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Frequently Asked Questions

  • Are Alaskan Malamutes suitable for the first-time dog owner?
    They "can" be if the new owner is coachable. Our first breed was a Malamute, and we dove in to learning and mentorship. We are still learning! This can be a challenging breed for the first time dog owner if they are ill-prepared. Alaskan Malamutes need firm and fair leadership, lots of socialization, and lots of foundational training, especially in their first year. So, that being said, if the first-time dog owner is committed to putting in that time to train and socialize their puppy and learn about training methods and the breed itself, it can be a beautiful relationship. Ensure that all members of the household are committed to following through with the structure and training requirements of the puppy to ensure consistency at all times.
  • What are the grooming requirements for an Alaskan Malamute?
    While an Alaskan Malamute is a natural breed with a hearty double-coat, they do have basic grooming requirements and it needs to be said -- they shed. A lot. A few times a year they will shed out their downy undercoat, and we call this blowing coat. This can be profuse, but if you keep on top of regular grooming (bi-weekly brushing, monthly bath and blow-out, for example) you will greatly mitigate the amount of shedding that will happen during that coat blow. Your Alaskan Malamute will have healthy skin and coat, as well, which reduces dander and skin issues. Dander is a major contributor to allergies, so if any household members have sensitivities, this will help that, too. There is nothing more beautiful than a healthy coat on an Alaskan Malamute, and depending on your needs, a Malamute can be groomed as often as a few times a month (if they are bring shown, for example), to seasonally. This is not the breed for you if you abhor dog hair on your clothes, furniture, in your food, or floating around your yard (though birds appreciate this immensely).
  • Are Alaskan Malamutes good with other animals, cats for example?
    It needs to be said that typically, Alaskan Malamutes have an innate high prey drive. That is a northern, primitive, working breed characteristic. That being said, some Malamutes do get along with small dogs or the family cat. It all depends on temperament (which has a strong genetic component to it), early socialization, ongoing socialization, management, the attitude and temperament of the smaller animal in question, and other mitigating factors. We caution everyone introducing their Alaskan Malamute to a small cat or dog, to proceed with common sense, and an abundance of caution. Only if the Alaskan Malamute has been exposed to small animals while with it's breeder in it's first 8 weeks of life, and then that exposure continued in a well-managed and cautious way, would we say there is a chance for a lovely relationship to blossom. We have seen it! But that is the exception and not the rule for this breed. We would rather be honest with you than spin a yarn that would set a beloved household pet up for trouble. We have a cat... some of our Malamutes can be trusted with her, and the majority of them cannot be. The younger the exposure, the better the chances of co-habitation going well.
  • Are Alaskan Malamutes suitable for a family with small children?
    As a rule, we are not comfortable placing Alaskan Malamute puppies into homes with young children under 5. When I ask most mothers of young toddlers or infants if they would add another rambunctious 4 year old child to their home right now, generally their answer is an emphatic "No!" as their current toddler or infant requires all of their attention, and for good reason! Well, a Malamute puppy has the same requirements, believe it or not. They are high energy, require structure, socialization, foundational training, potty training, crate training, household training, leash-breaking and the list goes on. A Malamute puppy will demand a lot from you and you need to be able to invest that attention into them while young so that you have a good canine citizen on your hands when they reach full maturity. The other thing is that children have to be socialized well with animals. They have to be supervised around puppies and large dogs alike so that they are not unwittingly tormenting the puppy or dog with their unruly behaviour. By a year of age, a Malamute has reached it's mature height and can easily knock over a small child, pull an adult off their feet or give someone a broken nose with a simple and friendly high-five. These factors must be considered before bringing a puppy into your family. We are always happy to discuss your specific circumstances with you.
  • If we get a puppy from you, does it have to be shown to a championship title?
    No, it does not. We do not require all of our puppies to be shown, we do require them to have completed a series of puppy foundations training which benefits them greatly as it does you! If you are interested in being mentored in the dog show world, by all means let us know! It is a crazy fun, addictive and expensive pursuit, but we love it, and who knows, you might, too. We are happy to mentor anyone new to the breed or the sport, just let us know your interest level and we. can discuss further!
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The Official Breed Standard for the Alaskan Malamute

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Background: The breed standard for the Alaskan Malamute was revised in the country of origin (United States) in 1994 and became effective May 31, 1994. This revision resulted from the American Kennel Club is request that breed clubs reformat their standards, utilizing Spiraís book Canine Terminology as the official lexicon. The resultant standard recommended by the Alaskan Malamute Club of America Breed Standard Committee maintains the essential description of the Alaskan Malamute with some rewording.

The most significant changes are:
- acknowledges the red color with liver pigment; 
- defines proportions for depth of chest in relation to height, and length of body in relation to height; 
- contains discussion on proper gait; 
- indicates that trimming is to be restricted to neatening the feet; 
- blue eyes are a disqualification. 

In early 1996, the Alaskan Malamute Club of Canada (AMCC), with the concurrence of its membership, proposed to the CKC Breed Standards Committee that the standard of the country of origin be adopted. The revised AKC standard was reformatted in accordance with CKC requirements and was subsequently published for comment in Dogs in Canada, receiving a favourable response.

Origin & Purpose: The Alaskan Malamute, one of the oldest Arctic sled dogs, was named after the native Inuit tribe called Mahlemuts (now spelled Malamute) who settled along the shores of Kotzebue Sound in the upper western regions of Alaska. Written accounts of Alaska from various explorers and travelers rarely mention the Mahlemut people without reference to their dogs which were of the spitz-type and described as being powerful looking and of remarkable endurance and fortitude. These dogs were used primarily as draught animals to haul heavy sleds, but were also used to pack supplies, for hunting seals and in packs to track polar bears. Early writings indicate that the dogs kept by the Mahlemut people were better cared for than was usual for Arctic sled dogs, and this seemingly accounts for the breed's affectionate disposition.

General Appearance: The Alaskan Malamute is a powerful and substantially built dog with a deep chest and strong, well-muscled body. The Malamute stands well over the pads, and this stance gives the appearance of much activity and a proud carriage, with head erect and eyes alert showing interest and curiosity. The head is broad. Ears are triangular and erect when alerted. The muzzle is bulky, only slight diminishing in width from root to nose. The muzzle is not pointed or long, yet not stubby. The coat is thick with a coarse guard coat of sufficient length to protect a woolly undercoat. Malamutes are of various colours. Face markings are a distinguishing feature. These consist of a cap over the head, the face either all white or marked with a bar and/or mask. The tail is well furred, carried over the back, and has the appearance of a waving plume.

The Malamute must be a heavy boned dog with sound legs, good feet, deep chest and powerful shoulders, and have all of the other physical attributes necessary for the efficient performance of his job. The gait must be steady, balanced, tireless and totally efficient. He is not intended as a racing sled dog designed to compete in speed trials.

In judging Malamutes, their function as a sled dog for heavy freighting in the Arctic must be given consideration above all else. The degree to which a dog is penalized should depend upon the extent to which the dog deviates from the description of the ideal Malamute and the extent to which the particular fault would actually affect the working ability of the dog. The legs of the Malamute must indicate unusual strength and tremendous propelling power.

Temperament: The Alaskan Malamute is an affectionate, friendly dog, not a "one man" dog. He is a loyal, devoted companion, playful in invitation, but generally impressive by his dignity after maturity.

Size: There is a natural range in size in the breed. The desirable freighting sizes are males, 25 inches at the shoulders, 85 pounds; females 23 inches at the shoulders, 75 pounds. However, size consideration should not outweigh that of type, proportion, movement and other functional attributes. When dogs are judged equal in type, proportion, movement, the dog nearest the desirable freighting size is to be preferred. The depth of chest is approximately one half the height of the dog at the shoulders, the deepest point being just behind the forelegs. The length of the body from point of shoulder to the rear point of pelvis is longer than the height of the body from ground to top of the withers. The body carries no excess weight, and bone is in proportion to size.

Coat and Color: The Malamute has a thick, coarse guard coat, never long and soft. The undercoat is dense, from one to two inches in depth, oily and woolly. The coarse guard coat varies in length as does the undercoat. The coat is relatively short to medium along the sides of the body, with the length of the coat increasing around the shoulders and neck, down the back, over the rump, and in the breeching and plume. Malamutes usually have a shorter and less dense coat during the summer months. The Malamute is shown naturally. Trimming is not acceptable except to provide a clean cut appearance of feet.

The usual colors range from light gray through intermediate shadings to black, sable and shadings of sable to red. Color combinations are acceptable in undercoats, points, and trimmings. The only solid color allowable is all white. White is always the predominant color on underbody, parts of legs, feet, and part of face markings. A white blaze on the forehead and/or collar or a spot on the nape is attractive and acceptable. The Malamute is mantled, and broken colors extending over the body or uneven splashing are undesirable.

Head: The head is broad and deep, not coarse or clumsy, but in proportion to the size of the dog. The expression is soft and indicates an affectionate disposition. The eyes are obliquely placed in the skull. Eyes are brown, almond shaped and of medium size. Dark eyes are preferred. The ears are of medium size, but small in proportion to the head. The ears are triangular in shape and slightly rounded at the tips. They are set wide apart on the outside back edges of the skull on line with the upper corner of the eye, giving ears the appearance, when erect, of standing off from the skull. Erect ears point slightly forward, but when the dog is at work, the ears are sometimes folded against the skull.

The skull is broad and moderately rounded between the ears, gradually narrowing and flattening on top as it approaches the eyes, rounding off to cheeks that are moderately flat. There is a slight furrow between the eyes. The topline of the skull and the topline of the muzzle show a slight break downward from a straight line as they join. The muzzle is large and bulky in proportion to the size of the skull, diminishing slightly in width and depth from junction with the skull to the nose. In all coat colors, except reds, the nose, lips and eye rims' pigmentation is black. Brown is permitted in red dogs. The lighter streaked "snow nose" is acceptable. The lips are close fitting. The upper and lower jaws are broad with large teeth. The incisors meet with a scissors grip.

Neck: The neck is strong and moderately arched.

Forequarters: The shoulders are moderately sloping; forelegs heavily boned and muscled, straight to the pasterns when viewed from the front. Pasterns are short and strong and slightly sloping when viewed from the side. The feet are of the snow-shoe type, tight and deep, with well-cushioned pads, giving a firm, compact appearance. The feet are large, toes tight fitting and well arched. There is a protective growth of hair between the toes. The pads are thick and tough; toenails short and strong.

Body: The chest is well developed. The body is compactly built but not short coupled. The back is straight and gently sloping to the hips. The loins are hard and well-muscled. The tail is moderately set and follows the line of the spine at the base. The tail is carried over the back when not working. It is not a snap tail or curled tight against the back, nor is it short furred like a fox brush. The Malamute tail is well furred and has the appearance of a waving plume.

Hindquarters: The rear legs are broad and heavily muscled through the thighs; stifles moderately bent; hock joints are moderately bent and well let-down. When viewed from the rear, the legs stand and move true in line with the movement of the front legs, not too close or too wide. Dewclaws on the rear legs are undesirable and should be removed shortly after puppies are whelped.

Gait: The gait of the Malamute is steady, balanced, and powerful. He is agile for his size and build. When viewed from the side, the hindquarters exhibit strong rear drive that is transmitted through a well-muscled loin to the forequarters. The forequarters receive the drive from the rear with a smooth reaching stride. When viewed from the front or from the rear, the legs move true in line, not too close or too wide. At a fast trot, the feet will converge toward the centreline of the body. A stilted gait, or any gait that is not completely efficient and tireless, is to be penalized.

Faults: 
- The Malamute is structured for strength and endurance, and any characteristic of the individual specimen, including temperament, which interferes with the accomplishment of this purpose, is to be considered the most serious of faults.
- Any indication of unsoundness in legs and feet, front or rear, standing or moving is to be considered a serious fault. Faults under this provision would be splay-footedness, cowhocks, bad pasterns, straight shoulders, lack of angulation, stilted gait (or any gait that isn't balanced, strong and steady), ranginess, shallowness, ponderousness, lightness of bone, and poor overall proportion.
- High set ears.
- Overshot or undershot.
- A long loin that may weaken the back.

Disqualifications:
Blue eyes.

Effective: 1996
Canadian Kennel Club
Alaskan Malamute Club of Canada, 1996

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