Why (not) a Malamute?

So, you think you want an Alaskan Malamute… For people, who grew up with and were surrounded by dogs during all their life, it was quite an experience getting a Malamute, especially during the first weeks. At some moments, tears were falling down with a silent thought ‘why, crazy dog, why are you doing this to me?’. And we actually thought we were fit to have a Malamute. Well, we weren’t. And if you never had one, you also won’t.

It has changed our lives very soon. Instead of petting a cat on a couch in front of a fireplace, we now have and use way more sportswear and equipment than the daily casual stuff. While at work, we look forward to hit the forest trails in the evening. We are happiest when ‘winter is coming’. Our Malamute made us consider selling the city centre flat for a house in a forest! But this is our story and not everyone are able to turn their life around for a Malamute. Unfortunately, you have to. And when people don’t, sadly, most of the Malamutes end up in dog shelters.

Malamutes are the best and the worst breed at the same time. They are the sweetest, happiest, loyal and intelligent dogs if they serve their purpose and see a purpose of working with you. Meaning, that you actually have to earn their respect. If you have not and/or don’t work with them – a dog of this breed can easily create a havoc in mere minutes, costing 5 digit amounts in reparations.

It’s not the dog to show off in the old town to meet new people (though you will, as everyone fall in love with them). These dogs have a genetic mission to run, explore, pull loads by working together with their human in an inseparable unit. It is also not a dog to keep outside behind the bars all the time – though it can live in the backyard without any problems all year round, being in the backyard doesn’t count as work.

The first thing you have to consider before getting a Malamute is whether you will able to provide the time for your dog. A lot of time. At least an hour long run in the morning, 2-3 hours of intensive exercise in the evening and major trainings or long hikes during the weekends. Forget your hobbies, free time and other cozy things.

Second comes the cost. Though Malamutes are very food efficient for a dog of their size, they should eat only the highest quality kibble. Add the additional beef and supplements and your dog food expenses will be over 100€/$ per month. Then add the cost of equipment, which will need to be changed every year or two. Then the vet bills, participation and travel expenses (for races and shows), occasional home repair bills (after you meet the dark side of the Malamute), the cost of your own sportswear and equipment… Do the numbers – they are not funny in any way.

Third (least important, but worth considering) – they shedA lot. Grooming is needed 1-2 times a week and once a day during the shedding seasons. Our iRobot Roomba has capitulated after just 6 months with a Malamute even when we used it only for occasional non-heavy sweeps. So get used to vacuuming every day and sometimes – twice/three times a day.

If you do understand all of the above – these dogs are perfect. They can live with cats and most other animals (if introduced early), are practically odourless, clean, fun (and funny), a bit stubborn, but very smart dogs.

We want another one.

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