Alaskan Malamute History, Personality, Appearance, Health and Pictures

Alaskan Malamute

The Alaskan Malamute has existed since ancient times as a sledder and hunter. This friendly and affectionate breed rarely barks, but they are known to howl loudly. Their independent spirit and stubborn nature makes them a match for an assertive handler.

History

The use of dogs as draft or hunting animals in the far north has been a part of northern peoples’ culture since the Stone Age. In the harsh and bitter cold, dogs were the only domestic animals that could survive. In the summer when sleds could not be used to carry heavier loads, Malamutes were used as pack dogs. In the nineteenth century, European explorers and Russian whalers used to tell of the Mahlemut tribe having dogs of great beauty and endurance.

As the white man settled in Alaska from 1750 to 1900. Further, the emerging sport of dog sled racing did the Alaskan Malamute breed no favors as many crosses were made to other breeds in a vain attempt to make them faster. The Eskimos kept their dogs true to type and fortunately the breed became interesting to United States breeders, among them the legendary “Short” Seely, a breeder in New Hampshire. “Short” Seely obtained good specimens, bred them wisely, and sent them off with Admiral Byrd on his Antarctic voyage.

Temperament

The Malamute is family oriented, loves to be with people and has a friendly, open demeanor. It is happiest when pulling a sled or a wheeled cart and the children of the family will enjoy this aspect. The Malamute also makes a good jogging companion.

Health Matters

The Alaskan Malamute is quite healthy as befits a natural breed. The Malamute’s hips should be X-rayed if the animal is to be used for breeding. Teeth and nails should also be attended to throughout its life. This breed should not be allowed to become obese.

Appearance

A substantial, powerful breed, Malamutes are a good size — males are 25 inches/64 cm and 85 pounds/38.5 kg; females are 23 inches/59 cm and 75 pounds/34 kg. The breed has heavy bones, good feet and a well-knit body.

The head of the Alaskan Malamute is large and wedge shaped; the eyes should preferably be dark and must not be blue. The ears should be well furred and erect. Its tail is long and bushy. Many colors are permissible, usually light gray to black with a white underbody and white markings on the face, feet and legs. The head may have cap-like markings or a mask. The breed should have a thick double coat and a proud carriage. The Malamute should not have any problems that would prevent it from heavy duty, such as hauling freight through ice and snow.

Special Care and Training

Obedience training is very important to Malamutes for it gives their minds a sense of purpose and the exercise is good for them. The dogs take to this very well and are able to shift one-ton loads over short distances. They are not city dogs and need good exercise, either sledding, jogging or in an enclosed safe yard. A bored Malamute is noisy and destructive. Shedding in warm weather is natural and the Malamute coat must be kept clean and brushed weekly. Parasites (fleas and ticks) can cause skin problems.

Adaptability

The Alaskan Malamute prefers outdoor living and is definitely not comfortable in hot, humid weather. This breed is not suited to city living as it needs space in which to exercise and do its own thing — pulling sleds and being a playful companion.

Gallery of Alaskan Malamute