A considerably large well-built dog developed for working in the northern Arctic conditions, the beauty of the Alaskan Malamute more than makes up for its huge size. Considered an over-eager dog whose energetic style of affectionate displays can be quite over-powering, this is a breed that requires an adequate amount of physical activity on a daily basis.
Originally used as a sled dog, they can weigh over 100 pounds and stand 30 inches at the shoulder--a dignified looking dog who is very beautiful who is also considered a quite sort of dog. Considered a "talker" which sounds like the famous Star Wars "Chewbacca," this breed can also howl with a sound unheard of.
Considered excellent family pets or companions with a high level of intelligence and cleverness, they are considered the ultimate breed for wanting to give to their owners whatever is requested of them--and then some. Considered also a predatory animal that has also been built for work, care should be taken for smaller animals within the home.
The Alaskan Malamute is a double-coated breed that has one woolly coat and another coat consisting of long guard hairs slightly coarser--with coats blown twice a year. These sheddings can be approximately three weeks in length and excessive with hair falling out in severe clumps. After these blowouts, they are considered to be a shed-free breed, extremely odor free and they are known to clean themselves pretty similar to a feline.
Traditionally, the colors for this Malamute breed are spread from a light gray to shadings that have a tendency toward intermediate sable or black, with sable to red shadings. The acceptable color combinations are in their undercoats or trimmings, in addition to their points. The only solid color accepted is white. Consisting of a mantled pattern, any broken colors extending over the body are totally unacceptable.
The word Malamute refers to the dialect of the Alaskan Inupiaq Eskimos, which is where the Alaskan Malamutes originated from, or possibly to have settled down after the migration into the area. The people in this area were known to be highly humane in regard to their Malamutes, with this breed part of the area until the 1960s and considered one of the oldest breeds in the world.
Opposite of other Artic bred dogs; the Malamutes were not overbred due to the shortage of food in the Alaskan villages where they originated. What resulted was the most highest of quality of sled dogs in the area who were a major part of the Eskimo family life, with very few being sold to over-interested white men desiring to buy the breed for a long time until the 1896 Gold Rush days.
Consisting of a history in the Spitz family, it is related to many other breeds--Akita, the Chow Chow, the Samoyed, the Finnish Spitz, and the Elkhound.
Due to its background, the Alaskan Malamute is a very high energetic type of dog. As a sled dog this is not a problem, but as a pet or companion, its activity will need to remain as adequate with constant attention and lots of high-activity in order to stay healthy.
An independent dog, it prefers to be by itself when around other animals, even though it is a loyal and devoted pet. A quiet animal, it is an excellent protector of the home with an instinct to always to the right thing, even though it may appear to be disobeying. They are not considered a good guard dog as they like people too much.
There are several health issues that are common in the Alaskan Malamute, with the genetic disorder of chondrodysplasia, or malamute dwarfism--abnormal shape and length of limbs, a condition in which their puppies are born with bone deformities.
Another problem is autoimmune hemolytic anemia (AIHA), where the immune system of the dog destroys red blood faster than new ones are produced--this reduced red blood cell disorder will cause anemia, and is more common in the middle-aged Alaskan Malamute. Other conditions that may occur are hip dysphasia, inherited polyneuropathy, and eye problems or cataracts.
Considered a very massive heavy shedder, the Malamute needs a good brushing about three or more times a week, with the hair blowing out twice a year. When brushing, remember their hair should not lay flat but stand out, while appearing dense and very thick. Brushing the up in the opposite direction from which it grows, to prevent it from laying flat. If a hair dryer is used, blowing in the opposite direction that it grows will solve that problem.
The hair should not look as soft as the smaller "fluffy" lap dogs but slightly coarser, with coarse-haired dogs not having too many baths or one that has conditioner in it. But the toenails are another priority when it comes to grooming, as their feet should look very neat and tidy. The hair should be trimmed around the feet to shape it, in addition to cutting away the hair on the bottom of the paw, between the pad areas and toes.
A very active dog, the Alaskan Malamute requires exercise and lots of physical activity with the owner or trainer. Originally, they were used as work dogs when pulling heavy sleds in the Arctic, which trained them over the years to react to lots of attention with a very strong desire to be kept busy.
As large as this breed is, the minimum time spent exercising should be approximately one hour. Using a leash is suggested when walking or jogging, as they cannot be trusted around smaller dogs or small animals. When kept at home, a large yard is required but they need monitored as they enjoy digging and exploring "new scenery."
Requiring intensive training as this is a dog with a high level of intelligence, the Alaskan Malamute has excellent training qualities--dependability, responsibility, cleverness, and highly active.
The training also provides an energy outlet for a dog that highly requires it, as they do excellent in obedience training classes. Training should not focus on formal training but more or less to make them enjoyable around the home and a mannerly pet or companion.