alaskan malamute Q&A WITH GENA BOX, ARLENE RUBENSTEIN, NANCY RUSSELL & WENDY WILLHAUCK
because they love people and attention. Their double coat provides insulation from the sun and heat as well as the cold. This summer I saw one of my Mals sleeping on top of her dog-house in the sun and it was 97 degrees. She would be equally as comfortable at 40 below zero. Malamutes require much less food than other breeds their size and even those of medium size. The owner of a Malamute must socialize them with other breeds of dogs and children when young, provide sufficient exercise and be able to tolerate the shedding twice a year, and they must be the pack leader! WW: The coat sheds roughly twice a year and can be easily brushed out. An owner must be committed to providing a safe fenced area where the dog can exercise and gentle firm discipline. 4. As a breed mentor what is the main attribute you would stress? GB: They must be able to move well, with power, efficiency and balance to do their job. NR: Correct side gait. These are freighting dogs so speed is not an issue. Power requires full extension of the hock joint. Any wasted motion such as rear legs flying high or bicycling of the rear is very incorrect. The rear foot comes down in the space left by the front foot and the topline must be strong and level to transmit the power forward. When freighting, the dog is pushing against the harness on his chest to move the load forward. WW: This is a dog that must have the necessary positive attributes to allow it to work and survive in the primitive environment for which it was intended. 5. What’s the most common fault you see when travel- ing around the country? GB: Exhibits that are too long. AR: The Mal should not be judged on beauty alone (which is happening more often) but one his ability to do the job he was bred to do. The last paragraph in our standard tells it all. In a lot of cases, it has become a beauty contest first and then maybe bone and structure. NR: Small feet and over angulation in the rear. WW: Incorrect feet—thin flat weak feet or small cat feet 6. Are there any traits in this breed you fear are becoming exaggerated? GB: Big fluffy, show coats that may not have proper texture. NR: Yes—1) sloping toplines; 2) over-angulated rears; 3) short muzzles with exaggerated stop that results in round eyes, incorrect bites, and small and missing teeth. WW: I see too many dogs which I suspect may be sculp- tured. This is a natural breed with trimming allowed only on the feet. 7. Do you think the dogs are better today than when I started judging? GB: The temperaments are definitely better, but they don’t cover ground like they use to, i.e. they don’t have proper shoulders and balanced rears.
“THEY ARE A WONDERFUL FAMILY DOG AND LOVE TO SHARE YOUR BED WITH YOU.”
Dogs for the past 48 years. I was an exhibitor for over 40 years and I have been judging for the past 24 years.
1. Describe the breed in three words: GB: Powerful, sound and athletic NR: Powerful, rugged and independent. WW: Beautiful, powerful and independent.
2. What are your must have traits in this breed? GB: They must have survival characteristics like proper coat and must be built for strenth and endurance. NR: 1) A correct double coat necessary to survive in the Arctic. 2) A powerful rear with a strong level topline when moving to transmit the power forward. 3) Large snowshoe feet and heavy bone. 4) When you compare the Malamute standards to that of the Siberian Husky and Samoyed you will find the distinguishing characteristics are ear set, tail, feet and lack of stop (“a slight break downward from a straight line”). WW: A correct coat, a large tight foot and soundness of body and of mind.
3. How do you feel Malamutes fare in these modern times?
GB: Malamutes are actually one of the easier coated breeds to live with other than the shedding. A proper coat does not matte or need constant brushing or bathing. A Mala- mute will groom his own legs when muddy. AR: We have no problem keeping up coats. They shed twice a year. We may not have as much coat as those in the mid west and east. The quality is still there. They are a wonderful family dog and love to share your bed with you. Some sleep in the bath tub in the warmer months. NR: Actually Mals will adjust to most any environment pro- vided they get plenty of exercise and they need a “job”. But that can be most any activity from sledding and back packing (ie: their original purpose), to most any of the activities offered today. They make great therapy dogs
S HOW S IGHT M AGAZINE , S EPTEMBER 2018 • 391
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