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.