Loving an Alaskan Malamute

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After being introduced to the beautiful breed of Alaskan Malamutes in 1971, we quickly fell in love with the breed. Just saying that reminds me of how long I have been in the breed. Although I no longer breed, I still love the beautiful breed. I would like to share some of the experiences that I have had loving and showing this magnificent breed.

Our first introduction to the Alaskan Malamute breed was at a friends house. They had just purchased a black and white female puppy. We had been invited over to see her, and of course instantly she caught both my husband and my attention and hearts. If you haven’t seen a litter I am including a cute picture of a litter of Malamute puppies.

By the time we left, we were hooked. So began our search for a beautiful show quality puppy. Our first Malamute was what we now know was a long coat. We didn’t know what we were purchasing, and we took the word of the breeder. We fell in love with him and tried to show him until a very kind breeder came up to me at a show and gently informed me that our fuzzy coated dog was, in fact, long coat and not desirable. I have often said that Tai taught us how to show and groom. If you’ve never groomed a long coat, you are not missing anything, unless you want to strengthen your arm muscles.

Now please understand I’m not saying that all long coats are undesirable, just the one we purchased had some problems that prevented us from continuing showing much less breeding him. He became our pet and lived with us until his death at 11 years of age. We honored him by naming our kennel after him. Thus, Mai Tai Kennels was born.

Another important factor in buying an Alaskan Malamute. Is to find a breeder that is reputable. Unfortunately, not all breeders fit that requirement. Check references make sure that the breeder has been in the breed for awhile, preferably a member of AMCA. Who’s better would know the dogs lineage than the owner?

A knowledgeable breeder will guide, help, and advise their puppy owners. I know when I was breeding, I would talk with our puppy buyers and explain our contract that all customers were required to sign. This relieved and chance of either party being confused. A contract ensures the breeder as well as the buyer a guarantee. The most important would be against hip dysplasia and CHD.

Owning an Alaskan Malamute brings a few problems that most owners are willing to accept in purchasing a Mal into their lives. First off you must be prepared to accept that twice a year you will be overrun with dog hair. Removing a garbage bag full of undercoat per dog in the Spring is not uncommon. While our dogs were shedding, they were confined to the kennel runs until their shed was complete. Of course, they were brushed daily to remove all the dull coat and to make them look and feel better.

If dog hair bothers you, then maybe owning an Alaskan Malamute isn’t for you. I’ve had puppy buyers that came to see a litter and didn’t believe that Malamutes shed that much. A visit to the kennels during the shedding often changed their minds. My husband would say that it was one way to tell if they actually would make a beautiful puppy owner. If you’re squeamish about dog hair, then an Alaskan Malamute might not be the right dog for you to have in your home.

More to come later, a look at Malamute puppies.

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