Alaskan Malamute, History and Breed Characteristics
The Alaskan Malamute originated in the western part of Alaska and is named after the Eskimo settlement of Malamute. the Alaskan Malamute is a true working dog, only the fittest for purpose being bred from; he was the workhorse of the Inuit pulling heavy sledges through the coldest of weathers and surviving outside in freezing conditions. The Inuit were first seen by early settlers in the1750s with their dogs and sledges. The Alaskan Malamute is a big breed; the dog weighs up to 112lbs and stands at 71cm. He is heavily boned, comparatively long on the leg, to cope with running through snow and is a picture of a working, functional animal. He does not have the glamour of his lighter cousins and could be viewed as the dray horse against the Hackney.
At one point the Alaskan Malamute came under threat because of outcrossing to introduce more pace for competitive sled-racing, but a group of Inuit managed to preserve the original working type and when the Malamute was taken up by the American dog fancy his future was secured and the American Kennel Club issued the first official Alaskan Malamute Breed Standard in 1927.
They are very friendly towards their family, being devoted to his human “pack” rather than attaching to a single family member; he can be playful if encouraged but has no real sense of his own strength so can send children flying. The Alaskan Malamute is not reliable with other dogs and with his very considerable strength it is wise to avoid chance encounters; early socialisation will help to improve his attitude towards other dogs but caution will always have to be exercised.
Training and Working Alaskan Malamutes
As the Alaskan Malamute are strong dogs, and from their breeding have great strength in their forequarters early lead training is essential if they are not to be uncontrollable as adults. The Malamute does need stimulus, he is not a dog to be left in a kennel without any interaction or he is likely to become noisy and destructive. In terms of exercise, he is not a galloper but needs plenty of opportunity to stretch his legs.
There are opportunities to work your dog with the Alaskan Malamute Working Association, a wonderful way of training and using his brain and energy.
Coat Care and Colouring
His coat is extremely dense; there is a coarse guard coat over a thick, oily and woolly undercoat with a deep ruff around the neck and plumed tail and breeches. In a temperate climate, such as we have in the UK, it is likely that he will be in a more or less constant moult which could present a challenge for the houseproud. The only solid colour permitted is white; other colours have white underbody, feet and legs, and on the face white can be either or both a mask or a cap. The colours which form a blanket pattern are grey shading to black and gold shading to red or liver.
Alaskan Malamute Breeders
Rescue and Rehoming
Contact the Alaskan Malamute Club Rescue