Alaskan Malamute History

At least four thousand years ago, the Eskimos crossed the Bering Strait when the tribes migrated east from the cold lands of
Siberia.  Arctic anthropologists indicate the presence of Eskimo civilization at Cape Krusenstern as early as 1850 B.C.  
Eskimo means "raw fish eater" in the Canadian Indians language.  The Eskimos referred to themselves as "Innuit" which means
"the people."  
Early life for the Eskimo consisted of nomadic travel in extreme conditions.  Dogs and sleds were essential to their way of
life and were their most prized possessions.  Without them travel and hauling would have been impossible.  The dogs also
hunted polar bear and other Arctic mammals for food.  These Arctic dogs, which descended from the wolf, also were used as
baby sitters when parents went out and hunted, which explains why Malamutes are so fond of children.
Northeastern area of the Seward Peninsula.  Fishing and game possibilities varied according to the weather and coastal areas
may have had more to offer.  This accounts for the spread of the dog population to both North and South from the original
settlements around Kotzebue Sound.  Malamute Eskimos, now known as Kuuvangmiut or Kobuk people, had a good standard of
life, working hard and developing their dogs to a  high level of strength, intelligence and reliability.  They were said to have
fed their dogs as often as they fed themselves.  This humane treatment may explain the better temperament of the Alaskan
Malamute as opposed to certain other Arctic breeds.  When you consider that many working dogs were badly mistreated,
underfed and over-used it is not surprising that many Arctic dogs had bad dispositions.  The Malamute Eskimos bred only the
best and most promising of the puppies and treated their dogs well.  They did not over breed because of the lack of food.  
White men found it difficult to purchase Malamutes because of the shortage and the high value placed upon them.  That
explains the small foundation to which we trace today's Malamutes.   

The Alaskan Malamute's Roots
The Alaskan Malamute is a member of the Spitz group of dogs.  We have the wandering merchants, explorers, and roving
armies to thank for their wide distribution around the globe.  But, until recently, the Alaskan Malamute has remained almost
completely native to Alaska.  Some think the Alaskan Malamute is a cross of the early dog and the domesticated wolf from
centuries ago.  One of the earliest Malamute breeder, Paul Voelker, believed the Malamute to be the oldest breed on the
North American continent. According to Voelker, bone and ivory carvings dated at twelve to twenty thousand years old show
the Malamute as he is today. Voelker is quoted as saying "Don't forget that the Malamute for untold generations was raised
with the Eskimos, puppies and kids on the floor together.  I've seen little babies crawling in among the puppies to nurse from
the mother dog."


The Kotzebue line stemmed from Arthur Walden's dogs which were taken over by Milton and Eva Seeley when  Walden went
to Antarctica.  The Seeley's Chinook Kennels in Wonalancet, New Hampshire was the best-known sled dog headquarters in the
United States.  Dogs for both of the Byrd Expeditions and for the United States Service Expeditions (all to Antarctica)
were trained and provided by Chinook Kennels.   Walden's dog, Rowdy of Nome became the first registered Alaskan
Malamute.  The Seeley's acquiredy
Yukon Jad from Poland Springs Kennels and Bessie, from Arthur Walden.  They whelped
the first litter of Alaskan Malamute as a proper breed in 1929.  One of the pups,
Gripp of Yukon, went on to the show ring
and became not only the first Alaskan Malamute ever to be registered with AKC but also the breed's first recorded champion
anywhere in the world.
 Gripp also served as the model for the first AKC standard.  With the number on Malamutes
increasing, the Seeley's took the next step in gaining AKC recognition for the breed by forming a national breed club.  On
April 17, 1935, the Alaskan Malamute Club of America  had it's organizational meeting a the Seeley's home.  President was
Milton Seeley; vice president, Volney Hure; and Secretary, Eva Seeley.   The Seeley's were instrumental in AKC's
recognition of the breed.   When the AMCA was finally made a member of the AKC in 1953, Eva Seeley was the first

Paul Voelker originated the M'Loot Malamutes in Marquette, Michigan,  that figures strongly in many pedigrees, including the
foundation for Silver Sled Kennels that is behind most of the Alaskan Malamutes you may find in the Midwest.  The M'Loot
Kennels produced the first champion female,
Ch. Ooloo M'Loot, owned by Silver Sled Kennels.  Moosecat M'Loot became a
foundation sire for many kennels, including Husky-Pak and Red Horse.  Although Voelker was interested in the same breed, he
came up with a slightly different type of Alaskan Malamute but did not pursue AKC registration.

This strain involved only a few dogs but made important contributions to breed quality.  The Hinman line in combination with
the M'Loot strain Kotzebue in development of the "HuskyPak" line, and produced many champion and foundation dogs for the
breed.  Robert Zoller acquired
Kayak of Brookside from Dick Hinman and added Ch. Husky-Pak Mikya of Seguin, Ch.
Apache Chief of Husky-Pak
and Ch. Artic Storm of Husky-Pak.  These dogs were the foundation of his Husky-Pak
During World War II, many sled dogs, including many of the few registered Malamutes were loaned for war duty.  After the
war, many of these same dogs were used on an expedition to Antarctica. They served and then, due to some bureaucratic
decision, were chained to an iceburg and destroyed by an explosive charge.  This action nearly incited a mutiny among the
Navy men involved.
Some time after this tragic event, AKC realized the breed had hardly any registered Malamutes to support it.  They
reopened AKC registration, but on a more rigid specifications.  Quality had to be proven by showing each applicant as a
"listed" dog and attaining ten championship points. Registration of dogs with a least a two-generation pedigree also began in
1935 and Rowdy of Nome became the first registered Alaskan Malamute.   During this time, many early fanciers registered
their dogs under the new rules, adding the M'Loot and Hinman strains to the Kotzebue registered earlier.
Suddenly, the door to registration was closed by the AKC despite the protests of the Alaskan Malamute Club of America.  
All registered Alaskan Malamutes today go back to the original Kotzebues or to dogs registered during the open period in
the late forties.  (KBirmantas)
All the Alaskan Malamutes registered by the AKC before 1950 were Kotzebue dogs, descendants of the Seeley's dogs from
Chinook Kennels.  

Alaskan Malamute Breed Standard
Working Group
General Appearance
The Alaskan Malamute, one of the oldest Arctic sled dogs, is a powerful and substantially built dog with a deep chest and
strong, well-muscled body. The Malamute stands well over the pads, and this stance gives the appearance of much activity and
a proud carriage, with head erect and eyes alert showing interest and curiosity. The head is broad. Ears are triangular and
erect when alerted. The muzzle is bulky, only slight diminishing in width from root to nose. The muzzle is not pointed or long,
yet not stubby. The coat is thick with a coarse guard coat of sufficient length to protect a woolly undercoat. Malamutes are
of various colors. Face markings are a distinguishing feature. These consist of a cap over the head, the face either all white
or marked with a bar and/or mask. The tail is well furred, carried over the back, and has the appearance of a waving plume.

The Malamute must be a heavy boned dog with sound legs, good feet, deep chest and powerful shoulders, and have all of the
other physical attributes necessary for the efficient performance of his job. The gait must be steady, balanced, tireless and
totally efficient. He is not intended as a racing sled dog designed to compete in speed trials. The Malamute is structured for
strength and endurance, and any characteristic of the individual specimen, including temperament, which interferes with the
accomplishment of this purpose, is to be considered the most serious of faults.

Size, Proportion, Substance
There is a natural range in size in the breed. The desirable freighting sizes are males, 25 inches at the shoulders, 85 pounds;
females, 23 inches at the shoulders, 75 pounds. However, size consideration should not outweigh that of type, proportion,
movement and other functional attributes. When dogs are judged equal in type, proportion, movement, the dog nearest the
desirable freighting size is to be preferred. The depth of chest is approximately one half the height of the dog at the
shoulders, the deepest point being just behind the forelegs. The length of the body from point of shoulder to the rear point
of pelvis is longer than the height of the body from ground to top of the withers. The body carries no excess weight, and
bone is in proportion to size.

The head is broad and deep, not coarse or clumsy, but in proportion to the size of the dog. The expression is soft and
indicates an affectionate disposition. The eyes are obliquely placed in the skull. Eyes are brown, almond shaped and of
medium size. Dark eyes are preferred. Blue Eyes are a Disqualifying Fault. The ears are of medium size, but small in
proportion to the head. The ears are triangular in shape and slightly rounded at the tips. They are set wide apart on the
outside back edges of the skull on line with the upper corner of the eye, giving ears the appearance, when erect, of standing
off from the skull. Erect ears point slightly forward, but when the dog is at work, the ears are sometimes folded against the
skull. High set ears are a fault.

The skull is broad and moderately rounded between the ears, gradually narrowing and flattening on top as it approaches the
eyes, rounding off to cheeks that are moderately flat. There is a slight furrow between the eyes. The topline of the skull and
the topline of the muzzle show a slight break downward from a straight line as they join. The muzzle is large and bulky in
proportion to the size of the skull, diminishing slightly in width and depth from junction with the skull to the nose. In all coat
colors, except reds, the nose, lips, and eye rims' pigmentation is black. Brown is permitted in red dogs. The lighter streaked
"snow nose" is acceptable. The lips are close fitting. The upper and lower jaws are broad with large teeth. The incisors meet
with a scissors grip.   Overshot or undershot is a fault.

Neck, Topline, Body
The neck is strong and moderately arched. The chest is well developed. The body is compactly built but not short coupled.
The back is straight and gently sloping to the hips. The loins are hard and well muscled. A long loin that may weaken the back
is a fault. The tail is moderately set and follows the line of the spine at the base. The tail is carried over the back when not
working. It is not a snap tail or curled tight against the back, nor is it short furred like a fox brush. The Malamute tail is
well furred and has the appearance of a waving plume.
The shoulders are moderately sloping; forelegs heavily boned and muscled, straight to the pasterns when viewed from the
front. Pasterns are short and strong and slightly sloping when viewed from the side. The feet are of the snowshoe type, tight
and deep, with well-cushioned pads, giving a firm, compact appearance. The feet are large, toes tight fitting and well arched.
There is a protective growth of hair between the toes. The pads are thick and tough; toenails short and strong.

The rear legs are broad and heavily muscled through the thighs; stifles moderately bent; hock joints are moderately bent and
well let down. When viewed from the rear, the legs stand and move true in line with the movement of the front legs, not too
close or too wide. Dewclaws on the rear legs are undesirable and should be removed shortly after puppies are whelped.

The Malamute has a thick, coarse guard coat, never long and soft. The undercoat is dense, from one to two inches in depth,
oily and woolly. The coarse guard coat varies in length as does the undercoat. The coat is relatively short to medium along the
sides of the body, with the length of the coat increasing around the shoulders and neck, down the back, over the rump, and in
the breeching and plume. Malamutes usually have a shorter and less dense coat during the summer months. The Malamute is
shown naturally. Trimming is not acceptable except to provide a clean cut appearance of feet.

The usual colors range from light gray through intermediate shadings to black, sable, and shadings of sable to red. Color
combinations are acceptable in undercoats, points, and trimmings. The only solid color allowable is all white. White is always
the predominant color on underbody, parts of legs, feet, and part of face markings. A white blaze on the forehead and/or
collar or a spot on the nape is attractive and acceptable. The Malamute is mantled, and broken colors extending over the
body or uneven splashing are undesirable.

The gait of the Malamute is steady, balanced, and powerful. He is agile for his size and build. When viewed from the side, the
hindquarters exhibit strong rear drive that is transmitted through a well-muscled loin to the forequarters. The forequarters
receive the drive from the rear with a smooth reaching stride. When viewed from the front or from the rear, the legs move
true in line, not too close or too wide. At a fast trot, the feet will converge toward the centerline of the body. A stilted gait,
or any gait that is not completely efficient and tireless, is to be penalized.

The Alaskan Malamute is an affectionate, friendly dog, not a "one man" dog. He is a loyal, devoted companion, playful in
invitation, but generally impressive by his dignity after maturity.

IMPORTANT: In judging Malamutes, their function as a sledge dog for heavy freighting in the Arctic must be given
consideration above all else. The degree to which a dog is penalized should depend upon the extent to which the dog deviates
from the description of the ideal Malamute and the extent to which the particular fault would actually affect the working
ability of the dog. The legs of the Malamute must indicate unusual strength and tremendous propelling power. Any indication
of unsoundness in legs and feet, front or rear, standing or moving, is to be considered a serious fault. Faults under this
provision would be splay-footedness, cowhocks, bad pasterns, straight shoulders, lack of angulation, stilted gait (or any gait
that isn't balanced, strong and steady), ranginess, shallowness, ponderousness, lightness of bone, and poor overall proportion.

Blue Eyes

Approved April 12, 1994
Effective May 31, 1994
The median lifespan of 10.7 years measured in that survey is very typical of a breed their size. The major cause of
death was cancer (36%).  However, Malamutes in the US typically have longer life spans and less genetic issues than
those in the UK, since the UK population stemmed from a smaller number of imports with a higher proportion of
Experts in calculating dog age tell us that the old wisdom of 1 human year being equal to 7 dog years isn't
quite correct.  They do the math for large dogs weighing over 90# according to the following chart:
History of the Alaskan Malamute

In the Alaskan Malamute’s 5000 plus years in North America, it's been involved in every important era of
Alaska's history.

Earliest Native People (3000 BC to Present)

The Alaskan Malamute, one of the twelve ancient breeds and one of the oldest Arctic sled dogs, was named
after the native Inuit tribe called Mahlemuts, who settled along the shores of Kotzebue Sound in the upper
western part of Alaska, within the Arctic Circle over 5,000 years ago. They worked closely with early the Arctic
settlers to hunt and track and pull heavy sledges loaded with supplies. They kept a lookout for bears and
guarded the caribou herds. They even baby-sat the Inuit children while parents were out on hunts, which is one
reason they make very good family pets. They were so gentle that they allowed the human babies to crawl in
and snuggle up with their puppies. Their use of dogs was a partnership for survival.

European Explorers -- 1700-1800’s

The journals and logs of Captain Cook and other European explorers to Alaska showed that they were VERY
impressed by the big, strong, hardworking Alaskan Malamute who got along and worked so well with humans.
They note that the dogs kept by the Mahlemut people were better cared for than was usual for Arctic sled dogs,
and this seemingly accounts for the breeds affectionate disposition.

Russian Alaska -- 1731-1867

Travel logs of the early Russian and English explorers often reported a superior and better kept type of work
dog kept by the Mahlemut people. They wrote about them being less “wild”, more friendly and easy going, and
capable of an enormous amount of work, both hunting and hauling.

Alaska Purchase & Statehood -- 1867-1959

Long after the Gold Rush, Alaskan Malamutes continued to be valuable freight dogs. They were easy to care for
and could pull very heavy loads to areas that were otherwise not accessible. Often, they carried a thousand
pounds of mail at a time, and it is said they would arrive in Nome, frisky and ready to run again. Their efforts
helped to open up Alaska for settlement and development.

By the time of the Gold Rush, Alaskan Malamutes, with their ability to haul equipment and people, were in high
demand. They were so highly valued that a prospector would pay $500 dollars for one good dog and $1500
for a small team!

Polar Expeditions -- Multiple expeditions between 1909-1956

Alaskan Malamutes contributed to the polar expeditions of Perry, Amundsen, and Byrd to the South Pole. They
were employed to pull the heavy supply sleds. The successful exploration of this vast continent could not have
been accomplished without the help of the Alaskan Malamute. They were able to work for weeks on end without
negative effects of the daily strain. They still actively do this work today.

Helping France in World War I. -- 1914-1918

During World War I., the Alaskan Malamute was called into service by the French army where troops in far-
reaching mountain outposts were surrounded and cut off from supplies. The Nome Kennel Club shipped 450
Alaska Malamutes to France where the dogs easily tackled the harsh conditions and moved needed supplies to
save the day.

The Serum Run -- 1925

Alaskan Malamutes participated in the historical 1925 Serum Run to Nome, a fact that most people do not

World War II. -- 1939-1945

The Alaskan Malamute was important to America’s efforts during World War II. They pulled sleds in snow
covered areas that were not accessible to other, more mechanical means of transportation. They were used as
pack animals to carry weaponry and ammunition, served as search-and-rescue dogs, and sniffed for mines. The
military tried to make the Alaskan Malamute guard dogs, but they failed the test because they just liked people
too much to attack a person.

Working in the Expeditions that First Discovered Prudhoe Bay -- 1906-Present Day

Alaskan Malamutes provided transportation for Ernest de Koven Leffingwell’s pioneering mapping of the Arctic
National Wildlife Refuge geology and the Arctic coastline. They were there when Leffingwell first speculated that
Prudhoe Bay would one day become what it is today…the largest oil field in North America.


Jamie Rodriguez, Polaris K-12 School in Anchorage