Frequently Asked Questions!
What colours do Malamutes come in?
Malamutes come in a variety of intermediate shadings from light silver through to black. They also come in a variety of red shadings from gold through to liver. Always with a white under body, part legs and part face. Face markings can be a number of combinations of caplike or masklike. The only solid colour permissible is white.
I already have a cat, can I introduce a Malamute puppy into my home?
Yes, providing this is done correctly when you first bring the Malamute into the home. An existing family cat will soon put a new puppy in it’s place. This will not extend to trespassing cats and of course they should never be left unsupervised with kittens.
Are Malamutes good guard dogs?
No. A Malamute should never show aggression to people and that extends to complete strangers, they may however be a visual deterrent.
Are Malamutes good with game or stock?
No. A Malamute should never be trusted with either.
I already have a dog, can I introduce a Malamute into my home?
Malamutes are easier to introduce to existing dogs of the opposite sex. That is not to say that you can’t keep two dogs of the same sex together but it is quite unusual for this to work out and requires much time and effort on your part and is not guaranteed to succeed.
We are out of the house at work for most of the day, can I have a Malamute?
This is not the best environment for a Malamute, as they are highly intelligent and easily bored. When boredom sets in they can howl excessively, destroy the home and become depressed. Malamutes do much better if someone is at home most or all of the day.
Can a Malamute live outside?
Yes. Malamutes are quite happy living outside but to ensure you have a happy Malamute they should always be provided with good stimulation as they bore easily. They should be kept in a secure dry area and will do better with canine companionship of the opposite sex.
How much grooming does a Malamute need?
A good brush out once a week will be sufficient for general care. Twice a year the coat “blows” which lasts about a week each time and at this time a daily brush would be required to ensure all dead coat is removed as quickly as possible. Malamutes keep themselves very clean and do not have a doggy odour, bathing is not generally essential, however, it helps around the blowing of the coat period to loosen undercoat and help the shedding process.
How much exercise do Malamutes need?
A Malamute puppy should never be over exercised and a gradual increase over a number of months would be best. A mature Malamute however exercising at a steady pace will go on for as long as you can. A usual daily walk in excess of an hour will keep them both fit and happy.
Will Malamutes pull on the lead?
Not if corrected at an early age. Malamutes are bred to pull and lead training is essential from puppy hood. It will take a lot of patience but it can be done. If you are going to work your dogs, teach them a command that will allow pulling.
Can Malamutes have blue eyes?
No. A Malamute should never have blue eyes.
Will a Malamute dig in the garden?
Not if corrected from an early age, if sufficient distractions are provided for them during the day i.e. toys and bones etc, then it can be avoided. Alternatively provide them with a “safe” digging area and direct them to this when digging starts in the no go areas.
Are Malamutes good at agility?
Not usually but there are always exceptions to the rule and quite a few Malamutes have achieved success at this. This will involve a good training relationship between handler and dog.
Where can I find a good breeder?
The AMCUK has a self-regulated breeder’s list which is available. Breeders on this list adhere to the criteria set out. Never buy puppies from unrecognised sources. However, not all good breeders are on the AMCUK list, you can research breeders buy attending shows and working rallies and talking to people with proven show/working dogs and finding out where they got their dogs from and who they would recommend, you soon get to know who to trust and which breeders to avoid.
What happens if my circumstances change and I am no longer able to keep my Malamute?
A good breeder will always take back a dog they have bred. The AMCUK runs a very good rescue scheme for kennel club registered dogs, however they provide advice for owners who do not want their dogs to go into rescue but need help and also are very careful where they re-home any dogs, and they will also provide advice for non registered dogs. However if there is any way it can be avoided for a dog to be signed over to rescue then that would be best, ensure you know exactly what you are taking on before pursuing
Where can I research the breed?
There are several books on the Alaskan Malamute published both here and abroad. They are readily available to order from most book stores, or from the “Our Dogs” website. www.ourdogs.co.uk
Are Malamutes a dominant breed?
Yes. This dominance has to be controlled from a very young age, a puppy has to know his place in the family hierarchy from the moment it enters your home, if not they will become wilful and uncontrollable. They also go through an “adolescent” period and at this time, it is equally important to reinforce the hierarchy, depending on how this period is handled will determine the dog that emerges at the other end. Firm, patient and consistent training is needed. They do not respond well to physical correction.
How will I know which puppy to choose in a litter?
Depending on if you want your Malamute to participate in either showing, working or as a family pet, will determine the puppy you should have. A good breeder will give you advice in this area and will help explain the personalities of the litter and give an indication of potential showers, workers etc in their opinion. It is never fool proof though.
Where do I get advice from once my puppy is home?
All good breeders will help and advise you for the dog’s entire life. Any problems you have can usually be sorted out with a little help from them, as an experienced breeder will have come across most questions before.
Will Malamutes try to escape from the garden?
While they probably would not expend much energy trying to escape, they would not ignore any weakness in the fencing if they discover it. A secure garden or run is a must.
Are Malamutes good with children?
They should be. Malamutes are of a very friendly disposition and if they are not teased would enjoy the company of children. Obviously they should not be left unsupervised with small children.
How do Malamutes cope with summer heat?
You need to provide them with plenty of fresh water, somewhere in the shade (they love cold tiled floors) and a child’s paddling pool is another favourite. They shed most of their coats just before Summer. Ensure that you do not exercise them during the heat of the day and you will be surprised how adaptable they are. Never leave them in cars in direct sunlight.
How will a Malamute cope with living indoors?
Malamutes are pack animals and will do very well as a member of the family. They should not however think that they are higher than you in the hierarchy. As long as they have their own area that they can retire to if they wish, you should not have a problem.
Breeders I have visited have said I have to sign a contract, is this normal?
Yes. Responsible breeders will have certain criteria that they expect to be met. These will often be, ensuring that you return the dog should you not be able to keep it. Also the endorsements that are on the registrations to prevent indiscriminate breeding are explained. Usually such a breeder will give you copies of the parents’ hip score and eye tests along with the contract. This is beneficial to you as whilst hip scoring and eye testing stock will not prevent occurrences in progeny it certainly reduces the risk.
I want to give a home to a rescue dog, what should I consider?
You would have asked yourself the normal questions regarding the ownership of a dog. You should also consider why a dog has been placed in rescue, does it have a problem (medical, behavioural etc) that you are willing to take on. Expect to be questioned very closely before you are chosen to give a rescue dog a home.
Why do I have to visit a breeder before they will consider me for their waiting list?
Responsible breeders are very careful where their puppies are placed and will be questioning you to ensure that you are going to provide a good home. They will also be assessing you to see what puppy personality would fit in with your needs. This visit is also your chance to question the breeder to ensure that you are happy with them. Is their kennel clean, are the puppies wormed, socialised and healthy? Are they experienced breeders? Will they give you a starter kit and explain the paperwork to you? This visit is important for both breeder and the new owner.
Can Malamutes be walked off the lead?
There are two schools of thought here. Although they may not run off they certainly would not return immediately if called. Dogs should be on leads in public places. It is down to the Mal, one may be better as two tend to encourage each other.
How much do Malamute puppies eat?
Malamute puppies require feeding 3-4 times a day, reducing down to twice a day at 6 months old – a good quality protein diet with added raw meat or a natural diet is recommended, however, always take the advice from your breeder, who should supply you with a full diet sheet and food samples to take home with you.
How much will a Malamute puppy cost?
Puppies from good breeders can range anything from £750 to £1000, however remember that price does not equal quality.
© The Alaskan Malamute Club UK