Alaskan Malamute Breed Magazine - Showsight

alaskan malamute Q&A

the UK, Australia, France, Belgium and the highest honor— the United States. I am approved for the Working Group, Aus- tralian Shepherds and BIS. My experience in the US includes multiple Working breed specialties, Working Group shows and all breed shows in most parts of the country. In my non- dog life, we have owned a recreational vehicle dealership for 40 years in southern Oregon. Now our daughter and family are in charge of the day-to-day operations. WENDY WILLHAUCK

providing therapy for children and their families at a commu- nity-based clinic. I like to go to the theater in NY at least once a year, love seeing a good movie and also enjoy listening to music and reading—much of which includes dog magazines. That does not give me much time to read anything else! In the summer I spend a lot of time in a large outdoor pool at a local hotel. I love the sun, and at my age, try not to worry about the dangerous rays.


In 2004 we moved from Sussex, WI to the Rocky Mountains west of Walsenburg, CO. My occupations have revolved around animals. I was a Veterinary Hospital assis- tant, the Humane Officer for the town of Lisbon and village of Sussex for 23 years, a professional handler for 25 years and an AKC judge for the past 15 years. I have had the privilege of judging the Alaskan Mala-

My foundation bitch, Kotzebue Miki of Chinook, was bred by Mrs. Eva (Short) Seeley, the mother of our breed, in late 1969. It was when I first visited Short and saw these beautiful dogs, whose lines traced back unbroken to the Byrd Expedi- tions, that I lost my heart and changed my life. With Mrs. Seeley as a mentor, I bred and showed Malamutes; never forgetting

mute National Specialty twice in the US and also in England, Spain, France, Denmark, Czech Republic, Poland, Italy, Swe- den, Russia, Australia and New Zealand. As the owner of Storm Kloud Kennel, the dogs that I have bred have achieved 229 AKC Championships, including 144 Best in Shows on 6 conti- nents; 61 obedience titles, 218 AMCA Working titles including 48 Working excellent titles, 35 ROMs (AMCA top producers) and 23 Working ROMs (Top Producers of Working Titled dogs). From 1985 to 2001 dogs I bred were in the Top 10 Alaskan Malamutes. Six of those years I was the breeder, owner of the #1 Malamute that was always handled by myself or my daugh- ter, Jeri Russell El’Dissi. I was the breeder, owner and driver of an International Sled Dog Racing Association (ISDRA) ranked freight racing team in 1984 and 1985. All the dogs were Cham- pions and 3 became BIS dogs and 5 were group winners. As a research project to see if my dogs could still survive in the Arc- tic, I had a team of 15 dogs run by Professional Musher Jamie Nelson in the 1994 Iditarod Race in Alaska. I feel very strongly that breed function should never be lost in the show dog. Since then I have been doing 15 to 20 school programs each year about the Iditarod Race and the Arctic Sled Dogs. In addition to breed seminars, I have also conducted handling classes, sled and weight pull training clinics and breeder seminars on sev- eral continents. Bob and I also had a private zoo, which over the years was home to more than 30 different species—some of which we trained to star in commercials and movies.

the amazing history of these wonderful dogs. I have judged the Breed at both the Alaskan Malamute Club of America regional and national specialties, in addition to Westminster and the AKC/Eukanuba shows. I have been honored to judge breed specialties in Australia, New Zealand, England, France, Denmark, Italy, the Netherlands, as well as the Eurodog- shows in Belgium and in Hungary. Other judging experience includes all-breed shows in China, Columbia, and Italy as well as Siberian specialties worldwide. I am presently approved for all Working, all Herding, all Sporting breeds, as well as several Toy and Non-Sporting breeds, BIS and Junior Show. I divide my time between Mansfield, MA and Palm City, FL where my husband and I live with our five Brussels Griffons and our cat. As a former French and English teacher, I have been involved with adult literacy. 1. What five traits do you look for, in order, when judging Malamutes? What do you consider the ulti- mate hallmark of the breed? SB: When judging the Alaskan Malamute, I begin by access- ing the overall appearance of the dog, looking for a substantially built dog of balanced proportions. Sec- ondly, I evaluate the head. Is it broad and deep with dark obliquely set eyes, medium triangular ears set wide apart of the outside back edge of the skull and is the muzzle large and bulky with a correct scissors bite? Next, I evaluate structure. The Malamute should have moderate angulation and be balanced front to rear. There should be evidence of a prosternum forward of the point of shoulder. The topline should be firm and straight, sloping slightly to the hips. Next the tail should be well furred and is carried in an open curl over the back, not tight or flat against the back. The Malamute should have a double coat with a harsh guard coat and a dense undercoat. And lastly I evaluate the movement of the dog to confirm that what I have felt in structure is demonstrated in action. If built properly they should be effortless trotters with legs that converge towards the centerline as they trot.


We bought our first Malamute in 1976 and have had no other breed since then. We previously had Toy Poodles! Needless to say, there was quite a learning curve! Our breed- ing program was limited, but successful, having produced Best In Show, specialty winners and wonderful family com- panions. I’ve been honored to judge national specialties in

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