- The Alaskan Malamute was first described living amongst the Mahlemut people on Alaska’s northwest coast.
- The dogs served as hunting partners for seals and polar bears, among other big game, and as sled dogs for hauling heavy loads.
- The dogs were an integral part of these people’s survival, and were valued both as workers and tribal members.
- In 1896, the discovery of gold sparked the gold rush, and with it an influx of outsiders who immediately realized the value of good sled dogs both as workers and entertainment. They staged weight pulling contests and races among their dogs. They crossed the native Alaskan breeds with each other and with dogs they brought in, to the point that the true Malamute was in danger of being lost through interbreeding.
- In the 1920s, a New England dog racing enthusiast gathered up the best Malamute representatives he could find and began to promote the traditional Malamute.
- Malamutes were chosen to assist Admiral Byrd on his trek to the South Pole in 1933.
- The AKC recognized the breed in 1935.
- In World War II Malamutes were used to haul supplies and even act as search and rescue dogs.
- Malamutes are still valued as the exemplary breed for moving heavy loads in snow. They are strong, rather than swift, sled dogs.
Alaskan Malamute Behavior Concerns
- Makes a loyal and bold companion.
- It loves to run, pull, and roam, and must be confined in a secure yard.
- It is sociable toward people, but can be aggressive toward strange dogs or animals.
- Strong willed and independent, so that it needs training with a firm hand from a young age.
- Does best with reward-based training involving food or games.
- It tends to dig and howl.
Alaskan Malamute Suggested Exercises
- Makes a fairly quiet housedog as long as its high exercise needs are met.
- Requires a very long walk or jog, or a long run in an enclosed area, every day.
- Particularly enjoys pulling sleds or heavy loads.
- Most Malamutes should not be let off leash unless the area is securely fenced.
- Games and tricks provide needed mental exercise.
- In cold weather it may prefer to stay outside. In warm weather it is usually happier inside.
- Its thick coat provides good protection against cold weather.
Alaskan Malamute Grooming
- Coat is made up of a soft thick undercoat covered by a straight, harsh outer coat that stands off from the body.
- The coat needs weekly brushing—more when shedding
- Shedding is above average.
Suggested Alaskan Malamute Nutritional Needs
- Malamutes tend to stay in good weight. The thick coat can obscure weight problems, so be sure to use your hands to feel.
- Adult dogs should be fed a balanced diet, with restricted calories if the dog starts to gain too much weight.
- Puppies should be fed a large-breed growth food, which slows their growing rate but not final size. This may decrease the incidence or severity of hip dysplasia in adults.
>>> SEE ALSO: Know Your Pet