Some information on the Malamute and its Origins. Scroll down for some Malamute FAQ :)
An introduction to this magnificent breed
The heavy-freighting dog of the Inuit people who inhabited the shores of the Kotzebue Sound, the Alaskan Malamute excels as an adaptable, intelligent, canine companion. A heavy-boned dog with a bulky muzzle, a broad head, wide-set ears, and a thickly-furred tail carried plume-like over the back, the Malamute is one of the most beautiful dogs on earth and, pound for pound, almost certainly the strongest.
One of the many interesting features of the breed is the natural range in size, color, and markings. The average weight for males is 85 pounds, for females 75 pounds. Many Malamutes, including show dogs, are larger or smaller than average, and bigger is not necessarily better. Most Malamutes are gray with white trim, or black and white, but coats of silver, sable, and red sometimes occur. Patterns of facial markings range from the all-white "open face" to the "full mask" - the combination of a black cap on the head, goggles around the eyes, and a bar down the muzzle. ALL Malamutes have brown eyes.
The breed is blessed with a sunny disposition. Happiest when treated as an intelligent partner, the Malamute is highly cooperative but never slavish or fawning. The Alaskan Malamute works and lives with you, not for you. Sometimes aggressive toward other dogs, especially those of the same sex, the typical Malamute is outrageously and almost universally friendly to human beings. As the dogs of a peaceful, nomadic people, Malamutes do not guard property and virtually always extend a tail-wagging, face-licking welcome to strangers. These dogs develop deep, complex attachments to their owners, but are not one-person dogs. Adult rescue Malamutes readily bond with their adoptive owners.
The versatile Malamute is happy to pull a sled, but is equally glad to accompany the backpacker or the casual walker. In cold weather, the Malamute makes an ideal running partner. Large and powerful yet remarkably agile, Malamutes sometimes enjoy retrieving tennis balls and Frisbee. Some Malamutes love to swim; others have a marked aversion to water. Most enjoy car rides; the breed is not prone to motion sickness. Virtually all Malamutes find their greatest joy in human companionship and are perfectly content to join their owners in watching television. Malamutes take an alert interest in their surroundings and are excellent company.
As a competitive Obedience dog, the Alaskan Malamute is more legendary for crowd-pleasing antics than for good scores. Each year, however, Malamutes earn Canadian Kennel Club Companion Dog, Companion Dog Excellent, Utility Dog, and Tracking titles, and the breed is tremendous fun to work with, if not always a joy to show in the Obedience ring. In contrast, the Malamute is easy to train as a well-mannered pet.
An Arctic dog, the Malamute may live outdoors in a sturdy kennel with a high, strong fence, but Malamutes also make splendid, almost odorless house dogs. Under no circumstances should a Malamute be allowed to run loose or be kept on a chain, tie-out, or trolley. The indoor dog requires daily exercise on leash or in an inclosed field. With proper training from the beginning, Malamutes can be taken off lead. The outdoor dog has an equally strong need for daily companionship and affection.
The ancestors of today's Malamute were sometimes forced to hunt, forage, and compete for food. Consequently, Malamutes have a predatory streak and, if allowed to run loose in rural areas, will reliably slaughter livestock and wild animals. In urban and suburban areas, a loose Malamute is a menace to cats. Swift, fearless, and powerful, Malamutes have been known to catch songbirds on the wing and, if challenged, to deal harshly with other dogs. Some adult rescue Malamutes get along well with cats and with other dogs, but some must go to homes with no other pets. Furthermore, although the breed boasts a few angels, some Malamutes will raid trash and steal food inside the house. Anyone unprepared to deal POSITIVELY and calmly with this wild streak should NOT own an Alaskan Malamute. (We learned our lesson here! Maverick was an angel as a puppy, Maida was NOT)
The prospective adopter who has never before owned any dog should consider a sedate older Malamute instead of a spunky young dog, as should anyone without the physical strength to handle a vigorous youngster. Fortunately, the Alaskan Malamute has a life-span of about 12 to 14 years. Thus a 5-year old Malamute has, on the average, more years ahead of him than does a five-day-old Irish Wolfhound.
Malamutes can bark, but seldom do. The characteristic vocalization is a long series of woo-woo-woos, but Malamutes also produce yips, growls, rumbles, and an immense variety of wwrrrs and other sounds not readily translated into English. Some Malamutes never howl; others sound a spine-tingling reply to every passing fire engine, ambulance, and police cruiser. The neglected Malamute inappropriately chained in a back yard will loudly and indefatigably protest his situation, but happy Malamutes are exceptionally quiet dogs.
The breed's double coat consists of a short, dense undercoat and an outer coat of coarse guard hair. Malamutes shed profusely about twice a year. Except at those times, they require very little grooming. Some Malamute owners bathe the dog once a year; some, once a month. Some run a brush over the dog now and then; others groom the dog daily. A few Malamutes have long coats that are unacceptable in the show ring - but spectacular elsewhere. "Woollies," as these dogs are called require frequent grooming to prevent mats. Prospective adopters should bear in mind that even a carefully groomed relatively short-coated Malamute that is not actively shedding will nonetheless deposit some fur on carpets and in automobiles. This is NOT the breed for the fastidiously house-proud or car-proud.
Malamute Facts (Short Version):
There is no such breed as a "Giant Malamute". Their natural size ranges from 22" to 27" at the shoulder, weighing 70 to 100 pounds. Selectively breeding for size alone has created what some people tout as a "Giant". The inherent health problems of any large breed is usually exacerbated by this breeding strategy.
Malamutes can withstand a wide range of temperatures and live happily. They will be less active in the heat of summer, but with enough shade and fresh water have no problem acclimatizing to the weather.
As much as Malamutes like people, they tend to dislike other dogs, especially dogs of the same sex. - This CAN be worked on, through proper socialization early on - and continued through life.
It is NOT impossible to obedience train a Malamute, but it will be more difficult than with some other breeds. Their intelligence and quick learning ability makes repeating exercises very boring to them and they tend to have the attitude "What's in it for me?".
The Alaskan Malamute is not a "barker", but some of them will "talk" a great deal. Some of this will indeed sound and feel like a "conversation" and can be quite amusing.
Frequently Asked Questions:
Q: HOW LARGE DO MALAMUTES GET ?
A: MALAMUTES HAVE A NATURAL RANGE IN SIZE, BUT THE DESIRED FREIGHTING SIZE IS 25" IN A MALE AND 23" IN A FEMALE. THIS SIZE IS AT THE SHOULDER (WITHERS). IT'S NOT UNCOMMON TO SEE MALAMUTES AS LARGE AS 27" (Our first Mal, Maverick is 31'') OR AS SMALL AS 22". AVERAGE WEIGHT IS APPROXIMATELY 70-110 LBS.
Q: ARE MALAMUTES GOOD WITH PEOPLE ?
A: MALAMUTES WERE BRED TO WORK FOR MAN. THEY WERE EVEN USED AS A MEDIUM OF EXCHANGE IN THE ARCTIC REGION. THE LOVING TEMPERAMENT OF THE MALAMUTE TOWARDS MAN IS A MUST. MALAMUTES CAN HAVE PROBLEMS WITH OTHER ANIMALS AND OWNERS MUST PROPERLY SOCIALIZE THEIR MALAMUTES TO OTHER ANIMALS AT A YOUNG AGE. IF YOU DO NOT SOCIALIZE YOUR MALAMUTE, YOU MUST USE EXTREME CAUTION WHEN INTRODUCING YOUR DOG TO SMALL ANIMALS.
Q: DO MALAMUTES EAT A LOT OF FOOD ?
A: THEY DO NOT REQUIRE AS MUCH FOOD AS OTHER DOGS THEIR SIZE. THEY ARE BRED TO BE A FREIGHTING DOG CARRYING HEAVY AMOUNTS OF WEIGHT. THE MORE THEY EAT, THE MORE FOOD WHICH WOULD HAVE TO BE ADDED TO THEIR ALREADY HEAVY LOADS. KIBBLE FED MALAMUTES DO FINE ON 2.5-3 CUPS OF HIGH QUALITY KIBBLE A DAY. OUR RAW FED DOGS EAT AN AVERAGE OF 1.5-2 LBS A DAY OF MEAT, BONES AND ORGANS.
Q: DO MALAMUTES SHED THEIR COATS DURING THE SUMMER ?
A: THE MALES NORMALLY SHED ONCE A YEAR, BUT NOT NECESSARILY IN THE SUMMER. THEY SHED AS REQUIRED. IF THEY SHED IN THE WINTER MONTHS THEY WILL BE BACK IN FULL COAT MUCH QUICKER THAN IF THEY SHED IN THE SUMMER MONTHS. FEMALES NORMALLY HAVE A LIGHT SHED TWICE A YEAR AND IS BEFORE, DURING OR AFTER THEIR HEAT CYCLES. FEMALES WILL SHED TO THE SKIN AFTER HAVING A LITTER OF PUPPIES.
Q: WHICH MAKES A BETTER PET, MALE OR FEMALE ?
A: I FEEL THEY BOTH MAKE VERY NICE PETS AS WELL AS HOUSE DOGS. THE SEX IS REALLY UP TO WHAT YOU WANT. THEY ARE BOTH VERY EASILY HOUSE TRAINED. INTACT MALES DO TEND TO MARK THEIR TERRITORY. FEMALES, (WHICH HAVE NOT BEEN SPAYED), WILL HAVE 2 SEASONS A YEAR WHICH CAN BE INCONVENIENT A HOUSE DOG.
Q: DO MALAMUTES MAKE GOOD WATCH/GUARD DOGS?
A. NO. YOU MUST UNDERSTAND THAT MALAMUTES WERE BRED TO GET ALONG WITH MAN AND NEED TO HAVE THE ABILITY TO MOVE FROM OWNER TO OWNER. MALAMUTES WERE NEVER INTENDED TO BE A GUARD DOG. BY TRYING TO MAKE A MALAMUTE BECOME A GUARD DOG, YOU LITERALLY TEAR OUT HIS HEART. HE ONLY WANTS TO LOVE MAN, NOT HURT HIM.
Q: DO MALAMUTES HAVE BLUE EYES ?
A: NO. AS A MATTER OF FACT BLUE EYES ARE THE ONLY DISQUALIFICATION IN THE ALASKAN MALAMUTE BREED STANDARD. IF YOU SEE A MALAMUTE WITH BLUE EYES, THEY ARE NOT PUREBRED.
Q: ARE MALAMUTES EASILY TRAINED FOR OBEDIENCE ?
A: MANY PEOPLE WILL TELL YOU THEY ARE NOT. THIS IS BECAUSE MANY OF THOSE PEOPLE USE OLD SCHOOL HARSH METHODS OF TRAINING THEIR DOGS. MALAMUTES ARE A PEOPLE DOG AND THEREFORE WILL NOT WORK IF THEIR PEOPLE ARE NOT TREATING THEM PROPERLY. IT HAS BEEN SAID THAT MALAMUTES ARE DUMB AND IT IS JUST THE OPPOSITE. YOU TREAT HIM APPROPRIATELY AND WITH RESPECT, HE WILL DO ANYTHING FOR YOU (TREATS HELP TOO). SO IN OUR OPINION, YES THEY ARE, IF YOU HAVE THE PATIENCE TO WORK WITH THEM. AS A RULE MALAMUTES ARE MUCH SMARTER THAN THEIR OWNERS WHEN IT COMES TO TRAINING, AND WILL NOT WORK IF THEY DO NOT AGREE WITH THE METHODS. BUT REMEMBER, MALAMUTES ARE NOT GOLDEN RETRIEVERS :)
ALL NOVAMAL DOGS ARE TRAINED USING POSITIVE REINFORCEMENT METHODS ONLY. IF YOU PLAN TO ADD ONE OF OUR MALAMUTES TO YOUR FAMILY, YOU MUST USE ONLY POSITIVE TRAINING METHODS AS OUTLINED IN OUR CONTRACT.
Q: ARE MALAMUTES GOOD WITH SMALL CHILDREN ?
A: YES, BUT CAUTION AND CLOSE SUPERVISION SHOULD BE USED WHEN ANY ANIMAL IS ALLOWED TO BE IN CONTACT WITH A SMALL CHILD. BE SAFE, NOT SORRY. WITH THAT BEING SAID, ALL DOGS SHOULD BE PROPERLY EXPOSED AND SOCIALIZED TO CHILDREN AT A YOUNG AGE. ALL NOVAMAL PUPPIES SPEND A GREAT AMOUNT OF TIME WITH CHILDREN PRIOR TO COMING TO YOUR HOME.
Q: DO MALAMUTES LIKE TO CHEW ON THINGS ?
A: EVERYTHING A BUYER HAS TO BE AWARE THAT A MALAMUTE, PARTICULARLY A PUPPY, WILL CHEW ON ANYTHING HE FINDS FROM ELECTRIC CORDS, ROCKS, TO ROSE BUSHES IF THEY ARE NOT PROPERLY CHEW TOY TRAINED AND KEPT BUSY. ONE HAS TO TAKE GREAT CARE TO ENSURE THE NEW HOME, INCLUDING YARD, IS PREPARED FOR THE ARRIVAL OF THE NEW MEMBER OF THE FAMILY, BY PURCHASING AN AMPLE AMOUNT OF FOOD RELEASE AND CHEW TOYS. WE STRONGLY RECOMMEND KONG, CHOMPER AND BUSY BUDDY TOYS.
Q: HOW DO MALAMUTES HANDLE THE HEAT OF WARMER CLIMATES ?
A: MALAMUTES CAN ADJUST VERY WELL TO MOST CLIMATES AND HEAT. AREAS OF HIGH HUMIDITY SHOULD BE AVOIDED. SHADE AND WATER IS A MUST IN THE WARMER AREAS. A MISTER SYSTEM IS VERY NICE TO AID IN KEEPING HIM COOL IN VERY HOT AREAS. A MISTER IS NOTHING MORE THAT A SECTION OF PVC CONNECTED TO A WATER SOURCE WHICH APPLIES A SMALL AMOUNT OF SPRAY TO THE AREA WHERE THE DOG CAN BENEFIT FROM IT.
Q. HOW LONG DO MALAMUTES LIVE ?
A . A HEALTHY MALAMUTE CAN BE EXPECTED TO LIVE 12-14 YEARS.
Q: HOW MUCH EXERCISE DOES A MALAMUTE REQUIRE ?
A: MALAMUTES ARE DOGS OF WORKING INSTINCT. THEY REQUIRE AN AREA TO RUN IN TO TONE, DEVELOP, AND MAINTAIN MUSCLES. BUT MORE, THEY DEMAND THE HUMAN COMPANIONSHIP THAT A OWNER MUST ACCEPT WHEN THINKING ABOUT A MALAMUTE AS A DOG OF CHOICE. A MALAMUTE IS MOST HAPPIEST WHEN DOING ACTIVITIES WITH ITS OWNER. WE REGULARLY HIKE, MUSH, SWIM AND WALK WITH OUR DOGS.
A MALAMUTE IS A LIFE LONG FRIEND AND DESERVES THE RETURN OF LOVE HE GIVES. LOVE, ATTENTION, FOOD, WATER AND A SAFE ENVIRONMENT IS ALL HE WILL EVER ASK OF YOU. YOU WILL GET SO MUCH BACK IN RETURN.
Breeder of Exceptional Quality, CKC Registered Alaskan Malamute Puppies in Nova Scotia, Canada