Species group: Working Group dogs
Other name(s): Mal; Alaskan Malemute
The Alaskan Malamute is the classic Arctic sled dog, a cold weather Spitz breed that may have been carrying loads for native Alaskans as early as 3,000 years ago. This athletic working dog demands a confident and energetic owner who knows how to maintain control and channel the Mal's energy in a positive direction. A fragile, unconfident owner will be tested and dominated by this large, powerful animal. A bored Alaskan Malamute could chew right through the furniture. Make certain you have the time and knowledge for this breed before you take home a cute puppy. An active owner who likes to jog, sled, or backpack with the dog would be ideal.
Appearance / health:
The standard Alaskan Malamute is a big, strong Arctic dog with a thick, coarse double coat and a plumed tail. It is well built, with a wide head, erect ears and small, dark, almond shaped eyes. The obliquely placed eyes bear a friendly expression, are brown, almond shaped, of medium size and resemble the eyes of a wolf. The breed usually has white legs and muzzle.
The Alaskan Malamute is a heavy shedder. It has a dense coat and should be brushed twice a week. The undercoat comes out in clumps twice a year. Bathing is done on rare occasions, because the coat sheds dirt readily. The breed is naturally clean and odorless, and hence dry washing occasionally should suffice.
They require plenty of exercise in the form of long walks, jogs, sprints, agility, etc.
The Alaskan Malamute is generally a very healthy breed. But, once in a while, the breed is prone to hip dysplasia (inherent disease that affects hip joint causing crippling, or lameness), although no more than any other large breed and less then many others. Some are also prone to chondrodysplasia (dwarfism), bloating, obesity and the usual northern-breed eye problems namely, cataract and progressive retinal atrophy (a hereditary disease of the retina that can be blinding).
Behavior / temperament:
The Alaskan Malamute is a loyal, devoted companion, playful and eager to please. However, the breed is notorious for being highly independent and somewhat stubborn. It needs a lot of attention, without which, it tends to become a nuisance. The males can be quite dominant. This breed is quiet compared to other breeds but it likes to howl and dig occasionally. The breed also has a strong prey instinct; hence, it should be supervised around unfamiliar small animals.
The Alaskan Malamutes can be difficult to train for formal obedience, but because they love to please, it is not particularly hard to train them to be well-mannered either. Firm handling and obedience training are highly recommended. The Alaskan Malamute is a fast learner but tends to get bored easily.
They are not very noisy.
loving breed, beautiful breed, outdoor activity, working dog, fun dogs, rugged working dog
high prey drive, loud howl, daily brushing, dominance issue, restless dog, hot climate
northern working dogs, positive methods, pack leadership, sled pulling, natural oils, diggers
My Alaskan Malamute is a Cuddle Beast :)
I absolutely love our malamute - I tell him he's our pet of the month every month (we also own a german shepherd). He's fluffy, has PPF syndrome (Permanent Puppy Face syndrome), and LOVES to cuddle. We got our malamute from one of the St. Louis, MO human societies. He was forcefully surrendered by his owner, and was abused by both his owner and bullied by his biological father and brother that were also forcefully surrendered. His father and brother were not made adoptable because of their aggression, but Froska was the runt of the litter and picked on by the other dogs, and instead of being aggressive, turned out to be very timid and skittish. Froska's age was a mystery when we got him, but we like to think he was 3 at the time. Below is my review of our malamute, based on the rating scales that were provided by the website:
"Quick to learn and train" - Froska doesn't do enough in the day to label him as fully trained. He never had accidents in the house - he would just silently lay by the door if he needed to go out. He is only motivated by cheese and meat, and will most likely not adhere to basic commands if he doesn't see a reason to do it (for example, if you tell him to sit down but knows he isn't in trouble, that you don't have food, and that there's benefit to him, he probably won't do it without you repeatedly saying it). On the other hand, he never really does anything to get him in trouble, so it's hard to say if he's trained, lazy, or just plain smart and knows his limits to a certain extent. If you have cheese or meat, he will do anything for you, but if it's a new command, you will need to work with him for a while before he gets it. The one sure thing we've figured out, is that if you make him sit before going outside, and never let him through the door ahead of you, only behind you, he listens much better.
"emotionally stable" - Froska was extremely depressed and frightened when we first got him, and it took a week and half of feeding him out of our palms before he would even turn his head towards us without shaking. Fast foward 2 years, and another dog later, and he's just plain lazy, so "emotionally stable" is a good term for him, as his emotions don't vary to extremes. If you don't give him enough attention, he just forces his head into your lap, and if you still don't give him attention, he gives a few whimpers then lays down somewhere in the house. If he is mad at you, he will sit in the same room as you, but face the wall, and then occasionally look over his shoulder to see if your looking. When he gets excited, he just does a sprint run a few times then is good for the day. He's consistently calm, still skittish (doesn't like loud noises), and doesn't get overly excited about stuff.
"doesn't bark a lot" - Froska was making one long sad howl noise when we first saw him at the humane society, because he could hear his father and brother in the back. Once we took him home, he didn't make a sound - no barking, whimpering, whining. We could be anywhere with him, and he didn't make a sound. Then about 7 months after we got him, we got our german shepherd pup (wanted to get him a companion to have while we were at work), and we made the mistake of putting our new pup in his kennel, since we only had one kennel. He howled that whole day while we were at work - our neighbors left a note on our door. Over the next two years, his personality really came out to us and these are the only times he makes noise: (1) When he is really really sad, he howls. He has only done this twice - once at the humane society when we first saw him, and once when we put another dog into his kennel, (2) He barks and does short howls when we put him in the bed of the truck and drive around. I think his barking is wind activated or something, because, my gosh, does that dog love to be in the back of a truck, and (3) he whines when he wants to play with another dog at the dog park, or when he wants up on the couch/attention and we say no. Other than that, he is a super quiet dog.
"health" - He sits down/gets up really slowly, but we think it's because he is nervous about any surface that isn't grass or carpet. He didn't have the greatest dental care when we adopted him, so we started to brush his teeth weekly. Other than that, we only take him in yearly to the vet, for shots.
"easy to groom" - Get a furminator (it's a grooming brush brand). Froska's fur is ever-producing and generously sheds. We can brush him for hours, and fur will still come out whenever you pet him. Malamutes have second coats, and from what we've experienced, Froska's second coat has never completely shed in the summer. We think it's because he's not outside during the day, but in air conditioning most of the time, so physiologically, he's never had a need to shed his second coat. I have a lint brush in each room, in the car, at work, and I keep spares at my parent's and in-laws, for when we visit. In the summer, his malts off of him in large clumps.
"family oriented" - Froska is a great family dog. Malamutes are pack dogs, so they respond better to being in a group, instead of having a typical "Master-dog" relationship. He likes to lay down at the edge of a gathering of people, and just watch everyone. When outside, he tends to do very side circles around everyone, but likes to stay within eye sight to see what everyone's up to. Because of his calm temperament, he has always been great with being tolerant of different kinds of people (loud, quiet, tall, short, people who are in his face, etc...).
"child safety" - Since Froska is so calm and doesn't move around much (he likes to just lay down and be pet), he is perfect for children. He doesn't lean again children, or get too excited. He will sit and let strange children pet him and climb on him without growling, nipping, or fast movements.
"safe with small pets" - Froska has strong natural instincts around small livestock and cats, but has never had issues with other dogs, large or small (he's usually timid around other dogs and stays away). He has killed several chickens on my husband's family's farm. He will take a chicken and shake it to death, but will drop the chicken if we yell at him. For the barn cats, he will chase them, and if they stop, he usually stops and just barks at them until they move again so he can chase them. However, this last time we were there, he did get the cat in his mouth (he dropped the cat when we yelled "drop it", and the cat ran off, but we don't know what condition it was in).
"great guard dog" & "great watch dog"- Not a guard or watch dog. While he is curious about new people, his "roll over and pet my belly" routine only invites people over, and doesn't deter them, for obvious reasons. He likes attention and doesn't think anyone is a threat.
(1) During training, please remember that a Malamute is a pack dog, not a "master pleasing" dog. Froska wants to be apart of the "pack", or family, and have a purpose - but he will not do something simply because it pleases you for him to do it. He understands when he is in trouble - but that is a natural "pack" instinct and doesn't translate to him wanting to please you, just him wanting to be in good standing with the pack. We trained our Malamute using completely different techniques and methods, than when we trained our German Shepherd.
(2) Froska loves his doggy pack back, and loves for it to be weighted down. When we put it on him, he knows we are going hiking, and gets very excited (which, for him, is letting out a short howl and wagging his tail uncontrollably). Malamutes want a job to do, which is why they are great for dog sledding.
(3) Froska LOVES TO CUDDLE. Let me say that in caps once more - FROSKA LOVES TO CUDDLE. On the couch, in the chair, in your lap, in the truck, when you are eating. He shows is affection by sitting right by you and leaning on you, or by "burying" his head into your stomach. Once you start showing him affection, he rolls to his back for a nice belly rub (at which point, he always sneezes.
(4) Malamutes can control their metabolism. Vets and scientists (from what I've read online and spoken with our own vet about) have theories of how this happens, but have no definitive explanation on how they do it. Because of this, they do not eat nearly as much food as you would expect, for a large dog.
(5) Froska farts really nasty farts, and it's usually when he's stressed or if we switch food brands. It's to the point, where we occasionally look to see if one of the dogs pooped in the house, even though they never poop in the house..
From cmolitor23 Aug 5 2015 9:55AM
Inflammatory joint disease
Inflammation = a localized physical condition in which part of the body becomes reddened, swollen, hot, and often painful, especially as a reaction to injury or infection. Inflammatory joint disease can be caused by infection or immune-mediated disease. Immune-mediated polyathritis is fairly rare in dogs, but still occurs sporadically. Adequan is made from bovine cartilage and it resembles by its composition to normal cartilage so it is easily integrated into the joint. Adequan is made more than 20 years ago for control of the symptoms of noninfectious degenerative joint problems aka arthritis. Its main role is to lubricate the joints, stop inflammation (by stoping prostaglandins E2) and stopping the degenerative process and also promote re-building of some elements of the cartilage. Adequan is given every 3-4 days (twice a week) up to 8 times. The dosage is 2 mg/lb body weight (.02 mL/lb, or 1 mL per 50 lb). This therapy is maybe pricey, but it shows very good results and movement improvement..
From DVM Ivana Vukasinovic 6 days ago
Counter conditioning works on changing a dog’s emotional response to another dog approaching his food. Although guarding food is a normal behaviour, it doesn’t mean you have to accept it because it can lead to dangerous situations. How can you have one dog feel happy instead of aggressive when another dog is getting food next to him? If two people work on this at a time, and both dogs are on leash far enough apart, you can give a treat to the docile dog and immediately after to the aggressive one, until you notice that the latter is anticipating a food treat when the docile gets one. Once you see that the aggressive dog starts looking happy and relaxed, move the dogs closer.
Counter conditioning and desensitization techniques are frequently used together.
You can desensitize your dog by gradually exposing him to its triggers and creating positive associations with them. Give your dog a reward when exposing him to his "menace". if your dog is triggered by another dog being fed near him or a person approaching to his plate, sit with your dog while the other dog is in view. When your dog is calm, reward him with a tasty treat.
If any of these does not work, specialists are the right people to handle the problem.
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