Extended Breed standard for the
Details have been submitted
Katmai Alaskan Malamutes
Alaskan Malamute Standard
(American Kennel Club - Effective 31st May 1994)
Extract from "The New Complete Alaskan Malamute" Author Maxwell
Riddle and Beth J. Harris
The Alaskan Malamute, one of the oldest Arctic sled dogs,
is a powerful and substantially built dog with a deep chest
and strong, well-muscled body.
The Malamute stands well over
the pads, and this stance gives the appearance of much activity
and proud carriage, with head erect and eyes alert showing
interest and curiosity. The head is broad. Ears are triangular
and erect when alerted. The muzzle is bulky, only slightly
diminishing in width from root to nose. The muzzle is not
pointed or long, yet not stubby.
The coat is thick with coarse
guard coat of sufficient length to protect a woolly undercoat.
Malamutes are of various colours. Face markings are a distinguishing
feature. These consist of cap over the head, the face either
all white or marked with a bar and/or mask. The tail is well
furred, carried over the back and has the appearance of a
The Malamute must be a heavy
boned dog with sound legs, good feet, deep chest and powerful
shoulders, and have all of the other physical attributes necessary
for the efficient performance of his job.
The gait must be steady, balance
tireless and totally efficient. He is not intended as a racing
sled dog designed to compete in speed trials.
The Malamute is structured for
strength and endurance, and any characteristic of the individual
specimen, including temperament, which interferes with the
accomplishment of this purpose, is to be considered the most
serious of faults.
CHARACTERISTICS - Important:
In judging Malamutes, their function as a sled dog for heavy
freighting in the Arctic must be given consideration above
all else. The legs of the Malamute must indicate unusual strength
and tremendous propelling power. Face Markings are a distinguishing
The judge must bear in mind that
this breed is designed primarily as the working sledge dog of the
North for hauling heavy freight, and therefore he should be a heavy-boned,
powerfully built, compact dog with sound legs, good feet, deep chest,
powerful shoulders, steady, balanced, tireless gait, and the other
physical equipment necessary for the efficient performance of his
job. He isn't intended as a racing sled dog designed to compete
in speed trials with the small Northern breeds.
TEMPERAMENT: The Alaskan
Malamute is an affectionate, friendly dog, not a "one man"
dog. He is loyal, devoted companion, playful on invitation,
but generally impressive by his dignity after maturity.
The breed did not develop a strong
territorial instinct (except for what they deemed their foot and
space), as the Eskimo's culture, his nomadic way of life, helped
to shape the dogs' temperaments. "Home" was wherever the village
or campsite happened to be - sometimes for but a night, and at other
times for months at a time, depending upon the availability of games.
Because the Eskimo way of life was socialistic in the most ideal
sense however, "alert" animals, warning the village of any impending
danger, such as an errant polar bear of the approach of a stranger.
While not known for its guard
dog tendencies, the Malamute has a highly developed pack instinct.
The innate urge to establish a place in the social hierarchy of
the pack has determined that many Alaskan Malamutes frequently show
aggression toward other animals. If a dog is not properly disciplined
for social infractions by its owner, the family (which the dogs
perceive also as pack members) will be included in the dog's push
for dominance. It is the inability of many owners to understand
and cope with this strong pack instinct that causes most of the
temperament problems in the breed.
Some few Alaskan Malamutes have
by their aggressive behavior earned as unwarranted negative reputation
for the breed. Many of today's dogs are separated too early from
their dams, siblings, and other adult dogs with whom they would
have "normally" had a social interaction in a "pack" environment.
Placed in isolation in a backyard or kennel run, these youngsters
have little or no opportunity to learn proper social behavior and,
as a result, have a tendency to become in some cases overassertive
in their territorialness when being approached, or when approaching
During the development of the
breed, the youngsters were allowed to be "dogs" during their critical
period of socialization. They intermingled freely with the adult
population, had older siblings or unrelated "aunties" to watch over
them, and were able to establish freely their position of dominance
(or subservience) in a safe manner in the pack's social hierarchy
The temperament of the Alaskan
Malamute has, through selective breeding practices over the past
several decades, undergone some major adjustments. There adjustments
have rendered the breed more compatible with the living requirements
of today's social environment. The result of these selective breeding
practices has been a considerable compromise between what is acceptable
in an urban society and those characteristics which allowed the
breed's survival in the Arctic.
The correct Alaskan Malamute is
an animal which retains its independence, an animal willing to acknowledge
and accept responsibility in an eager manner. This trait of independence
was a necessary measure of protection for both team and driver.
The characteristic of independent thinking is often misconstrued
by lay owners and "professional trainers". The breed as a whole,
by those without valid experience, is thought to be stubborn and
difficult to train. As an example, those dogs which consistently
avoid unsteady or questionable footing are faulted by many as being
"mentally unsound," whereas in reality this innate characteristic
was essential to the survival of working animals and their drivers:
those working over soft ice and glacial surfaces.
A large number of breeders are
quite diligent about breeding only those dogs which display no aggression
toward other animals. This reputation of the breed towards overassertiveness
has been quite burdensome. While it is necessary to control this
inherent trait of extreme pack drive, it must be remembered at the
same time that if today's dogs had to survive under the Arctic conditions
of their forebears, they would have to be stubbornly hard and highly
competitive, as were their ancestors, who were pushed almost daily
to the point of survival.
The Alaskan Malamute is not known
as a property type of guard dog. It can, however, be an instinctive
"alert" dog, whereby it can alert its owner that something is wrong
through a barking-howling combination in a specialised manner. Essentially,
however, the breed is friendly to all people. This particular characteristic
has been left basically unchanged even though some people have tried
to train the dogs to overcome this instinct of open friendly curiosity.
Alaskan Malamutes are diligent
guardians of children. They are not, however, a one-man type of
dog (being highly sociable), because of their pack orientation.
They are also highly intuitive animals. This trait needs to be strongly
considered by those who associate with the breed. If a person is
either afraid or suspicious of the breed, the dogs are apt to sense
this feat and respond accordingly, by questioning the fear or taking
advantage of it.
With proper socialisation and
training, the Alaskan Malamute can be a perfect pet for the right
family. The original function of the breed as a sledge dog for heavy
freighting in a harsh environment must not, however, be forgotten.
HEAD: The head is broad
and deep, not coarse of clumsy, but in proportion to the size
of the dog. The expression is soft and indicates an affectionate
The dogs' skulls appear to be
considerably more massive during winter months. A portion of this
appearance is due to the dogs' heavier coats. It is also the result
of the increased fatty layers over the skull at this time of the
year. These are most readily noticed over the inner corners of the
eyes. During the summer, these fatty layers are reduced, as they
are no longer needed as an eye protection.
SKULL: Is broad and moderately
rounded between the ears, gradually narrowing and flattening
on top as it approached the eyes, rounding off to cheeks that
are moderately flat. There is a slight furrow between the
eyes. The topline of skull and the topline of the muzzle show
a slight break downward from a straight line as they join.
All arctic animals share a certain
basic commonality of a wedge-shaped skull. There is almost no stop
whatsoever on any of them: no sharp angles or pockets, places where
snow or other moisture would have the possibility of collecting
and freezing. The shape of the skull is therefore "weather-repellent".
What appears to be a stop is in
actuality the fatty pads above the eyes orbits. This also forms
the "slight furrow between the eyes".
MUZZLE: Is large and bulky
in proportion tot he size of the skull, diminishing slightly
in width and depth from junction with the skull to the nose.
The lips are close fitting.
The muzzle of other Arctic canids
are proportionately longer than that of the dog because they must,
as predators, seize and hold prey which is often larger than they
are. The jaws are designed for tearing meat from bone. The muzzle
of a wolf for example, including the orbits (bony area around the
eyes) comprises nearly one-half the total skull area. Domestication
without careful selective breeding tends to reduce the size and
length of the carnassial teeth and shortens the muzzle's length.
MOUTH: The upper and
lower jaws are broad with large teeth. The incisors meet with
a scissor grip. Overshot or undershot is a fault.
The Malamute has a relatively
short bulky muzzle. It is essential that these dogs have a full
complement of strong, properly occluded teeth in order to crush
bones and break frozen food. The incisors are used to clear and
groom the feet, freeing them of ice and splinters; they are also
used to clean bones. The canine teeth seize and draw food into the
The dogs had to hunt for their
food during certain times of the year. Their premolars are critical
as crushing tools to break bones for the nutrient-rich marrow, and
to cut frozen food. They should be proportionate to the molars in
size, meshing perfectly when the jaw is closed. The fourth upper
molar and the first lower molar are specialised teeth for cutting
tough tendon and flesh. The molars themselves should be massive,
meshing in a shearing action to crush heavy bone and large pieces
of frozen meat. Proper dentition of these dogs was critical to their
survival. The size and existence of these important teeth are threatened
today in some stock which is being bred.
Neither level bites no "open"
bites are mentioned in the Standard. A dog with a level bite would
soon wear its teeth down with this type of diet. An "open bite"
is where the teeth and/or the jaws are misaligned so that the teeth
are incapable of meeting properly. This type of dog cannot close
its mouth, rendering the animal ineffective in tearing and chewing
frozen food. Nor can a bitch with an open bite effectively sever
the umbilical cord on her whelps.
The Standard state that the "lips
are close fitting." The exposed skin of a drooping lip allows for
a greater heat loss and the chance of this delicate moist tissue
Pendulous lips, those which are
not close-fitting, would expose a large area of moist tissue to
the elements, the result of which could be freezing of the lips,
gums, and teeth if exposed to the elements. This should not be confused,
however, with the looseness of the anterior tip portion displays
when the dogs pant during warm or hot weather.
The Standard does not discuss
the tongue of these dogs. Indeed, it would be hard to judge a dog
by its tongue! Nevertheless, many veteran drivers, beyond other
considerations, do just that. The tongue of these dogs should be
of a sufficient length and breadth for the dogs to be able when
lowering its head on the move to scoop snow without breaking stride.
Dogs are not normally watered at intervals during work periods.
Yet it is critical to the dogs' well being that they have the ability
to take in fluid such as snow while on the move.
The nasal passages in the Malamute's
muzzle are rich in blood supply, which warms the air entering the
lungs and respiratory system. The warming process is enhanced by
the presence of large frontal sinus cavities which are always filled
with warm air. These cavities are situated in the "stop" area. This
feature is peculiar to Arctic canids.
The cranium is located behind
the muzzle and eye orbital areas. It is constructed of a number
of bones which, as the puppy grows into adulthood, fuse together
to from the brain case. This structure is very strong and is covered
by the massively powerful muscles of mastication (chewing). These
muscles protect the head from injury and are overlaid, especially
during the winter, with a fatty layer also. This fatty layer is
an added protection against cold and buildup of ice which would
restrict the movement of the ears. The occiput, therefore, is not
readily noticeable in the Alaskan Malamute due to this covering.
NOSE, LIPS AND EYE RIMS PIGMENTATION:
Is black in all coat colours except reds. Brown is permitted
in red dogs. The lighter streaked "snow nose" is acceptable.
The Standard specifically calls
for a black nose. This is indicative of all pigmentation. In other
words, if the nose is black, then so should the lips are eye rims
be black as well. This black pigmentation is common to all Arctic
animals and is a protective measure against the very strong ultraviolet
rays of the sun at that latitude. Black pigmentation prevents burning
and blistering from the sun and also from glare off a frozen surface.
This colour of pigmentation is also resistant to attack by the heavy
swarms of insects which abound in the Arctic during the brief summer
A condition commonly call "snow
nose" occurs in most Arctic dogs of a spitz background, from the
tiny Pomeranian to the massive Mackenzie River Husky (aka Porcupine
River dogs). These are several theories which explain this unique
phenomenon of the lightening of a portion, or all, of the nose during
the cold months of the year.
One theory is that cold air causes
an increase of mucoid secretion in the nose of dogs (just as it
does in humans). Some dogs lick their nose repeatedly to remove
the excess moisture. The nose is lightened then by the repeated
action of the rough tongue. Those dogs which allow their noses to
"run" without repeated licking do not appear to exhibit a "snow
nose" during this time of the year.
Some few people believe the theory
that sunlight, being a rich source of vitamin D, is more readily
absorbed through pink skin than black. Accordingly, a "snow nose"
should therefore not be faulted when judging dogs during the winter
EYES: The eyes are obliquely
placed in the skull. Eyes are brown, almond shaped and of
medium size. Blue eyes are a disqualifying fault.
The almond shape and oblique set
of the eyes are determined by the skull's configuration. The more
stop an animal has, the rounder the eyes will be. Round or protruding
eyes are more susceptible to injury and snow blindness.
The formation of the orbital area
is enhanced and protected by a layer of fatty tissue which is most
noticeable over the inner eye. Here, where the sinus cavities are
filled with warm air, the fatty tissue is thickest. The amount of
fatty pads about the orbital area alters the eyes' appearance.
By absorbing body heat, the temperature
of this eye covering remains stable, thereby protecting the delicate
moist eye tissues. (This protective covering also exists in other
Arctic canids.) This particular fatty area, while always present,
builds up during the winter months and shrinks during the summer.
The orbital fatty padding provides
a jelly-like movement as the dog shakes its head to rid itself of
snow or other moisture. When working, moving, or shaking the head,
ice, snow, and frost breaks away with the movement of this fatty
Additionally, this covering serves
to protect the eyes by recessing them from the outer surface. Acting
as a "sun shade", the fat deposit droops over the eyes when the
lids are slightly lowered, thus protecting the eyes from glare.
(Malamutes also have noticeable eyelashes which help to protect
the eyes from glare, flying show, and ice particles.)
Some dog drivers have found that
when this fatty deposit is absent, they must resort to oiling some
dogs' orbital areas in order to remove ice buildup. The fat layer
found over the orbital area is becoming rare and, as such, this
important characteristic to the breed must not be lost.
EARS: The ears are of
medium size, but small in proportion to the head. The ears
are triangular in shape and slightly rounded at the tips.
They are set wide apart on the outside back edge of the skull,
on line with the upper corners of the eye, giving the ears
the appearance, when erect, of standing off from the skull.
Erect ears point slightly forward, but when the dog is at
work, the ears are sometimes folded against the skull. High
set ears are a fault.
Not only must the ears be small
in proportion to the skull, they must also have very tick leather
and be well furred. The size and structure of the Alaskan Malamute's
ear is essential to maximize reduction of heat loss from the body,
especially when in repose. The mobility of the ear is needed for
hearing, snow removal, and also for communication to temper and
attitude. Any tendency of an ear either to flop or crease when not
in active use (and should not be confused with being folded when
actively used) would cut down blood circulation, resulting in an
increased opportunity for freezing to occur in this vital area.
The set of the ears allows the
cranium and occiput to be covered. The occiput should be nearly
"invisible" due to the skull covering. A proper ear set allows a
dog to fold his ears together and lay them back against the skull,
keeping out snow and cold, and protecting the organs of the inner
ear. The ear set also allows the dog to rotate the ear 180 degrees
so that it is able to catch the slightest sound of cracking ice,
a driver's command, or game on the move.
NECK: The neck is strong
and moderately arched.
The length of the Alaskan Malamute's
neck is of vital importance. Not only is a certain length of neck
necessary for maximum efficiency as a draft animal, giving the dog
balance and stability during work, it is also a feature which is
critical to its survival. The dog's neck length must allow the animal
to lower its head to or near the ground as necessary for scooping
snow, thereby alleviating thirst, tracking, or finding the trail,
either when working or hunting and while moving at a brisk pace.
The neck is furnished with a prominent
dewlap which is more noticeable in males. This fatty dewlap warms
the air descending to the lungs. When a dog pants, air descents
directly to the lungs. The dewlap prevents the shock of cold air
from being taken directly into the body. The shock of cold air would
injure the delicate lung tissues.
When in repose, the dewlap is
laid across the thorax, protecting the vital heart and lung area
from cold. Many dogs also fold their forelegs under the dewlap when
in repose, thereby keeping the forelimbs warm and preventing muscle
damage that would occur should they become cold and the animal required
to work immediately.
BODY: The chest is well
developed. The body is compactly built but not short coupled.
The back is straight and gently sloping to the hips. The loins
are hard and well muscled. A long loin that may weaken the
back is a fault.
The body of the Alaskan Malamute
must have enough depth and breadth to sustain substantial room for
the massive heart and lungs' expansion. A shallow, or too narrow,
body could not possibly endure the long hours of hard work, or keep
the lungs warm in the subzero temperatures and wind-chill factors
of Arctic conditions. Any dog with too much spring of rib that does
not narrow somewhat at a point by the elbows is incapable of proper
movement. While the Standard calls for no excess weight, a moderate
complementary layer of hard fat must service the heavy muscle.
The Standard does not discuss
the croup. A dog with too short a croup, and/or a croup which is
level, is readily indicated by an improperly set tail. The tail
will be high-set and curled too closely to the body. This is commonly
known as a "snap tail". Such short, flat-crouped dogs are incapable
of work over any great distances. Few dogs have a croup which is
overly long or steep. While such a croup is not pleasing esthetically,
it does not impair the animal's performance as a sled dog.
FOREQUARTERS: The shoulders
are moderately sloping: forelegs heavily boned and muscled,
straight to the pasterns when viewed from the front. Pasterns
are short and strong and slightly sloping when viewed from
HINDQUARTERS: The rear
legs are broad and heavily muscled through the thighs; stifles
moderately bent; hock joints are moderately bent and well
let down. When viewed from the rear, the legs stand and move
true in line with the movement of the front legs, not to close
nor too wide. Dewclaws on the rear are undesirable and should
be removed shortly after puppies are whelped.
FEET: Are the snowshoe
type, tight and deep, with well-cushioned pads, giving a firm,
compact appearance. The feet are large, toes tight fitting
and well arched. There is a protective growth of hair between
the toes. The pads are tick and tough; the toenails short
The feet of any sledge dog are vital to its survival. As a result
of this, the paws' structure must be proper. The furnishings and
conditioning of the feet are also of great importance. The paws
must be well covered with short bristelike hair between the toes.
Hair that is too profuse or too long should be faulted as an unsoundness,
a lack of conditioning in the animal. Such hair will also be prone
to collecting moisture between the pads which will then freeze as
Long or profuse hair between the
pads causes collection of ice or snowballs and, move than being
uncomfortable for a working dog, can actually cripple it. When such
an animal is in repose, it will chew or bite at any collection of
snow or ice between the pads. Such chewing and licking causes additional
moisture to collect, thereby causing a vicious circle, thus rendering
the animal incapable of working.
The Malamute must have strong,
tight, compact feet to be an efficient draft animal with great endurance.
The pads must be hard and tough, not unlike the sole of a shoe.
While the nails of a show-ring specimen are often trimmed very short,
survival as a working animal calls for the nails to just barely
clear the ground. This allows the dog to bring the nails into service
on slippery and other unsound surfaces.
Many drivers and breeders do not
advocate removal of the front dewclaws as it is felt that this appendage
is often utilized to hold large bones and food. Other drivers (and
breeders), however, feel strongly that the removal of this appendage
is in the animal's best interest as the dewclaws have been known
to be ripped from a working dog's legs while working in difficult
Tail: Moderately set
and follows the line of the spine at the base. The tail is
carried over the back when not working. It is not a snap tail
or curled tight against the back, not is it short furred like
a fox brush. The Malamute tail is well furred and has the
appearance of a waving plume.
The tail of the Malamute developed
as a feature critical to the dog's survival ability. It is used
as a major insulator; it indicates the temper of the dog; it is
a means by which the dogs communicate much of their "language."
As an insulator of the extremities during sleep, the tail must be
mobile and well furred. It is very important that the tail be of
a sufficient length to cover the nose of the dog when in repose.
This means that the tail should be at the very least of a length
sufficient to reach the hock or an inch below, in order to be able
to perform efficiently. The tail is also used as a "rudder" in balancing
the dog when making sharp turns during occasional high speeds (such
as during a hunt). Too long a tail is inefficient in this performance.
Many dogs today also exhibit tails which are short, which snap,
or which are lightly or too heavily furred.
On a warm day, dogs stretch out,
exposing all their lightly furred portions, thereby maximizing the
cooling of their bodies. When the weather becomes colder, the dogs
curl up tightly in an oblong which resembles their fetal position.
The front feet are curled beneath the dewlap, pads up; the rear
feet are turned to the side. In this position the moist pads are
not exposed to the ground. The nose is buried in the tail, which
can be in any one of several positions, depending upon the severity
of the weather.
During cool nights, the tail is
draped over the rear legs. In more severe weather, it may be tucked
between the rear legs, capturing the warm air exhaled from the lungs;
or it may be tucked under the legs if the ground is very cold and
damp. In the last position, the rear legs are tucked under the haunch.
In this tightly curled position, the dog has completely protected
its vital organs and all the moist areas of the body which could
loose body heat and freeze. Only the ears of the dog remain exposed.
It is theorized that this developed as a protective measure against
danger. This singular exposed are further demonstrated the necessity
for a small, thick, and well furred ear.
The tail is also used to communicate.
A tail aloft and wagging denotes a happy and expectant animal while
a tail which is tucked between the rear legs denotes an animal in
fear. The tail may also be dropped with only the tip wagging nervously
when greeting a dominant animal or person. A tail which is carried
high over the back or stiffly at a 45 degree angle to the horizontal
with the fur "puffed out" indicated an aggressive stance of one
dog preparing to challenge another.
Gait/Movement: The gait
of the Malamute is steady, balanced and powerful. He is agile
for his size and build. When viewed from the side, the hindquarters
exhibit strong rear drive that is transmitted through a well
muscled loin tot he forequarters. The forequarters receive
the drive from the rear with a smooth reaching stride. When
viewed from the front or from the rear, the legs move true
in line, neither too close nor too wide. At a fast trot, the
feet will converge towards a centerline of the body. A stilted
gait, or any gait that is not completely efficient and tireless,
is to be penalised.
Viewed from the front, the legs
should swing forward perpendicular to the ground, and parallel to
each other. Or, one should add, nearly so. There is a tendency to
move the feet under the centerline of the body if the dog is trotting
under pressure, but this is less true with Alaskan Malamutes than
with many other breeds.
If the front legs are viewed from
the side, the proper angulation of the shoulder and front leg assembly
makes it possible for the dog to reach far forward with its front
legs. Dogs which do not reach far forward are said to be "stilted."
This can sometimes from lack of exercise and from confinement in
too small quarters. It can also come from faulty shoulder angulation.
If we continue to view the dog
from the side, there is neither sway not roaching in the back line.
If there is sway (a sinking in the middle of the back) the dog will
tire easily because there is no straight line of power. Power is
therefore lost. A roach often indicates that the hind leg assembly
is not correct. And again, power is lost through the roach.
Note that "straight line" of the
back applies laterally as well as vertically. If the dog is viewed
while moving away, the body should move in a straight line with
the direction of movement. One movement fault is called "crabbing"
or "side winding." This means that while the front legs follow the
legs do not move "true in line with movement of the front legs"
as required by the Standard.
Dogs with long loins may also
fail in lateral back movement. When viewed going away, and at a
slow gait, there will be sort of caterpillar action. This may be
all right for caterpillars, which aren't going anywhere in particular,
but it always means lost motion for a Malamute.
Now the true test of movement
comes when dogs are actually pulling, either when pulling a sled,
or in moving both at a gallop and while trotting. These pictures
show that the best dogs do move as the Standard says they should.
One can notice the great reach of the front legs; that the dogs'
front and hind legs do move parallel in line; and that there is
fair width between both the front legs and the hind ones.
Coat: The Malamute has
a thick, coarse guard coat, never long and soft. The undercoat
is dense, from 2.5 - 5cm (1-2 inches) in depth, oily and woolly.
The coarse guard coat varies in length as does the undercoat.
The double coat of the Alaskan
Malamute is a critically important characteristic for the dog's
survival. The coarse guard hairs have an oily or waxy feeling coat
which is water repellent. This guard coat protects the thick wool-like
undercoat which is the insulating factor for the body. Flat-, open-,
short-, or soft-coated dogs are not protected well enough to survive
the rigors of the Arctic conditions. Any dog which has an overly
long and/or soft coat cannot survive well in Arctic conditions and
should be considered a grave fault to the breed.
A long or soft coat collects moisture
from the dog's breathing (panting) when working during cold weather.
Such a coat is also prone to collect snow or other moisture which
the dog is unable to shake off or jostle loose while working.
During rest periods, these dogs
attempt removal of this blanket of snow or frost from their coats
by biting at it. This leaves the dog cold and damp at best, as the
dog gets its fur wet in its mouth. Then, when the dog moves again,
additional frost, snow, or ice collects on the coat, further encasing
the dog in cold layers; reducing the dog's body temperature and
its effectiveness in work; and making it prone to hypothermia.
As the dog continues to try to
work while laden down, the moisture begins to twirl the coat, forming
icicles. The icicles grow over time, gaining weight, and twirling
ever more tightly, until the dog is in considerable pain. In attempts
to alleviate the pain thus caused by the icicles, the dogs bite
at them, thereby ripping out their coats. This leaves painfully
sore flesh exposed to the freezing temperatures. After a period
of time under such conditions, these dogs develop hypothermia and,
unless treated immediately, die.
Dogs with too short a guard coat
cannot tolerate the wind and severe cold well. They require more
food to maintain their body weight. When severe temperatures continue
for several weeks, the dogs' fur wears off and sores develop from
constantly curling up in their dog houses.
Dogs with a proper thick, coarse
guard coat and dense oily undercoat seem oblivious to cold, wind,
snow, sleet, or rain. These dogs are ready to work, play, or sleep
in any type of weather conditions.
Colour: The usual colours
range from light gray through intermediate shadings to black,
sable and shadings of sable to red. Colour combinations are
acceptable in undercoats, points and trimmings. The only solid
colour allowable is all white. White is always the predominant
colour on underbody, parts of the feet and part of the face
markings. A white blaze on the forehead and/or collar, or
a spot on the nap is attractive and acceptable. The Malamute
is mantles, and broken colours extending over the body or
uneven splashings are undesirable.
Some colour combinations primarily
found in the Malamute today are the gray and white dogs, wolf-gray
and white, sable and white, wolf-sable and white, seal and white,
black and white, silver and white, white, red and white, and biscuit
and white. Markings vary greatly from individual to individual;
open faces, caplike markings, goggles, bandit masks (colour extending
down over the eyes and a bar down the top of the muzzle, which may
or may not include white sports over each eye); half masks (which
extend down to and over the eyes, but do not include a bar extending
over the top of the muzzle, and which may or may not have the white
sports over the eyes). Many red or biscuit-coloured dogs will have
reddish pigmentation rather than black around the eye rims, nose
Size: Size, Proportion and
Substance: There is a natural range of size in the breed.
The desirable freighting size are: Dogs: 63.5 cm (25 inches)
at the shoulder - 38.5 kg (85 lbs); Bitches: 58.5 cm (23 inches)
at the shoulder - 34 kg ( 75 lbs).
However, size consideration should
not outweigh that of type, proportion, movement and other
functional attributes. When dogs are judged equal in type,
proportion, and movement, the dog nearest the desirable freighting
size is to be preferred. The depth of chest is approximately
one half of the dog at the shoulders, the deepest point being
just behind the forelegs. The length of the body from point
to shoulder to the rear point of the pelvis is longer than
the height of the body from ground to top of the withers.
The body carries no excess weight, and bone is in proportion
Many people are concerned and
confused over the size of many Alaskan Malamutes bred and exhibited
today. Bigger is not better, as is commonly thought by quite a few
people. With historical perspective, what must be taken under consideration
is that formerly the availability of superior balanced diets for
those animals was not that which it is today. With today's nutritional
standards, the dogs are able to grow to their fullest genetic potential.
This can account for some of the apparent small general increase
in the size of today's dogs.
Many people have the tendency
to overestimate both the size and weight of their animals when in
a lean, hard conditions. Upon putting their dogs under the wicket
(the AKC's official measuring standard), or on a walk-on freighting
scale, many are astonished to find that their animals remain in
a close approximation to the breed Standard as it was written.
It is up the Alaskan Malamute
breeders, exhibitors, and judges alike, to maintain the quality
of these dogs in accordance with the Standard as it was written.
This is a breed of dog which evolved naturally and can only be maintained,
not improved upon.
Faults: The degree to
which a dog is penalized should depend upon the extent to
which the dog deviates from the description of the ideal Malamute,
and the extent to which the particular fault would actually
affect the working ability of the dog.
Serious Faults: Any characteristic
of the individual specimen, including temperament, which interferes
with his strength and endurance is to be considered the most
serious of faults.
Any indication of unsoundness
in legs and feet, front or rear, standing or moving. Faults
under this provision would be:
Ranginess, shallowness, ponderousness,
lightness of bone, poor overall proportions, straight shoulders,
lack of angulation, bad pasterns, cow hocks, splay-footedness,
stilted gait, or any gait that is not balanced, strong and
steady, high set ears, over or undershot, broken colours extending
over the body or uneven splashings.
Scale of Points
General Appearance 20
Coat and Colour 10
Body 20 Tail 5
Legs and Movement 20
Total = 100