|Group classification: Working||Country of origin: United States (Alaska)||Date of origin: Antiquity|
|Weight (M): 85 lb||Height (M): 25"||Life expectancy: 10 - 12 years|
|Weight (F): 75 lb||Height (F): 23"|
General Description of the Alaskan Malamute
The Alaskan Malamute excels at hauling heavy loads over great distances in brutal conditions, and its construction is consistent with such use. The long body is powerful and well muscled throughout, heavy boned with a straight back and very strong legs; large feet also help the dog to plod through snow. The head and muzzle are large, broad and deep. The ears are set wide apart on the skull, small, triangular and rounded. The eyes are brown, medium sized and almond shaped, and give the dog a kind, endearing expression. The Alaskan Malamute’s outer coat is medium length, coarse and thick, and left untrimmed in show dogs. The undercoat is dense and woolly. The coat can be solid white, but it is more common for white to be the predominant color with various shading of gray, black, sable or red. The face generally has a white mask or blaze. The Alaskan Malamute is distinctly wolf-like in appearance.
Alaskan Malamute Temperament
As befitting a dog that was bred to hunt and pull in packs, the Alaskan Malamute has a sociable and team-oriented personality. The Alaskan Malamute can be aggressive toward strange dogs, and will readily give chase to small and large animals alike. Strangers, however, are another story, and the dog seems to have an instinct to trust people. While this trait makes the Alaskan Malamute a mediocre guard dog, it does much to improve this animal’s standing with people. The Malamute enjoys having a task to perform, and is eager to follow a strong leader. This is not to say, however, that the dog will serve with the same unquestioning obedience of a German Shepherd or Retriever. Quite the contrary: the Alaskan Malamute is a creature of instinct, and if it does not agree with its master’s orders it is likely to disobey them. This strong willed stubbornness can make training a trying task, but a firm hand and an in-control attitude will go far in showing the Malamute who is boss. The breed tends to be docile in the home, and is a loyal and loving family member.
Caring for an Alaskan Malamute
The hardy Alaskan Malamute was once the primary means of transporting heavy loads through the Arctic, and it has never forgotten that legacy. The dog needs vigorous exercise every day to expend its vast reserves of energy. Running, hauling or playing should do the trick. Insufficient exercise can lead to undesirable habits such as incessant howling, digging or destructiveness. The breed excels in cold climates and withers in the heat; make sure this dog is given plenty of water and shelter on hot days. Coat care entails a twice a week brushing; the coat never needs to be trimmed. Health concerns for the Alaskan Malamute include canine hip dysplasia, cataracts, hypothyroidism and chondrodysplasia.