Alaskan Malamute Warning Label

Unsurpassed in beauty, intelligence, and resourcefulness, the Alaskan malamute is the wrong breed for most people. Playful, affectionate, and inexpressibly sweet, malamutes are also powerful and predatory. They shed heavily about twice a year and lose some hair in between. Slavish obedience to human commands is contrary to malamute principles.

Many malamutes are galaxy class thieves of anything they consider edible, and by edible they mean not only their kibble, your unguarded steak, and anyone's road kill, but everything from firewood to pot holders to slices of bread filched from the toaster. Mobile edibles such a squirrels and chipmunks hold irresistible appeal. The predatory streak sometimes extends to cats. Some malamutes distinguish between other people's cats, which are fair feline game, and our cats, which may be a source of harmless interest and even affection. Not all malamutes make that distinction. Some are reasonably good with all cats; others regard cats only as prey. All malamutes, however, have a wild streak. Consequently, they belong on leash except in fully fenced areas.

Some degree of aggression toward other dogs is fairly common in the breed. Many malamutes are friendly with dogs of the opposite sex, but aggressive with same sex dogs. A few malamutes simply like other dogs, including small dogs. There are, however, no pacifist malamutes. If challenged by an aggressive dog, even the most peaceable member of the breed will usually administer a swift lesson in who rules the earth and who is its wimpy scum.

Toward people, however, most malamutes are universally and even ridiculously friendly. Although many malamutes like children, neither a malamute nor any other large dog should ever be left with young children unattended. As watchdogs or guard dogs, malamutes excel in welcoming burglars. Fortunately, they are equally hospitable to invited guests.

A powerful, demanding, and fascinating companion, the malamute thrives in a partnership of mutual respect. A hardy breed, the malamute will pull a sled, carry a backpack, or, in cool weather, accompany a runner. If reinforced with praise and food, the malamute enjoys obedience and agility training. Almost all malamutes like playing near water. Some like to swim. Others do not. Above all else, even food, malamutes enjoy inclusion in the human pack. The malamute's mellow temperament, high intelligence, extraordinary versatility, and happy attitude combine to make this breed excellent company -- but only for the special person who really wants the ultimate in real dog.

(This warning label was written by Susan Conant and is used with her permission)

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