Alaskan Malamute (Working Group)
The Alaskan Malamute is a large, powerful canine that is strong-willed and independent, yet obedient and loving towards its owners. These dogs are at heaven when running around or pulling a sled outside. They are a family-oriented dog breed that is sociable towards people but may be overly aggressive towards other animals, especially strange dogs.
A Brief History of The Alaskan Malamute
As its name suggests, the Alaskan Malamute originated from Alaska, who’s original function was hunting large game and heavy sled pulling. Today the Alaskan Malamute is used primarily for sled pulling only.
Like other members of the spitz family, the Alaskan Malamute came from the Arctic regions and are at home in the cold climate. History tells us that the dogs were living with a people known as the Mahlemuts, whom lived in Alaska’s northwest coast along the Norton Sound. The term “Mahlemut” comes from Mahle, which is a tribal name, and “mut” meaning village.
The breed was used to hunt very large game, specifically seals and polar bears. They would then use their incredible size and strength to haul the carcasses back to their masters’ villages. The dog’s talent lied in their strength and size rather than speed, so the Alaskan Malamute would often hunt with several smaller, faster dogs to find the prey before attacking.
The breed has always been respected as one of the family. They were essential to the survival of the people. However, the Alaskan Malamute was not pampered like today’s common house dog. The weather was very unforgiving and if any dog was not up to the hunting requirements needed to be useful, they were often killed.
During World War II, the Alaskan Malamute was used as service dogs to help facilitate search and rescue missions, work as freight haulers, and pack animals. After the war their numbers continued to grow as the breed became more and more popular. The breed was officially recognized by the AKC in 1935.
Upkeep Requirements for The Alaskan Malamute
The Alaskan Malamute is one dog breed that is at home in cold weather. They have a tireless need to haul heavy sleds in the snow and can run for miles without stopping. Without proper, daily exercise to work these high-energy levels the dog can become frustrated and destructive, so outside fun and games is a must.
Alaskan Malamute dogs are rated as being one of the most affectionate dog breeds we know of today. For this reason alone, they need lots of human interaction. They are well-mannered and although can sleep outside at night in cold temperatures, prefer to be inside and close to the rest of the family until morning. Their heavy coat needs a good brushing twice weekly or every-other-day during shedding season.
Health Concerns The Alaskan Malamute has an average lifespan of between ten and twelve years. The two main Health Concerns that run common in the breed are cataracts and CHD. Minor health problems that may show up are hypothyroidism and chondrodysplasia. Veterinarians suggest that Alaskan Malamute dogs get tested for potential hip, thyroid, and eye problems.