This proud dog has roamed the Alaskan terrain with the indigenous Mahlemuts for centuries. Going back almost 4,000 years ago, they are the oldest known arctic sled dog. They were used as big game hunting dogs, helping their human companions take down seals and polar bears. They were also used as sled dogs during this time. While their counterpart, the Siberian Husky, could quickly carry their load over long distances, the Alaskan Malamute would carry very heavy loads through the snow. They were considered tribal members cause of their loyalty and the tribe’s reliance on them for survival.
In 1896 gold was found in Alaska, spurring the Klondike Gold Rush. The outsiders pouring into Alaska soon realized the value of these dogs, not only for getting around, but for sport too. Weight pulling competitions and sledding races quickly rose in popularity. At this time, the true Alaskan Malamute was in danger of becoming extinct to to interbreeding with dogs brought into Alaska. However, in the 1920’s, preservation of the true Alaskan Malamute became a priority for sledding enthusiasts.
In 1933, Admiral Byrd used Malamutes for his journey to the South Pole. Two years later, they would be officially recognized by the American Kennel Club. They were also used to haul loads in World War II, and as search and rescue dogs.
The Alaskan Malamute is very loyal and affectionate to their family, and overall sociable towards other people. However, they can become aggressive towards other animals. Make sure you have secure backyard for your furry friend to play and roam. These are very active dogs, so don’t expect them to be the perfect lap pet. However, if your looking for an amazing jogging partner – this is the one! They also have a tendency to dig holes, so be careful where you step! Malamutes can be very stubborn, therefore training from a young age is suggested.
Most Alaskan Malamutes have life expectancy of 10 to 14 years. There are certain health conditions that Malamutes are prone to. These include:
- Thyroid Problems
- Hip Dyspepsia
- Eye Problems
- VKH Syndrome ( an autoimmune disease that attacks the pigment in the eyes and skin).
- Alopecia X
- Bleeding Disorders
- Heart Disease
- Retained Puppy Teeth
An Alaskan Malamute should weigh anywhere from 75 to 85 pounds. These guys should do well on any high-quality food. However, make sure you discuss with your veterinarian if you dog has any specific dietary needs. Also, if your dog has a tenancy to be overweight, discuss with your veterinarian the proper calorie intake for them.
This breed tends to shed – a lot. A good brushing every day with a pin brush and metal comb. These are good for penetrating that thick under coat. During the shedding season, an undercoat rake would be a good idea to capture all of that loose fur. Make sure to constantly check for matting and hot spots.