“Far from trying to produce a “pretty” dog, we strive to retain the qualities which set the Alaskan Malamute apart from other breeds and made him a strong, hardy work animal.”
Dianne Ross, “Your Alaskan Malamute”, 1977.
The Alaskan Malamute is a freighting sled dog and in order to be a truly excellent representative of the breed he must not only look the part, but also be willing and able to carry out the work he was intended for. In order to test and develop the working abilities of our dogs we embark on sledding and skijoring excursions each winter, exploring remote areas of the Lapland wilderness. Our trips tell us a lot about our dogs, both in terms of their performance and conformation.
Since we carry out most of our working activities north of the Arctic Circle our main focus is on the physical attributes which are necessary for work and life in a subarctic environment. Without powerful movements, strong and well furred snowshoe feet, and short and strong pasterns, a Malamute can never be a truly excellent sled dog. If he is too heavy and overdone he won’t be able to carry out his job with ease and if he is too light and husky-like he will not be able to haul heavy loads over long distances. By working our dogs we learn to understand the practical implications of the standard and use this information when we plan our breedings. Since we often work our dogs on small sledding and skijoring teams made up of 2-5 dogs, the working ability and drive of each dog is crucial. We aim to preserve the original freighting function of the Alaskan Malamute and to breed dogs that adhere as closely as possible to the ideal size and weight described by the AKC Breed Standard.
TOTE-UM & MOUNTAIN HOME
Over the years we have found that Malamutes that appeal to us most nearly always (with some exceptions) hail from the Tote-Um bloodline, a line of Malamutes established in the 1960s by Dianne Ross in Washington State, U.S.A. The Tote-Um Alaskan Malamutes were versatile dogs who besides earning their conformation championships also excelled in the fields of sledding, packing, weight pulling and obedience. The strong focus on functionality had an impact on the traits which became characteristic for the Tote-Um bloodline. When searching for our ideal “Tote-Um style” Malamute we found Sue and Roy Fuller’s Mountain Home Kennels in Washington State, USA. For many years Sue and Roy ran a sled dog business, providing Malamute sled dog rides to tourists. Their long term commitment to breeding sound working dogs with friendly temperaments has resulted in a unique bloodline that offers qualities hard to find elsewhere. We have been lucky to be able to import Mtn Home’s Northernmost Gem, WTD, WPD, from Mountain Home Kennels in 2008, and Mtn Home’s Northernmost Hiking Hilary in 2012.
Our love for the Tote-Um heritage has introduced us to many wonderful breed enthusiasts around the world, among them Nicola Singh and Stuart Winterton of Sledog Alaskan Malamutes & Greenland Dogs in the UK. When establishing our own breeding program we aim to collaborate with breeders who prioritize easy going temperaments and working ability, as well as selecting for soundness and type.
Focus on health
The Alaskan Malamute is most often a healthy dog but, as with most breeds, there are a number of hereditary health disorders that every breeder and owner should be aware of. As a basic requirement, any dog we use in breeding will be screened for joint disease and hereditary eye disorders.
We also perform thyroid tests in order to avoid using a dog that suffers from hypothyroidism in breeding. Thanks to recent developments in the genetic field we are now also including a DNA-test for Polyneuropathy in our health testing routine.
Since we will only breed when we are looking to add one or more new members to our own working team, health will always be our top priority.
WORKING FAMILY DOGS
While the Alaskan Malamute should always be bred with the goal of producing a freighting sled dog equipped for the Arctic, the majority of today’s Malamutes are placed as family pets in suburban areas and as a breeder one must always keep this in mind when planning a litter. Our goal is to breed Malamutes that make great pets as well as working dogs. In order to make a great pet a Malamute should have an outgoing and friendly disposition. We avoid using hyper active or stressed individuals in breeding as this trait can easily be passed on from the mother to her offspring. When selecting dogs for breeding, we look for intelligent individuals, as intelligence is an important part of being a good working dog and our goal is to breed trainable, versatile Malamutes that can excel in a number of sports. For both sled dogs and companion dogs, nothing is more important than having a good temperament. A dog that cannot exist peacefully as part of a pack cannot be trusted to behave during a long distance sledding expedition. Our goal is to have fun on the trail, and that means that we only use dogs in breeding that rather avoid fights than look for reasons to start them.
The Alaskan Malamute is not a breed for everyone and this is one of the reasons why we don’t breed litters every year. Since the Alaskan Malamute is an intelligent working breed he can be difficult to place in the right home. We only plan a breeding when we feel we can contribute something valuable to the breed as a whole and when we have a waiting list of great homes interested in a puppy from our kennel. Even in a small country like Sweden there are breeders who produce multiple Malamute litters each year. In our experience, breeders who breed that frequently seldom have a clear idea of what they wish to achieve. Frequent litters is not the key to developing a quality breeding program. However, whether you breed every year or only once in a decade, most important is to accept responsibility for every puppy that is born, for its entire lifetime. We will always take back any dog we have bred, regardless of ANY circumstances.
Please feel free to contact us if you have any questions about our breeding program or about the breed. We love to talk Malamutes!