The Alaskan Malamute is the topic of today's Meet The Breed. The Malamute is a great breed for all dog powered sports, from canicross to skijoring to sled dog racing. This breed has received well deserved honors as the state breed of their native Alaska.
The Malamute is descended from the domesticated wolf-dogs brought by the Paleolithic peoples who cross the Bering Strait into North America several thousand years ago. Their name is derived from the native Inuit tribe called Malemutes. The Malemutes settled along the shores of Kotzebue Sound in Northwestern Alaska. These Inuit tribes used Malamutes as utilitarian dogs. They worked, hunted, and lived along side their humans. As the heaviest of the 'sled dogs', they were never bred to race but to pull heavy loads long distances.
The Alaskan Malamute has a thick double coat. Their undercoat is oily and woolly, while the outer coat is coarse and stands off the body. Their heavy build and thick, perfectly designed coat allows them to withstand temperatures as low as -60 to -75 degrees Fahrenheit. They stand between 24 and 26 inches tall and weigh 70 to 90 pounds.
Malamutes vary in color from gray and white, sable and white, black and white, seal and white, red and white, or solid white. They can have a wide range of markings including face markings, blazes, a splash at the nape of the neck, and a collar or half collar. The tail is well furred and carried over the back.
Malamutes are often considered one of the most difficult breeds to train. Because of this, they should only be handled by an experienced dog owner. If trained properly, however, Malamutes make great, loving, loyal companions. They can have a very mellow, affectionate, and loving. Malamutes love to dig and it will likely take lots of training to prevent this behavior of at all possible. They can also become aggressive towards members of the same sex so lots of early socialization is strongly recommend.
The most common health concern for this breed is hip dysphasia. Hereditary cataracts, cancer, seizures, epilepsy, congenital heart problems, kidney problems, and skin disorders round out the list of concerns for most Malamutes. The most common cause of death for this breed, as with most breeds, is cancer.
Malamutes will eat almost any food you place in front of them, and will do so as fast as they can. This breed needs less food than most other dogs their size. Therefore, over feeding is a common issue. Over feeding leads to obesity, which makes them even more prone to health problems. Care must be taken to feed the correct amount and properly exercise your Malamute.
The oldest and largest Arctic dog is a great addition to the correct home. They are strong, smart, and affectionate. Difficult to train, yet very loyal. They are very athletic and have incredible endurance. You can adopt a new running partner at Illinois Alaskan Malamute Rescue Association or any other Malamute rescue that is trying to find great homes for great dogs. You can also check your local animal shelter or rescue group, as they do sometimes end up lost or just abandoned
Never Run Alone
Credit for the beautiful photo goes to Illinois Alaskan Malamute Rescue Association.