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Alaskan Malamute???

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tigeresss

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Could people tell me anything and everything about this breed? I have read everything on the Internet about them (standards etc) but want to know "personal experiences". Essentially what is it like to live with a purebred malamute? Currently we own a malamute cross but are interested in purchasing a purebred. Any info would be much appreciated! Feel free to post photos!

Cheers
 

susanne

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Nila (SunQuest) is a Malumute owner, I believe.

My personal experience is that they are wonderful dogs, but a breed I would not trust around my miniature horses or tiny dogs and cats...but then, I'm an inveterate worrier.
 

Charlene

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i have a friend with 3 mals. they are wonderful, loving dogs but much like siberian huskies, they are very independent and can be challenging. i agree (at least in my own experience), they are not cat-safe but holy guacamole, there can't possibly be anything cuter than a malamute puppy!!!

!!
 

MSRminis

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My best friend a few years back had them -not any more and we looked into them a while back too. The tend to be roamers and can get out and go , was told by local shelter that is why you see a lot of them there (In Los Angeles at least). My friend had problems with hers and the neighbors livestock too. I would research that issue VERY carefully!!

Good Luck!
 

Reijel's Mom

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I don't have a lot of experience with the breed other than our rescue recently had to put one down. He had such a huge wish to eat cats that a human could NOT get in his way when his prey drive was "on".

Now, this dog was a stray that came in with a length of rope still tied to the collar on his neck, so he was probably always tied, and probably never properly socialized/trained.
 

Candice

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I've raised Siberian Huskies and dogs like children, when properly trained will be what you train them to be. If you get a Malamute pup and raise him/her around your horses and cats and other animals and train the dog, you more than likely will not have any troubles.

I have a boxer. Boxers have a strong predatory instinct. Mine wouldn't think of hurting a cat or other small animal. Its hard to gauge what experience you will have based on the breed standard and others experiences, only because you do not know how those animals were trained and raised. Evaluate your future pups temperment by visiting the litter and raise the dog up right and life will be good.

Malamutes like Siberians need lots of excercise and room to run. They need to expend that energy in a positive way. Otherwise they can be destructive.

Good luck,
 

Marty

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I had a malamute for 17 years named Spike. He was one very big boy. I will post his pic asap as I just got some of my old photo albums out of storage. Spike was a great dog. Very family protective with a mind of his own. Extremely independent. He was very good for ignoring what you would say, such as "no". That was not part of his vocabulary. He was also highly destructive and loved to dig up my parents landscaping and make holes all over the yard to lay in instead of using his nice bed in the air conditioning. That's probably because he was a long hair and had a hair coat on him like Lassie that would leave a trail wherever he walked. I used to body clip him in the summer. He was very high maintenance. On many occasions he got loose, usually by just throwing himself through my parent's screened in porch leaving a non-stop project for my dad to keep repairing. He was good at breaking chains too. If there was a rabbit or anything he needed to chase, he'd be gone and we'd be right on his trail going nuts trying to get him to come back. He would "suck" his water rather than to lick it and drink like most dogs do by the way.

All that being said, when Dad died and I moved out, Spike stayed with mom and my aunt for protection. He was very loyal to those Golden Girls who spoiled him rotten. They couldn't handle him on a leash so they fenced their yard with chain link. He didn't have a regular bark; it was more like a howling type noise or weird yodel he would make and he was very hard to shut up once he got going with it. However nobody came near those two little old ladies of his without plenty of warning from Spike. He was a mush to them, laid on his back for petting and brushing, but he would not let anyone near the place that he didn't know. He loved little children, very good with some of the kids in the neighborhood who would visit him on their way home from school but he would fight another dog to the death if he saw one. When the Golden Girls would bring him out to my barn for visits, there was never any problem with him chasing horses or our ponies either. It was only small things like rabbits he liked to chase and he would go after the barn cats too.

Now that I think about it, there are a lot of similarities between Spike and my Amy!!!!!!!!
 

Davie

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Back in the days when I was married, we were professional dog handlers and went to dog shows almost every weekend. Our speciality was German Shepherds but we showed corgies, collies, some spaniels, mals, skips, and several other herding breeds.

We had a red mal female that was just a wonder to be around. We got her as a mature show female and just loved her to death. She was great either in the house the the others (GS and corgies) or out in the kennel.

I've always wanted another red mal, but they are hard to find as the blacks are the standard and most popular. I sure miss my Rosie.
 

Maxi'sMinis

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Well a couple years ago we were on our way to work at 4:30 am and there in the middle of the road was a beautiful 6 month old female malamute. She was purebred. I called the SPCA, put and add in the newspaper, and on petfinder about the dog I found. Contacted all the local vets too. NO one claimed her. She smelled like she had always been in a kennel and had no manners. It took me 6 weeks to put some training on her and socialize her. I put an add in the newspaper and on pertfinder to place her in a good home. I found one luckily. I have 6 dogs already and did not have room for this big girl at 90 lbs. she was very dominant and fought with my other dogs. she didn't bother the minis but went after the cats bad. I had to keep her on a leash all the time because I was afraid she would hurt someone. So they are a handful and need a strong leader of the pack. They shed allot too.

Oh yeah destructive too. Tore up the screen door, the wooden door and the deck and the kennel and all the dog toys.
 
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horseplay

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A good friend and neighbor had one, he live to be 11, chased deer up until the day someone finally had enough and shot him. He was sweet, good w/ children and other pets. He was well trained as far as manners but they could not find a way to keep him in. He would destroy what ever they put him in, fence, stall, house. They tryed several times to keep him tied but he yelped and howled if it were 1 hour or 5, he was a handful and it was a long 11 years. Like I said he was a nice friendly dog but not the dog for them. Jake was his name.
 

susanne

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So often a "problem dog" is really a good dog in the wrong situation.

Kudos to you for asking and doing your research before choosing a dog.
 

Casnos Minis

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I've grown up with them. We ha a female when I was a toddler, I was the only one allowed in her coupe when she had her puppies. She alo woulsd kill any cat we didn't introduce her to. IF we did that she never harmed them. We've had 3 more and a cross since then. They all grew very old (17-20 years old) before we had them put down due to their front or back end giving out. I have Zoe who is a husy/mal cross. They definatly have a mind of their own and need room to run. A large fenced in yard that is about 5 feet hish or higher and that goes into the ground about 2 feet are good. They do dig alot. ANd like Marty said they would rather dig a hole to sleep in instead of the house. My brother has an unfixed male right now who is 4. He's huge!!! He probably weighs 100 plus pounds. HE's a big whoosie when there is a thunder and lighting storm. My mix doesn't listen either. I even went to obedience class with her and it didn't help. When she gets loose seh runs the nieghborhood for at least 1 hour before she comes home.

Good luck, I do love the breed though even they are so stubborn.

Christy
 

tigeresss

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Thanks very much for your replies!

I do work in a vet clinic so am also picking the brains of all my coworkers. Not to mention the clients that come in who own mals. I've also been to dog shows and have been speaking with breeders. It's so frustrating because one person tells you one thing and another tells you another. Essentially I think that assuming the dog is raised properly (i.e. socialized, taken to puppy/obedience classes) etc) that it can be a more than excellent, well behaved dog.

The mal would be an inside dog. Of course it would have access to a yard but it would live inside. We are active so long hikes, going to the park/beach etc would be the norm for us. This is a dog that will come with us everywhere that we can bring it.

Keep the replies coming please!
 
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SunQuest

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I am not a Mal owner, but I do own Sibes and have a long term family friend that owned a Mal for many years until the dog passed of old age.

I can tell you that from comparing notes, the biggest difference between the Mal and a Sibe is the size. Mals can get upwards of 100 pounds where as the AKC has a limit set on Sibes which disqualifies any male dog from being over 60 pounds.

I will also tell you that these two breeds of dogs do not listen at all when distracted. They are notorious for roaming and are escape artists and as such, should NEVER be off leash in an open area. And since they are on the average VERY intellegent, they learn what you want the first time and then spend 6 months trying to figure out how to get out of doing what you requested. This means that they will get themselves into trouble when allowed.

I have taught my dogs the word "cookie" and every time I say that word they know I have a treat. Let me tell you, this has been a life save on occasion when my dog escaped and I saw it happen as this will tend to bring them back. But it only worked once! Once the dog returned and learned that they were caught, they think twice about it. Funny, but they know when they are completely loose and when they are roaming 5 acres of fenced yard. They come every time I call on the 5 acres!


They are a very active breed. They love attention but are not clingy. In other words, they want attention when they want it. Laughs. But, they HATE being alone and can easily become very destructive. Having another dog with them helps.

As part of their instincts for survival in the artic, and since they are more closely related to wolves than other domestic breeds, they have been known to hunt anything smaller than themselves and their triangle shaped ears amplify sound much more than most breeds. As such, be careful when around smaller animals as they can think of them as pray. They can be taught to not hunt smaller animals, but you should NEVER trust them to not do so, especially if the animal flees from them. I trust my Sibe with the adult minis, but NOT with the foals. My Sibes all learned how to hunt birds without one bit of help from me, and they dig for mice regularly. They just can't seem to help themselves. Please keep that in mind as it iseems to be one of the stronger instincts that they have. You can curtail this trait, but you should know that it is a potential issue. My Sibe has lived with cats inside, but outside he chases the strange cats that are not part of his "pack" and I have watched the old boy catch birds right out of the air this summer and he is considered older for his breed. These breeds only live on the average of 10 to 12 years, and my boy is 9.

They love to be outside during the winter. The colder the better in their minds, but they don't really like rain as they get their undercoats wet and their instict is to not have that happen as a wet dog in the artic winter is a dead dog. In the summer, they love to be indoors with the air conditioner on. In the summer. make sure to have a large water tub or wading pool for them to play in. My dog uses the 15 gallon tub to walk through, and because it is metal will lay against it to help keep cool.

PLEASE NOTE: DO NOT clip an artic breed dog in the summer unless it is medically necessary. The same undercoat that protects them from the cold insulates them from the heat. Artic breeds that are body clipped tend to suffer heat stroke easier. My Sibe is outside in a kennel during the times I am not home. He is fine with the temps being 110F (low humidity) and will play in his water as needed. And typical of artic breeds, he only gets the legs wet. In 30 years of owning Sibes, I have only known 1 that liked to swim.

They also shed that undercoat 2 times a year, spring and fall. The spring shedding will produce lots of hair. Think of a plastic grocery bag full each day during the shedding process in the spring. Other than brushing them once a day during this time, they are low maintance as far as brushing requirements.

If you love your landscape, this breed is most likely not for you. These dogs LOVE to dig as denning is a huge part of their instincts. They will dig holes and lay in them and have been known to let snow blow over the top of them as that aids in protecting them from harsh winter elements. I can tell you that my Sibe has a hole that has the foundation of my home exposed. I fill in that 4 foot deep hole and he clears it out even quicker! So make sure that you do not let them outside to play in a fenced yard without constant supervision so you can catch them before they dig out of your fenced yard.

As another note, my kennel is a large one that has a cement floor, a roof, and the chain link wired to the frame at EVERY point where it meets the frame. If they learn as a puppy that they can't escape, it is easier to keep them in. Of course my Sibe is not alone in the kennel so he has constant companionship which definately helps to keep him from trying to destroy the kennel.

These dogs are very strong. I am not a small gal since I am 6 foot 3 inches tall and weigh over 200 pounds. Let me tell you, my Sibe at 9 months old pulled me across the ground one day when I fell while walking him. Be prepared for that strength. Typically, my Sibes will not walk nicely on a plain collar or a choke collar. I find that alternatives to the choke collar work better, but make sure that you get the proper training on their use. Used properly, most of these powerhouse dogs are much happier on their walks as their is no constant tug of war.

I am so glad that you are researching this breed well. Like all huskies, they are most definately not for all people and people do need to understand what they could be battling. An example of this is my husband. He has been a dog owner all of his life, but has never owned a husky type of breed until he married me 20 years ago. At times he still has a hard time with understanding the Sibe and remembering that listening is not their most famous trait. He is much better now and has grown to love the breed, but on rare occasions I have to remind him that these dogs are very independent thinkers.

I know that I sound so negative about these breeds, but let me tell you, I have talked many interested people out of having one of these types of dogs as they didn't know how independent (like a cat) they can be and how "creative" they are when left on their own by themselves. If the right person can deal and understand all of these traits, then they are, in my opinion, the greatest dogs on earth!

In the right hands with a good disiplined home that is very consistant in that disipline, they are the most wonderful dogs. They are very loyal to their "pack" and are low odor unless they are dirty and even though they shed twice a year, I find that it is easier to deal with their hair than short haired dogs as their coat is smooth and the hair doesn't tend to work into fabrics as easily unlike most short haired breeds. They are not yappy by nature and would rather talk to you (yodle like) than bark. They are not overly aggressive towards humans, but I have heard rumors that Mals are more aggressive than Sibes and as such, greater care should be advised. Still, when compared to the guard dog breeds, they are not overly protective. They tend to be clean dogs, meaning that they don't like to mess all over the kennel and they try to keep their waste off of them. I notice that the huskies will purposely avoid stepping in their waste. I found that I can easily yard break my Sibes and they only go in the corner where I think it is ok. On the other hand, my hubby's Pit goes everywhere in the yard and doesn't care if he steps in his waste! It is a trait that my hubby has found special in the huskies! Laughs!

Please continue to look for those reputable breeders. Talk to the rescues for these breeds as most often they care more about the home than the money and they are the ones more willing to share the bad that they have seen as they deal with the tough dogs that people have misunderstood and will know how to best correct the undesirable traits. Most reputable breeders will be more than willing to share all the bad traits with you and also will have all the checks done for health issues like cateracts and hip dysplasia which are common in the huskey breeds.

I hope that this is of some help to you. I know opinions are conflicting at times, but if you know the worst, most likely your future puppy will not be anything close to that as you will know how to raise them to be a much better dog from the start.

PS... Crate training has been my best friend. Up until 9 years ago I never used it, but now that I did with my husky, I will never go back to not using it. I don't lock my dog in overnight and haven't since he was fully house broke, but he sure does love his "den" and for the short hour or so that I may need him locked up, it has been a life saver. For example, when the Avon rep visits me! And when my dog threw his hip out and was so extremely painful to move, I was able to safely carry the whole crate into the office with help from the staff and none of us got hurt from him trying to protect himself from the pain. That one time proved to me the value as I have never seen my dog in so much pain that he yipped and accidently grazed my arm with his open mouth. (He did not try to bite. He swung his head around towards his hip and because I was lifting him into the truck he grazed my arm with his teeth. But I was afraid he may try to nip at a stranger.)
 
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