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Alaskan Malamute

Dogsora

Life span: 10-12 Years

Height: 61-66cm(Male); 56-61cm(Female)

Weight: 75-100 pounds

Sometimes confused with the Siberian Husky, this lovely breed is a large sled dog originating in the Arctic. Its complexion and large size can be shocking at first sight, with a similitude to a wolf. But don’t worry, they are friendly and great companions, especially for their preferred cold weather!

Physical Characteristics

This tall buddy has a furry tail that is curled loosely above its back, with the purpose of helping them stay warm in cold weathers, sometimes by wrapping it around its face. The Alaskan Malamute also has small ears that are upright always, especially when something catches its attention. Its strong body, which can be used for sledding, is covered in a double coat. The undercoat is thick (up to two inches) and has a woolly and oily feel, while the protective coat is harsher and stands up to an inch apart from the body. Its coat colors vary greatly, they can be black and white, red and white, grey and white, completely white, among other color combinations. They also tend to have black or grey markings and a face mask. Its almond shaped eyes can also vary in color, most commonly seen in blue or brown, but sometimes also hazel.

History

Originating in the Arctic, they were originally used by a tribe called the Mahlemuts as hunters for seals, pull heavy loads, scare away polar bears, or even as a means of transport through sledding! Its wolf like appearance isn’t in vain either, since among its ancestors is the arctic wolf. In 1896 there was a lot of interbreeding in the Arctic, where many tribes were located, causing many purebreds to become mixed. However, the Alaskan Malamute was able to be conserved fairly well due to the isolation of the Mahlemuts. Later on, Arthur T. Walden began breeding the Alaskan Malamutes in New Hampshire. Through the years Arthur and his successors provided dogs for expeditions “Byrd Antarctic” expeditions (1930), causing this particular breeding of Alaskan Malamutes to be known as the Kotzebue strain. Later on came a slightly different breeding of them that was known as the M’Loot strain, some of which were used in World War I and World War II for Admiral Byrd’s expeditions. The Alaskan Malamutes used were all registered and taken out for duty due to the high sledding demands, sadly resulting in the demise of many of them on an expedition in World War II.

Personality

This breed is particularly fond of “talking”, if they hear another dog howling, hear sirens, or simply seem to want to have a chat with you, they won’t hesitate to howl, though barking is rare. They love children and are very playful, however, they tend to see small animals as prey, but with the right training, this can be avoided. They need a lot of constant exercise and play both indoors and outdoors, as well as to not be left alone for long periods of time, especially given their tendency to dig holes,, or it may result in destructive behavior. They are loyal and will protect their family as much as they will show love towards it. Although they can occasionally be stubborn, this breed is easy to train and usually quick learners.

Health

The only records of the Alaskan Malamute, healthwise, are from 2004, which states that the most common health problems for this breed are:

Hip dysplasia, a hereditary disease in which there is an abnormal formation in the hip socket, that may eventually cause painful arthritis. It may also be affected by the environment they reside in.

Hereditary Cataracts, in which the lens of the eye clouds, causing partial or complete loss of vision.

Epilepsy, a neurological disorder that can produce seizures.

Canine Diabetes, which tends to present itself in arctic dogs, especially around when the dog is 5-7 years old.

Hypothyroidism, a disease that affects the thyroid gland, its symptoms are ear infections, skin infections, hair loss, lethargy, and depression.

Inherited Polyneuropathy, causing lack of coordination that can be mild and barely noticeable or severe.

Chondrodysplasia, in which the puppy is born with abnormal limbs regarding their shape and length. It is now possible to test your dog to be able to identify if they carry this gene.

Care

The Alaskan Malamute needs constant exercise and playtime, and cannot be left alone for long or it will become bored and destructive. However, be careful when exercising due to the breeds sensitivity to heat. They shed in heavy amounts twice a year, and depending on the weather, sometimes shedding can be daily. This is why the malamute requires constant hair grooming, highly recommended twice a day, although not necessarily constant bathing. They are preferably kept indoors, but if kept outdoors be sure to give them a place with a roof and a high fence. Given their love for digging, having a sandbox or a determined place in which they can dig is a good idea.

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