Meet the Breed: The Alaskan Malamute
The Alaskan Malamute is the largest of the Arctic dogs. This thick, well-built dog is solid with a plumed tail that is held over the back. The head is wide with erect ears. The eyes are almond shaped and always brown, unlike the Siberian Husky, which can have blue or bi-colored eyes. The Malamute resembles a wolf but has a sweet expression. The feet are large, of the snowshoe type with tough pads. The thick, coarse, oily double coat averages one to three inches in length and is the dog's secret to enduring harsh winter conditions. Coat colors come in a range of light gray to intermediate shadings of black, sable and shadings of sable to red. The only solid color allowed is white. The dog often has darker highlights and sometimes has a dark mask or cap. The legs and muzzle are almost always white.
Unlike the Siberian Husky that was designed for speed, the Alaskan Malamute was designed as more of a utilitarian companion, able to haul heavy sled loads, to hunt large game, including bears, and to spot seal blowholes. This ancient descendent of arctic wolves formed an interdependent relationship with the native peoples above the arctic circle. This enabled a fairly prosperous life in an otherwise inhospitable land. The Alaskan Malamute also became valuable to prospectors hauling heavy loads during the Gold Rush of 1896.
Since the Malamute has learned to survive in the harshest environment imaginable, behaviors such as independence, resourcefulness, and intelligence were selected. These tendencies can also make them difficult to train in standard obedience. They are eager to please, however, so using positive motivation and fun can make a well-behaved family dog. Early and consistent socialization is a must for any large breed. They have a strong prey drive, so socialize young pups with cats to keep them from chasing them.
Breed Club Links: Alaskan Malamute Club of America
BaxterBoo.com Perfect Pairings: As Malamutes are prone to wolfing down their food and being prone to developing the life-threatening bloat, we highly recommend the GREEN Interactive Dog Feeder to slow them down.
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