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Alaskan Malamute

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Alaskan Malamute

The Alaskan Malamute is a powerfully built dog of Nordic breed type, developed to haul heavy loads rather than race. It is slightly longer than it is tall. It is heavy-boned and compact, designed for strength and endurance. Its gait is steady, balanced and tireless. Its coat is thick and double, with a coarse outer coat and dense, wooly, oily undercoat, providing the ultimate in insulation. Although its eyes have a “wolf-like” appearance, its expression is soft.

The Alaskan malamute is powerful, independent, strong-willed and fun-loving. Its idea of great fun is to pull a sled or cart, but it also loves to run and roam. It is family-oriented, and as long as it is given daily exercise, it is well-mannered in the home. Without proper exercise, it can become frustrated and destructive. It is friendly and sociable toward people, but it may be aggressive toward strange dogs, pets or livestock. Some can be domineering. It tends to dig and howl.

A few Malamutes are still in use as sled dogs for personal travel, hauling freight, or helping move heavy objects, some are used for the recreational pursuit of sledding also known as mushing, also skijoring, bikejoring, and canicross. However, most Malamutes today are kept as family pets or show dogs or performance dogs in Weight pulling or Dog agility or packing. The Malamute is generally slower in long-distance dogsled racing against smaller and faster breeds and their working usefulness is limited to freighting or traveling over long distances at a far slower rate than that required for racing. They can also help move heavy objects over shorter distances.

The Malamute retains more of its original form and function than many other modern breeds. If a dog owner cannot cope with a dog that will not comply with the owner’s every command, a more compliant breed should be selected. This dog has a long genetic foundation of living in the harshest environment imaginable, and many of its behaviors are evolved to conform with “survival of the fittest.” Independence, resourcefulness and primitive behaviors are common in the breed. While intelligent, they are widely believed to be one of the most difficult dogs to train. However, if the training is kept fun for the dog and not repetitively boring, success is within reach.

There is reason to believe that Alaskan Malamutes sometimes cope poorly with smaller animals, including other canines; however, this has been difficult to document in detail beyond observational data. It is difficult to pinpoint why many Malamute owners have observed this behavior with smaller animals, though some might speculate this is due to the Malamute’s uniquely divergent ancestry, at one point cross-breeding with wolves. Due to their naturally evolved beginnings, the Malamute tends to have a heightened prey drive when compared to some other breeds of dog. So while Malamutes are, as a general rule, particularly amiable around people and can be taught to tolerate other pets, it is necessary to be mindful of them around smaller animals.

Generally speaking, time and experience will show if a dog can be left unwatched with other household pets. In this respect, it is also important to understand that just because a Malamute is comfortable with other pets, this does not mean it will be comfortable around all other animals it encounters.

Malamutes are quite fond of people, a trait that makes them particularly sought-after family dogs. Despite this, it is important to watch them with small children because of their size and strength, as it is with any comparably sized dog breed, despite generally sweet personalities. Malamutes are nimble around furniture and smaller items, making them ideal house dogs, provided they get plenty of time outdoors meeting their considerable exercise requirements. If they are year-round outdoor dogs, letting them play in a baby pool filled with cold water in summer keeps them cool. In the winter, they love snow.

The majority of Malamutes are fairly quiet dogs, seldom barking like most other dog breeds. When a malamute does vocalize, more often than not they tend to “talk” by vocalizing a “woo woo” sound (the characteristic vocalizations of Chewbacca in the Star Wars films are based upon a Malamute named Indiana once owned by George Lucas). They may howl like wolves or coyotes, and for the same reasons.


History

The Malamute is a descendant of dogs of the Mahlemuts tribe of upper western Alaska. These dogs had a prominent role with their human companions – working, hunting, and living alongside them. The interdependent relationship between the Mahlemut and their dogs fostered prosperity among both and enabled them to flourish in the inhospitable land above the Arctic Circle.

For a brief period during the Klondike Gold Rush of 1896, the Malamute and other sled dogs became extremely valuable to recently landed prospectors and settlers, and were frequently crossbred with imported breeds. This was often an attempt to improve the type, or to make up for how few true Malamutes were up for sale. This seems to have had no long standing effect on the modern Malamute, and recent DNA analysis shows that Malamutes are one of the oldest breeds of dog, genetically distinct from other dog breeds.

The Malamute dog has had a distinguished history; aiding Rear Admiral Richard Byrd to the South Pole, and the miners who came to Alaska during the Gold Rush of 1896, as well as serving in World War II primarily as search and rescue dogs in Greenland, although also used as freighting and packing dogs in Europe. This dog was never destined to be a racing sled dog; instead, it was used for heavy freighting, pulling hundreds (maybe thousands) of pounds of supplies to villages and camps in groups of at least 4 dogs for heavy loads.

The Alaskan Malamute is a member of the Spitz group of dogs, traced back 2,000 to 3,000 years ago to the Mahlemuits tribe of Alaska.

“In shape, the Paleolithic dogs most resemble the Siberian husky, but in size, however, they were somewhat larger, probably comparable to large shepherd dogs,” stated Germonpré, a paleontologist at the Royal Belgian Institute of Natural Sciences. This description of recently-found dog remains (30,000 years old) fits the Alaskan Malamute very closely. Though not scientifically confirmed, the Alaskan Malamute may be the closest living relative to the “First Dog”.

A bill in the Alaska House is underway to name the Malamute the official state dog of Alaska.

 
Breed Information

Other names

Mal, Mally

Origin

Alaskan Malamute 1  United States

Breed Group

Working (AKC:1935)

Northern Breeds (UKC)

Size

Large

Type

Purebred

Life span

12-15 years

Temperament

Affectionate

Devoted

Dignified

Friendly

Loyal

Playful

Height

Male: 24 – 26 inches (61 – 66 cm)

Female: 22 – 24 inches (56 – 61 cm)

Weight

Male: 80 – 95 pounds (36 – 43 kg)

Female: 70 – 85 pounds (32 – 38 kg)

Colors

Black

Gray

Red

White

Litter Size

4-10 puppies

Puppy Price

Average $1000 – $2000 USD

Source: thefullwiki.org

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