Is the Alaskan Malamute the right breed for you?
You may have seen one of these magnificent animals at the beach or in the back of a truck, or perhaps on one of your favorite hiking trails. Perhaps you had seen a Malamute puppy being eeid and awed over at a local park or event, - they are adorable, so cuddly, cute and fluffy. At some point you've seen a Malamute and thought that this is a dog you would love to own. Wherever you may have seen or become interested in the possible ownership of an Alaskan Malamute you should be forewarned that this is not a breed well suited to just anyone.
We suggest that you do your research of this breed in books, or on the internet, and also by talking to other owners past or present of a Malamute. Then its time for some soul searching to truly ask yourself if you're the right candidate to be an Alaskan Malamute companion.
Let us give you some of our views on the possible negative characteristics of this breed and also some of the characteristics of successful owner and unsuccessful owners. The Boy Scout Motto of be prepared is a good motto to abide by for owners and prospective owners of an Alaskan Malamute, - be prepared.
On a whole, Malamutes are supposedly the largest of the Nordic breeds of sled dogs. Because of their large size, bone and muscle structure they are generally strong dogs. Because most of our dogs are much larger than average and because we compete so heavily in weight pulling our dogs and offspring are very very strong dogs, even if you don't train them for weight pulling. Mix that size and power with an untrained or an out of control dog and there could be trouble. Don't underestimate the dominance and the power of these animals.
Malamutes, in our opinion are one of, if not the smartest of domestic canines. They are quick to learn but if the game or task becomes a chore or bore or not in their liking they conveniently forget what they were taught. Mal's for the most part are independent thinkers, or sometimes darn right stubborn.
Mal's can change a pretty well groomed yard into something that looks like a world war detonated minefield. And those shrubs and flowers, - chewtoys, lets hope they weren't poisonous. Then those big muddy paws, and footprints all over your nice clean clothes, all they were trying to say is I'm glad to see you.
A full grown, untrained or spoiled mal left alone inside the house, - you may be lucky if they just spread the garbage or chew up a few shoes.
Most Malamutes love people and children but they can be very dog aggressive, - mixed with that strength, - well it can be ugly.
Some Malamutes can also become predators. Sometimes they can develop into cat killers or sometimes if you just decide to let you're Mal roam they can become small livestock killers.
Some Malamutes can be very vocal of you leave them alone, they might howl for your return and when you do return they sometimes scream and bark with joy. Not all neighbors or neighborhoods will care for this. If they are left out of these activities and don't feel included they may start to develop problem behavior.
Every Mal is unique and most home environments are unique also. We recommend that if you plan to own a Malamute that you go into it with a commitment right from the start that you will do everything possible to make your Mal's life a great one. Your commitment to that Mal should be rewarded down the road with an animal that will also be committed to you and your family.
When a Mal must be left unattended we recommend that they have as big of an escape proof pen as you can possibly give them with a nice doghouse and shade and of course water availible at all times. Most Mals by the way don't care for those small igloo type dog houses. Some of our dog houses are 4 foot by 8 foot long and 4 foot high with decks and with another deck over the top creating a lookout that they enjoy.
We recommend consistent training from an early age. Puppy classes are good, and puppy ages that they allow vary from trainer to trainer but keep in mind these dogs grow rapidly and the sooner you start your training the better. Socialize your pup with positive life experiences.
Some unsuccessful owners are people who just thought getting a Mal would be cool without doing any research on whether this is the right breed for them. Then they get them and play with them for awhile as a puppy but as the newness wears off so does their interest. Then they just leave them alone more and more until they decide they have a real problem on their hands. Then they try to find a home for them but rarely will anyone want a problem out of control dog. So they call the rescues or the breeder in hopes someone will bail them out of this situation. Please don't get an Alaskan Malamute or any dog if your not going to be committed to it. There are to many dogs in rescues that could have been prevented. So please do some soul searching and research before you impulsively buy a pet.
We are not saying that all Malamutes will have all the aforementioned undesirable habits or traits, what we are saying is to do your research, prepare your Malamute living area or that area that you will leave him or her when you can not have 100 percent supervision. Then once you get you're puppy be prepared and be ready to train and retrain. Or maybe an older rescue dog might be your choice, if it is our hats are off to all those who help out rescues.
In our opinion we feel characteristics of successful Malamute owners and families are active, loving, forgiving, and patient.
You must also be warned that if you are a responsible Malamute owner the chances are good that throughout your life no dog will ever stand up to owning a good Alaskan Malamute.