In honor of the cold weather and some great suggestions from my lovely Facebook followers, I chose to feature the Siberian Husky and Alaskan Malamute this week.
*Below information from dogbreedinfo.com*
They are strong, compact, working sled dogs. The medium sized head is in proportion to the body, with a muzzle that is equal in length to the skull, with a well defined stop. The color of the nose depends upon the color of the dog's coat. It is black in gray, tan or black dogs, liver in copper dogs and flesh-colored in pure white dogs. The medium sized, oval shaped eyes are moderately spaced and come in blue, brown, amber, or any combination thereof. Eyes can be half blue and half brown, (parti-eyed) or can have one blue eye and one brown eye (bi-eyed). The erect ears are triangular in shape, set high up on the head. The teeth meet in a scissors bite. The tail is carried over the back in a sickle curve, not curved to either side when the dog is excited. The large "snow shoe" feet have hair between the toes to help keep them warm and for gripping on ice. Dewclaws are sometimes removed. The medium length, double coat is thick and can withstand temperatures as low as -58 degrees to -76 degrees F ( -50 degrees to -60 degrees C).
Siberian Huskies are loving, gentle, playful, happy-go-lucky dogs who are fond of their families. Keen, docile, social, relaxed and rather casual. This is a high energy dog, especially when young. Good with children and friendly with strangers, they are not watchdogs, for they bark little and love everyone. Huskies are very intelligent and trainable, but they will only obey a command if they see the human is stronger minded than themselves. If the handler does not display leadership, they will not see the point in obeying. Training takes patience, consistency and an understanding of the Arctic dog character. If you are not this dogs 100% firm, confident, consistent pack leader, he will take advantage, becoming willful and mischievous. Huskies make an excellent jogging companion, as long as it is not too hot. Huskies may be difficult to housebreak. This breed likes to howl and gets bored easily. Does not do well if left alone for a long period of time without a great deal of exercise before hand. A lonely Husky, or a Husky who does not get enough mental and physical exercise can be very destructive. Remember that the Husky is a sled dog in heart and soul. They are good with other pets if they are raised with them from puppyhood. Huskies are thrifty eaters and need less food than you might expect. This breed likes to roam. Siberian Huskies can make wonderful companions for people who are aware of what to expect from these beautiful and intelligent animals and are willing to put the time and energy into them.
Height: Dogs 21-23½ inches (53-60cm.) Bitches 20-22 inches (51-56cm.)
Weight: Dogs 45-60 pounds (20½-27kg.) Bitches 35-50 pounds (16-22½kg.)
Prone to hip dysplasia, ectopy (displacement of the urethra), eye issues such as juvenile cataracts, PRA (primarily in male dogs), corneal dystrophy and crystalline corneal opacities. Breeders can get hip screenings from the OFA and eye screenings yearly from a canine opthamologist (AVCO) and register the exam through CERF and SHOR). Also prone to a skin issue known as zinc responsive dermatitis, which improves by giving a zinc supplements.
About 12-15 years.
The coat sheds heavily twice a year. During that time they need to be brushed and combed daily.
Siberian Huskies were used for centuries by the Chukchi Tribe, off the eastern Siberian peninsula to pull sleds, herd reindeer and as a watch dog. They were perfect working dogs for the harsh Siberian conditions: hardy, able to integrate into small packs, and quite happy to work for hours on end. The dogs have great stamina and are light weight. Native to Siberia, the Husky was brought to Alaska by fur traders in Malamute for arctic races because of their great speed. In 1908 Siberian Huskies were used for the first All-Alaskan Sweepstakes, an event where mushers take their dogs on a 408 mile long dogsled race. The dogs gained popularity in 1925 when there was a diphtheria epidemic in Nome, Alaska.
The Alaskan Malamute
They are the largest of the Arctic dogs. This thick well built dog is solid with a plumed tail which is held over the back. The head is wide with erect ears. The eyes are of medium size, dark brown, small, and almond in shape and are obliquely placed in the skull. The dog holds an image of a wolf but with a proud, sweet expression. Dark eyes are preferred. Blue eyes are a fault according to the written standard. The feet are large, of the snowshoe type with tough pads. The thick, coarse double coat averages one to three inches in length and comes in a range of light gray to intermediate shadings of black, sable and shadings of sable to red. Combinations include, wolf gray, black & white, wolf sable (red undercoat with dark gray outer coat), or red. The only solid color allowed is white. The dog often has darker highlights and sometimes has a dark mask or cap. The legs and muzzle are almost always white. In some areas, dogs may be either smaller or larger than the official standard.
The Alaskan Malamute is extremely loyal and intelligent, sweet and most affectionate toward it's master. Great with children who are old enough to play with him safely. If their canine instincts are met, they mature into a dignified and mellow adult dog. They are very friendly and therefore are not suitable as a guard dog. Malamutes are happiest living outdoors as long as they receive enough companionship, but they also enjoy living indoors where their human "pack" lives. Without firm leadership and daily mental and physical exercise, these dogs may become destructive nuisances, acting like a big, rambunctious puppy. In one case, a single dog ruined an entire living room of furniture valued at $15,000 in just three hours! Malamutes love outdoor activities and even do well in obedience with firm encouragement. Although it can be difficult to train Malamutes for formal obedience, it is not particularly hard to train them to be well-mannered because they love to please. Males can be very dominant. This breed needs the humans around him to be firm, confident and consistent pack leaders. Some dogs may be difficult to housebreak. This breed is a thrifty feeder and needs less food than you might expect. However they do tend to wolf down whatever is offered, which can lead to obesity and bloat. Malamutes are quiet compared to most dogs but they do like to howl and dig. This breed should be supervised around unfamiliar small animals, as they have a strong prey instinct. This does not mean they are not good with small animals. Some Malamutes have been known to raise small kittens as their own. Both sexes can be combative with other dogs, especially with the same sex and breed and firm handling and training are necessary to curve this. Proper socialization with people and other dogs is imperative. Obedience training is highly recommended.
Height-Dogs 24-26 inches (61-66 cm.) Bitches 22-24 inches (56-61 cm.)
Weight-Dogs 80-95 pounds (36-43 kg.) Bitches 70-85 pounds (32-38 kg.)
The Alaskan Malamute is prone to bloat, hip dysplasia and chondrodysplasia (dwarfism).
Malamutes need a reasonable amount of exercise with include long daily walks. But be careful not to overdue it in warm weather.
About 12-15 years.
The Alaskan Malamute has a dense coat and should be brushed twice a week. This breed sheds very heavily. The undercoat comes out in clumps twice a year. Bathing is most unnecessary, as the coat sheds dirt readily. Dry shampoo occasionally. This dog is clean and odorless.
The Alaskan Malamute is a Nordic sled dog, descended from the Arctic wolf. Its name comes from Mahlemuts, an Alaskan tribe that raised and cared for these beautiful snow dogs. Originally used 2000 to 3000 years ago by these Mahlemuit Eskimos of Alaska, these highly valued dogs were their only form of transportation. These amazing dogs have strength, endurance with a will to work. They pulled not only light traveling sleds, but they also hauled heavy loads of food and supplies for the Arctic people. Packs of Malamutes have participated in many polar expeditions, for which they are particularly well adapted due to their tenacity, sense of direction, and excellent sense of smell.
And here are a couple Alaskan doggies I photographed in the past at Animal Haven.