About a Malamute
Everything you wanted to Know

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Is the Alaskan Malamute Right For You?
No breed of dog is for everyone, and not everyone should own dogs. Animal shelters and pounds are over crowded with dogs that were bought by uninformed individuals for all the wrong reasons. IAMRA is providing this information to help you make an informed decision if you are considering ownership of an Alaskan Malamute.
The Alaskan Malamute is a large and powerful dog with a thick double coat designed to protect it from even the harshest weather conditions. Colors vary from black and white to various shades of gray, seal, sable and red, all with white legs, underbodies and parts of face markings. The only allowable solid color is white. Eyes are brown, never blue.
The Malamute is a physically tough breed with enormous strength that can easily knock over a child during play or drag its owner around the neighborhood unless it is properly trained and has learned its own strength. All dogs should be under complete control of their owners at all times, and large dogs especially have to be taught to be gentle during play and that the person on the other end of the leash is in control, not the dog. The size and strength of the full grown Malamute must be seriously considered since you will have to devote much time and energy to proper training and socialization for this dog to be the "gentle giant" it is known to be.
The thick double coat is shed out once or twice per year, and this is referred to as "blowing" the coat because of the vast amounts of wool that accumulates in the dog's living area. If you hate to vacuum or have allergies, the Malamute may not be for you.
In spite of the Malamute's appearance, it is not a guard dog. This breed has been bred from the beginning to trust people and to work tirelessly for anyone, not just it's owner. The Eskimos, who were the earliest breeders of this dog, shared all of their property which included the dogs, so the instinct to guard property has not been bred into the dog. To try and train a Malamute to guard your property and be suspicious of strangers would confuse the dog and could present a potential danger. If you are looking for a guard dog, please look for a breed that was bred for this function.
As much as Malamutes like people, they tend to dislike other dogs, especially dogs of the same sex. Because this dog is a natural hunter and survivor, small animals including cats, may be looked upon as prey. Malamutes are known to live harmoniously with cats, but many will not tolerate the presence of a feline.
Malamutes are bred today with all their original instincts intact, and this has to be appreciated. Since the Eskimos needed dogs that could sense or recognize dangerous conditions and make their own decisions. This sometimes means that they must disobey their handler's commands. Malamutes have a strong independent nature. These dogs have been bred to be thinkers and decision makers. This trait has been carried over even today and can present a challenge in obedience training. This is a breed that learns quickly, but becomes bored easily. Training is best approached positively and with a sense of humor to keep the dog interested. Malamutes are not considered the easiest dogs to obedience train, but may excel with proper training. There are logs of Malamutes with obedience titles.
The ownership of any dog involves regular veterinary care, and this is important to the health of any pet. A dog will require yearly heartworm tests, stool samples, and vaccinations. This can cost a considerable amount of money. Discuss costs you may incur with a veterinarian in your area before you consider purchasing a dog to be sure that this pet is affordable.
Alaskan Malamutes make excellent pets if you are interested in any outdoor or winter activities like sledding, skijoring, hiking, backpacking, and weight pulling. If you love a big dog that is independent and you don't mind the hair, the Malamute may be right for you.