Is a Malamute part
No. The Alaskan Malamute
is a domesticated pure bred dog, and has been for many centuries. They are often
mistaken for wolves, and they are often used in movies to depict wolves, but
they are most certainly not wolves or part wolf.
Some people also refer to them "Wolf Dogs".
How do they handle the
Like any dog, to cope
with summer heat the Alaskan Malamute needs a constant supply of water to drink
and shade from the sun. If the dog is allowed inside then it will find it's own
cool room (probably on the kitchen or bathroom floor if it is tiled or linoleum
floored). Some dogs like having ice added to their water to help keep it cool.
Some also enjoy a children's wading pool filled with water in the summer time.
The Malamute sheds a lot of coat directly before summer, as soon as the whether
starts to warm up, which also allows them to keep cool. Heavy exercise should be
avoided in excessive heat. Curtail exercise times to be early morning or just
after sunset. Once the dog is acclimated to his environment, he is usually fine.
Malamutes are remarkably adaptable animals. However, one should never try and
push a dog beyond his capability to cope with the heat. To do so can be
disastrous. One must keep in mind the type of climate the dog is acclimated for
and not look for signs of heat stress. Do not ever lock any dog in a car in
direct sunlight, or in the shade for a great deal of time, even with the windows
down a little for ventilation the heat generated by the dog is still enough to
cause heat stress in summer.
What are they like
Due to their gentle
temperament the Alaskan Malamute is generally a very good family dog. They seem
to enjoy the company of children, though common sense must be used when mixing
any dog with young children. They are a very powerful dog and children should
not be left in total control of the dog. Alaskan Malamutes are generally patient
by nature and will tolerate young children fawning over them, but this should be
strictly supervised for the sake of the dog as well as the child. With these
caveats in mind, since Malamutes love attention, well behaved children get along
wonderfully with well mannered and socialized Malamutes.
What are they like
inside a house, being so big?
Alaskan Malamutes, aside
from the occasional invasion of masses of fur when they are shedding coat, are
excellent house dogs. They are extremely clean dogs and surprisingly quiet. They
are very sure-footed and in no way clumsy around furniture. They will often pick
out a favorite sleeping spot and stay there for hours. Favorite spots seem to be
tiled and linoleum floors in warm weather, soft pillows or beds at other times.
How much do they eat?
Most Malamutes love food,
however they eat surprisingly little for their size. The actual amount of food
will vary depending on the metabolism and activity level of the dog, and the
type of food that is given. A working adult will eat approximately 4 cups of
high density food per day. Other dogs will generally eat less. Puppies require
smaller, more frequent meals.
How much exercise do
they need, and what kind?
You should not
strenuously exercise a puppy under 6 months of age. Their muscular-skeleto
system is not developed enough yet. Their play is enough to keep them healthy.
You should play with your puppy and work on some of the basic obedience commands
with him, in a playful way. Once the dog is 6 months old, a kindergarten puppy
training class or a basic obedience class is a very good idea. It will start you
both out on the right foot. You can then more easily start taking the dog for
walks in your area on a leash. By the time the dog is full grown, at around 18
months, he will be ready for much longer walks, an hour per day or more. The
obedience training will make the walks much more enjoyable. Alaskan Malamutes
also enjoy jogging, but this should not be attempted until the dog is 18 months
old or older. Hiking, with a dog back-pack is great fun. One can also bike with
a dog, with a nifty device known as a "Springer." Finally, sledding is
an excellent form of exercise, and is what the dog was bred for. The sled dog
part of the FAQ for rec.pets.dogs covers these things in more detail.
Do they pull sleds
The Malamute is a very
strong dog, but not as fast as some of the other northern breeds. Malamutes are
not as fast as, say Siberians, and because of this are not typically used in
sprint sled racing or a race like the Iditarod (although they sometimes are).
Endurance and strength are the Malamute staples, and they are frequently used
for exploratory trips across the North Pole or Antarctica (most recently, in the
Trans-Antarctic expedition) and in weight pull competitions.
How strong are they?
The Malamute is a very
strong dog. They were originally freighting dogs and as such, are able to pull
tremendous amounts of weight. Just from looking at the Malamute, and the size of
his bones and his stature, it is easy to see that they are indeed very strong
animals. For this reason, many people use them in weight pulling competitions,
where they will pull thousands of pounds.
Do they shed a lot?
Malamutes blow their
undercoats twice per year. They do not typically shed year round like many dog
breeds. When they do blow their coat, they loose lots of hair (several grocery
sacks full per week).
Do they like to fight
No. Malamutes are very
pack oriented dogs. As such, they communicate with other dogs in a variety of
ways. An ill mannered, aggressive dog is not a good team dog and therefore not a
good sled dog. However, poorly socialized and trained Malamutes can be
aggressive towards other dogs. For this reason, it is very important for a
Malamute owner to train the dog carefully and make sure to properly socialize it
with other dogs.
I've heard Malamutes
are dumb. Is this true?
No! Alaskan Malamutes are
extremely intelligent working dogs. People often mistake the fact that they can
be difficult to train as a sign of stupidity. Malamutes are very clever and
easily bored. The key to training them is to keep them interested and to
challenge their intelligence. A Malamute probably knows what you want him to do,
he just may not want to do it!
Just how cold can an
Alaskan Malamute live in?
Malamutes can work and live in extremely cold conditions, approaching 70 degrees