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Alaskan Malamute

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Troy   

Alaskan Malamute

ANKC Standard

(from http://www.ankc.org.au/home/breeds_details.asp?bid=157 )

Group: Group 6 (Utility)

General Appearance: The Alaskan Malamute, one of the oldest Arctic sled dogs, is a powerful and substantially built dog with a deep chest and strong, well-muscled body. The Malamute stands well over the pads, and this stance gives the appearance of much activity and proud carriage, with head erect and eyes alert showing interest and curiosity. The head is broad. Ears are triangular and erect when alerted. The muzzle is bulky, only slight diminishing in width from root to nose. The muzzle is not pointed or long, yet not stubby. The coat is thick with a coarse guard coat of sufficient length to protect a woolly undercoat. Malamutes are of various colours. Face markings are a distinguishing feature. These consist of a cap over the head, the face either all white or marked with a bar and/or mask. The tail is well furred, carried over the back, and has the appearance of a waving plume. The Malamute must be a heavy boned dog with sound legs, good feet, deep chest and powerful shoulders, and have all of the other physical attributes necessary for the efficient performance of his job. The gait must be steady, balanced, tireless and totally efficient. He is not intended as a racing sled dog designed to compete in speed trials. The Malamute is structured for strength and endurance, and any characteristic of the individual specimen, including temperament, which interferes with the accomplishment of this purpose, is to be considered the most serious of faults.

Characteristics: Important: In judging Malamutes, their function as a sledge dog for heavy freighting in the Arctic must be given consideration above all else. The legs of the Malamute must indicate unusual strength and tremendous propelling power. Face markings are a distinguishing feature.

Temperament: The Alaskan Malamute is an affectionate, friendly dog, not a "one man" dog. He is a loyal, devoted companion, playful on invitation, but generally impressive by his dignity after maturity.

Head And Skull: The head is broad and deep, not coarse or clumsy, but in proportion to the size of the dog. The expression is soft and indicates an affectionate disposition. Skull: Is broad and moderately rounded between the ears, gradually narrowing and flattening on top as it approaches the eyes, rounding off to cheeks that are moderately flat; there is a slight furrow between the eyes. The topline of the skull and the topline of the muzzle show a slight break downward from a straight line as they join. Muzzle: Is large and bulky in proportion to the size of the skull, diminishing slightly in width and depth from junction with the skull to the nose. The lips are close fitting. Nose, lips and eye rims' pigmentation: Is black in all coat colours except reds. Brown is permitted in red dogs. The lighter streaked "snow nose" is acceptable.

Eyes: The eyes are obliquely placed in the skull. Eyes are brown, almond shaped and of medium size. Dark eyes are preferred. Blue eyes are a disqualifying fault.

Ears: The ears are of medium size, but small in proportion to the head. The ears are triangular in shape and slightly rounded at the tips. They are set wide apart on the outside back edges of the skull, on line with the upper corner of the eye, giving ears the appearance, when erect, of standing off from the skull. Erect ears point slightly forward, but when the dog is at work, the ears are sometimes folded against the skull. High set ears are a fault.

Mouth: The upper and lower jaws are broad with large teeth. The incisors meet with a scissors grip. Overshot or undershot is a fault.

Neck: The neck is strong and moderately arched.

Forequarters: The shoulders are moderately sloping; forelegs heavily boned and muscled, straight to the pasterns when viewed from the front. Pasterns are short and strong and slightly sloping when viewed from the side.

Body: The chest is well developed. The body is compactly built but not short coupled. The back is straight and gently sloping to the hips. The loins are hard and well muscled. A long loin that may weaken the back is a fault.

Hindquarters: he rear legs are broad and heavily muscled through the thighs; stifles moderately bent, hock joints are moderately bent and well let down. When viewed from the rear, the legs stand and move true in line with the movement of the front legs, not too close nor too wide. Dewclaws on the rear legs are undesirable and should be removed shortly after puppies are whelped.

Feet: Are of the snowshoe type, tight and deep, with well-cushioned pads, giving a firm, compact appearance. The feet are large, toes tight fitting and well arched. There is a protective growth of hair between the toes. The pads are thick and tough; toenails short and strong.

Tail: Is moderately set and follows the line of the spine at the base. The tail is carried over the back when not working. It is not a snap tail or curled tight against the back, nor is it short furred like a fox brush. The Malamute tail is well furred and has the appearance of a waving plume.

Gait/Movement: The gait of the Malamute is steady, balanced and powerful. He is agile for his size and build. When viewed from the side, the hindquarters exhibit strong rear drive that is transmitted through a well-muscled loin to the forequarters. The forequarters receive the drive from the rear with a smooth reaching stride. When viewed from the front or from the rear, the legs move true in line, not too close nor too wide. At a fast trot, the feet will converge toward the centreline of the body. A stilted gait, or any gait that is not completely efficient and tireless, is to be penalised.

Coat: The Malamute has a thick, coarse guard coat, never long and soft. The undercoat is dense, from 2.5 - 5 cm (1 - 2 ins) in depth, oily and woolly. The coarse guard coat varies in length as does the undercoat. The coat is relatively short to medium along the sides of the body, with the length of the coat increasing around the shoulders and neck, down the back, over the rump, and in the breeching and plume. Malamutes usually have a shorter and less dense coat during the summer months. The Malamute is shown naturally. Trimming is not acceptable except to provide a clean cut appearance of feet.

Colour: The usual colours range from light grey through intermediate shadings to black, sable and shadings of sable to red. Colour combinations are acceptable in undercoats, points, and trimmings. The only solid colour allowable is all white. White is always the predominant colour on underbody, parts of legs and feet, and part of face markings. A white blaze on the forehead and /or collar, or a spot on the nape is attractive and acceptable. The Malamute is mantled, and broken colours extending over the body or uneven splashing are undesirable.

Sizes: Size, Proportion and Substance: There is a natural range of size in the breed. The desirable freighting sizes are: Dogs 63.5 cm (25 ins) at the shoulders - 38.5 kg (85 lbs) Bitches 58.5 cm (23 ins) at the shoulder - 34 kg (75 lbs) However, size consideration should not outweigh that of type, proportion, movement and other functional attributes. When dogs are judged equal in type, proportion, and movement, the dog nearest the desirable freighting size is to be preferred. The depth of chest is approximately one half the height of the dog at the shoulders, the deepest point being just behind the forelegs. The length of the body from point of shoulder to the rear point of pelvis is longer than the height of the body from ground to top of the withers. The body carries no excess weight, and bone is in proportion to size.

Faults: The degree to which a dog is penalised should depend upon the extent to which the dog deviates from the description of the ideal Malamute, and the extent to which the particular fault would actually affect the working ability of the dog. Serious Faults: Any characteristic of the individual specimen, including temperament, which interferes with his strength and endurance is to be considered the most serious of faults. Any indication of unsoundness in legs and feet, front or rear, standing or moving. Faults under this provision would be: Ranginess, shallowness, ponderousness Lightness of bone Poor overall proportions Straight shoulders Lack of angulation Bad pasterns Cow hocks Splay-footedness Stilted gait, or any gait that is not balanced, strong & steady. Faults: High set ears Over- or undershot Broken colours extending over the body or uneven splashing. Disqualification: Blue eyes

Notes: Male animals should have two apparently normal testicles fully descended into the scrotum.

QUESTIONS

1. What is my relationship with the breed? (ie breeder, first time owner etc)

2. Where and why was the breed first developed?

3. How common is it in Australia?

4. What is the average lifespan?

5. What is the general temperament/personality?

6. How much daily exercise is needed for the average adult?

7. Is it a breed that a first time dog owner could easily cope with?

8. Can solo dogs of this breed easily occupy themselves for long periods?

9. How much grooming is required?

10. Is it too boisterous for very small children or for infirm people (unless the dog is well trained)?

11. Are there any common hereditary problems a puppy buyer should be aware of?

12. When buying a puppy, what are the things you should ask of the breeder? (eg what health tests have been done (if applicable) and what is an acceptable result to those tests so the buyer has an idea of what the result should be)

If you wish to contribute to the knowledge about this breed, please answer the above questions. (Copy and paste them into a new post).

  • Please only answer if you breed or own a pedigree example of this breed.
  • You do not have to answer all questions
  • Please keep posts limited to answering questions or for asking further questions if you require more (or expanded) information.

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1. What is my relationship with the breed? (ie breeder, first time owner etc)

I am an owner of 9 years, showing for 3 years and a breeder in training.

2. Where and why was the breed first developed?

The Alaskan Malamute is one of the oldest breeds of dogs, and one of only a few that are most closely related to the wolf. They evolved from dogs brought over with man into the Americas by crossing the Berring Straits over 4,000 years ago. Alaskan Malamutes developed in Morton Sound, Alaska, by the native "Mahlemut" inuits.

Alaskan Malamutes were used to haul heavy sledges across the ice fields, transport supplies and hunt Seal. They had to strictly apply to the rule of "survival of the fittest" as there was no place in the harsh arctic for a pet/non-worker. Thus a very pack orientated, stubborn and strong willed dog with a gentle disposition towards humans was developed.

During the greater part of the Malamutes evolvement they remained native to Alaska, often reported and sighted by explorers as being a superior work dogs capable of enormous amounts of work with a very tractable temperament. However during the Gold Rush the breed was highly sought after (and consiquently nearly lost) and often crossed with smaller breeds to make a faster sled dog, they were also crossed with bigger breeds such as Saint Bernards to produce a better weightpuller and fighting dog.

The breed was discovered by Eva and Milton Seeley, who were the main people pushing for breed recognition - their first Malamute came as a wedding gift. They developed a line of Malamute known as the "Kotzebue" which were used in the Byrd Antarctic expeditions, this line of dog was mostly lost when the dogs were let loose or 'disposed of' by detonation on the Antarctic ice floes.

Two other stains of Malamute were developed, the M'Loot (By Paul Voelker) and the Hinman-Irwin strain, which were used in conjunction with the Kotzebue strain to develop the dogs we see today. However both the pure M'Loot and Kotzebue strains have now dissapated and the dogs we have are a mixture of all three strains.

In 1935 the breed gained AKC recognition.

3. How common is it in Australia?

The breed is fairly popular in Australia, but is often confused with the smaller and sleeker Siberian Husky. Despite common misconception the Malamute does well in our climate, as their coat insulates against the heat as well as the cold.

4. What is the average lifespan?

A Malamute should live between 10 and 14 years of age. The 'Old Australian' lines tend to be fairly healthy and long lived, with many of the dogs reaching 15 years.

5. What is the general temperament/personality?

Alaskan Malamutes are very headstrong and stubborn - give them an inch and they will take a mile. They do not do anything unless there is something in it for them, they think long and hard about why a command should be obeyed and are typically very independant. Much of this has to do with their evolvement in the arctic when they had to think for themselves to survive. The personality of the average Malamute is very aloof and goofy. Not a one man dog and not interested in saying hello to every second person they meet, but when you worm your way into their heart they will do anything to make you laugh and goof up to get out of trouble. True clowns of the dog world!

6. How much daily exercise is needed for the average adult?

At least an hour daily, the more the better. These dogs were bred to travel many miles a day and get bored (and destructive) if they can not use their mind in a constructive way.

7. Is it a breed that a first time dog owner could easily cope with?

If the first time dog owner has done their research and are prepared to deal with a dominant headstong breed then yes, on the rare occasion they can be a good first time breed. Generally though, the breed is not reccomended for people with no dog experience.

8. Can solo dogs of this breed easily occupy themselves for long periods?

If provided with adequet exercise and activites to occupy the mind then they can live happily on their own. However it is advisable that the dog is included in activites when you are home - they are a very pack oriented breed and do get lonely, which can result in escape efforts and hours of woeful howling.

9. How much grooming is required?

With the Standard coat Malamutes a quick brush once a week will be plently, however when shedding it is advised that you bush daily to remove the undercoat. Long coated Malamutes (which is undesireable in the breed) need daily brushing of about 15-20 minutes to prevent matts and knots.

10. Is it too boisterous for very small children or for infirm people (unless the dog is well trained)?

Young dogs are not reccomended for the elderly or young children, unless strictly supervised. They can pick up on a weakness and will quite happily push their weight around. That said, mature dogs can live very happily and are quite gentle with the frail and young.

11. Are there any common hereditary problems a puppy buyer should be aware of?

Yes. Malamutes suffer from Hip and Elbow Displaysia (hips are tested more commonly than elbows), eyes should also be checked for Hemeralopia (day blindness), Chondrodysplasia (Dwarfism) and Thyroid abnormalities. Other common problems in the breed (not usually/can't be tested for when breeding) include Coat Funk (where the guard hairs go brittle and fall out, leaving the dog with just it's undercoat for protection), Cancer and Entropian.

Being a Natural Breed breeding dogs should concieve and whelp naturally with very little interferance by humans.

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Given the artic origins of the breed can I ask why the long coat is undesirable? Is it because of the maintenance issues?

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Long coats are undesireable due to the problem they presesnt when working in the arctic. The Standard coat is designed to repel moisture and the course guard hairs prevent snow from compacting on the body - A standard coated dog can easily shake snow off whilst on the move.

The Long Coated dog has long soft guard hairs which attract a build up of ice and snow, these dogs are unable to shake loose the snow/ice which eventually turn into icicles in the coat. The dogs try to rid themselves of the ice by chewing at the ice and in turn making it worse (saliva freezes in the coat), eventually these dogs resort to ripping out the coat to get rid of the ice. They eventually die in the harsh arctic conditions due to inadequit insulation, being weighted down and not being as useful or survial equipped as their short coated packmates.

In todays society long coated dogs that do pop up in litters are petted out, unless it shows to be a superior example of the breed (Conformation-wise) it may be used in a beeding programme if bred to a non carrier.

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Malamum   

Tkay,

Our female has a longer fluffy coat and our male has a coat that is as per the standard. The standard coat repels water so much better.

When bathing them it's so much harder and takes a lot longer to get the male soaked to the skin as the water just won't penetrate the coat fully. We don't notice this anywhere near as much with our girl who has the longer coat. So I guess the standard coat really does do it's job (can't commet on the snow side of things though). :(

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Rusky   

replying to number 7

I am owned by a 12 year old malamute and I rescue the breed.

I do not think a malamute is a dog for a first time dog owner. A first time dog owner can't EASILY cope with the breed no matter how much research they have done.

I do not even rehome to people without northern breed experience.

replying to number 8

better to put a bitch with a dog for company, bitchy female malamutes generally don't get on with other females. I don't rehome to a same sex home.

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raz   
Our female has a longer fluffy coat and our male has a coat that is as per the standard. The standard coat repels water so much better.

Can you post pics for a comparison please Mal? I'm thinking the local Malamute I told you about must have a long coat - he's pretty fluffy.

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Malamum   

I'll try and get some over the weekend, where I pay specific attention to their coats. Any of my standard photos I already have aren't going to show the difference as it's quite subtle. It's the undercoat that is really different and it's very noticeable when you touch it. I'm not sure how will the camera will pick it up but I'll try.

In my signature, it's the female on the left and the male on the right but the picture doesn't show the texture of thier coats.

Edited by Malamum

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raz   

And the one on the left is standard/more compact coat? Thanks for the comparison, roses.

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tivins   

hi, heres a pic of my soft-coat mal.. :laugh:

DSCF3614.jpg

Edited by tivins

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Coats:

There are 4 main types of coat type, all varying in length and texture. All are undesireable except of course the standard coat.

Coats in the Malamute are a dominant hereditary defect, with dogs being 'Clear', 'Carriers' and 'Affected'. It is noted that in certain lines carriers can be spotted by their longer than standard furnishing on the legs, neck, topline and tail - this however does not ring true for all lines. A DNA test has now been developed for testing for longcoats.

Standard :

The standard coat has a coarse and relatively short guard coat, and a thick wooly undercoat. The undercoat should be thick enough to hold the guard hairs out from the body, and the guard hairs short and coarse enough to stand off the body - Guard hairs do not 'fall' on the dog and should stand away from the body.

IMG_5972.jpg

Although this is not the best 'stacked' picture of my dog, it shows his correct coat. I feel this dog is good enough to represent the 'ideal standard coat' as he was recently awarded 'Best Coat in Show' at the NSW Alaskan Malamute Specialty this year.

Note how you cannot actually see the guard hairs laying down, but they stand off his body. The guard hairs are longer along his topline, underbelly and rear legs, with his bodycoat being short, coarse and dense. The feet are very clean cut with no long featherings to attract snow balls and ice.

Longcoat:

The longcoat is defined by the long coarse guard hairs and long thick undercoat. The guard hairs can be as long as 9 inches in length with a slightly longer than standard undercoat. Furnishings around the legs, tail, shoulders and topline are longer than the rest of the body coat.

IMG_4886.jpg

Note the long feathering on legs (and feet) which that standards do not have. On the trail these easily collect snowballs and debris which hinder the working team greatly.

Softcoat:

Softcoats are very similar to the longcoat, however the only difference is the guard hair texture is very soft and silky, unlike the coarse texture of the longcoat.

Wooly:

Woolies are a different kettle of fish. They have very little guard hair and massive ammounts of long soft undercoat. These dogs mat very easily and are incredibly hard to keep ontop of grooming-wise. They also have a hard time regulating body temperature and have little insulation that dogs with guard hairs do.

I unfortunately do not have a personal picture of one, but will hunt around for a link :confused:

Edited by aquaticmalamute

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raz   

Thanks tivins and aquatic. Lovely dogs! Interesting comment about the extra furnishings on the long coat - makes sense.

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heres some pics of my 11 month alaskan malamute sasha, currently weighing in at about 44kgs and is the best dog in the world (also i am a first time dog owner and i would like to think i do a far better job than majority of experienced dog owners :laugh: )

she gets at least an hour a day at the dog park as well as a walk in the mornings, despite what alot of people on here will tell you i find her to be an incredibly easy dog to maintain, i give her a quick brush once a day with a regular brush and will spend about 10 minutes a week brushing her with the furminator to remove excess undercoat,

also contrary to popular belief i have no hesitation in walking her without a lead at night as she never strays more than a few feet infront of me, stops when i tell her to wait for me, and stops and sits before crossing the road (keep in mind i only do this in our estate which is pretty secluded from traffic etc) however given half a chance she will chase anything that moves so i always make sure im within grabbing distance lol...

she loves going for drives in the car and especially loves it when we take her to nudgee beach at low tide where she can run on the wet sand, splash in the puddles and swim in the calm water as she doesnt like waves at all.

she loves to wrestle any dog that will play with her but doesnt like dogs that bark. although it can look a bit rough at times im 100% confident she wouldnt intentionally hurt another dog or person, she is a gentle giant, very boistorous and ever so loving companion.

as for tricks, she sits on demand, shakes both hands, lays down, jumps up onto you and can say hello (for me anyway....the rest of my family need treats to entice her with)

she gets fed twice a day consisting of about 2 cups of supercoat puppy, 4 or 5 chicken necks, and 2 cups of petmince sometimes cooked up with rice and vegies, as well as her occasional paddlepop if we go to the servo lol

oh and she has her own bed and doona that she gets tucked into at night where she will happily stay til morning

as a first time dog owner i guess i must have been incredibly lucky to get such a wonderful dog and i would not consider getting any other breed after owning an alaskan malamute, she is my best friend and i treat her with all the love and care that i would hope most dog owners should.

video of sasha playing with some of her husky and malamute friends... the big black boy in the video is her littermate/brother nanuk who is almost identical in behaviour and temperment as sasha.

DSC08484.jpg

DSC08506.jpg

DSCN0174.jpg

DSC08495.jpg

Edited by Mick Rach and Sasha

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I'm not a breeder nor expert so I can only go by my experience with our dog.

Very head strong and has quite a jealous personality.

I certainly would not recommend a mal for a first doggie owner (could put the owner off every owning another dog.lol) simply due to their stubborn streak and their "I'll do it when i feel like it" attitude.

Grooming - it is a must.and a lot of it and owners should be prepared for a LOT of hair, everywhere, all the time.

The mal is not a barking dog but will pick it up if it lives with another breed that does bark.

Although a large dog, they do not deter strangers. They'll invite them in for a cuppa and cuddles.

I would also strongly recommend no small animals around a mal.

This is one breed that you really need to be loving but very firm with. Don't let the dog do certain things when it's young then make changes when the dog is older. It just won't work.

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Sam&Saki   

May I ask what it means when people say that Malamutes "aren't a one-man dog"?

They don't particularly strongly with their owners? Or...?

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S&S - One man dog refers to a dog that will strongly bond with one person. Malamutes don't attach themselves to the one person in a family pack, but will share it's time between the family members and generally take orders from everyone. They will quite happily befriend total strangers and if given the chance, will readily 'dump' the family for their new buddy - the beach and offleash situations are prime hunting grounds for new friends, leaving their owners feeling quite dejected that their dog wants absolutely nothing to do with them :rofl:

Edited by aquaticmalamute

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S&S - One man dog refers to a dog that will strongly bond with one person. Malamutes don't attach themselves to the one person in a family pack, but will share it's time between the family members and generally take orders from everyone. They will quite happily befriend total strangers and if given the chance, will readily 'dump' the family for their new buddy - the beach and offleash situations are prime hunting grounds for new friends, leaving their owners feeling quite dejected that their dog wants absolutely nothing to do with them :worship:

My sibe is very much the same, everyone is his new bestie :worship:

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