Showsight Presents The Alaskan Malamute

describing substantial build. Through- out the standard, the three words used most often to describe the Alaskan Mal- amute are strong, powerful and sound. FURTHER THOUGHTS All aspects of an Alaskan Malamute contribute to the identity of the breed and its ability to do its tasks. However, some are more critical than others. Feet: After balanced angulation (front to rear to be the same), no con- formation trait is as important to Mala- mutes at work than their feet. Poor feet (ones that are not large, compact toes well arched, pads thick) on a Malamute are like wheelbarrow tires on a work truck. These have sometimes been called “snowshoe feet,” which is in a fact a misnomer as it gives the impres- sion that large feet are intended to help the dog stay atop the snow; in fact they are intended to give maximum traction in slippery conditions and maximum shock absorption when on the move Bend of Stifle: Moderate. This is a heavy-trotting dog, not a Sight Hound. Coat & Color: Malamutes are dou- ble coated, with a coarsely textured out- er layer over a short dense undercoat. Colors range from silver grey through darker shades to black and red. Sable shadings are acceptable. White is the only solid color allowed. No color is pre- ferred. Trimming is allowed only to tidy feet. Cutting the hair on the underside of a dog to give appearance of more leg length is not permitted. Topline: It is SLIGHTLY sloping. Extreme slope indicates straight shoul- ders and /or overdone rear. Finally, because of the varied sourc- es of the original ‘Malamutes’, it was common to see considerable visual vari- ation in the breed. And indeed, these differences continued for some years

power for the short duration, but one should never forget, these dogs need to continue their effort over many hours and many miles and do it on minimal food ingested. A very large dog would expend more energy just hauling him- self down the trail, while also requiring a much larger food supply than a smaller dog. The original standard for the breed recognized by the AKC in 1935 called for males at 22 to 25 inches, females at 20 to 23 inches, today it seems that even dogs at the larger end of that range are considered too small; not too small to be successful freighting dogs, but too small to win in the ring. Priorities have been misplaced! WHAT’S IMPORTANT? The words of the standard are as clear as the English language can make it in the summary: “The legs of the Mal- amute must indicate unusual strength and tremendous pulling power. Any indication of unsoundness in legs or feet, standing or moving is considered a serious fault. Faults under this provision include; 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, ponderousness, lightness of bone and poor overall proportions.” To reiterate in the words of the authors of The Alaskan Malamute, Yesterday and Today , “The Malamute in its correct form is a marvel of effi- ciency, while he is well muscled and more heavily boned than his other Northern cousins, he is never an over- blown cartoon, nor is he a slow clumsy plodder.” Soundness of limb and move- ment are vital to the Malamute’s func- tion. When interpreting the standard as much emphasis must be given to the attributes of soundness as to those

as fanciers’ with the various iterations tended to remain loyal to them, there- fore resisting going outside. However, eventually the walls came down and today the lines and styles have been increasingly mixed and variations are now less extreme. However, those older genes have not completely disappeared and dogs demonstrating traits from the past still pop up from time to time. As they are still, indeed, Alaskan Mala- mutes, these should not be discriminat- ed against on style, only on type, sound- ness and their ability to continue as sled dogs for heavy freighting. ABOUT THE AUTHOR Our first Malamute arrived in 1977 and our most recent addition in November 2016. In the beginning and early on there were a couple of purchased dogs from a Canadian breeder plus three others from American breeders. Over time these were combined to form a new and unique line that has now influenced the breed worldwide. Genes from those dogs, were combined to produce BIS MBISS BVISS Am/Can Ch. Taolan Traces of The Cat ROM (Calvin), the top producing Alaskan Malamute in Canadian breed history and one of the most significant in the US as well. The top-ranked Malamutes in previous years in both Canada and the US have been grandsons, including currently in the US. Beyond the Malamutes known as ‘Taolan’ I have been active in All Breed Clubs, Parent Club AMCC, Parent Club AMCA, judged many sweepstakes and specialty sweeps in both countries I have been involved in Judges Educa- tion and Breeders Education on both sides of the border. Most of all I have enjoyed a passion for the Alaskan Mal- amute and its preservation for almost 40 years.

S HOW S IGHT M AGAZINE , F EBRUARY 2017 • 207

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