in the dining room and pretends nothing happened! An inexpereinced owner will be concerned (or baffled) and shrug it off. A person who knows Malamutes well, will stop the dog before he makes it two steps, knows full well that nobody has broken into the house, and continues to make the dog follow through with the command! Another example of their intelligence is the Malamute who knows a particular command, or a way of doing things, but just plain refuses for no apparent reason. The dog may act sorry or submissive, but not sorry enough to do what it knows it should! And the inexperienced owner will assume the dog never learned it. They may try to out wait you and see how long it takes before YOU break down, throw your hands in the air and say "oh well". Please see my training page regarding what happens to malamute owners who do this!

You are getting a dog who is more like a person. They are not robotic as I, personally, see many breeds as being. They are more unpredictable and have a very independent personality. They think for themselves. Remember, a 120 dog is the size of an adult human. Think about that. Here's a hint (they excrement as much as humans!). But along with every negative comes a plus, and vice versa. My Malamutes may have bigger bladders & bigger appetites, but also bigger minds which seem to be forever expanding. I have succesfully and quickly trained my dogs to potty in a designated area of the yard all on their own. It took 3 months. My neighbor's jaws are on the ground when we are talking at the fence and they witness them do this. I have tried this for years with other breeds and I was never successful. Sure they would go in the potty spot if I was outside doing yard work, but if not, forget about it! Malamutes are SMART.

Malamutes love to test you. Remember, they really have nothing else to do. That goes with any dog. Unless they are working dogs (and working dogs are very welll behaved & happy dogs I might add), they don't have a job to go to, appointments to keep, and they can't drive to a friends house for coffee just to "get away". You are all they have. So, they must entertain themselves by playing with you. Physically playing with you, playing mental games with you, and so on. *chuckle*

Malamutes are lap dogs. And I'm not saying that to be funny. They very much insist on sitting or laying on your lap and are always cuddling.

Malamutes are not guard dogs. They rarely bark except when they are happy and they make a "wooo wooo" sound, a half howl half bark. Although you might think an Alaskan Malamute's size and wolf like appearance would deter a would be attacker or burglar, his overtly friendly body language and expressions will always give him away.
I believe every resource you go to will say the same on this subject. I've yet to find anything that says differently.

Malamutes eat a significant amount, especially during their puppy & adolescent stage. When I switched from raising Huskies, to raising Malamutes, I had been led to believe they were, like the husky, light eaters for their size. Huskies untilize their food better then Malamutes and are nearly anorexic. Before I had Malamutes, I was told by many Malamute owners and breeders, "They don't eat as much as you'd think", or something insuating they eat like Siberians. They don't. They eat as much as the average person would expect a dog this size to eat. Once I realized my dogs were eating so much food, I began asking more breeders about this. No one would give me a straight answer. They would look at me dumb founded, or dance around the subject. I feed Red Paw (see my links page, this food is amazing), which states to feed half as much as Pro Plan does (I used to feed Pro Plan), but that hasn't proved true. They eat just as much Red Paw (but they look & perform so much better, definetely a better food). My standard sized Malamute eats 5 cups a day and my giant 10 cups a day. My Siberians ate 1 1/2 cups a day. So my 50 lb Siberians ate 80% less then my 100 lb Malamutes. You do the math. As you can tell, I find Alaskan Malamutes much more worth their cost in food.
They are truly a friend & not just a dog!


~Appearance & Characteristics~

The following information is what the A.K.C. deinfines the Alaskan Malamute as. The following information can be found on their website at:

The Alaskan Malamute, one of the oldest Arctic sled dogs, is a powerful and substantially built dog with a deep chest and strong, well-muscled body. The Malamute stands well over the pads, and this stance gives the appearance of much activity and a proud carriage, with head erect and eyes alert showing interest and curiosity. The head is broad. Ears are triangular and erect when alerted. The muzzle is bulky, only slight diminishing in width from root to nose. The muzzle is not pointed or long, yet not stubby. The coat is thick with a coarse guard coat of sufficient length to protect a woolly undercoat. Malamutes are of various colors. Face markings are a distinguishing feature. These consist of a cap over the head, the face either all white or marked with a bar and/or mask. The tail is well furred, carried over the back, and has the appearance of a waving plume.

The Malamute must be a heavy boned dog with sound legs, good feet, deep chest and powerful shoulders, and have all of the other physical attributes necessary for the efficient performance of his job. The gait must be steady, balanced, tireless and totally efficient. He is not intended as a racing sled dog designed to compete in speed trials. The Malamute is structured for strength and endurance, and any characteristic of the individual specimen, including temperament, which interferes with the accomplishment of this purpose, is to be considered the most serious of faults.

Size, Proportion, Substance There is a natural range in size in the breed. The desirable freighting sizes are males, 25 inches at the shoulders, 85 pounds; females, 23 inches at the shoulders, 75 pounds. However, size consideration should not outweigh that of type, proportion, movement and other functional attributes. When dogs are judged equal in type, proportion, movement, the dog nearest the desirable freighting size is to be preferred. The depth of chest is approximately one half the height of the dog at the shoulders, the deepest point being just behind the forelegs. The length of the body from point of shoulder to the rear point of pelvis is longer than the height of the body from ground to top of the withers. The body carries no excess weight, and bone is in proportion to size.

Head The head is broad and deep, not coarse or clumsy, but in proportion to the size of the dog. The expression is soft and indicates an affectionate disposition. The eyes are obliquely placed in the skull. Eyes are brown, almond shaped and of medium size. Dark eyes are preferred. Blue Eyes are a Disqualifying Fault. The ears are of medium size, but small in proportion to the head. The ears are triangular in shape and slightly rounded at the tips. They are set wide apart on the outside back edges of the skull on line with the upper corner of the eye, giving ears the appearance, when erect, of standing off from the skull. Erect ears point slightly forward, but when the dog is at work, the ears are sometimes folded against the skull. High set ears are a fault.

The skull is broad and moderately rounded between the ears, gradually narrowing and flattening on top as it approaches the eyes, rounding off to cheeks that are moderately flat. There is a slight furrow between the eyes. The topline of the skull and the topline of the muzzle show a slight break downward from a straight line as they join. The muzzle is large and bulky in proportion to the size of the skull, diminishing slightly in width and depth from junction with the skull to the nose. In all coat colors, except reds, the nose, lips, and eye rims' pigmentation is black. Brown is permitted in red dogs. The lighter streaked "snow nose" is acceptable. The lips are close fitting. The upper and lower jaws are broad with large teeth. The incisors meet with a scissors grip. Overshot or undershot is a fault.

Neck, Topline, Body The neck is strong and moderately arched. The chest is well developed. The body is compactly built but not short coupled. The back is straight and gently sloping to the hips. The loins are hard and well muscled. A long loin that may weaken the back is a fault. The tail is moderately set and follows the line of the spine at the base. The tail is carried over the back when not working. It is not a snap tail or curled tight against the back, nor is it short furred like a fox brush. The Malamute tail is well furred and has the appearance of a waving plume.

Forequarters The shoulders are moderately sloping; forelegs heavily boned and muscled, straight to the pasterns when viewed from the front. Pasterns are short and strong and slightly sloping when viewed from the side. The feet are of the snowshoe type, tight and deep, with well-cushioned pads, giving a firm, compact appearance. The feet are large, toes tight fitting and well arched. There is a protective growth of hair between the toes. The pads are thick and tough; toenails short and strong.

Hindquarters The rear legs are broad and heavily muscled through the thighs; stifles moderately bent; hock joints are moderately bent and well let down. When viewed from the rear, the legs stand and move true in line with the movement of the front legs, not too close or too wide. Dewclaws on the rear legs are undesirable and should be removed shortly after puppies are whelped.

Coat The Malamute has a thick, coarse guard coat, never long and soft. The undercoat is dense, from one to two inches in depth, oily and woolly. The coarse guard coat varies in length as does the undercoat. The coat is relatively short to medium along the sides of the body, with the length of the coat increasing around the shoulders and neck, down the back, over the rump, and in the breeching and plume. Malamutes usually have a shorter and less dense coat during the summer months. The Malamute is shown naturally. Trimming is not acceptable except to provide a clean cut appearance of feet.

Color The usual colors range from light gray through intermediate shadings to black, sable, and shadings of sable to red. Color combinations are acceptable in undercoats, points, and trimmings. The only solid color allowable is all white. White is always the predominant color on underbody, parts of legs, feet, and part of face markings. A white blaze on the forehead and/or collar or a spot on the nape is attractive and acceptable. The Malamute is mantled, and broken colors extending over the body or uneven splashing are undesirable.

Gait The gait of the Malamute is steady, balanced, and powerful. He is agile for his size and build. When viewed from the side, the hindquarters exhibit strong rear drive that is transmitted through a well-muscled loin to the forequarters. The forequarters receive the drive from the rear with a smooth reaching stride. When viewed from the front or from the rear, the legs move true in line, not too close or too wide. At a fast trot, the feet will converge toward the centerline of the body. A stilted gait, or any gait that is not completely efficient and tireless, is to be penalized.

~A Little Malamute History Lesson~

The Alaskan Malamute, one of the oldest arctic sled dogs, was named after the native Innuit tribe called Mahlemuts. These people settled along the shores of Kotzebue Sound in the upper-western part of Alaska. The origin of these people and dogs has never been ascertained, but they were there for generations prior to the Asiatic sailors visiting the shores and returning to their homeland with stories of "native people using dogs to haul sledges."

It is confirmed that these Alaskan Malamute sledge dogs were used as draft animals and they have never lost their identity. When Alaska became settled by white men, the Arctic breed may have become mixed with outside dogs. The lure of sled dog racing also became popular, further encouraging mixing of lineage for faster dogs. Fortunately, the sport of sled dog racing became popular in the United States and interest in developing the pure strain of Alaskan Malamute started in 1926. The Alaskan Malamute was recognized for AKC registration in 1935. ~The American Kennel Club