Alaskan Malamute Breed Magazine - Showsight

against the skull to keep the snow out and he can rotate the ear 180 degrees when the musher gives a command or he hears something behind him. The set of the Malamute ears on the outside back edges of the skull facilitate this. Dewlap: The Arctic animals have a layer of fat under the skin in winter which not only acts as insulation but is a source of energy when food is scarce. Note how the dewlap becomes less prominent in the southern species. This extra layer of fat, skin and fur insulates the trachea and helps to warm the air before it reaches the lungs. In addition to

the above charac- teristics found in all high Arctic land animals we need to include teeth and tail to the Alaskan Malamutes neces- sary survival char- acteristics. Teeth: The dogs were tossed a chunk of fro- zen food. A dog that had missing canines, molars,

correct hock extension, excellent topline and head carriage, good reach and perfect timing.

non conductor helps to reduce the loss of body heat. The coarse guard hair covers the undercoat keeping the air from escaping and protecting it from moisture. Good leg coat and hair between the toes as called for in the standard are also important adaptations. Compact Body: Heat loss is proportionate to the size of the surface so there is a general tendency to reduce the surface of the body in the Arctic animals. A broad, deep and long rib cage with a short muscular loin will produce the compact body essential for packing and will also reduce heat loss com- pared to a long narrow body. Black Pigment: In summer there are 24 hours of sunshine and no trees for shade. Pink pigment sunburns and it also attracts biting insects according to the Ranger who was in charge of the dogs at Mt. Denali. Dark pigment on the eyelids helps to prevent “snow blindness” in humans so perhaps it is the same in animals. I have noticed that all puppies are born with dark hair under the eyes and keep it for several months. A protection from the glare of the sun just like baseball play- ers blacken under their eyes. Tight Lips: At minus 40 degrees exposed skin will freeze in 3 seconds. When the dog is working and panting the warm air exhaled will keep the lips from freezing but when not panting the skin of the lips must never be exposed. No Stop: Any indentations on the head would collect snow and result in heat loss. The Malamute standard states: “The topline of the skull and the topline of the muzzle show a slight break downward from a straight line as they join.” Almond eyes: Round and/or protruding eyes would be very susceptible to injury from ice and snow. Ears: Obviously the smaller, thicker and well furred ears would have less heat loss and less likely to freeze. When you look at the same species from warmer climates you see the ears change to larger, thinner and less fur. The Malamute is also capable of folding the ear together and laying them back

small teeth or a bite issue would take longer to eat his food. This means he had to defend his meat from those that devoured theirs faster. While defending his food some other dog would likely steal it. With less food his chances of sur- vival diminish. The dog who couldn’t continue to work is the one that became food for the other dogs or bear bait. It was strictly survival of the fittest. Tail: The tail of the Malamute is not only a distinguishing breed characteristic but serves an important purpose. When the dog is at rest he curls up and puts the plume tail over his nose. The snow will completely cover him as he can breathe thru the abundant tail hair, thus providing him with his own igloo. Size has been an issue among breeders since the 1940s, but for judges it should not be. Our standard clearly states —“size consideration should not outweigh that of type, pro- portion, movement and other functional attributes.” Size should be only used as a tie-breaker by a judge. The 25 and 23 inches in the standard was actually an average height between two bloodlines prominent in the early years. Here are the statistics on two Admiral Byrd expedition dogs: s #H#OCHISEOF(USKY 0AK MALE INCHESANDLB s #H#HINOOK+OTZEBUE'RIPP MALE INCHESANDLB As a breeder it is also most important to consider func- tional attributes and Arctic survival characteristics in order to preserve the breed, but size can be a breeder preference along with coat color and markings. Breeders and judges please memorize this quote of Natalie Norris, famous breeder and musher in Alaska, whose stock is behind most of the dogs today. “The Malamute is too fine and distinguished a breed to be changed into anything but what centuries of adaptabil- ity to its environment has produced… It isn’t a question of breeding a better Malamute but as good a Malamute.”

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