Showsight Presents The Alaskan Malamute

Alaskan Malamute

BY GENA BOX YOUNG continued

the tail is a distinguishing characteristic of the breed. It is moderately set, following the line of the spine. When not working, it is carried over the back in a graceful arch, like a waving plume. It should not lay flat on the back or curl tightly. When working or standing still the tail often trails. It is not a fox brush type. When judging Malamutes, you will need to use your hands to feel for structure under the coat. However, you never need to push on the back. If the topline is weak, you will see it standing or on the move. Along the same lines, please do not measure tails. If it is too short, it will be obvious. Do not pick up the feet to examine the pads. The most common mistake I see judges making is going into the mouth of a Mala- mute. Please note that the mouth exam is front only. There is no disqualification for missing teeth. From the front you will be able to see the bite (it should be scissors) and the size of the teeth (they should be large), which is all that our standard calls for. Malamutes normally love people, but do not always like each other. Please allow room to keep the dogs separate. The Alaskan Malamute should be like an Olympic quality athlete in peak condition. Please, never sacrifice soundness or sur- vival characteristics for cosmetic ones. There is not enough space in this article to cover an entire judge’s education pre- sentation. The judge’s education seminar will be available at the national specialty in Topeka, Kansas on October 31, 2019. For details, please visit the AMCA website at http://alaskanmalamute.org. In this article, what I would like to discuss are the things that our standard says are most important, some common misconceptions, and a few ring procedure requests.

see powerful reach and drive (not a flying trot). If there is balance and proper struc- ture, the gait will be smooth. Malamutes will tend to extend their head forward (low- er it) when they move. One of the most common misconcep- tions about Malamutes is that bigger is bet- ter or more powerful. This is not necessar- ily true. There is a natural range in desired freighting size (measured at the withers): 25" for males and 23" for females. “How- ever, size consideration should not out- weigh that of type, proportion, movement and other functional attributes. Only when two specimens are judged equal is the dog closest to the desired size to be preferred. In plain English, this means that a dog or bitch should not be awarded just because they are bigger (or heavier boned) or just because they are smaller. Size is not the main con- sideration. It is to be used as a “tie breaker”. Along these same lines, many judges assume that heavier boned is automatically better or more powerful. It is important to keep in mind that the Alaskan Mala- mute standard was written in contrast to the Siberian Husky standard. When our standard says “heavy boned” it is in com- parison to the Siberian Husky. It should be remembered that the standard also says that the Alaskan Malamute is not to be pon- derous and that he is agile for his size and build. (It is interesting to note that Mala- mutes have only one disqualification–blue eyes. The Siberian Husky has only one disqualification–height.) The head of the Malamute is broad with a blocky muzzle that is not long or pointed, but not stubby either. Note that in com- parison to the Siberian, for a Malamute, high set ears are a fault. There is also only a slight stop, it should not be well defined or completely lacking. As well as the head,

The entire structure of the Malamute contributes to his job performance. The body is compact, but not short coupled, and slightly longer than tall. A long loin that weakens the back is a fault, just as being too short coupled will hinder reach and drive. The chest is broad and deep and half the height of the dog. The chest should have room for the necessary lung capacity. The back is firm and gently sloping to the hips. Shoulders are moderately sloping, stifles are moderately bent, and hock joints are moderately bent and well let down. There should be a balance in these attributes that combines with proper muscle and con- ditioning to create a smooth, effortless, tireless and steady gait. “The legs of the Malamute must indicate unusual strength and tremendous propelling power. Any indication of unsoundness in legs and feet, front or rear, standing or moving, is to be considered a serious fault. Faults under this provision would be splay-footedness, cow- hocks, bad pasterns, straight shoulders, lack of angulation, stilted gait (or any gait that isn’t balanced, strong, and steady), rangi- ness, shallowness, ponderousness, lightness of bone, and poor overall proportion.” When learning a new breed, sometimes a mnemonic is helpful. I have used words from the standard to describe gait. Please note that BALANCE IS KEY. BALANCED

S- smooth T- tireless E- effortless and efficient P- powerful S- steady

The standard does not call for single tracking, but the feet should converge toward the centerline at a fast trot. The legs move true in line, not too close and not too wide. From the side, you should be able to

264 • S HOW S IGHT M AGAZINE , O CTOBER 2019

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