The Alaskan Malamute is a very strong, intelligent, and ancient dog of the aboriginal type. It is used to survive in the harsh conditions of Alaska – extreme temperatures and low amounts of food. The origin of this breed is linked with the ancient tribes inhabiting Siberia. Several thousand years ago, these dogs made the transition along with the tribes that migrated from Siberia to Alaska.
Today we know the name of only one of the tribes – Mahlemuts. The tribe itself is extremely small but they have preserved their tribe’s memory thanks to this amazing breed of dogs. The Mahlemuts settled in the northeastern part of the Seward Peninsula. This area is considered to be the birthplace of the Alaskan Malamute.
The ancient inhabitants of Alaska used dogs for more than just pulling heavy sleds. Their help was required in hunting seals, protection from polar bears, and also to protect their dwellings. Indigenous people have always treated their dogs very well, they put children to bed with them so that it was warmer at night, and in general, treated them like family members.
In 1896, the Gold Rush began in Alaska – crowds of people from America and all over the world poured in search of gold. They brought other dogs who could endure the low temperatures. This influenced the purity of the Malamute breed. Additionally, several nurseries appeared, each of which developed its own breed line.
The first and most legendary kennel was founded by an equally legendary man named Arthur T. Walden – the creator of the Chinook breed. In this kennel, which was located in New Hampshire, he also bred Alaskan Malamutes, supplying dogs for expeditions. His work was continued by Milton and Eva Seeley. They began to develop a variation of this breed, descending from dogs brought from the Norton Sound region of Alaska. This variation is called the Kotzebue.
It is also important to talk about the Malamute line developed by Paul Völker Sr. This line was named “M’Loot”. Malamutes from this kennel were used during the First and Second World Wars. In addition, they took part in the second expedition of Admiral Byrd.
The Alaskan Malamute Club of America was founded in 1935, and the American Kennel Club officially recognized this breed the same year. During World War II, many Malamutes were used for military purposes in dog sled operations in cold regions such as Norway and Antarctica, and many dogs died because of it.
The Alaskan Malamute dog breed resembles large wolves and has a large physique, a wide, powerful chest, and limbs of medium length. They are muscular and very strong. Their tail is a fluffy saber. These animals are generally distinguished by great strength and endurance, which can be seen in their every movement. The head is large, and the ears are erect. Their fur is long.
Even if these dogs recognize you as a leader, they, like the Siberian Husky, will still try to test your strength as a leader from time to time. The Alaskan Malamute is playful, and active, loves various toys, likes to be in the center of attention, and likes fooling around and having fun. These dogs treat people well and even perceive strangers with friendliness.
If you manage to build the right, harmonious relationship with your pet and put yourself in the role of a leader, he will be a true companion and friend for your whole family. These dogs are great with children and love spending time with them. They are open-minded and need human attention and communication. Alaskan Malamutes like to take part in family affairs and like to feel like a part of them. They require early socialization. If you love winter sports, the Alaskan Malamute will appreciate it.
They have strong natural instincts, and therefore do not be surprised if your dog hunts squirrels in the park, small rodents in the forest, or even tries to catch a bird. Moreover, they need to be friends with small dogs and cats from an early age, if you do not want your dog to hunt them during adulthood. Malamutes almost never bark but they can howl or make a specific sound. They are not suitable as guard dogs.
The Alaskan Malamute breed is known for its enormous energy. If you live in a house – be sure that your dog will repeatedly destroy your backyard – lawn, garden, vegetable beds – all these will turn into trenches and pits. It is also recommended to make a concrete foundation for your fence.
The best way to deal with these negative characteristics is to train your dog to dig holes in a designated space for it and accept that a few square meters of your yard will be a mess. It is impossible to completely prevent digging in these dogs, or very difficult at least. In addition, you will be depriving him of a huge pleasure in his life. If you live in an apartment, keep in mind that he will chew your shoes, furniture, handles, and door frames.
These dogs need long walks, exercise, and training, although training them is difficult and not for everyone. Therefore, the Alaskan Malamute is not recommended for inexperienced owners or people with a soft character. They have “their own mind”, sometimes they simply do not listen to you.
Training an Alaskan Malamute is an obligatory and necessary task but not an easy one. These dogs have their own history with obedience.
To properly interact with your dog, here are a few rules:
- Do not feed the dog from the table in any case, especially if he is guilty of something.
- Start the training process at an early age – no later than 6 months.
- Control food intake, making the dog clearly aware that you are the one that gives out the most valuable thing in life to him – food.
- If your pet misbehaves or does not want to follow commands, wait a little with a walk, and hide toys. The dog must clearly understand who the leader in the house is.
You need to teach your pet basic commands but as for specialized commands, it is best to contact a specialist.
The Alaskan Malamute breed needs to be brushed twice a week, and more often during shedding seasons. Bathe your dog once or twice a week. Sometimes there is information that they can be bathed once a month or even once every six months, but you can imagine the smell they will emit within these time frames. Be sure to clean the ears and eyes every day and trim nails every 10 days.
The Alaskan Malamute is a very strong and enduring dog but has a tendency to certain diseases, including:
- Chondrodysplasia – A genetic disease;
- Hip Dysplasia;
- Hereditary polyneuropathy;
- Hemeralopia (day blindness) – this usually starts when the puppy is eight weeks old.