Alaskan Malamute Breed | Mountain Life Malamutes
Mountain Life Malamutes, about the Alaskan Malamute breed, facts, and what makes these beautiful dogs just so amazing.
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Alaskan Malamute Breed

Ancient Roots, Legendary Breed
Alaskan Malamute Breed Teyah Red Gentle Spirit

Alaskan Malamute

Ancient Roots, Legendary Breed

The Alaskan Malamute breed is an ancient Arctic breed shrouded in mystery and legend. They come from the Iñupiat people, Mahlemuts, and were bred for extreme strength, power and resilience to very harsh, cold, and brutal environments. The breed’s true origins have been kept secret by the Mahlemuts, and for this, they are as mystical and magical as the Aurora Borealis itself.  Some argue that the Alaskan Malamute could very well be the oldest domesticated dog breed in the world. These dogs were highly valued, treated as family, and they were depended on as an integral part of the Mahlemut culture and survival. Natural born hunters, these dogs would often save villages from starvation, as well as protect and keep children safe and warm. There is no doubt that the Alaskan Malamute breed is legendary, and for this, the breed deserves to be kept pure, and respected for it’s ancestral awesomeness. Later the Alaskan Malamutes were used during the Gold Rush of 1896 due to the ability to pull heavy weight, but were crossbred with other domesticated dogs which almost eradicated the breed. However, many of these crossbred dogs died due to exposure and starvation – they just could not live up to the pure Alaskan Malamute. The breed lives on strong today due to the efforts of some very special folks that believe in protecting and maintaining this truly legendary, ancient breed. 

 

Temperament & Social Skills

In general, this breed is excellent for children, families, and all the “singles” out there looking for a true companion. Alaskan Malamutes still possess many of their ancestral instincts. Although many say they may not make the perfect guard dog, the Malamute is not a dog to be taken for granted, or as a wimp – by any means. Alaskan Malamutes are not known to usually look to start an altercation, but they will defend themselves and territory if necessary – to the death. Contrary to certain beliefs, we have personally witnessed these incredible dogs defend their owners against what they felt was a “viable threat”. It’s really all in how you raise your Malamute, and how well you are bonded. These dogs are highly intelligent and intuitive, they can sense when something is not right, and they are not afraid to use force, if necessary, to dismantle a threat. 

Malamutes need to be socialized at very young ages in order to develop a tolerance to accept other animals into their “sacred space”. They also posses a very strong “hunter” instinct, and for this, if you intend on housing them with or near other animals, especially smaller animals…they may look at them as prey.

It is true, the Alaskan Malamute breed loves people, and perhaps a better word… they ADORE people. They want to serve, but also are very independent, strong willed, and require training and proper discipline (the kind that is done correctly and with love).  Mals are excellent dogs for children, but they are also very powerful, and when they are young they have sharper teeth and extremely high energy levels. Some Mals, especially when younger, may try to dominate children, or “hump” them. Although this may appear comical to the untrained eye, it is extremely important to redirect this behavior immediately to establish healthy relationships and boundaries with your Mal.

Malamutes are highly loving and intelligent, but they also must learn their own strength and boundaries, and should always be supervised with small children during training and development. Malamutes, despite what “some” say, can make absolutely fabulous service dogs. However, this is on a case by case basis as some Malamutes have personalities that are better suited than others for this type of “task”. Even so, young Mals and Mal pups have tendencies to get very excited and jump on unsuspecting individuals. Although this is a sign of affection, the sheer weight and size of Mals, even as puppies, can accidentally knock a person over. This can be dangerous if someone is elderly, disabled, or pregnant. Awareness of your environment, the people, other animals, and circumstances must always be taken into consideration at all times – especially in public places.

Mals are very loving, but their size can be extremely intimidating to those who do not know or understand the breed. Always use a proper leash or harness, and know that your Malamute could be looked at as a threat even when they aren’t.

 

 

Is a Malamute Right for You?

Alaskan Malamutes are a large and very powerful breed. They require a strong, patient, loving person, to gain their respect and to keep them in check while going through the “puppy” stage. Malamutes are extremely high energy, loving dogs, but they are also very independent and will constantly test boundaries to see what they can get away with. Start early to promote good habits and behavior, and your Malamute will prove to be one of the best companions you’ve ever had.

Owners of the Alaskan Malamute breed must fully commit to a Malamute lifestyle in order to maintain a healthy and happy relationship with their Mal.

What does this mean? It means… if you are looking for a companion who is simply there to wag their tail and sit by your feet after you are gone 8-10 hours a day, 5 days a week – a Malamute might not be the right breed for you. Alaskan Malamutes are “work dogs”. Their ancestral lineages and genetics require them to have proper exercise and time outdoors. They can live and adapt to just about any environment, but you must dedicate time for outdoor play and adventure.

Malamutes can adapt to many different environments, including warmer climates, although they do prefer at least the opportunity to experience the colder climates – they thrive in it.

If you are looking for a true “best friend”, a companion that you intend to fully commit to in all areas, such as proper training and play/exercise, then the Alaskan Malamute breed would be an ideal choice. If you put 100% into your Mal, there is no doubt that you will get back 150% in return.

Just remember, these dogs can get BIG, and I do mean BIG…like 100+ lbs big. They require a SAFE and SECURE area to run and play, as well as plenty of room to call their own. Do NOT attempt to take on Mal ownership if you question your ability to provide any of the above, or if you are not fully prepared to provide a truly genuine FOREVER HOME.

Alaskan Malamute Breed Facts

Alaskan Malamutes and Siberian Huskies

They are a totally different breed! Alaskan Mals are much bigger and heavier weighing 75-130 lbs + and were/are bred for hauling heavy loads. Huskies were/are bred for speed and longer distances and are much smaller breed, weighing 40-60 lbs.  Alaskan Malamutes will never have blue eyes – ever! Siberian Huskies can have different color eyes, including blue, a very rare trait among dog breeds.

Alaskan Malamute’s Coat

Malamutes have beautiful thick double coats which act as both heating and cooling. They are an Arctic breed which thrives in colder climates, and known to survive in temperatures as low as 70 °F below zero.  In warmer climates, these dogs should always be provided with plenty of shade and clean cool water – but NEVER shave them! Doing this can disrupt their natural ability to regulate their body temperature and can cause DEATH. When the weather is hot, and you decide to wet their coats, always be sure there is plenty of air to provide circulation for drying and cooling so that the heat is pulled away from their body. Soaking their coats and not providing proper air ventilation can cause them to overheat and DIE.

A good “rake” style brush is recommended, groomers will often NOT recommend the “Furminator” style brushes as they can be damaging to the dog’s guard hairs.

Shedding

Although Malamutes “blow” their coats twice a year, it is only during this time, which lasts about 3 weeks, that they heavily shed – and yes, it’s a LOT of hair. However, excessive shedding should not occur in between these times. Diet and allergy issues can cause this to happen, so if you notice your Malamute is excessively shedding in between “blows” please be sure to check to ensure you are feeding them a high quality diet, and if you are, and still notice excessive shedding issues, contact your veterinarian. This does not include the normal hair that can accumulate or come off onto carpets, rugs, clothing and furniture on a day-to-day basis, which is minimal. I always keep lint rollers on hand to quickly remove any pet hair from my clothing, as well as make sure all my air filters are properly maintained and changed out on a regular basis.

The Alaskan Malamute breed is not for everybody, but if you are a hard core dog lover, enjoy the great outdoors, understand pack mentality, are a good strong leader, have patience, and don’t mind a little work – then I can think of no better breed for you!

Although the above video offers some great information, I have to disagree with the statement that all Malamutes are “prone” to joint problems. They are prone if not properly exercised, have genetic issues which contribute to joint problems, and are not given the high quality diet from pup-hood through adulthood they require. It is true that health problems can still arise, but I would not necessarily say they are “prone” to joint problems, so long as a breeder is responsibly and ethically doing their job, and breeding healthy dogs. Another statement I don’t agree with, is that yes, the Malamute thrives and prefers cold/cooler climates, but they do not “require” AC to live. As long as the Malamute has sufficient shade from the sun, and proper air flow, they are usually just fine during seasonal weather changes. Yes, they will appreciate the AC, but they don’t need it in order to survive…that’s going a bit too far.

“Giant” Malamutes can weigh in excess of 100 pounds and have become increasingly popular to pet companion seekers. The “giants” fall outside of AKC standards, but are still purebred, and highly sought after. AKC standard size is 75 lbs for females, and 85 lbs for males. Coats can also either be long or short, AKC does not recognize the long coats, but is still a natural genetic trait for the Alaskan Malamute breed, and are highly sought after.

 

Not everyone should consider a “Giant” because the larger the dog, the more difficult it can be for owners to provide adequate space, and handle a dog as large and powerful as this. They can be more difficult to handle around small children, and should only be considered by individuals who really understand what having a “Giant” breed entails. As it is, an 80-100 lbs Alaskan Malamute is a force to be reckoned with. Another thing to keep in mind, the larger the dog, usually the shorter the lifespan, and possibly more health issues later in life. Still, even “Giant” Malamutes are extremely healthy and powerful dogs and also have an average life expectancy of 10-12 years. How well you treat, exercise, feed, and love your Malamute will determine many things.