The Alaskan Malmute is a large domestic breed of dog. It is an arctic breed so it bears a lot of similarities to other breeds that belong to this group. But what is interesting for the Alaskan malamute is that this is a type of dog which has not changed its appearance so much since its inception and is one of the more unique canines in the world because of that.
Alaskan malamutes are intelligent and very strong animals. They have a sturdy body and high strength, stamina and endurance. Their main purpose was to haul heavy freight and were also used for pulling sleds in the arctic terrain.
History & Origins
The Alaskan Malmute dog actually dates back a very long time ago. In fact, the first dogs which relate to this breed were brought to the Americas some 12,000 years ago. But it was only 4,500 years ago until people of the region settled with their dog when the Paleo-Eskimo people started doing that. Thus the Alaskan Malamute is thought to be created by Malmute Inupiaq people of Alaska’s Norton Sound region.
Their main purpose was to be utilitarian dogs which will aid the people to haul their loads and also help them in hunting. But thanks to the dog’s strength, the breed was capable of hunting quite big animals. For instance, bears and seals. The modern version of the Alaskan Malmute was flushed out somewhere in the 19th century and due to certain studies it was discovered that these dogs are also related to the Greenland Dog and the Canadian Eskimo Dog.
Alaskan Malamute Characteristics & Temperament
The Alaskan Malmute was once considered a utility dog but now its purpose is a bit different. Even though these dogs are still used in sled hauling, they are still much more useful as mere pets and companions. Their nature and behavior makes them perfect pets. They are large dogs but their quiet nature, intelligence and obedience will make it a perfect pet which will also get along with your child very nicely. They enjoy the company of humans and become attacked to the whole family as they are initially pack dogs and consider the family as their pack.
They still inherit their ability to hunt and are prone to chasing other dogs or smaller animals. But they are not good as watch dogs as they are friendly with humans and can also befriend strangers easily. They are usually very quiet but are prone to making a Woo Woo sound, like a wolf or a coyote. Training one is very easily and you will also have to provide it with a lot of exercise and keep it outdoors a lot. Since they are arctic dogs in origin they prefer cooling down during summer and playing in snow in winter.
Appearance, Colors, Size
Alaskan Malmutes are generally bigger dogs and they can grow to be 23 inches tall and weigh about 75 pounds for females and 25 inches and 85 pounds for male dogs. They have a double coat while the undercoat is oily and has a wooly texture. It can easily go as thick as two inches. The outer guard is very coarse and serves as protection to harsh conditions that the Malmutes have been raised in.
Alaskan Malmutes have smaller pointy ears compared to its head which stand erect. These dogs are usually gray colored or white. They usually come in combination of grey and white, sable and white, black and white, seal and white, red and white, or solid white. They also have a well furred tail which stands over its back.
Alaskan Malamute Health
The survey which was made to determine the health factors of an Alaskan Malmute was not as thorough as one would wish for. The small sample size which was used is probably not enough to determine the real factors. But it is a fact that the Alaskan Malmute is a dog of one of the longest lifespans of big dogs. The life expectancy of this breed goes somewhere from 13 to 15 years.
The most common cause of death for a Malmute is cancer, which is responsible for about 35% caused. Some common health problems which affect these dogs include musculoskeletal hip dysplasia and hereditary cataracts. Some hereditary health issues which the dog suffers from will vary depending on the individual dogs and their parents.
Grooming & Shedding
Due to their thick fur, Alaskan Malmutes shed their coat heavily twice a year. During that periods it is advised that the dogs are given frequent brushing with a slicker brush and/or undercoat rake. Their hair usually comes out in clumps and this will help keep the hair under control. A plus side of this is that the hair is odorless and you will not have problems with unwanted odors.
Malmutes usually keep their coat clean, so you rarely need to give them baths. You can do so once or twice a year or only when a dog is particularly dirty. Frequent dental hygiene is needed so you can brush your dog’s teeth twice a week. Also period toe nail clipping will be good to keep your dog tidy.
Alaskan Malamute Price and Breeders
Getting an Alaskan Malmute puppy could be quote experience. These dogs are extremely valuable and can cost quite a lot even if they are only used as pets. You will have to pay about 2,000 to 3,500 USD for this kind of a dog. Breeders are found in various areas as this dog breed is highly popular, but breeders in America and Canada are probably the best.
Rescuing an Alaskan Malmute is another possibility that you may look into. The price is sometimes too much for a person to handle so other options need to be explored. Adoption is one of them and you can rescue a pup from Alaskan Malamute Assistance League as one of the best ones currently.