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Breed Standard - Alaskan Malamute

Breed Fact Sheet | Dogs4Sale/Puppies4Sale | Stud Dogs/Dog Profiles | Breeders

Extended Breed standard for the Alaskan Malamute
Details have been submitted by
Katmai Alaskan Malamutes

The Alaskan Malamute Standard
(American Kennel Club - Effective 31st May 1994)
Extract from "The New Complete Alaskan Malamute" Author Maxwell Riddle and Beth J. Harris

GENERAL APPEARANCE: 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 waving plume.

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 feature.

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 other dogs.

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 (environment).

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 disposition.

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 mouth.

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 being frozen.

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 months.

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 months.

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 layer.

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 the side.

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 and strong.

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 a result.

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 terrain.

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 and lips.

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 to size.

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.

Disqualifications: Blue eyes.

Scale of Points
General Appearance  20
Feet                           10
Head                          15
Coat and Colour         10
Body 20 Tail                  5
Legs and Movement   20
Total =                       100


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