The FAQ (Frequently Asked Question) of the Alaskan Malamute
Malamute and ticksQ : The Alaskan Malamute and ticks
A : The tick is the main enemy of the Alaskan Malamute. Or more precisely, it's the Piroplasmosis, transmitted by ticks, which is the most dangerous enemy for the Malamute. All ticks are carriers of piroplasmosis, but among the white or gray, large or small, we can not predict those who carry and those who does not carry. The symptoms vary between dogs: first, weakness and loss of appetite, then blood in the urine, but it is very difficult to see and when we see the blood you must act very quickly. Indeed, after only 1 or 2 days, the dog's condition deteriorates rapidly, and the only cure for the dog is to see a veterinarian which will inject a product that will set back the dog quickly on their feet, in general. If the piroplasmosis virus was too spread in the body because we waited too long before going to see the veterinarian, the antidote can cause large numbers of dead cells in the blood of the dog, the liver can not evacuate, which can cause jaundice. With piroplasmosis, the dog can not cure itself, and waiting is not good for a speedy recovery. Without rapid treatment, the outcome is fatal.
To prevent attacks of ticks, there is a wide variety of collars or liquids or gases to be applied on the skin or the hair of your Malamute. Personally, I rarely use products to be applied to the skin because they are not easy to implement on Malamutes which have, by definition, a lot of hair. The gas sprays never seemed to me to be very effective.
The collars are to be chosen very carefully: according to the explanations of my vet, ticks are acariens and flea insects. Often collars that are found in stores are labeled for operation in both ticks and fleas. Or products effective against insects will not be for accariens and vice versa. Against ticks, so you have to choose collars that are dedicated solely against ticks. The collar that I use, is the product "Preventic". It contains the ... chemical compounds and he strongly feels mint. The efficacy term is about 2 months and I change mainly in spring and fall. Winter and summer, ticks are less virulent.
There are ticks everywhere, but there are factors conducive to their presence. The fields or mountains where sheep are present is one factor, for example. Hedgehogs and birds are carriers of ticks and fleas. Once a hedgehog is in the garden, I am made aware by the behavior of my Malamutes, and I gently transport it as far as possible from my house.
Ticks are a plague for dogs and also for Malamutes.
The character, the behaviorQ : The character, the behavior of Alaskan Malamute
A : As I wrote in the general description , the Alaskan Malamute has a character and behavior that should be well understood. It is a great companion dog that has great qualities of friendship, understanding and complicity, but also imposes major constraints in everyday life.
Obviously, Malamute is a sporting dog who needs to move, to run. We do not have to be sportman to have a Malamute, but it is a good thing in addition or it is a good reason to get back to sport. If you are not sporty, frequent walks will be required and as the ballad leash quickly becomes hard with these dogs selected for pulling, it is best to provide great space to let free your Malamute. Obedience to recall orders becomes necessary.
If time for sports or walks are not possible, the Malamute will need to require a lot of attention. Spend a few tens of minutes to complete education, to caress, to talk or simply if your Malamute can see you tinkering in the garden or garage, all of this may satisfy him for some time. Conversely, the spirit of independence of the Malamute that is not necessarily very focused on cuddles : Malamute decides whether he wants cuddles or not, especially males. They need a human presence, but not an overbearing presence.
The Alaskan Malamute has a strong character and he can not bear injustice: it regularly challenge his master, which will require immediate crop from the master, without striking him, which is useless with a dog so resilient and strong. If the master corrects his Malamute without reason or without undestanding the reason, it may start to growl, but it will be rarely aggressive unless his master exceeds the limit.
The Malamute is inherently a gentle dog because it can be assumed that the Inuit, who developed the race, who lived in small communities where everything was shared, could not bear to have vicious dogs with humans. Similarly, Malamutes have a great attention for children, as the Inuit, who were taken by the tasks necessary for survival in a hostile environment, left the custody of their children with their dogs.
The Inuit are mostly nomads, Malamutes are not normally good guards. My Malamutes warn me by barking when someone comes to the portal, and their stature is sufficient to impose a distrust to visitors, but someone who is not afraid of dogs, can go in the garden without too many problems.
Malamute and ticksQ : The weight of the Alaskan Malamute
A : Although the standard Alaskan Malamute provides a reference weight, which is around 38 kg for males and 34 kg for females, there is a wide variety of weight and size acceptable for the Malamute. This is due to the history of different types of Alaskan Malamute. Historically, Malamutes came from 3 main lines, a line of small Malamute, the Kotzebue, a line of large Malamute, the M'Loot and a line of intermediate size and weight, the Hinman-Irwin.
There are, mainly in the U.S., breeders that are trying to continue breeding extreme size dogs, Kotzebue and M'Loot. Each side believes he holds the truth about the real dogs of the natives of Alaska. Breeders of smaller dogs, the Kotzebue, believe that dogs eat less and got a better energy efficiency in relation to their size and weight than the big dogs. Breeders of dogs types M'Loot, who also call their dogs "Giant Malamute", believe that their dogs were better suited to the lives of Inuit who were in need especially strong dogs to pull their camp with their nomad lives.
Hard to say who is right, but it is reasonable to think that, following the place where the original inhabitants of Alaska lived, dogs were adapted to the needs of their workload. For example, Mahlemiuts living on the west coast of Alaska, had little deep snow and ice, and the smaller dogs are better suited to towing fishing boats. The Inuit of the center of the country had to walk in deep snow, and dogs high on leg cope best with sled pulling.
From my personal observations, the ideal Malamute male weighs around 40 kg to about 2 kg. My first Malamute, Grizzly , weighed around 50 kg, and he was even up to 55 kg. He had great beauty and power, but to pull the bike or sled, he was not fast enough; and even though the Malamute is not a race sled dog, he was too slow, especially when I put him in tandem with oxane that, on the contrary, she is a bit too lightly.
Currently, my Malamutes are in the "standard" and our teams are making good speed, neither too fast nor too slow. What counts, in my opinion, in a team, is to have homogeneous dogs in their type and thus avoid the dogs too light coupled with heavier dogs.
Adopt an Alaskan MalamuteQ : Adopt an Alaskan Malamute
A : Before adopting an Alaskan Malamute, you should be very aware of the special character of this race and the constraints that you will submit to a dozen of years. I will not talk about the fact that adopting a dog in general is an important commitment, but adopting a Malamute is even more difficult.
In the case of adoption, the dog will likely have a few years or at least 1 year. Due to the strong and dominant character of the Malamute, you must find a fine balance between authority and love for a dog that will be disoriented in the first days of his new life in your home. You must spend much time with the newcomer to see and discover defects that could have acquired with his previous master. Quickly, you must correct the observed deficiencies, and offer him at the same time a lot of caresses and love.
My dog Oxane is a bitch that I recovered at the age of one year because the owner could not take care of when her husband, always on the go, was not there. Before I took her with me, I knew she ran away and she relieved herself when she was inside the house. It was not easy, but after some good shouts followed by moments of fondling, Oxane quickly stopped relieving herself in the house (the Malamutes are generally very clean dogs) and after a few weeks she did not think of leaving home to run away.
Educate, raise an Alaskan MalamuteQ : How to educate, raise an Alaskan malamute
A : Like all dogs, the first thing to teach a puppy is "no". The "no" has to be said for a firm tone and repeated several times and may be accompanied by a small rap if the puppy does not understand. Learning can be long, and you should be patient, but most learning is done early, most dogs learn quickly. The "sit" can be learned by pressing gently on the back of the dog, while repeating the order several times. The master must be the "winner" in the conflict of learning, ie he should always go to the end of the practice, even if you have to shorten practice too long if the dog loses attention quickly. The "lying down" is also important because with it you can inspect the underside of the dog in case of injuries or wounds. To learn the "lying down", you can pass by the seated position, then repeating the order, pull gently on the front legs or clappping with the hand flat on the floor.
The Alaskan Malamute as a sled dog must be able to respond to orders for moutain-bike or sled trips. Personally, I give my orders in french as in case of difficulties in the panic, the native language comes first. I use the command "Right", "Left", "front", "Stooooop" and "Go". The "Stop" should be long to emphasize that we want to stop. For directions, the best way is to learn the command to the dog is, first, walking with a leash, choosing a path full of pitfalls. Personally, I use a sidewalk where cars are parking and I alternate "left" and "right" orders by pulling gently on the leash in the direction I want my Malamute to go.
The Malamute is a sled dog, he must live outside, with a kennel for storing away himself with bad weather and a way to have shade in the summer with high temperatures.
For meals, I introduced a ritual in which I sit down all of them, and they do not touch their bowls before I've given the order.
When traveling by car, the Malamute may be sick and vomit, and won't want to get into the car. But if the dog associates a car ride with walks, you will find that he will be less fretfull and he will be less stressful when he is by car : this is my personal experience with 3 Malamutes that were first sick in car when they were young.
We must also try to teach his Malamute to stay wise and calm for several minutes as it would be very handy when the dog will be harnessed to avoid mixing the sled lines and/or if you decide to compete in dog shows so that the judge can really decide.
Diseases and enemies of the Alaskan MalamuteQ : Diseases and enemies of the Alaskan Malamute
A : From my experience, Alaskan Malamutes are seldom sick, perhaps because of the environment in which they were selected which did not allow the survival of dogs sick or weak.
The most dangerous enemies for the malamute are ticks and the disease they give.
In my experience with Malamutes, I had to deal with the infection of the uterus of my dog . The veterinarian told me that after the heats of the dog, a virus can slip into the uterus and cause an infection that is not easy to see. For oxane, the symptoms were that she was too cool when she was previously very active, and then after a few days, there were widely ejections of purulent liquid from its vulva, and then I decided to go to see a veterinarian. Alas, it was too late, and the infection caused too much damage and the vet was forced to remove all the reproductive system.
The problem of infection after heat comes fairly often.
The twisted stomach also seems to happen quite often with the Malamute, as many large sporting dogs. These twisted stomach is often fatal without early surgery intervention. These twists are held often after a large meal followed by an exercice. To avoid this problem, we must avoid serving large volumes of food at once, especially if the dog has the habit of eating fast, and prevent him from exercising within 2 hours after meals . The kibbles suited to large dogs have a size and density designed to avoid these twists.
We must also take care of the environment of our Malamute, cleaning his kennel with specific anti-bacterial and fungicidal products. Fleas are also a problem, but I do not use fleas/ticks collars because, as I explain at the FAQ number 1, the collars can not be effective for these 2 types of pests. I use both "Frontline" flea pipettes and sprays that you spray on the fur.
The flair of the Alaskan MalamuteQ : The flair of the Alaskan Malamute
A : The Alaskan Malamute has a very good nose, probably because of its genes from the wolf, or perhaps because of the fact that the Inuit had a habit of leaving them alone on a small island for the summer, letting them find their food by themselves. They then hunted small rodents or fish, and they used their flair. But if the Malamute has a very good smell, it will not mean a good hunting dog, because he takes prey for himself and not for his master.
Suitable food for an Alaskan MalamuteQ : Suitable food for an Alaskan Malamute
A : Personally, I give croquettes as food to my Malamutes. I give them also some remains of dinner.
I buy their croquettes with a grade of 20% of protein and 12% of fat for periods of rest or low activity (late spring to early autumn) and "Pro Plan Standard" croquettes with a grade of 30% of protein and 20% of fat for the winter period of work.
I complete the main meal that I give the evening, with a few very light meal in the morning consisting of few "Pedigree Junior" croquettes (30% protein and 20% fat), and a little bit of milk. It's a habit that I give my puppies to drink a little milk, although initially it may give them a little diarrhea, because milk is good for their health and strength of their bones. In cases of diarrhea, I stop giving it for a few days.
After dinner, I give them half a "Dentatix" bar, they love this bar that cleans their teeth.
And occasionally, when it rains a lot for example and we can not go out too, I give them a piece of bread which occupies them for a time.
With regard to my Malamutes, there is no problem to manage the quantity of food to give them, if they are hungry, they eat. They finish their meals less often in summer than in winter, and they may even jump 1 or 2 meals with hot summers.
The sugar in general and especially chocolate should be avoided. Chocolate is a lethal poison for dogs, especially in large quantities.
Cleanliness, hygiene of the Alaskan MalamuteQ : Cleanliness, hygiene of the Alaskan Malamute
A : My Malamutes have always been relatively clean quickly. Even Oxane which is a bitch that I recovered and who made her business at home with her former master, quickly get into the habit of doing their needs outside. I mean clean not only because they defecate outside, but also because they prefer to go in the grass rather than tar, the side of a trail rather than in the middle. My Malamutes will even wait or, at least, use walks to do their needs. I am really under the impression that they are waiting to see if I'll decide to walk with them before doing their needs in the garden.
Swelling of the lips of the Alaskan MalamuteQ : Swelling of the lips of the Alaskan Malamute
A : We were once faced with swelling lips with one of my Malamutes because of armyworm, which in early spring, comes into the garden. The dog, out of curiosity, has been trying to catch them between his teeth and the caterpillars are extremely toxic to mucous membranes such as the tongue and lips. The swelling of the tongue may cause choking and only a quick visit to a vet can resolve the situation.
Training, exercises of the Alaskan MalamuteQ : Training, exercises of the Alaskan Malamute
A : I start training my Alaskan Malamute very early, depending on the season and the "will to go" of the puppy. I start with very small distances (1 or 2 km) at 6 or 7 months old, once a week, along with other dogs of the pack. With these first training, I can see the behavior of the dog : is the puppy motivated to run, what position in the line is he going to go, etc. But nothing definite with these first trainings. The puppy should not pull too much on the harness, even if it is motivated because the bones and muscles are not yet fully formed at this age.
Always according to the season and age of the puppy, first I increase the distance and then the training frequency. Try to make the training to be a treat for the puppy and try not to get upset when he stops to browse or urinate, or when he mixes in the line. At one year, the dog can walk ten kilometers 2 to 3 times per week. In adulthood, the Malamutes can travel up to 20 km to pull the sled, 3 or 4 times a week.
We also try to practice for scrolling during dog shows, and I organize small exercises depending on my mood: skipping items, playing soccer, searching for cookies in the garden, obedience exercises, etc..
The Malamutes are primarily dogs that need to be taken care of, preferably with physical activity such as kart or sled pulling.
Care and maintenance of the Alaskan MalamuteQ : Care and maintenance of the Alaskan Malamute
A : The Malamute is a dog that ultimately needs little maintenance compared to other breeds of dogs. Despite his thickness, the hair of the Alaskan Malamute does not smell strong or bad, and even when it is wet, the smell is more tolerable than other dogs. The hair of the Alaskan Malamute is thick and oily, and dirt does not adhere to and is difficult to penetrate. I often say that the Malamute is self-cleaning. By constrast, if something can penetrate the hair or undercoat, it is very difficult to remove.
The biggest part of maintenance work for the Malamute occurs during the molt, which happens 2 times per year, with the change of season, the spring molt is larger than the fall one. During moulting, the Malamute loses almost all his undercoat and a bit of his longer hair. You must then brush your dog regularly to remove the dead undercoat which, if allowed, can become a refuge for microbes and parasites, especially with the summer heat. The undercoat removed can be very important and after a good brushing session, your dog may seem meager !!!
I clean occasionally the ears of my dogs, and as these ears are very hairy, they are refuge for a lot of dirt. A glove with a little bit of soap allows efficient cleaning of the ears, which is appreciated by Malamute especially if done gently.
I supplement food of my Malamute with 2 products: for my oldest bitch which is subject to pain of osteoarthritis, I give her a drug based on Chondoïtine, MSM and Glucosamine called "Locox". This product is particularly effective on long courses. For all dogs and especially for those who especially have got skin problems or hair loss, I supplement their rations with supplements for humans based on wheat germ which are rich in vitamins and in particular in zinc.
First heat of the Alaskan MalamuteQ : First heat of the Alaskan Malamute
A : The first heat for a Malamute is happening as for normal dog, between 6 months and 12 months. My first bitch Oxane has went into heat at the age of one year, but she had an infection of the uterus, and in this case when you realize that something is wrong, it is often too late, and the vet has to remove the entire reproductive tract of the dog. This type of infection, common, can happen at any age.
My second bitch, Coleen , went into heat at 6 months, this does not pose much of a problem.
The duration of heat is approximately of 15 days, which may seem long when you have males which are very loving in these periods.
For contraception, the vet advised me not to give her the pill and instead advised me injections of progestin, which are made every 6 months. These injections completely remove the heat which can be very useful when you have males. For cons, the vet don't advise contraception over too long period and advocated castration if you don't want your bitch to have puppies.
Alaskan Malamute EnduranceQ : Alaskan Malamute Endurance
A : The Alaskan Malamute is primarily an endurance dog. Do not confuse speed with endurance. The Malamute is not a dog that runs fast, but he can run and pull a long time.
Personally, I never exceeded trips of 30-35 km, and I often only between 15 and 20 km, but I think that well trained dogs can do regular distances over 50 km
The climate, heat with a Alaskan MalamuteQ : The climate, heat with a Alaskan Malamute
A : I am often asked: how does the summer effect your dogs ? In fact the Malamute loves the heat and my dog Oxane is a tan specialist : she spends hours in the sun and ends up with a rather hot coat !!!
You must leave the choice to your Malamute leaving him places in the sun and shady and cool spots, and following his desire, he will alternate to take his naps somewhere or another : a few minutes in the sun, a few minutes in the shade or body in the sun and head in the shade.
Walking is much less risky for the heatstroke that pulling mountain bike or kart.
We also do walks on summer evenings when the nights are longer and the heat of the day is down again.
Giant Alaskan MalamutesQ : Giant Alaskan Malamutes
A: Giant Alaskan Malamute does not exist as such, but it's rather Alaskan Malamutes that are from M'Loot type or who derive from M'Loot type. For more information on the different Malamutes type, follow the following link, history of the different Malamute types or go to question number 3 of this faq.
Walk time for an Alaskan MalamuteQ : Walk time for an Alaskan Malamute
A: During the winter period, the moutain-bike trips can last up to 1:15 or 2 hours for larger ones, and sled trips can take much of the day.
If you don't want to run your Malamute during the winter, the rides may be longer and last several hours.
The space needed by an Alaskan MalamuteQ : The space needed by an Alaskan Malamute
A: The Alaskan Malamute needs space and to live outside to flourish, but this space need not to be very important either. The more the garden where your or yours Malamutes live will be great, the more you must pay attention to the possibilities of runaways which become more numerous.
The space should be proportional to the number of Malamutes who must live together. Personally, I do not have much space, about 100 m2 and I limited my number of Malamutes to 4 or 25 m2 per dog.
The more the space is limited, the more the dogs will need to make regular walks of thirty minutes in order to change their ideas.
Even if Malamutes are sled dogs, you must give a niche in order to isolate your Malamute in bad weather and especially when there is rain, because the Malamute does not like humidity.
The living space of the Malamute must be kept as clean as possible by picking up droppings regularly, especially if space is limited.
Disinfection of the niche and soil should be done regularly during the year with fungicides and anti-bacterial products to ensure a clean and healthy space for the health and beauty of the Malamute.
Alaskan Malamute barking and howlingQ : Alaskan Malamute barking and howling
A: The Alaskan Malamute does not bark like a normal dog. Its bark is more like the howling of wolves, and indeed it may produce long howls with the muzzle turned towards the sky. The "dog" bark is produced mainly in times of fear or rather if curiosity of the Malamute is awakened.
Generally, the Alaskan Malamute dog is not a "talkative" dog, which is not to offend the neighbors. But there may be exceptions, right Cazan ... The Malamute is a dog with a strong chest, his barking can be powerful.
Growth and development of an Alaskan MalamuteQ : Growth and development of an Alaskan Malamute
A: The Alaskan Malamute growes very fast and the little ball of hair so pretty earlier, will quickly turn into a big beautiful dog between 35 and 40 kg. At the age of 6 months, the Malamute has already lost some of its puppy appearance, and at the age of one year, it seems that the dog is an adult while in fact the Malamute is really only an adult after the age of 2 years.
A good example of a Malamute developing, with photos can be found at Urok page for males and the Coleen page for females.
When the Malamute is a few weeks old, his ears may not be erect and if this situation lasts, you must consult a veterinarian who will prescribe a nutritional supplement that will promote the development of the ear cartilage.
Around 6 months, the Malamute puppy will almost lose all his teeth, which are sometimes found in the garden, but are usually swallowed by the dog.
The first heat in females occurs between 6 and 12 months
Males begin to mark their territory by lifting his leg at the age of one year.
Longhaired Alaskan MalamutesQ : Longhaired Alaskan Malamutes
A: Malamutes with long hair are less frequent in the results of litters and although I personally find them very beautiful, they are not recommended as standard and are often excluded from breeding.
Is the Malamute a good guard dog ?Q : Is the Alaskan Malamute a good guard dog ?
A: Difficult to answer this question. When we read the literature about Alaskan Malamute, we often see that they are not good guardians. Certainly, they are not Doberman or Rottweiler, but already their high stature, their faces resembling the wolf, and the proud look, will deter many visitors.
Personally, I never set my Malamutes to be guardians, and yet they warn me when somebody comes and following the bark type, I know if it is someone I know or if it is a stranger. I do not think that if a stranger breaks through, my dogs would attack openly, but I think they would prevent him from passing with interposing and barking.
In conclusion, the Alaskan Malamute is not a guard dog as such, which will attack an intruder, but he will rather be a dog that deters strangers from getting too close to those he loves.
Bag pack for an Alaskan MalamuteQ : Bag pack for an Alaskan Malamute
A : The bag pack is an interesting thing if you want your Malamute to work during spring or summer days not too hot, or hand out snowshoeing in winter. During my hikes, I use the bag pack that I have found on the Polytrans webmarchandising site for animals or we have made by ourself. These bag packs are in fact made with 2 bags with a capacity of 10 liters each to put a few things into, if they are not too fragile because dogs do not measure their new dimensions : if they get stuck between 2 trees or 2 rocks, they pull. Similarly, it is better to pack in plastic bags things that we will put in the bags, because the dogs can go and swim at any time in a lake or river. And when there is nothing or little to bring on a little hike, I fill their bags with pebbles to make them work.
Where to sled in the PyreneesQ : Where to sled in the Pyrenees
A : It's not easy to find a place to sled in the Pyrenees. First, the Pyrenees are steeper than the Alps: there are fewer fields and roads and the roads are steep. Secondly, the Pyrenees have experienced very little snow in recent years, but during winter 2009 there was fortunately exceptional falls . Third, the skiing station are bad with the sled dogs and their musher. They do very little, if anything, to promote the development of this type of activity that is becoming increasingly popular.
However, we can do sledding in the Hautes-Pyrenees, and I have put together a few circuits on this page.
Books on Alaskan MalamutesQ : Books on Alaskan Malamutes
A : There are many books on the Malamute, some in French, many in English. Personally I bought the following books in French :
- "Le Malamute d'Alaska" by Joël Rauzy, Vecchi edition, a book that is old and no longer available as a new one, I think.
- "Le Malamute d'Alaska" by V. Urbani Corsiglia, Vecchi edition, a more recent book, but translated from Italian.
Dog shows with an Alaskan MalamuteQ : Dog shows with an Alaskan Malamute
A : It must be admitted, dog shows are not our cup of tea, because our passion for Malamutes comes mostly from physical activities we do with them. But dog shows are still of some interest:
- our dogs can be measured against other dogs and we can see if our dogs are well aligned to the breed standard.
- it is also an opportunity to meet other people with other owners and Malamutes Breeders.
- the fact to meet many visitors can socialize dogs.
- we can introduce the breed to people who come to the exhibition and who do not know Alaskan Malamute.
But there are also disadvantages:
- The first time, we were always under the impression that our dog is the most beautiful Malamutes, and we may be disappointed with the verdict.
- It is a human verdict with the subjectivity of a judge and the habits and customs of this type of judgement : the dogs well dressed and from known breeders are much better seen than the musher's gross dogs coming out of its kennel.
- The time seems very long in cages for dogs who are used to running and living free in a garden.
Difference with the Siberian HuskyQ : The qualities of an Alaskan Malamute and difference between the Siberian Husky
A : My bitch Oxane ran during several years with a Siberian Husky, and I know a certain amount about this breed, but not to the same extent as the Alaskan Malamute. What I write subsequently hiring only me :
- The size and weight: the Malamute is often larger and heavier, although some Malamutes of Kotzebue type has a weight and size very similar to Husky
- Eyes: The only eye color allowed for the Malamute is brown, light or dark, but the dark is preferred
- Nervousness: the husky is a more nervous dog than the Malamute. It is a ball of nerves, which allows it to be faster than the Malamute. The Malamute has its "moments of madness", but he remains a dog more easily controllable than the Husky
- The speed: with a smaller size, lighter weight and greater strength than the Malamute, Siberian Husky is a faster dog than the Malamute, although the lightest Malamutes may take comparison on several kilometers. My dog Oxane ran the beginning of his life with a husky who was on the second half of his life, and they worked quite well. My dog Urok also ran with the same husky, but he was at the end of his life, and would run much slower than in the past.
- Fugues: I had the opportunity to see that the Husky is more scampish than a Malamute. If I leave the garden gate open a few seconds without anything being attractive to my dogs, they will not try to leave and run away. While the Husky will use any distraction to escape. However, if the Malamute can be a runaway dog especially if he has the habit of wandering. From his youth, his habitat must be well closed with solid wire to deter him.
- Other dogs: the Malamute can be very aggressive with other dogs he does not know, even if the breed has tended to improve on this point. The Husky is a dog with a hard pack spirit, and therefore also seeks to impose itself with other dogs, but in a less aggressive way than the Malamute.
- They are beautiful dogs
- These are dogs who like to exert themselves physically and in particular run and pull, what they do instinctively.
- These are dogs that love humans and Malamutes love especially children.
- They both have a strong and independent character that requires skill in education.
- These are economic dogs with food in relation to important physical activities they can do, and it's more truth with the Malamute that is stronger.
- These are dogs who do not like be alone too long a time and often need a canine companion, preferably of the same breed.
Siberian Husky on the right and Alaskan Malamute on the left
Advices in order to start well with one puppyQ : Advices in order to start well with one of our puppies (suitable for puppies from other breeders)
A : Following the sale of our first Malamute puppies, I decided to write some lines of advices for the new owners of our puppies. These advices are certainly applicable to other breed puppies from other breeders and I don't pretend to have the truth in order to start with a Malamute puppy.
Before the arrival of the puppy in his new home, the new owner has to make sure some points. The new little Malamute needs a niche with correct dimensions. My niche for an adult Malamute is 100 cm in depth for 70 cm of width and 70 cm for hight in an enough waterproof wood if the niche has to be exposed to hot temperature and to bad weather. The Malamute can (and must) live outside all year, he is not affected by the winter cold and the summer heat can be well tolerated in a well temperated place in the shade. Only humidity is not appreciated by the Malamute and if his niche is not protected from rain by an canopy, you must increase the dimensions that I have given above.
A garden well fenced is needed. Fence shall prohibit the passage from below as well as over. You have to be sure that the bases of your fence are enough strong in order to dissuade the Malamute to dig down and I advice a minimal hight of 1m80 in order to dissuade jumping. The fence shall be made with strong posts because one of my dogs, Cazan, had discovered that if he climbed on the fence, this one bent under his weight, and Cazan could escape from a lower hight. Even if the Malamute is not a runaway dog, during a periode of adolescence, he can escape from his garden in order to discover the world. Then, as the Malamute likes hunting, he could make a lot of damage in the backyard neighborhood. During his runaway, he can be hited by some vehicles like car or bicycle which can do injuries to human who drives this véhicle. Similarly, this big dog with a wolf aspect could scare people in the street of the town. You have to avoid your Malamute runs away, otherwise it will become very difficult to prevent to begin again to run away, because he will remember that the world outside was cool and even if you fence your garden, he will look for every break. In conclusion, you have to fence your garden at the beginning of the life with your Malamute.
The first night with the new owner is a big source of stress for the new puppy : it will be the first time that the puppy will be isolated not only from his mother but also from all his brothers and sisters. If another dog is present, the stress will be less great, and the first night will be good. If the puppy is alone, you have to invite him to go to his niche, giving it attractive, putting in old clothes and a little bit of food, for example. You have to avoid him to sleep inside your house, even if his stress turns in cries. If he cries a lot, you have to put into his niche again, to take a moment to caress him, and to attempt to escape if he sleeps. Normally, after two nights, the puppy has found his marks, and future nights would be cooler.
Be careful to the things that could be dangerous for your new companion : the new puppy in his new environment without his brothers and sisters is going to try to find some new games and thus he is going to explore and to test whatever drags. Be careful with vegetables some of which are poisonous, with electrical cables, with chemical products or cleaning products, pesticide and herbicide, rat poison, car antifreeze, etc...
During his growth, the puppy needs a lot of food. This food is specific for puppy with vitamin supplements. We will give to every new owner one bag of croquettes that we used in order that you could change smoothly with your prefered brand of croquettes. Until the age of 6 months, the puppy can eat as he wants. When the puppy is alone, it's much easier, you can fill a big mess tin with a lot of croquettes. When you have many dogs, you have to pay attention that the puppy food is not eaten by other adult dogs. You have to give 3 or 4 meals per day. From the age of 6 months until 18 months, you can decrease gradually the number of meals to finish with one unique big meal at the morning or the evening. I advice to give him a little bit of cow milk while monitoring that the puppy don't have diarrhea. Milk, full of calcium, gives better bones and well erected ears. With all my dogs, I give to them a little meal with a litlle bit of milk the morning, and a big meal the evening. Some prefer wet croquettes, some prefer dry croquettes. Whatever the manner that the croquettes were eaten, the dog needs always a big water dish, especially during summer weather. The croquettes shall be prefered to home made meal or to the leftovers of the family meal, because croquettes are made in order to give a good balanced diet to your dog.
Be careful : chocolate is poisonous for dogs, don't give it to them in any manner !!!
Alaskan Malamutes are naturally "clean" dogs : my dogs always prefer to do their needs during hiking in grassy place than in tar place. Similarly, in my garden, their needs are rarely in tar zone. Of course, the new puppy should acquire his new habits in his new way of life, and he could need some weeks to be really clean. If the puppy does his needs in a place that is not good for you, you can't punish your dog afterthought : you have to catch him in the act, because dogs have a very short-term memory for this type fo things.
In order to keep his dog healthy, you have to remember to do the vaccine reminder. The sold puppies will have their first vaccination which have to be followed by a vaccine reminder at the age between 3 and 4 months. This vaccination should be completed by a rabies vaccine (it could be only done from 4 months old). I advise strongly to do the rabies vaccine in order to avoid any problem if your dog bites someone. After this first vaccination, the vaccine reminder is one time per year. I discourage to do the piroplasmosis vaccine (at 6 months old), disease transmited by ticks, because it is not effective for the price. Against ticks, I advise the use of collar but buying it in vetenary cabinet (not in supermarket) and collars that are only effective for ticks, not for fleas and ticks, see this link. For deworming, you have to deworm your puppy every month up to 6 months old, then every 6 months when he is adult. Deworming of your dog is important not only in order to keep your dog healthy, but also to keep the owner and their family healthy because worms can be passed from dog to human during licking (especially to children).
From 2 months old, puppies are able to learn a lot of things, and it's during 2 and 6 months old that the puppies learn the most of things of their life. You have to pay attention during this learning period which shall permit to dog to acquire a good comportment, because the Alaska Malamute is not known as a very obedient dog. The first things to pay attention is that your dog do not become too dependent to yourself. Of course, with a new puppy, we tend to spend a lot of time with him while he is little dog, and all the family want to caress and love him; but you have to remember that the puppy is going to grow and he will not understand why you cannot spend your time with him when he will be adult. Thus, he can adopt a bad comportment with a lot of barking or of attempts to run away. You have to spend time with your new puppy in order to know each other but you have also to leave him alone : you can leave do his own business, and observe him from far. You have to play with him, but these games must be short in time per day.
Among games, you have to avoid all games of pulling, old clothes pulling, rope pulling, which are often accompanied by growling or barking. Games are to be a moment of relaxation for dogs, dogs have to be relaxed when they play. Pulling games are bad for the final comportment of your dog, because they cause tension : jaw tension, body and muscle tension. Furthermore, with this pulling game he will become stronger than you when he will be adult, and there will be an inversion of power and thus of hierarchy in his mind. And he may find funny to pull your clothes hanging on a clothesline in the wind.
The puppy will also tend to chew your fingers, and while the puppy is little, the new owner will find this cool, but when he will become adult, people could confuse chew with bite that could cause some delicate situation with these people. It is better for the puppies not to bite or chew fingers and hands. In the same ideas, the puppies try to chew all things that they are at their level, as shoes and laces. It's fun while they are little dog, but not when they chew your favorite shoes when they will be adult with their powerful teeth and jaw.
You have to find games that bring something to the dogs who are not deviant for his behavior. You can toss a ball, and teach him to bring it back. You can learn to jump things or simply to obey routine orders but always basing this learning on the form of games that will always be positive for the dog and accompanied by food rewards and/or hugs. Don't forget to accompany your orders (always the same for the same action) with gestures (always the same gesture for the same action), because dog attaches great importance to gestures, more than the word. The dog may also have toys, like a ball or a balloon, or just a stick to bite that is useful when the puppy will change its milk teeth to permanent teeth and which will save many owner's useful items. Among games, you can play with your dog to pursuit/fight, game during which we play to pursuit the dog and to fight gently with him, but you would be able to stop a too big excitation of your puppy, flattening him to the ground some moments for example, the time he become more relax; then you can play again with him after this calm moment. Be careful to not stop the game with a tackle, because tackling is to decrease the excitation, is not to stop the game.
For the owner who are interested to do physical activities with his Malamute, be careful not to confuse you about the physical capabilities of your Malamute over age. A 6 months old Malamute seems to be as tall as an adult dog, but he will be an puppy until 18 months old. Therefore the intensity of the effort has to be well proportional to his age (and the outside temperature). A Malamute can begin to run (without pulling) at about 8 months old on (very) short distance, less than 2 km, one or two time per week. These trainings have to be a form of game in order that the young Malamute can find pleasure. As the puppy grows and he was well trained, you can increase very gradually the distance and/or the number of training per week. Very gradually, the young malamute can pull more and more with a mountain bike or a lightweight kart. Be careful with temperature : no heavy activtiies with temperature above 18° Celcius otherwise there is risk of death with the so-called heat stroke.
For the owner who are NOT interested to do physical activities with his Malamute, at least you have to do regular walks with the puppy, in order to to make him see the world, the city, people, noises, other animals, etc Sooner the puppy is accustomed to the elements of the world, easier the life with him will be during the ten years of his life expectancy.
For female, heat begin between 6 and 12 months old. Heat takes 3 weeks during which loss of blood are more or less visible. If you have not planned to have puppies with your female, it is advised to sterilize her after the first heat. The sterilization avoids the tumor possibility to the breasts. In return, you would have to be careful that the take of weight was not too great.
For male, castration can make the dog more calm, less runaway but equally loving.
After delivery of the puppy, you will recieve from post his pedigree. This document attests that the dog is really written in the stud book (Livres de Origines Français (LOF))
Every year, at the end of september, takes place the national exposition of the breed (Nationale d'Elevage du Malamute de l'Alaska), in Saint-Honoré-les-bains near Nevers, in the Niévre county, France. During this show, only Alaskan Malamutes, essentially French, but not only, are presented. I will propose to all the new owners of our puppies to participate to the 2012 show, in order to try to regroup all the puppies around their mother and perhaps their father. It will be a good way to see how each puppy has grown.
All these advices are not easy to remember with one read, and thus I advise to reread many time this text in order to assimilate well what to do with your new Malamute companion; and if these advices could be a little bit constraining, the fact of follow them during the first year of life of your puppy shall assure a better life during the dozen of years that your Alaskan Malamute is going to live.
Feel free to give us news, good or bad, about the puppies that you have purchased from us.
Flat ears that don't want to stand upQ : Alaskan Malamute puppies with flat ears that don't want to stand up
Some Alaskan Malamute puppies whith a fast growth (and perhaps some other large breed) can have broken and flat ears during some weeks. Often, they finished to stand up by themself. But after 6 months of age, we may take care. The opinions of veterinarians differ on the issue, I had asked many and each one had his opinion. The most optimistic say to wait up to 1 year of age. The most reasonable recommend various supplements. On the Internet forums, some recommend calcium, while others say that calcium is useless because an ear is not a bone. The most "experienced" embark on bandages more or less complicated to set up the ears. Others recommend gluing the ears. In any case, I recommend waiting until age 5 or 6 months, which corresponds to the late changes of deciduous teeth by permanent teeth : indeed, the ears tend to fall during the change of teeth, even in puppies that had their ears straight
I will cite two specific cases that we had: G'aiwok whose owner lives in Avignon and our Guizmo.
G'aiwok had his ears changing, meaning that he had periods during they tend to stand up and other periods during they fell. His owner has decided to consult a veterinarian at the age of 5 months to see what was possible. The vet decided to made a bandage. The vet stuffed with cotton G'aiwok's ears and made a bandage that started under his head and held the ears straight. Then he placed a dog ruff to prevent the dog takes away the bandage with his legs.
G'aiwok's ears with bandages
After one week the bandages were removed and, miraculously, ears were standing up.
G'aiwok's ears after one week of bandages
Guizmo never had the ears straight, they were always flat. Our vet did not want embark on bandages, not knowing how to do them and he advised us food supplements. No calcium, because we gave him enough with food and with a little milk every morning. Therefore he recommended us supplements made with nettle leaves and a homeopathic product (...). After a few weeks, the result was still not there, even if it seemed that it need a little thing for Guizmo to have his ears straight: a gust of wind, light pressure on the top of the skull.
Guizmo's ears always flat despites vitamins
So I turned to the solution of gluing. On Internet forums, we could see that the glue "Texticroche" of "Sader" was used by many breeders and was approved for veterinary use. But the composition of this glue has changed, and the current formulation is no longer registered for veterinary use and should not be used because it contains chemical solvents that can burn the skin of the puppy.
So I looked for a replacement glue, and I have found only one, used by breeders in Germany, for German Shepherds. This glue "Copydex" of "Henkel-Pritt," sold in England, it can be found this site for animals. This adhesive is 100% natural latex and is used as a glue for the very young children in nursery classes.
So I used this glue for Guizmo. I first tried to strengthen the structure of the ear trying to strengthen the break mark of the ear. So I brushed the inside of the ear with glue, being careful not to put in the ear canal !!! The result was not good, the ear was still broken. So I used another method, which was to glue the hair of the inner base of the ear with the hair on the top of the skull. With this method of bonding, ears, although still soft, standing straight.
Guizmo's ears glued at skull base
After 3 weeks, I removed the remaining glue, and the success was real : ears stand up on its own.
So the principle of the glue also works but I will have to do again, I'll put a little less of glue and I must wait more time because this glue takes several minutes to dry.
Guizmo's ears after 3 weeks of gluing