WELCOME TO THE WONDERFUL WORLD OF THE ALASKAN MALAMUTE!!!
The Alaskan Malamute (AM) is a "northern breed" and originated as a working dog in the arctic and sub-arctic regions of Alaska. The Alaskan Malamute is one of the few breeds native to North America. The name "Malamute" is derived from the Alaskan Inuit tribe called the "Mahlemiuts" (meaning "the people of Mahle") who bred the ancestors of today's dogs. These Inuit valued and cared for their dogs because their lives depended on them. The climate was harsh and only a very hardy breed of dog could survive in such an environment. This was a real partnership between man and dog for mutual survival. The origins of the Alaskan Malamute are unknown, but there are many theories. The Malamute (or a similar type dog) may have been brought across the Bering land bridge from Asia or Siberia with an early migration of people into Alaska. Another theory is based on evidence of a possible primary domestication (short-faced wolves) straight from the large Alaskan or Arctic wolves during or after the Pleistocene era (Olsen 1985) or the interbreeding of these wolves with dogs brought over with the migrations. We do know that all domestic dogs originated from the wolf (Vila et al. 1997) and most likely were domesticated at more than one time and place. The American and Canadian Indians had many different strains of working dogs. However, the Alaskan Malamute is one of the only breeds to survive into the 20th century. The Alaskan Malamute Club of America (AMCA) was formed in 1935 but was officially recognized as a member by the American Kennel Club (AKC) in 1953.
More information can be found at http://www.alaskanmalamuteinfo.com/firstlines.htm.
Owning an Alaskan Malamute
In choosing an AM puppy, everyone in the family should be part of the decision. It should be a well thought out decision that takes into consideration the amount of time and attention that your puppy will need. If your puppy feels un-wanted for any reason, you may end up with an unhappy dog that could turn into a "problem child". Malamutes can be, and often are, "hard headed" dogs, so dominance should be established early in your relationship with your dog. When you say NO, you must mean NO! If the appropriate behavior is a result, then praise the pup lavishly. Never hit the dog. Above all, never punish the dog after having called it to you. It must learn to associate coming to you as always a plesasant experience. Early training is very important and a well-mannered adult will be the end product of this training. KODAK AM recommends obedience training; consult your local SPCA for locations. Remember, EVERY dog should be a LIFETIME COMMITMENT! Do NOT buy a puppy on a whim. Shelters are overflowing with unwanted dogs that are killed everyday because a home can't be found.
References regarding the Alaskan Malamute:
- The Alaskan Malamute Yesterday and Today. 1998. B. Brooks and S. Wallis.
- The New Complete Alaskan Malamute. 1990. M. Riddle and B. Harris.
- Alaskan Malamutes. 1983. D. McCarty
- This is the Alaskan Malamute. 1975. J.M. Brearly.
Care for your new puppy
At birth, AM puppies weigh about 1 pound. Their eyes open at around 12 days old. Weaning takes place between 4 and 6 weeks of age. The initial puppy vaccinations (5 in 1) begin at 5 or 6 weeks of age and are given at 2-3 week intervals until the pup is 18-20 weeks of age. Boosters are given yearly. Try to keep the pup indoors until most of the initial vaccinations are given and stay away from "dog parks" where the pup may be exposed to diseases. Rabies vaccination begins at 4-6 months of age with yearly or tri-yearly boosters. Your veterinarian can give you more information on all of this and a vaccination schedule. Also follow your veterinarian's instruction for heartworm prevention.
Puppies should be fed at least two meals each day from weaning to 1 year of age, morning and evening. At 1 year old the pup may lose interest in two meals a day. If this occurs you may change to feeding 4-5 cups of food once a day. Changes in diet, water, and the stress of a new home may cause intestinal problems (diarrhea) initially, but this is normal and the puppy will soon adjust. Mixing distilled water with your tap water while gradually increasing the amount of tap water over time, can help to help the puppy's digestive tract make the transition. We recommend that you continue feeding Eukanuba for Large or Medium Breed Puppies. At one year old, food can be switched from the puppy to Eukanuba Maintenance or other high quality meat-based dog food. It is important to make sure that it is meat-based and not a cheap wheat or soy based dog food. We DO NOT believe in a "vegetarian" diet recommended by some. Malamutes did NOT evolve eating carrots! For chew toys only use Nylabone (Nylon based) products or real un-cooked beef knuckle bones (ask your butcher). A multi-vitamin and mineral supplement should be given in addition to a quality meat-based dog food (especially with show dog prospects). Also, fish (salmon or other oily fish like mackerel) and/or fish oil should be given at least once per week. Malamutes have evolved eating fish as a major portion of their diet in Alaska. DO NOT overfeed an adult Malamute, especially one that is not a working dog. They will eat as much as you give them.
Your puppy may howl mournfully for a few days until it adjusts to its new surroundings. Remember, its whole world until now was its mother and littermates; new surroundings may be confusing and frightening to the pup. Keep things quiet for the first few days. Spend lots of time with the pup to reassure it that everything is OK, but DO NOT run everytime it cries or howls. You may want to put a radio on low (classical music works well) as background noise and as a soothing reminder that it is not alone. We recommend crate training while also house-training the pup (beginning with "paper-training"). Once the pup regards the crate as a safe place to stay, you will be able to leave it alone in the house. In time the pup will not soil the crate but will use the newspaper you should make available just outside the crate. As time progresses, the size of the paper should be made smaller and smaller and the pup should be taken outside immediately after eating or after extended periods in the crate to do its "business." The word "outside" can be used over and over as a keyword for the dog. Don't expect total housebreaking until the pup is over 5 months old. Before that, the pup's muscles and digestive system are not under its total control. Keep the pup confined to a small area until you are confident in its housetraining. When you notice the pup sniffing around frantically after waking or especially after eating, take it outside and praise it after it has eliminated. For "accidents" indoors, we recommend using a product called "Simple Solution." NEVER rub the pup's nose in its mess, this will only confuse the pup for something that is natural. Clean up the mess and try again. It was your fault for not being more observant, not the pup's fault!
SHOW PROSPECT OR PET QUALITY
There are differences between a pet quality puppy and a show prospect puppy. Show quality pups will, at the time of inspection or sale, possess traits afforded a non-pet status pup (these should include a good coat, no mis-markings, no noticeable defects in movement, correct type, etc..). Pet quality pups are usually ones that possess noticeable traits that will prevent them from finishing their championships (these include mis-marked coats, wooly coats, etc...). While nobody has a crystal ball and can guarantee that a pup WILL finish their championship because it was sold as a "show quality" pup, it, at the time of sale, did have all the correct qualities of a future show dog. We prefer to use the term "show prospect".
KODAK ALASKAN MALAMUTES
P.O. Box 26095
Arlington, VA 22215