Showsight Presents The Alaskan Malamute

be same-sex dog aggressive. Most enjoy the companionship of another dog, but typi- cally the opposite sexes get along for life. Most of our mothers and daughters get along and occasionally we have had broth- ers who lived together for life. A neutered male and spayed female usually make a great pair for pets. As noted previously, Malamutes were bred to pull heavy loads at slow speeds. Jamie Nelson is a musher who has run her dogs in three Iditarod races and other races including the 500 mile Bear Grease and 1,000 mile Yukon Quest. In 1994 she ran the first, and so far the only, “All Mal- amute” team in the Iditarod. Jamie com- pared running the cross-breds in a race to running Malamutes. With the cross-breds, she could take short naps on the trail and the dogs would keep running and follow- ing the trail without her encouragement. If she tried to nap with the Malamute team, they would just stop. Calories are pre- cious in the Arctic, and Malamutes see no reason to waste them if it isn’t necessary. Conservation of energy is a Malamute survival strategy. Siberian huskies and Malamutes look similar, and people often ask about the di ff erences between the breeds. Siberians,

of course, came from Asia. Dog racers in Alaska imported Siberians in 1907 to run in the Fur Rendezvous races. Malamutes, as the name implies, hail originally from Alaska. Sibes are racers, Mals are sledgers. Th e Sibe is smaller than the Mal, generally half the size. A standard Mal bitch is about the same size as a standard Sibe dog. Sibes can have blue eyes. Since Mals don’t carry the blue gene, a blue eyed dog is not a Mal- amute and neither are its parents. Blue eyes are the only disqualifying fault listed in the Malamute standard. When people ask me what the di ff erence is between a Mal and a Siberian, I tell them if your Sibe gets loose, it is in the next county. If your Mal gets loose, it is in your neighbor’s garbage. One of the best things the Alaskan Malamute Club has done is to institute a working dog program. Th is program awards titles in weight-pulling, backpack- ing and sledding. It encourages breeders and owners to work their Malamutes and keep the important characteristics that make the Malamute a working dog. It also fosters friendships and camaraderie among breeders in a non-competitive way. Malamute breeders and judges today should keep in mind this quote from Nat- alie Norris, charter member of the Alas-

kan Malamute Club, long time Malamute breeder and dog musher: “ Th e Malamute is too fine and distin- guished a breed to be changed into any- thing but what centuries of adaptability to its environment has produced. Our e ff orts should be to breed not only beautiful Mal- amutes, but as good specimens physically as were originally found in Alaska. It isn’t a question of breeding a better Malamute, but as good an Alaskan Malamute.” BIO Robin and Jim have been breeding Malamutes under the Poker Flat prefix for forty years. Th ey have bred over eighty AKC champions, including the first two all-white male Malamute champions in breed history. In 1978 they were found- ing members of the Dog Training Club of Champaign-Urbana, where they continue to teach obedience classes. Poker Flat Mal- amutes have completed over 50 Obedience and Working titles. Both Robin and Jim have served on the board of directors of the AMCA. Currently they are on a commit- tee supporting DNA research for Mala- mute genetic problems. Robin is also on the AMCA History Committee. Both are AKC Breeders of Merit.

Inuit dogs from the Canadian coast in the 1980’s show Malamute breed type.

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