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Dog Photo Gallery Of Alaskan Malamute Dogs
About Our Malamutes
I began my love affair with Alaskan malamutes over 10 years ago. I now own three of them, all with their own unique history and personality.
In this photo gallery, you'll see a lot of pictures of Griffin, our 2-1/2-year-old wooly or long-coat mal and our almost 10-month-old mal who happens to be Griffin's niece.
However, sprinkled throughout are pictures of our 10+-year-old rescued malamute, Denaya who has been kind enough to let these two whippersnappers into her kingdom and has been very instrumental in their training. She is not as "playful" or as "inventive" as my 2 young bounders and never has been, probably as a result of her early life unspeakable traumas and abuse. Yet, she is one of the main reasons that our two youngsters have been very successful and pretty well adjusted.
While a lot of work on a daily basis and an ongoing work in progress, these three dogs have brought many things into our lives.
The Thing About Malamutes
While I own three of these magnificent dogs, I have to add this disclaimer from the outset. Hopefully if you do not know the breed and you are looking at these pictures and thinking to yourself, "OMG, what beautiful dogs," and you happen to get the notion that you want one, you will read on and consider very carefully before getting one.
Malamutes are not for everyone. Trust me on this! The most associated word that comes up on the Internet with the word "malamute" is the word "rescue." Sad but very true.
Many people get these dogs as puppies or as adults and find within days or weeks that they simply had no idea how much work was involved. Or how much consistent, constant training they require. I emphasize the word constant most of all here.
Alaskan malamutes are one of the oldest breed of dog in existence today. Their origin has been traced to a tribe of native Inuits called the Mahlemut. They served as freight pulling dogs flourishing in harsh weather yet coexisting as part of the tribal family.
Malamutes were a vital part of the tribe's life as they depended on the dogs to move huge loads of freight across ice and snow. In turn, the families respected the malamute for their great courage and endurance and welcomed them into their human "pack."
Malamutes were also used as search and rescue dogs during the war in later decades or as pack animals because of their great strength and ability to go for long distances.
The AKC finally recognized the Alaskan Malamute in 1935. The Alaskan malamute today is said to be one of the few breeds that is very close to its original form.
Standard malamutes usually weigh up to 75-80 pounds for a female and 85-95 pounds for a male. There are now giant malamutes which weigh in at roughly 150 pounds but I do not believe that these are recognized as a registered breed. Our females are topping out at about 75 though Gabby is still not full grown. Again, our Griffin is a long coat or wooly and he is weighing in at about 95.
Alaskan Malamutes Can Be Challenging
Like any northern breed dog, malamutes have extensive requirements to keep them healthy and happy. Alaskan malamutes are not low maintenance dogs. The rewards are outstanding but the pure and simple fact is that this breed of dog is way smarter than the average dog.
Offering them every opportunity you can to experience life in many venues can lead to a well-adjusted dog. This is true of any breed but especially important for malamutes.
Left to their own devices, they can become bored and a bored malamute can be a disaster. It is ideal to start early on when they are pups and are open to many new experiences.
Socialization and positive experiences are the recommended bullet points to hit. Keeping them "intact" or not neutered can be quite a challenge. Consult a breeder or a vet to determine when the best time to neuter your malamute in order to prevent unwanted pregnancies but to assure that the dog has time to close his or her growth plates. Since they are a large breed dog, this is very important and also reduces chances of certain cancers.
But malamutes can enjoy......(to name but a few)
Grooming And The Alaskan Malamute
Many people are under the misconception that malamutes require constant grooming. In fact, the opposite is true. Most breeders and groomers will tell you that they should not be bathed more than twice per year. The reason for this is their remarkably clean coat and the fact that malamutes are generally odor free. Even if a malamute picks up dirt and mud, it somehow literally bounces off their fur in a matter of minutes and they are as clean as they were before.
It is recommended not to keep malamute undercoats wet for long periods of time as they can develop skin irritation or infections.
They do shed twice a year generally and that can be a bit overwhelming especially dealing with a long-coat or a wooly malamute. However, it is a short period of time and you can actually collect the fur and use it for spinning yarn for sweaters or other things. The fur and hair is that clean! We donate ours to a local group who spin it.
Brush a malamute at least once per week, more for long coats, and shedding will be kept to a minimum.
Malamutes actually shed less than smooth coated dogs.
Temperament, Behaviors And Training
The smart malamute owner has done his or her homework and knows what they want in their dog's temperament. That said, seeking out a qualified AKC breeder who breeds for temperament is the best way to get a dog you can live with.
We got our 10-year-old rescued malamute from the Washington State Malamute Association. Through that experience, I later got Griffin and then Gabby from a reputable breeder who was the same person who allowed us to adopt Denaya.
Malamutes are being crossbred with wolves and other breeds and the results are not so good. Hybrids have been found to be highly unstable and since there is no breed per se to link these dogs to, bite statistics are being assigned largely to malamutes. Finding the best tempered dog you can find is essential in taking on any breed dog but paramount when it comes to malamutes.
There are behaviors specific to Alaskan malamutes that any owner should be aware of and take steps to deal with from the beginning. Some of the most salient are:
- They are by and large NOT watchdogs - because they are too social! If they bark, it's best to pay attention right away because they usually don't
- Malamutes love to dig and can be fantastic escape artists - bricks or wire buried in the ground, an invisible or electric fence if needed can deter this
- Most breeders and trainers advise NOT to let malamutes run free simply because they will go along with anyone who pays attention to them or they will find trouble
- Bored or investigating malamutes can do a lot of damage
- Some malamutes can be ravenous eaters making them prone to bloat so teaching them early to slow down is a best practice - put food on cookie trays or in bloat bowls. In some rare cases of excessive gluttony, hand feed
- Howling is not unusual for malamutes for ANY reason - they routinely "talk" to express themselves - teaching them "quiet" is important if you don't like howling
- Malamutes have a "pack" mentality so if you have more than one or other dogs, there will necessarily have to be an alpha but the top alpha has to be an adult or adults!
- Prey instinct is something that can kick in and often triggered by small animals and fast movement. However, lots of malamutes coexist with cats and other small animals but training is essential by training them NOT to react
- Children are favorites with most malamutes BUT one should never leave children unsupervised with ANY large dog due to the size of their teeth and their build. Food can sometimes be a trigger for any breed dog but simply due to their propensity to "inhale" food at times, kids waving food around them is probably not wise
Enrolling in puppy classes as soon as you can with your malamute puppy will save you a lot of heartache and frustration down the road. Malamutes are naturals at dog training though they always have their own little twist to bring to the exercise. They tire easily of repetition so it's important to work with them in multiple short sessions throughout the day and vary the training.
Malamutes are particularly adept at agility training. They love the challenge of engaging their mind. They love playing games of mental puzzling such as hide and go find it. They by and large are not dogs that love to play fetch although our Gabby loves playing ball and even bats it about to herself.
While a lot of mals do not "take" to the water, we have both sides of the coin in our household pack. Griffin started out loving the water and now is a bit shy of it. Gabby on the other hand is literally head over heels about it. Denaya can step in and step out but isn't really overly fond of it!
Training malamutes to pull is a natural talent for them. No matter what age you are, you can engage the trained malamute to pull freight in contests of strength, to scooter, to sled, to skijor (cross country skiing with dogs), to bikejor (riding bikes with dogs), to snowshoe, to backpack, to hike and walk.....just about any creative dog sport you can think of, you can train a malamute to do. Well, except maybe things like Frisbee, etc....but you never know!
Taking classes and enrolling a malamute in training where there is interaction with other dog breeds and situations is vital to the overall "good citizenship" of the breed. It is possible to take malamutes anywhere.
For instance, we make it a habit to take ours to sit outside at restaurants, to walk in crowded public places where there are other dogs and people, to scooter, to hike and stroll on forestry roads or hiking trails, to snowshoe and play at snow parks. It exposes them to situations that they need to know how to behave in.....such as people approaching them or children wanting to pet them. Or other dogs barking at them, horses pawing the ground or quail running across the path. Or snowmobiles coming over hills down the road or deer running across the trail.
All that said, our Griffin at 2-1/2 years is still in need of constant reinforcement in training situations. We've just enrolled in another set of classes to keep his social skills up and make sure he is being the best dog citizen he can be.
It bears repeating...training a malamute is an ongoing, constant thing. They thrive on being connected with their human counterpart and are tireless in their desire to perform on some level. That makes training worthwhile as with perseverance, there is a huge reward.
Alaskan Malamutes Are Unique
Over the years, I've adopted many a dog, saved many a dog but I have to say hands down, my favorite breed of all time has to be my malamutes. As I get older, I do find that their requirement for exercise and constant stimulation is a bit of a challenge. However, in spite of that, they do keep you young at heart and always thinking of something to do with them.
I would not trade my years with this magnificent breed for all the tea in China. They are unbelievably interesting and smart.
They are also exceptionally social and if left outside, they usually come and sit in "their" chairs to look in at us waiting to interact.
They are kind and sweet, affectionate and gentle as the pictures show. They can be demanding and are always listed on the dangerous dog list. However, my contention is that owners should be listed on the dangerous dog owners list in almost all cases.
Having a malamute (or in our case three malamutes) has been the ride of a lifetime....literally. Riding behind them on a scooter and watching their long limbed steady gait is a thing of beauty.
Listening to their soulful howl on a dark winter night is like music to your soul.
Cuddling next to a wooly mammoth called Griffin is like having your own living, breathing teddy bear.
I would not trade my gentle giants for anything. However, they require your whole heart and your whole head to coexist with. They are a such brilliant dog breed that I would not expect them to accept anything less.
They had me at first howl.
Training Gabby to Pull
More on Mals by this Author
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