Breed of the Month– Alaskan Malamute

1September 2013

Alaskan Malamute
Color:  Solid white, mostly white with black to light grey shadings, red, sable.
Height:  Males:  25-28 inches/ Females:  23-26 inches
Weight:  Males: 85 lbs/ Females:  75lbs
Life Span:  10-12 years
Breed Health Concerns:  Bloat, cancer, coat funk, epilepsy, diabetes, eye problems, autoimmune hemolytic anemia, hemeralopia, hip dysplasia, immune diseases, hypothyroidism, and skin problems.
Coat:  Double boat.  Dense, woolly, oily undercoat.  Coarse, thick outercoat.
Country of Origin:  United States
Visit the American Kennel Club for breed standards and more information.
Originally bred by Malamute Eskimos (now known as the Kobuk) in the harsh environment of northeastern Alaska, the Alaskan Malamute was bred to literally “pull his weight.”  The Eskimos needed a dog that was reliable, intelligent, and strong enough to withstand the cold.  The Malamute was designed to carry large loads over long distances.

The Klondike Gold Rush of 1896 brought many settlers to the area who quickly learned the value of a good sled dog.  Although many tried to mix the Malamute with smaller, faster dogs, in the end the breed was returned to the true Malamute type, and been preserved since.

It is said that the Kobuk gave great care to the Alaskan Malamute and the breed has a better temperament because of it.  The Alaskan Malamute is very affectionate and playful, and is a loyal devoted companion.

The Alaskan Malamute was bred to be a hard working dog, and therefore will require plenty of exercise as a family pet.  This breed requires vigorous daily walks, and a great deal of daily mental and physical exercise.  Many Alaskan Malamute owners may find it helpful to engage their dog in organized pulling or other contests.

The coat of the Alaskan Malamute almost constantly sheds, and therefore requires regular grooming.  About twice a year, his coat will also “blow out.”  When this happens, large clumps of fur fall out, and his coat will require extra attention.

Because the Alaskan Malamute was bred to be independent, this breed may be more challenging to train.  The Alaskan Malamute must start training as early as possible.  This breed responds best to positive, motivational training.  The Alaskan Malamute is smart and strong, and must be challenged accordingly.