Malamutes for Adoption

Information about Alaskan Malamutes, Malamute rescue, adoption and
a list of Malamutes in Australia needing new homes.
Malamutes for Adoption is a service run by Windchill Dog Gear


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In Memory...

8 years ago we lost our friends...

Rob & Tash,
Jorja & Alexis Davey and their Malamutes Neo & Mishk

Sadly lost to us in the Black Saturday fires of
7 February 2009

It may have been 8 years ago that we lost you, but you are still sadly missed,
iving on in our memories...


Grooming the Alaskan Malamute

The Malamute is a breed requiring less grooming and general maintenance than most people think, and tend to keep themselves clean by grooming themselves like a cat. Being an arctic breed, the Malamute has evolved to be able to keep clean without needing to get wet to do so, as in an arctic environment getting wet in winter would mean freezing to death. 

The Malamute therefore needs fairly minimal washing as most of the dirt in the coat will brush out, and if the coat and skin are healthy there should not be any "doggy" odour. Our Malamutes get covered in mud and dirt during sledding and backpacking, but will be quite clean the next day without any intervention on our part, or in extreme cases may need just a little brushing. 

The Malamute's sensitive skin can develop fungal infections if washed too often as the protective oils are removed from the coat and skin by shampoos and soaps, no matter how mild. A good brushing on a regular basis should be enough to keep the Malamute's coat in good condition in most cases, however the amount of brushing required will increase dramatically during shedding time.

If you have to wash your Malamute a bit more often, use a mild soap suitable for sensitive skins, and make sure all the soap gets thoroughly rinsed out of the coat.

The Malamute's "spring cleaning" takes form of a massive shedding of the undercoat, which mostly occurs twice a year in bitches and once a year in males. A desexed Malamute lacks the hormonal influence that controls this cycle, and for this reason is more likely to have a thicker coat and shed a bit of undercoat all year round as well as having a major shedding time.

Left:  An "out of coat" Malamute can look most unimpressive!

During those few weeks of coat drop everything - your clothing, yard, car, etc. - becomes decorated with a layer of the woolly Malamute undercoat. At this time the Malamute will need to be groomed daily with a special undercoat rake to assist with removal of the dead coat, and will look most unimpressive when all the undercoat has been removed.  The undercoat will slowly grow back but it can be 8 to 10 weeks before the Malamute regains the full coat.

If the shedding undercoat is not removed regularly the dead hair will become matted, thus reducing the airflow to the skin and providing the ideal environment for skin infections to take hold. Any strong, persistent "doggy" odour requires investigation - it is not normal in a Malamute and is often a sign of skin or other health problems.

As with all dogs, the Malamute's toenails will need clipping - this should be done on a regular basis and definitely not just once a year at the vets. The frequency of toenail clipping required depends on the rate of growth and the surface on which the Malamute is housed and walked, but the more often you do it the more your Malamute will come to accept it. Our Malamutes have their nails clipped frequently, which ensures that it's no big drama for them when the nail clippers come out.  A bit bribery in the form of food also helps convince them that nail clipping is not so bad after all!

When you cut the nails be sure not to cut into the quick, which is the area of the nail in which there are blood vessels and nerve endings. If you do this just once your Malamute will remember it for a long time and may well put up a struggle next nail-clipping time. If you find it difficult to determine where the quick begins, hold the toenail in front of a light - I use a torch to backlight the nail if I am having trouble seeing how much needs to be cut off. 

During the colder months when our dogs are working we allow the nails (with the exception of the dew claw) to grow a bit longer than during the summer months. The slightly longer nails give the dog increased traction when running in harness or hiking, especially on slippery trails or in snow.  The dew claws should always be kept fairly short - rear dew claws should be removed by a veterinary surgeon.

There are two types of nail clipper - the guillotine type and the plier-type nail clipper.  We use the plier-type as they are stronger and we find they give you a better view of the nail as you are cutting.

Feeding the Alaskan Malamute                            Back to "Understanding the Malamute"


Written by Sandy Koch for Malamutes 4 Adoption - not to be reproduced without acknowledgement


This site was last updated 29/01/17

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