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Some people find it hard to tell an Alaskan Malamute from a Siberian Husky, Alaskan Husky or an Eskimo Dog. Malamutes are large (from 23 – 26 inches) and are built with a powerful bone structure to pull heavy loads. Pure-bred Mals must have brown eyes. The ears are set further back, the head is broad and deep, the muzzle is bulky, the back is sloped and the tail is a waving plume, curled loosely. The double coat can be silver, reddish, brownish or black, with white. A common facial characteristic is the “mask” look. The Alaskans love this adorable breed and they are a popular choice for families, primarily due to their affectionate disposition.
Alaskan Malamutes are a very affectionate breed of dog that thrive on human companionship. Ideally, your pet will be able to come and go as it pleases through a doggie-door, having the freedom to lounge outside in the shade or be at the heart of human interaction on command. Speaking of “commands,” Mals can be stubborn dogs if you don’t take the time to train them when they’re young. Don’t worry: they are intelligent and quick learners if you use positive rewards. Be sure to let them know who’s the “Alpha Dog” in your house early on!
This breed gets bored easily and needs a lot of exercise. Your Malamute may be a digger, so it’s best to set up a shaded area where your dog can dig his paws into the cool dirt if need be. If you’re looking for a guard dog, then forget it; this breed enjoys humans far too much! While the males are sometimes aggressive with other males, Mals are said to be good family pets. If you have cats, small dogs or farm animals, then you may want to reconsider getting this sort of breed. Perhaps it’s the hunter instinct that emerges, but this native Alaskan canine does not typically get along with other small mammals. One of the things you’ll come to love about your Mal is its “Chewbacca” woofs. While they’re a generally quiet dog, they do like to talk a bit, and sometimes even howl like a wolf!
Since dog breeds are a “human invention,” there are always certain health hazards associated with each breed. For the Alaskan Malamute, the average life span is around 10 years and most dogs die of cancer. Like the slope-backed variety of German Shepherd, hip dysplasia is also common with the Mal. Heredity cataract and progressive retinal atrophy occur in a number of older dogs. Inherited polyneuropathy and chondrodysplasia exists in some lines too. When purchasing a dog, it’s always good to look at the family lineage and be sure you’re with a breeder you can trust.
If you like what you’ve read, then an Alaskan Malamute may be the ideal breed of dog for you! They’ve got a little of everything, it seems. If you’re looking for a companion, rather than an accessory, then you’ve made the right decision. You may not have a sled to pull, but if you have a strong desire for an animal that can run, play, walk and entertain, then the Mal can make the ideal pal!