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Breed Spotlight: Alaskan Malamute
10/20/15 at 01:41 PM | Published Under Dog Breeds
A powerful, substantially built large breed dog with a deep chest and strong, well-muscled body, the Alaskan Malamute is the oldest and largest among Arctic sled dogs. While many a “Mal” lives with a human family, he’s built for hauling large loads across long distances. So this Arctic breed is a good fit for those into jogging, sledding, hiking and swimming.
The Malamute’s coarse, thick coat ranges in color from light gray to black or from sable to red. Markings include a cap on his head and a bar/mask on his face. In his three natural size ranges, male and female respective weights are 65-85 pounds and 60-80 pounds for Standards, 85-110 pounds and 75-90 pounds for Large Standards, and up to 140 pounds and 125 pounds for Giant Malamutes.
Adapted for harsh Arctic weather, the Malamute’s waterproof coat is thick with a coarse guard coat to protect a woolly undercoat. Since he sheds heavily twice a year, he requires regular brushing and bathing to keep his double coat healthy.
During grooming, check for mats that may hide fungus and hot spots that could become infected. Also check his ears weekly for accumulated wax, dirt or other foreign matter. Since this large breed dog craves activity, he’ll need daily exercise and a good-sized fenced enclosure.
In your family “pack,” you must establish yourself as the leader or the Malamute will end up “owning” you. For good behavior, begin firm but loving training in early puppyhood. When handled property, you’ll enjoy a well-behaved Malamute that will be playful, friendly, gentle and great with children. Although he loves kids, he should be supervised during interaction—as is the case with all large breed dogs. Since it’s not unusual for a Mal to become intolerant of other dogs of the same sex, use caution when introducing him to other dogs of any size.
With an average lifespan of 12-14 years, Alaskan Malamutes are prone to elbow and hip dysplasia, hypothyroidism, bloat and hereditary cataracts. Other health issues include heart defects, inherited polyneuropathy (nervous system abnormalities) and chondrodysplasia (very small percentage). A growing problem among Arctic dog breeds in general (especially the Samoyed) is canine diabetes, with onset occurring typically at 5-7 years.
Though Alaskan Malamutes are large breeds, they can be as playful as a tiny puppy! It is important to keep them well exercised and mentally stimulated. Try Quaker Pet Group’s durable line of goDog plush toys. goDog features Chew Guard Technology designed for more powerful jaws such as those of an Alaskan Malamute. Consider goDog when choosing the best toys for your Alaskan Malamute.