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Alaskan Malamute Origin and History

As its name suggests, the Alaskan Malamute breed originates from the United States’ northernmost state, Alaska. Believed to be first utilized by and named after the Mahlemuit Inuit tribe living in the upper regions of that state, the Alaskan Malamute was first used for hunting polar bears and hauling heavy sleds.  Ideally adapted to the harsh, winter environment of Alaska, the Alaskan Malamute were treated well by the native tribes that used this dog regularly in their daily lives and has led to a breed with a wonderful temperament and disposition.

As its name suggests, the Alaskan Malamute originates from the United States’ northernmost state, Alaska. Believed to be first utilized by and named after the Mahlemuit Inuit tribe living in the upper regions of that state, the Alaskan Malamute was first used for hunting polar bears and hauling heavy sleds.  Ideally adapted to the harsh, winter environment of Alaska, the Alaskan Malamute were treated well by the native tribes that used this dog regularly in their daily lives and has led to a breed with a wonderful temperament and disposition.

Experts believe that this special breed of dog is one of the oldest breeds on the North American continent, and though there is some disagreement, many feel that the breed originated as a cross between early dog and domesticated wolves.

A member of the Spitz group of dogs, theAlaskan Malamute is closely related to the Samoyed, Akita, Chow Chow, Finnish Spitz, the Elkhound and several others.  The breed is distributed worldwide and does well in many environments, but has remained largely native to its homeland in Alaska, and thrives in cold conditions.  Early attempts to improve the breed, primarily to build speed as a sled dog, were damaging to the breed initially, but the breed was saved due to the efforts of a couple of breeders.

The Alaskan Malamute Breed History

Alaskan Malamute history stemming from the early days in northern Alaska is broad and varied though usually includes pulling heavy sleds.  Unlike other breeds who pull sleds and are known for the speed and quickness, the Alaskan Malamute is best suited for pulling heavier loads over long distances.  The breed was instrumental in many of the early polar expeditions including the famous expedition to the South Pole by Richard Byrd.  Additionally, Alaskan Malamutes were utilized in the Klondike Gold Rush that began in 1896 since they were so prized for the ability to pull extremely heavy loads.

The AKC officially recognized the Alaskan Malamute breed in 1935 and updated the guidelines with stricter breed standards following WWII, where incidentally several members of the breed made some contribution. Most all of the Alaskan Malamutes registered today by the AKC originate to one of three foundation lines, the Kotzebues, M’Loots or Hinman, or to other dogs registered just prior to stricter guidelines in the late 1940s.

 
 
 
 
 
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