Alaskan Malamutes

a big hair ball of fun...

The Alaskan Malamute, a distant cousin of the wolf, is a large, very strong dog bred for endurance. This is the type of dog you need to commit to regular obedience training or else they will be walking (read that as dragging) you around the park when they are mature. You must be able to control this dog's natural wilfulness.

With proper training, these dogs make excellent family pets. They love children and are always eager for human attention. They will play with family members for hours but be mindful that they are big dogs who can inadvertently knock small children over, so should be supervised with very little ones.

Training is harder for Alaskan Malamutes than for most other breeds. You will need patience and time. It is imperative that you have a secure back yard because these dogs, if allowed to roam, will terrorise neighbourhood cats with their strong predatory instincts. They are also attracted to rubbish bins and any food. Don't expect your Malamute to guard the barbeque sausages! Also beware of their digging capabilities - you could easily get lost in one of the pits they might dig.

Regular exercise is imperative and if you are a keen athlete able to run your Malamute for lengthy periods, you might need to consider a “performance” diet. However, with normal exercise (at least an hour a day) you will need to monitor its diet as they will overeat if allowed to and are prone to becoming very overweight.

When it comes to other dogs, Alaskan Malamutes need time to learn how to socialise but don't expect them to ever be overly friendly especially with dogs of their own sex.

Surprisingly, Malamutes rarely bark so they are not good watchdogs or guard dogs. They are inclined to “talk” and develop their own unique sounds to communicate with you. You might find that during the daily brush (remember these dogs are heavy shedders) the dog “yodels” to you to indicate its enjoyment. Understanding they are “talking” will create a special bond between you and the dog. Their wolf ancestry means they also like to howl!

So if you have time, energy, patience and a strong personality an Alaskan Malamute may be the dog for you.

<ul> <li>Large dog.</li> <li>Needs a lot of exercise.</li> <li>Long haired - sheds a lot.</li> <li>Loves people.</li> <li>Slow to train.</li> </ul>