Getting To Know You - Alaskan Malamute
Of the AKC recognized sled dog breeds, the Alaskan Malamute is the oldest and the largest. Named after the Mahlemut (an Inuit tribe from Alaska’s Kotzebue Sound area) the Malamute may not be the fastest of these, but it does possess the strength to carry large loads, along with the stamina and endurance to do so over long distances. These dogs are unmatched when it comes to their desire to work.While you may not be planning on donning seven layers of clothing under you winter down coat and exploring the Arctic on a dog-pulled sled, you may still be interested in getting to know the Alaskan Malamute.If you’re looking for a large dog (males: 25” males and 85 lbs., females: 23” and 75 lbs.) that requires minimal, weekly grooming for its thick coat, then you may want to consider the Malamute. Its face markings, nothing short of mesmerizing, accentuate its intelligent eyes. Its low maintenance coat comes in different colors; light gray, black, sable and red. They are shedders, so make sure that you can handle having dog hair on your furniture, on your clothes, and even in your food, with a smile.
Alaskan Malamutes are powerful dogs and, as they were bred to pull sleds, walking them on a leash can prove challenging. Unless you have the strength of a body builder, training is a must. Getting them to obey may prove to be very challenging, thus inexperienced dog owners may prefer to start with a different breed in order to hone their skills before taking on this independent thinker. Even with extensive training, it’s important to keep in mind that a leash is not optional equipment for this breed. Expecting them to come when called in any situation is not realistic. They are more than willing and able to duke it out with the neighbor’s Doberman or chase down the Siamese cat up the street. For everyone’s safety, keep them safe and secure at all times.
Malamutes not only have the ability to become extraordinary team racing dogs, they can also make wonderful pets. Intelligent, affectionate and loyal are some of the terms used to describe them. Their friendliness towards people makes them less than perfect guard dogs. They can make good playmates for polite children, as long as they are properly socialized and supervised. Like any breed that was developed to work tirelessly, they need exercise and lots of it. They are a large and independent breed, so may not make the best performance dogs for such team sports as agility or competitive obedience - though there are exceptions. Having a fenced in yard will help keep them exercised and safe - keeping them inside the fence is another story. This rugged breed is best suited for people who love the outdoors, especially those living in cooler climates. For all you long distance joggers and those of you who love long hikes in the woods, you may have met your perfect match.
If you enjoy Christina's writing, check her books out! She is the author of “Chester Gigolo: Diary of a Dog Star” and "Insider Training: Chester Gigolo’s Dog Training Secrets Revealed” for which she won the 2016 DWAA Captain Haggerty award for Best Training Book and the 11th Annual National Indie Excellence Award (Animals & Pets). She is also a contributing author to “Animal Stars: Behind the Scenes with Your Favorite Animal Actors”. She has written multiple articles which have appeared in various international publications.