Malamute, one of the oldest Arctic sled dogs, is a powerful and substantially built dog with a deep chest and strong, well-muscled body. There is a natural range in size in the breed. Males, 85 - 95 pounds, females, 65-75 pounds. The Malamute stands well over the pads, and this stance gives the appearance of much activity and a proud carriage, with head erect and eyes alert showing interest and curiosity. The head is broad, Ears are triangular and erect when alerted, muzzle is bulky.. not pointed or long, yet not stubby. The coat is thick with a coarse guard coat of sufficient length to protect a woolly undercoat. Malamutes are of various colors. Face markings are a distinguishing feature. These consist of a cap over the head, the face either all white or marked with a bar and/or mask. The tail is well furred, carried over the back, and has the appearance of a waving plume. Alaskan Malamutes require a long-term commitment to obedience, activity, exercise and entertainment... their unique character, intelligence and energy level can frustrate you, will undoubtedly entertain you, and can bring you great joy (when they're happy!) or great grief (when they're not!). If this type of relationship does not appeal to you, then consider another breed.
Alaskan Malamutes will roam due to their hunting instincts.... even if left in an unsecured for a few minutes! They absolutely need a securely fenced yard! Alaskan Malamutes are commonly known to injure or kill other small pets, such as cats, birds, rabbits, mice, rats, etc., simply due to their strong natural hunting instinct. Raising a puppy with a cat does not guarantee the cat's life-long safety! Alaskan Malamutes can be very destructive if left unattended. They are NOT recommended as apartment or condo dogs. They need exercise and outdoor activity, and are usually too loud for such high-density living. They need room to run; leash walking does not satisfy their energy. Unless your schedule permits many hours at home and a lot of outdoor activity this is not the dog for you. MANY rescues come from apartments, condos, or homes where the owners work away from the home for long periods of time. Please remember... Rescue is very busy with displaced mals because MANY PEOPLE UNDERESTIMATE LIFE WITH A Alaskan Malamutes
Originally an arctic sledge dog, Alaskan Malamutes not only still perform their duties as a sled dog, but in today's times, this working dog also competes in obedience, agility, and conformation showing. The Alaskan Malamute "desirable" size is 70 lbs to 100 lbs. A powerful and substantially built dog. Its head is broad, Eyes are almond-shaped, brown, NEVER BLUE; chest is deep & strong; Double coat, course guard hairs to protect a dense woolly, oily undercoat.Bushy tail, carried over its back, like a waving plume. Colors range from light gray to black, sable to red to all white. Their activity level is high and they demand daily both a physical & mental workout. A Malamute will insist on having a part in all family activities.They can be dog aggressive and extremely predatory. They are a very pack-oriented breed and therefore do best when included in the family rather than shut outside away from the rest of the "pack."Virtually always extend a tail-wagging, face-licking welcome to strangers.
A strong pack nature, Alaskan Malamutes are Same-sex aggressive and can be more aggressive towards other dogs than other breeds. It is recommended that no more than two Alaskan Malamutes (of opposite sex only) ever be permitted to stay together unattended. They are extremely intelligent, continue to test their limits throughout their life. More often than not, train their owners before the owner knows what has happened! Because of this, great care should be taken on the part of the owner to socialize their Malamute puppy as much as possible with other dogs. Due to the character of the Malamute, they should never be actively trained to be protective, vicious, or aggressive. Their very nature makes them lousy watch dogs. It is against their instincts. Malamutes are as likely to greet a potential thief as warmly as a trusted family member. This is part of what makes a Malamute a Malamute
Since they are pack oriented, Malamutes are generally not "one-man" dogs. They are an extremely intelligent breed that can be very stubborn and easily bored. They are not typically recommended to a first-time dog owner as mistakes are easy to make and sometimes hard to correct unless you really know what you are doing. They can be a challenge to train, due to their stubbornness. It is said that to teach a Malamute to do something once or twice is very easy, because they are quite intelligent and quickly learn new tasks. To get them to repeatedly do something over and over again is much more challenging, due to their stubbornness and the fact that they become easily bored. This trait is quite common in all of the northern breeds. Many Malamutes end up in the pound and even destroyed because an owner fell in love with the cute puppy but could not control the large, stubborn, powerful adult
Most mals love kids. They are not, however, a child’s pet. Mals are just “too much dog” for a child to handle. Kids, working under their parents’ supervision take an active role in training . Start early, and have your children do as many different training exercises with the dog as possible, being sure to choose only exercises which the child can complete successfully. Young children must never be left unsupervised with any puppy or dog — yours or anyone else’s! In spite of the child’s and dog’s affection for each other, it still takes a lot of learning on both sides for them to understand how to behave towards each other. The vast majority of problems involving children and dogs are a result of children behaving like children, dogs behaving like dogs, and parents or other responsible adults failing to provide proper supervision and education.
The breed can be quite vocal . They generally do not bark at all, they carry on a conversation by "talking" in sort of a soft "woo woo woo" sound (not barking). Malamutes can howl the roof right off of your house. Owners of multiple Malamutes have noticed that when their dogs howl, they will all stop simultaneously. Again, this behavior is due to the fact that they are a very pack-oriented breed.
Feeding - Malamute owners have found it impossible to free feed their dogs, due to the fact that some Malamutes will eat all food presented them immediately. This can lead obesity and bloat. As for the type and "brand" of dog food, basically any reputable dog food manufacturer provides a dog food that is sufficient to keep a dog healthy. However, the premium brands of dog food have the advantage that one can feed the dog less and still get very good nourishment. In addition, stool size and amount is generally less with the premium dog foods. Supplementation when not required can have an adverse, completely reverse effect from that which is desired. Dogs which have been ill, under stress, old dogs, all can use support for their diet . . . as is indicated by the individual's requirements.
Heartworm /fleas / ticks. Heartworm preventative is needed. Here in the States and Canada as we move into the summer months it is important to watch for fleas, ticks, corkscrews, foxtails, and take as many preventable measures as possible to protect your four-legged friends. Highly recommended is FRONTLINE top spot for fleas.
Feet- To keep healthy feet and to avoid discomfort, a dog may need its nails cliped every 2 to 4 weeks. Trim hair under foot in between pads. Start from paws of forequarters. First under the paw, cut hair that grows between the pads. Lift the hair between the toes combing upwards and cut using straight scissors doing nice round foot, but don't cut to much.
Coats may be medium or long in length, Dense consisting of two textures of hair, the outer or guard coat and the soft, downy undercoat. Double coated breeds do shed year round with increased shedding in the Spring and in the Fall. The two peak shedding seasons: Spring and Fall because the change in natural light triggers the release of undercoat as new growth begins. Females will blow their coats usually twice a year whereas a dog will hold his for most of a year and if carefully handled as he gets older for 18 months and longer. The older dogs tend to "roll" their coats . This means they are never really out of coat and can last as much as two years. Routine and thorough brushing of your dog’s coat is the most important step in maintenance grooming. Regular brushing reduces shedding, prevents matting, while enhancing skin and coat health. Remember, any hair that is loosened and removed in the basic grooming process is that much less hair that enters your environment! Your double-coated dog needs more attention than a simple surface grooming can provide.
One word of caution: Do not shave your double-coated dog to "keep him cool for the summer." The hair that keeps the heat in, also keeps the heat out. It is not beneficial to the dog in any way could have long term effects. Dogs shed the excess, unneeded hair during the warmer months. Use a strong cattle dryer and blow out dead hair in the coat after bathing every week. This allows the coat to regenerate on a constant basis and prevents that awful felting and clumping one tends to see on some dogs. Looks awful as these breeds are definitely not "wash and wear". The weekly coat blowing also keeps the coat even without the horrid holes that occur when the dog is shedding. Your dog will stay neat and tidy
Begin grooming your dog at an early age and he will become confident and easier to manage. Collect towel, shampoo, brush, cott
on wool for ears . Fill a dish soap bottle with hand-hot water and the shampoo. Groom the dog on a grooming table or firm surface, covered with a piece of non-slip rubber, such as a car or bath mat. Brush out coat first , Use a fine mist spray before on every layer,so as not to break the coat . Wet the dog with hose . Squeeze soapy water/ shampoo over the dog, start from the rear and work forwards. Clean eyes and ears with small towel soaked in clean non soapy water. Towel head and back, this is a good opportunity to feel for lumps , Let him shake. Dry dog by using a strong cattle dryer , cool air only. Dry the coat forwards from the rear to the head Don't forget to carefully comb the underneath of the tail near the base. Comb and brush , for the short hair areas such as ears face and legs. Use a flea comb. It really fluffs these out. Choosing the appropriate tools and using them correctly will make your grooming session more efficient, effective and enjoyable Because of their special grooming needs, double-coated dogs may require some extra grooming tools to keep them looking their very best
Alaskan Malamutes are happiest when they can share in family activities. The best arrangement is one in which the dog can come in and out of the house of its own free-will, through a dog door. If a dog door is not possible, then training the dog to go to an outside door to be let out is also very easy to do. Outside, the dog should have a large, fenced yard. Alaskan Malamute possess a strong "prey drive" which is part of the hunting instinct. If it moves or squeals, a mal will chase it - sometimes with dangerous consequences. Malamutes have been known to kill rabbits, squirrels & birds, as well as neighborhood cats.Mals only do well with cats when they have been raised with them and have also been taught to control their natural instincts. .Some mals can never be trusted around other small animals, even when raised with them. Since they were bred to run, mals also have a tendency to roam the neighborhood or countryside. Never let your malamute "off-leash" as few are consistently trustworthy to commands (unless they wish to be) and are not particularly mindful to road traffic. In the countryside, they may learn to chase wildlife & livestock, or may be mistaken for wolves(or wolf-hybrids) and killed.A large, fenced yard is preferred for keeping a malamute in the city. Even so, they should be walked or given some other form of exercise every day. Although they can readily adapt to apartment living, this means the owner must be very dedicated to providing the proper amount of exercise. Mals that are kept primarily outside the house or on larger property should be provided a sturdy run with a covered kennel or large doghouse.
Mals should be taught caution & control around children. Besides their love of humans, they are also attracted to children because of the quick movements and high-pitched voices ( similar to those of small hurt animals - a natural prey). The fence should be strong and at least 6 feet tall. It is also a good idea to bury wire in the ground to discourage digging out. Malamutes are notorious diggers. It is usually best to set up a sand box somewhere in a shaded part of the yard and encourage digging there, if possible. Malamutes should not be allowed to roam around the neighborhood. If one chooses to kennel a Malamute, the kennel should be chain link, with a concrete run, and should be 8 ft wide and 15 to 20 ft long. It should be at least 6 ft high with chain link across the top of the kennel. It should be in a shaded location and have an insulated dog house with a door for shelter from the elements. Because the Malamute is an arctic dog, it can remain outside in very cold weather. However, it should be provided with shelter from the elements in the form of a good sturdy house. The house should have a flat roof, as Malamutes love to lay on top of their houses and observe the world. A good insulated house with nice straw bedding is perfect for Malamutes that spend most of their time outside. Heating the dog house is usually not necessary. When it's hot, most dogs like having ice added to their water to help keep it cool. They also enjoy a children's wading pool filled with water in the summer time
Train your dog. Every dog should have basic manners, but dogs are not born knowing how to behave. Take the time to train your dog on a consistent basis using kind, positive methods. Find a class near you whose methods and philosophies you like. If faced with a behavior problem you can't solve, ask people you trust for a recommendation of an experienced trainer and get professional help fast. The sooner you begin working on a problem the sooner you will have it solved.
Understand your dog's genetic heritage. it is important to understand what your dog was bred to do. It is very important to remember that Alaskan Malamutes are a working breed. They need something to do. Putting them in the backyard and tossing them a bone and expecting them to be happy us a very bad idea. They need a lot of exercise and interaction to be happy. The exercise can come in the form of mushing, which is of course best, or can easily be in the form of frequent walks, hikes, and playing. The dog makes a wonderful hiking companion, and with a dog pack, can carry food and water.
Unless you are defending yourself or another person, or an animal, from attack, it is never, absolutely never, appropriate to hit, kick, throw or otherwise manhandle a dog. They have a very strong sense of what is and isn't fair, and they know that such behavior is not fair. At best, they will lose respect for you; at worst, one or both of you will be injured.
Owners often forget that the behavior that prompts a dog to run or stay close, hunt or guard, chase and kill or herd, work with people or work independently are all the result of generations of carefully selected traits. Research your breed's history, and talk to people who understand your breed's characteristics. You may find that Rover's tendencies, while annoying or amusing, are precisely what makes him what he is. You can then decide how best to work with your dog's instincts and where you need to concentrate training efforts. You must stay on top of the dog and maintain control, which is easier to do while the dog is of manageable size than with a stubborn adult that has been allowed to get away with undesirable behaviors for a long time. Malamutes are terrific dogs, but they have special needs when it comes to training. You can meet these needs very easily and humanely at an early age, or you can choose to neglect them and end up with an unmanageable, potentially aggressive dog, who nobody will want to live with. And because nobody will want the dog, he or she will stand an excellent chance of being euthanized.
In order to train a mal successfully, you must understand what makes these magnificent animals tick. Along with being affectionate, playful companions, malamutes are intelligent, independent, stubborn, energetic and dominant creatures with a very highly developed sense of pack hierarchy. These traits were essential for survival in the harsh and unforgiving environment which mals first inhabited, and they continue to be the essence of malamute temperament. If you cherish and respect these characteristics, and are able to work with them in training your pet, you will end up with a malamute who is a pleasure to live with. If, however, you ignore your mals’ special training needs, or have expectations which are simply not within a mal’s capabilities, you and your pet will face failure.
Establish rules of the house early, and make sure that the puppy knows that you are in charge. For example, if you do not want the dog on the bed as an adult, do not allow it as a puppy.At one time or another, every owner has to deal with problem behavior.
Control the dog and you control the situation. By putting on a training collar and lead, you can control the dog. For many dogs, their training equipment means business, not playtime, and this can help in a problem situation. A dog who is on lead cannot run away or chase people or other animals, and his owner has a chance to help him understand what he should do by guiding him with the leash and collar.
Be positive. Instead of saying "NO", try giving your dog something positive that he can do for you, such as "Sit", or "Heel". This positive approach means you can praise generously for his good actions, instead of simply yelling at him. For example, a dog who jumps up can be told to sit, and helped if necessary, then praised for sitting.
Allow a dog to be a dog. Often, what owners consider problem behavior is simply normal dog behavior that they find unpleasant or annoying. For example, digging is a natural canine activity but distressing to a garden proud owner. Instead of scolding for what comes naturally, it might be kinder to set up an area in which you have buried small treats to make it more attractive than the rest of the yard, and praising your dog for digging in "his" garden.
Whenever natural behaviors conflict with what you might like, be creative and see if you can find an outlet for those interests and activities that is suitable for you both.
Be consistent. It is unfair to the dog to change your rules depending on what you're wearing, who's visiting or the kind of day you've had. If your dog is allowed on the furniture, he will be confused when you yell at him because Aunt Bess is visiting and she doesn't think dogs should sit in chairs! If he's allowed to jump up when you're wearing jeans and a sweatshirt, don't be surprised if he can't tell the difference between that and your best evening gown. Whatever your rules are, keep them consistent.
Be clear. Owners often confuse dogs by changing the words or commands, repeating them over and over again without showing the dog what is meant, and worst of all, assuming that the dog understands. When in doubt, gently show your dog physically exactly what you mean, giving the command at the same time so that he can associate the two. Use clear, matter of fact commands when addressing your dog, and be sure that your praising tone is excited, enthusiastic and upbeat. Remember that while we use words to communicate, dogs are masters of reading body language. If your body language tells the dog one thing, but your voice tells the dog something else, chances are he will believe your body language. This is why people who bend towards their dog and shake a finger at them while scolding "No, no, no" often receive a playful bark - their body posture is much more like a dog inviting play than a dog who is annoyed or angry.
Provide mental stimulation. Dr. Roger Abrante's suggestions regarding using 1/3 of your dog's diet for treats to be earned during training, 1/3 to be given as usual in a food bowl, and 1/3 to be "hunted" (try a Buster Cube, an ingenious toy which the dog must persistently work with to receive a few kibble at a time. Even a border collie will be amused by this for hours! Buster Cubes are available from your local pet store or from DogWise.com.) This "home alone" 1/3-1/3-1/3 program helps your dog expend some energy and provides much needed stimulation
Exercise, exercise, exercise! The most common cause of problem behavior is boredom and a lack of sufficient exercise. While you work or go out, your dog has little or nothing to do, and his need to exercise will not go away. A familiar yard or house is boring, and few dogs exercise on their own without interaction with their owners. Take the time to play with your dog, jog with him, walk in the woods, swim or take long brisk walks each day. A tired dog is always a well behaved dog!
Have your dog earn what he wants. While everyone needs a few freebies now and then, your dog will not think you are a wonderful owner if you play with him, walk him, feed him and pet him whenever he demands it. In fact, this often creates problems since from the dog's point of view an owner who can be "trained" this well is not one who deserves much respect. Teach your dog to say "please" by sitting, laying down or following some other command before he gets what he wants