The Alaskan Malamute is on of the oldest and most admired Arctic sled dogs. These powerful working dogs are native to the northern regions of North America and were first used to haul heavy sleds across long distances in extremely harsh weather.
The breed gets its name from a distinguised group of Eskimos that were known as the 'Mahlamuits' or 'Mahlemuts.' This native Inuit tribe was believed to have first settled along the shorelines of the Kotzebue Sound, located in the upper western section of Alaska. The Eskimo people in this region greatly depended on the dogs for survival. The dogs were used to haul food, supplies and other necessary provisions. The subfreezing temperatures, unrelenting snow and lack of resources in the area made the Alaskan Malamute extremely valuable. The breed's strength, endurance, obedient nature and sled-dog qualities made it a vital componebt of the Eskimos people's survival.
Part of the Pack
The Alaskan Malamute's admiration of and fondness for family companionship and the breed's love of children were aparent from the very begining. During extremely cold nights, the dogs were often used as an excellent means of warmth and comfort. It wasn't uncommon to see a pack of ALaskan Malamutes snuggling and sleeping with small Eskimo children.
The Popularity of Dog Sledding and its Influence on The Breed
Dog sledding has been very popular for quite some time. The Alaskan Gold Rush of the late 1800's and early 1900's attracted working teams from all of Alaska and the Yukon. Although there were other breeds represented in the working sled-dog groups, the Alaskan Malamute was quickly recognised for its many fine characteristics. The breed's thick coat, durability, intelligence and ability to work soundly under adverse conditions made it far superior to its Arctic canine relatives as team leaders.
Watch the breed in action....
The 'Last Great Race' oficially known as the Iditarod is unlike any other event in the world. A race over 1,150 miles of the most extreme and beautiful terrain known to man, from Anchorage, in south central Alaska to Nome on the western Bering sea coast: across mountain ranges, frozen rivers, dense forest, desolate tundra and windswept coast live... in 10 to 17 days.
Working War Dogs
The Alaskan Malamute was frequently used by the United States Army to carry machine gun parts and other weaponry over rugged terrain during World War II. They were also used for defense and as search and rescue dogs during this time period. They were quicker and more agile that the St Bernard and could withstand the extreme cold.