All About Alaskan Malamutes

One of the oldest and most admired Arctic sled dogs, the Alaskan Malamute is a hardy and affectionate dog breed.

By Thomas Stockman | Posted: Dec 24, 2012, 8 a.m. EST

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Alaskan Malamutes are affectionate, loyal, devoted, playful companions that can easily adapt to many different living environments. They love people and children and are patient with young people, but at the same time cherish their independence. Alaskan Malamutes require a lot of time, energy and feedback from their owners, especially during their younger years. Besides adequate exercise, the Alaskan Malamute will need a great amount of grooming. This dog breed’s lush coat requires brushing and combing on a regular basis. The rigorous grooming requirements alone are enough to make some potential owners choose a different dog breed. If you don’t like to vacuum up dog hair, this may not be the dog breed for you and your family. You should also consider individuals in your home who may be allergic to the Alaskan Malamute’s abundant coat.

Alaskan Malamutes make wonderful family pets, but if the new owner has children under the age of five, they should be especially careful. The Alaskan Malamute can easily knock down small children, albeit unintentionally, in play, and thus should be carefully supervised when around young kids. Alaskan Malamute puppies can be quite clumsy. As they mature, they will grow rapidly and can be quite overwhelming to those who are unfamiliar with their gawky nature.

The Alaskan Malamute is one of the most versatile working dog breeds. New Alaskan Malamute owners are delighted when they begin to realize the many activities in which this dog breed can participate successfully. Alaskan Malamutes actively compete in long-distance races as superlative sled dogs, and they take part in weight pulls, dog shows, agility trials and obedience competition. In addition, Alaskan Malamutes make excellent search-and-rescue dogs. No matter where your interests may lie, you are sure to find an event that both you and your Alaskan Malamute can enjoy participating in together.

The Alaskan Malamute has an enormous amount of energy and requires appropriate ways to release this energy on a daily basis. This dog breed needs plenty of outside exercise, requiring both physical activity and mental stimulation. As a rule, Alaskan Malamutes in normal health should have at least a half-hour of activity each day and will certainly welcome more. Dogs with health or orthopedic problems may have specific limitations, so their exercise plans are best devised with the help of a vet.

In the case of the Alaskan Malamute, calcium supplements are especially harmful at any age, as they decrease zinc absorption, and many sled-dog breeds already have trouble absorbing zinc. With any supplementation, it’s by no means a case of “if a little is good, a lot is better.” At every stage of your Alaskan Malamute’s life, too much or too little in the way of nutrients can be harmful, which is why a manufactured complete dog food is the easiest way to know that your dog is getting everything that he needs.


Excerpt from Alaskan Malamute, part of the Comprehensive Owner’s Guide series, with permission from its publisher, Kennel Club Books, a division of BowTie Inc. Purchase Alaskan Malamute here.

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