The Alaskan Malamute as we know it today evolved from an arctic dog, its long and extraordinary history is intrinsically linked to men. In order to understand the Malamute, it is important to consider the extreme conditions in which these dogs have been lived and the amazing work they have been for men’s survival.
When the early white explorer arrived in
Alaska, they found an extraordinary breed living with the indigenous clans. These dogs evolved from the primitive dogs that accompanied the prehistoric men in their migrations from Asia, through the Arctic, Greenland and back. The "Mahlemut" tribe bred these dogs in the area of Norton Sound in Alaska; indeed, they had a natural inclination for work and they were able to accomplish a huge amount of work. These dogs were used for seal and polar bear hunting, and also they could pull heavy sled with provisions.
The Malamutes were able to survive in extreme conditions: resisting to cold and hunger.
Paul Voelker, one of the early Malamutes breeders, asserted that the Alaskan Malamute is the oldest breed of America end probably the breed that is linked to men from the longest time. Voelker also claims that ivory sculptures from twelve or twenty thousand years ago represented the Malamute essentially as it still is today.
During the Gold Rush, the high demand of dogs, brought many different breeds to Alaska, these were crossbred with the Malamute. As a result, the breed was almost destroyed.
Luckily the "Mahlemuts" dogs remained almost pure, thanks to their isolation from the rest of the world.
The breed has been inspected in 1935, and the very same year the Alaskan Malamute Club of America was founded. The period in which the AKC recorded the Malamutes was extremely short, indeed only a little number of dogs was accepted.
During the second World War, many of the few Malamutes recorded, have been lend and used for the expeditions in the Antarctic. When their service ended, an administrative decision was taken: the dogs have been destroyed with an explosive charge on a pack ice. This decision drove to a mutiny of the men of the navy that were present. After this sad episode, the AKC reopened the recording of Malamutes.
The Malamutes we know today are impressing dogs, but it is extremely important to understand that they need to show the same characteristics that allowed them to survive in their primordial environment, and that allowed them to carry out their work.
Natalie Norris, a great lovers of Malamutes and one of the most known woman musher, once said:
"The Malamute is too fine and distinguished a breed to be changed into anything but what centuries of adaptability to its environment has produced. Our efforts should be to breed not only beautiful Malamutes, 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"
When you approach the Alaskan Malamute, please remember their history and our desire to protect this amazing breed, its characteristics linked to their survival so far and to their working attitude.