ORIGIN: The Alaskan Malamute is one of the oldest Arctic sled dogs, one whom most experts believe descended from the Arctic Wolf. They were first bred between 2000-3000 years ago by an Eskimo tribe named the Mahlemuts. (That is how the Malamute got its name) The tribe needed a strong dog who could pull heavy loads, hunt large animals such as polar bears and moose, and navigate harsh, bitter, winter conditions (they can withstand temperatures as extreme as 70 below zero). They are cousins with the Arctic breeds Siberian Husky, Samoyed, and the American Eskimo dog.
USES: The obvious is as a sled dog. Because of their size (75-95 pounds aprox.) they could carry heavy loads. They were also excellent navigators due to their exceptional sense of smell (they are able to detect thinning ice through several feet of snow!) They were used for search and rescue during World War I and II. Today, they are still used for sledding, search and rescue, weight pulling and racing but are no longer used for hunting.
HEALTH PROBLEMS: Hip dysplasia, heart disease, bloat, renal atrophy and chondrodysplasia (dwarfism).
IMPORTANT MALAMUTE INFO: They require an owner as stubborn as they are, or they will run the house. They're incredibly intelligent and affectionate. This is a breed that requires a good amount of exercise, or they will entertain themselves by eating your couch, jumping high fences or even digging long, deep trenches in your yard! They usually are not good with other dogs as they tend to be dominant and many still retain a prey drive for smaller animals. They shed like crazy but are self-cleaning and require a bath only once a year. Despite their dominant nature with animals, they are wonderful with children.
IS THIS BREED RIGHT FOR YOU? We wouldn't trade our time with Buddy for anything, but this breed is not for everyone. It's easy to get seduced by the beautiful little fluff ball that is a Mal puppy. Be forewarned; If you're looking for a dog that is great with other dogs and easily trainable, the Alaskan Malamute is not for you. However, if you are up to the challenge, this dog will steal your heart, and reward you with a lifetime of cherished memories.