Pet Profile: Alaskan Malamute

By Valdette Muller| May 8, 2018 | Blog

The Alaskan Malamute is known to be the “Clydesdale” of the great white north.

Did you know that the Alaskan Malamute can survive in temperatures of minus 21 degrees celsius,

or that George Lucas (famous director of Star Wars and Indiana Jones) was inspired by his own Alaskan Malamute, to create Han Solo’s companion Chewbacca?

History

The first dogs of the Malamute breed were discovered in the 1700s working alongside the Malamute people of Alaska. These dogs had a prominent role in their communities, serving as utilitarian dogs and hunting.

The people of Malamute later used this breed to pull heavy sleds over treacherous ice and snow. The large dense bone structure and heavy chest and leg muscles of the Alaskan Malamute meant that they were well suited to these tasks. It is also one of the few dog breeds that can withstand the harsh cold climate of Alaska.

Appearance

The Alaskan Malamute have a “wolfish” appearance because of their thick double coat and attractive symmetrical markings, but historic research indicates the Inuit breeders of Malamute kept their dogs free from any wolf genes.

Alaskan Malamutes are usually mistaken for other sledding breeds such as the Siberian Husky because they often share the same coat colours and markings, but that is where the similarities end.

Siberian Huskies are quicker dogs and bred as sled dogs for rapid transport. The Alaskan Malamute is a larger dog, bred to pull sleds with heavy loads.

The Malamute dwarfs other sledding breeds, and weighs between 34 and 45 kilograms and can grow to a shoulder height of up to 63 cm.

Health, and care

The average life span for a Malamute is 8 to 10 years.

Like most larger dog breeds the Alaskan Malamute commonly suffers from hip dysplasia.

The Alaskan Malamute’s massive size can also cause them to suffer from growing pains and joint pains earlier in their life. A young Malamute will only fully mature in size after 2 years old.

The Alaskan Malamute has a thick, coarse double coat. The coat comes in long and short lengths.

These dogs are heavy shedders so a daily brushing will stop the hairs falling everywhere in your home. It is important to do a full seasonal brushing every Spring to help them lose their large Winter undercoat.

Training

Malamutes are pack animals by nature. In your family, the “pack” leader must be you at all times and it is important that your Malamute understands that.

If a Malamute does not respect you and the boundaries you have placed, your Malamute could end up becoming the pack leader instead of the other way around.

Firm but loving training is a must and should begin as early as puppyhood.

That said, a well-behaved Malamute is a joy to be with as they are very playful, gentle, friendly, and great with kids. They love people – not just their owners, this makes them unsuitable as a guard dog.

Due to their size and strength, Alaskan Malamutes are most suited to outdoor-type adults who are able to provide a wide range of activities to keep them challenged and entertained.

If you belong to an active and outdoorsy family then these dogs are great for exploring and travelling with their families. They enjoy the great outdoors and require regular exercise. They enjoy hiking, swimming and jogging with their owners.

 

Sources: https://www.friendsofthedog.co.za/alaskan-malamute-breed-profile.html

http://www.vetstreet.com/dogs/alaskan-malamute#grooming

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