There’s a lot more involved in being a good pet parent than it might seem at first. Here at Spot Pet Insurance, we believe that journey starts with choosing the right breed. You need a well-rounded understanding of the breed’s qualities to make the best choice.
That’s why we’re back today with another informative dog breed guide, this time on the Alaskan malamute.
There’s no mistaking the powerful build and majestic, wolf-like coat of the Alaskan malamute (except when it is confused with the Siberian Husky).
These Arctic sled dogs have many positive qualities, including their beauty, affection, and intelligence. They also come with challenges, especially related to stubbornness, training, grooming, and exercise needs.
Read on to learn what it takes to thrive with an Alaskan malamute in your family!
What is it?
A cataract is a cloudy or opaque lens in the eye that can inhibit vision or, in extreme cases, result in complete vision loss in an affected eye.
This condition can be inherited or caused by eye injury or other diseases. It can also appear without obvious cause. Malamutes are especially vulnerable to hereditary cataracts.
Unfortunately, noticing the signs of a cataract isn’t always easy until the late stages of the disease, when risks are higher. If you notice any cloudiness in your dog’s eye, take them to a trusted vet for a closer examination.
Thankfully, cataracts are treatable and rarely result in complications.
% Dogs affected:
Malamutes are pack animals, which means they will form tight bonds with their family. It also means they have an innate desire to be the alpha, so make sure you establish yourself as the leader early on.
Once the hierarchy is firmly in place, you’ll have a loyal and affectionate companion.
The friendliness of this breed extends from people inside the family to those they have never met. Malamutes are great with human strangers, although they can be less accepting of unfamiliar animals. Socialization helps keep any potential aggression in check, limited to caution but not reactiveness.
Adapting to new environments isn’t always easy for an Alaskan malamute. These dogs have particular traits bred for their environment of origin, and they’re working dogs meant to endure cold climates.
Small living spaces, such as apartments, are difficult for this breed. They need extensive time outdoors and room to run.
In terms of your schedule, try to avoid leaving your malamute isolated for too long, especially if they haven’t yet had lots of exercise. Destructive behaviors usually follow.
Alaskan Malamutes are not ideal guard dogs. They are very accepting of human strangers, which can be great for other purposes, but not so much for protecting your home.
Thanks to their high energy and clever temperament, malamutes can be equally fun and frustrating, depending on what you are prepared for.
If you have the energy and time to dedicate to exercising and playing with your malamute, you’ve found the perfect companion. If high maintenance is not your thing, you may not enjoy caring for this breed as much as e other lower-energy breeds.
Children are part of the pack and will be loved as such by a malamute.
However, a universal rule with any breed is to never leave children unsupervised with a dog. This isn’t due to potential aggression but the risks of accidents. Most children don’t know how to interact respectfully with a dog (especially large dogs), and dogs aren’t always able to control how they wield their size.
Proper socialization can prepare a malamute for smooth social interactions with other dogs. Be sure to train your malamute not to chase and socialize them with small animals, including cats. Otherwise, their prey drive is likely to take over when they see one.
Alaskan Malamutes have a thick double coat of medium length.
Markings can include:
No, this breed is not hypoallergenic.
How often do Alaskan Malamutes have to be groomed?
Grooming is a daily exercise for this breed.
Using a metal comb and pin brush is recommended. Brush your pup’s coat every day, checking carefully for clumping and knotting. Use an undercoat rake during shedding season, which occurs twice each year (usually just before the winter and summer).
Standard care routines suffice for a malamute’s nails, teeth, and ears.
What is the lifetime care cost of Alaskan Malamutes?
Caring for an Alaskan malamute costs an average of $23,625 over the dog’s lifetime.
The best way to approach pet parentage for an Alaskan malamute is with lots of patience, diligence, and a willingness to learn and understand the breed.
These dogs can be just as stubborn as they are strong and intelligent, so it’s essential you know what you’re doing as an owner to avoid headaches and power struggles between you and your dog. That’s why we write informative guides like this one here at Spot Pet Insurance.
Adoption fee (puppy): $500-2,500
Yearly care cost (first year): $4,275
Yearly care cost (following years): $1,850
The intelligence of malamutes is matched by their force of will. These dogs like to make their own decisions and can be stubborn when told no.
As such, obedience training is imperative. Like most breeds, the earlier you start your training, the better. Make sure your malamute knows who is in charge of the pack, or they will try to take that position for themselves.
You should be careful to avoid foods that are toxic to dogs. If your malamute gets a chance to snatch a bite, they almost certainly will.
Here are some foods to avoid either due to toxicity or general unhealthiness for dogs:
Alaskan Malamutes need plenty of exercise every single day. Remember that they were bred to endure long hours of work, often hauling lots of weight over great distances.
You certainly don’t need to buy a sled for your malamute’s daily exercise but be prepared for at least two hours of exercise each day, so get ready for many long walks.
Walking, running, hiking, and swimming are wonderful for basic fitness sessions. The breed is well suited to more involved activities, too, including skijoring and sledding, or more common sports like agility, rally, obedience, and weight-pulling.
Puppy: 18 – 24 months
Adult: 1 – 8 years
Senior: 8 years – end of life
We hope you find the perfect breed and pup to fit your family! Consider adding Spot Pet Insurance to your family as well to help care for your pet and keep them safe. Learn more by visiting our FAQs and getting a quote today!