Best Bully Sticks Spotlight on a Breed: Cheers for the Alaskan Malamute!

Malamute Ronaldo at 2009 KKC Dogshow (pic by snoangels)

Malamute Ronaldo at 2009 KKC Dogshow (pic by snoangels)

Height: Male: 24-27 inches tall, Female: 22-24 inches tall

Weight: Male: 80-95 lb., Female: 70-85 lb.

Coat: The Malamute has a thick, coarse guard coat, never long and soft. The undercoat is dense, from one to two inches 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 should only be done to show a clean cut appearance of feet.

Color: Various color combinations- gray and white, sable and white, black and white, red and white, or solid white. Blue and white (slate gray with gray pigment) also is seen in the breed.  The face of the Malamute has distinguishing facial marks to include a cap over the head and a face that is 100% white or with a mask and/or bar.

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 a proud carriage, with head erect and eyes alert showing interest and curiosity. The head is broad. Ears are triangular and erect when alerted. There eyes are almond-shaped and are always brown. 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 colors. 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.

Temperament: Although the Alaskan Malamute can look imposing, it is actually a gentle breed. Showing great affection to its master, this breed is often said to be a one-person dog. However, the Alaskan Malamute is also playful while knowing his place within the home. While the Malamute is still used in many Artic regions for hunting, hauling, and sledding, you will find them kept as companions around the world.

What you will discover with the Alaskan Malamute is a graceful yet powerful dog. This breed is good natured, friendly, and generally great with children. Although the Alaskan Malamute is strong-willed, it is also an intelligent and easy to train dog. The only thing to be aware of is that sometimes, this breed will show aggressive tendencies toward other pets and animals to include livestock. Remember, the Alaskan Malamute is a pack animal, meaning it typically likes to lead. Therefore, you will need to make sure it knows who the boss is.

The majority of Malamutes are also fairly quiet dogs, seldom barking like most other dog breeds. When it does vocalize, more often than not they tend to “talk” by vocalizing a “woo woo” sound (the characteristic vocalizations of Chewbacca in the Star Wars films are based upon a Malamute named Indiana once owned by George Lucas). They may also howl like wolves or coyotes.

Health: The life expectancy of the Alaskan Malamute is 10-12 years. The most commonly reported health problems of Alaskan Malamutes  are musculoskeletal (tendon injury, patellar luxation, fracture, arthritis, cruciate ligament rupture, hip dysplasia), dermatological (dermatitis, interdigital cysts, hair loss, fading nose pigment), and reproductive disorders.

Other health issues in Malamutes include inherited polyneuropathy, chondrodysplasia, and eye problems (particularly cataract and progressive retinal atrophy).

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