Introducing the Gentle Giant Alaskan Malamute

Giant Alaskan Malamute during winter

As we all know, dogs are man’s best friend; they are great companions and will surely be there for you through good times and bad. While some look for dogs that they could care for domestically, some look for unique ones that could take them on everyday adventures.

What is a giant Alaskan Malamute? The giant Alaskan Malamute is a larger version of the Alaskan Malamute breed, which is produced by selecting breeding pairs based on size rather than other more important traits such as temperament and health. Giant Alaskan Malamutes are more prone to health issues due to their heavier weight.

Meet the Giant Alaskan Malamute

The Alaskan Malamute is a large breed of dog initially used for lifting heavy loads and sledding. This breed first came to America 12,000 years ago.

Recognized by the American Kennel Club in 1935, this is a sturdy and reliable working breed and is said to be gentle and likes cuddles. Parents, you need not worry when this giant is around your kids; they were also used to keep children safe in the past.

This dog breed is gentle, but fair warning, an adult Malamute could weigh up to 190 pounds. A giant Alaskan Malamute gets too excited about food, so if you have small children and elderly at home, take the necessary precaution as they could knock them off easily.

The giant Alaskan Malamute has an overcoat of fur and undercoat beneath that is oily and has a texture of wool that can go up to two inches thick and serve as protection from cold weather.

This breed is meant to live in cold climates, so if you live in a warmer place, you might want to hold off getting one. However, if you’re determined to get one while living in a hotter region, get a room or space with air conditioning.

You may also want to consider your living space: if you live in a small apartment, this might not be the dog for you.

This pooch likes running around freely, so a more substantial area is one factor you have to consider. They love running outdoors and would feel uncomfortable being held in a limited space.

The World’s Largest Alaskan Malamute

In 2018, Tyson was named as the biggest dog in Richmond and was a giant Alaskan Malamute. A then three-year-old pooch, Tyson weighed 150 pounds with 59 inches height. Please take note that this does not include its tail. That surely is a giant dog!

According to its owner, Tyson was only 28 pounds when the family first got him, and they never thought he would grow up to be that gentle giant he is now. Tyson’s diet consists of three pounds of raw meat every day, plus dog food and some treats.

Tyson is given a minimum of two hours of exercise a day, including a regular visit to the park and beach swimming at least thrice a week. His outdoor activities made him famous; many people would want to take pictures with him every time he is outside that one time, it caused traffic in Richmond.

This giant Alaskan Malamute has really captured Richmond’s attention and affection, which makes it happier and feels more comfortable and at home.

Standard and Giant Alaskan Malamute: What’s the Difference?

Let us, first, identify the official standards set by the American Kennel Club (AKC). The Alaskan Malamute, one of the oldest Arctic sled dogs, has a deep chest and well-muscled body. Its coat is thick with distinct face markings.

The Alaskan Malamute is firm and structured for endurance. Its size also has a natural range:

Male: 25 inches at the shoulder and weighs 85 pounds.

Female: 23 inches at the shoulder and weighs 75 pounds.

Its coat colors usually range from “light gray through intermediate shadings to black, sable, and shadings of sable to red.” Despite its physical structure, the Alaskan Malamutes are generally affectionate, friendly, and loyal.

These standards were set by the American Kennel Club to preserve the breed.

The standards make up an ideal and “standard” Alaskan Malamute and make it easier for breeders to identify the differences from other breeds that may look similar to the Siberian Husky and the like.

On the other hand, the giant Alaskan Malamute is a descendant of the M’loot type of Malamutes which is larger than others. It has been a practice to breed based on size and color.

Large dogs’ popularity rose in the past years and was used as a marketing strategy by opportunists as a profiteering scheme. This kind of practice paved the way for breeding Malamutes outside of their sole, intended function and structure, which produced the “giant” breed.

By comparison, the giant Alaskan Malamute is heavier and taller than the standard Alaskan Malamute.

An adult giant Alaskan Malamute stands proudly at 35 inches and could weigh up to 190 pounds.

However, further research suggests that most registries do not recognize the giant Alaskan Malamute as a separate breed from the standard Alaskan Malamute.

Are Alaskan Malamutes Considered Giant Compared to Other Breeds?

Compared to the standards set by the American Kennel Club for the Alaskan Malamute, the giant Alaskan Malamute breed compares well when it comes to its height and weight. But how does our giant fare against the biggest dogs in the world? Does it make it to the list?

Scanning through various lists on the biggest dogs in the world, consistently placed at number one, is the English Mastiff, weighing up to 340 pounds, with an average of 36 inches in height. The tallest dog in the world, which is the Great Dane, could grow up to 44 inches in height.

Unfortunately, the giant Alaskan Malamute was not mentioned in any list, considering it does better in terms of height and weight than the French Mastiff which was placed at the bottom of the lists, weighing only up to 140 pounds with a height of 26 inches.

Based on its height and weight, the giant Alaskan Malamute fare up nicely and could be tied with Saint Bernard at the number three spot, weighing up to 200 pounds, with the same height at 35 inches.

Our friendly giant could be considered one of the world’s biggest dogs, but why is it not given any spotlight?

Making a list of “biggest,” “heaviest,” or “longest” dogs in the world has standards that have to be met and are based and set by the American Kennel Club (AKC).

Sadly AKC does not recognize all dog breeds. As we have learned so far, the AKC set standards for the Alaskan Malamute and this does not include the “giant” Alaskan Malamute.

However, if we set aside all these standards, the giant Alaskan Malamute could be added to the number seven spot of the world’s largest dog breeds. With all of this being considered, YES, giant Alaskan Malamutes really are giants!

Are Giant Alaskan Malamutes Healthy Dogs?

The practice of breeding based on size and color instead of its more robust features like health, structure, and temperament leads to numerous health issues of our gentle giant.

Some owners observe that their Malamutes have “hypothyroidism, elbow dysplasia, and hip dysplasia” that are brought by the increase in weight in dogs with a weak body and bone structure.

Giant Alaskan Malamutes are heavier than the regular Malamutes which makes them more prone to serious medical conditions. If you own a giant Alaskan Malamute, have it regularly checked by a veterinarian.

Here are some of the health problems that your giant Alaskan Malamute may face:

  • Obesity: Giant Alaskan Malamutes love eating. It might be tempting to give in to your pet’s cute stares but think of its future consequences. They may damage their joints, back pain, and heart disease if obesity persists. Always remember that your giants are active breeds; give them an adequate amount of time to play in open spaces where they can run and play freely. Walking them could also be healthy for you as this will also help you lose excess weight.
  • Parasites: Your giant could be infested with different kinds of parasites – from hookworms, roundworms, to heartworms and whipworms. These parasites could enter its system by drinking unclean water, walking on infected soils, or being bitten by mosquitoes. What’s worse is that they can be transmitted to humans. If not diagnosed early and adequately, this may cause discomfort to your Malamute, or ultimately, death.
  • Hip Dysplasia: Hip dysplasia is an inherited disease that causes arthritis to your pet. If you notice that it is having a hard time getting up or getting down, this disease could be the suspect. You may have to consider surgery if the condition worsens. Again, giant Alaskan Malamutes should be active; never give them a stagnant life. Moving around, walking, and running will help in the prevention of this disease.
  • Eye Problems: Your giant Alaskan Malamute may inherit Progressive Retinal Atrophy (PRA) which could have a big impact on your dog’s quality of life and may ultimately lead to blindness. The “giant” breed could have a higher risk of contracting this disease because of its gene. PRA manifests around the age of three to five years and is not curable. It is advised to have your pet’s eyes checked if you notice dilated pupils.
  • Dental Disease: One of the common health issues of dogs is dental disease, and your giant is not exempted from this. Once tartar starts building up, it progresses to infection, which leads to teeth loss. It may also damage their kidney, liver, joint, and heart, which could cut their life short by as much as three years!

Sound the Alarm

It is advised to regularly take your giants to the veterinarian, but if you notice these unusual and alarming signs and behavior, seek medical care immediately:

  • Loss or change in appetite and water consumption
  • Bad breath, red gums, or broken teeth
  • Aggressive behavior
  • Excessive sleeping
  • Inability to urinate
  • Itchy and red eyes
  • Abnormal and excessive shaking or trembling
  • Bruises
  • Coughing
  • Lethargy or avoiding exercise
  • Rapid breathing while resting
  • Weight loss
  • Painful abdomen
  • Smelly discharge
  • Itchy hairless patches

Avoid self-medicating your giants; if you are not sure of its conditions and symptoms, take them to the vet immediately. Your giants rely on you for care, so it is only necessary to give them the best.

If you plan on getting a giant Alaskan Malamute, think first of the reasons you want and need this dog. You may also want to consult expert breeders and avoid those who have intentions of profiteering.

Giant Alaskan Malamutes need extra attention and care, and like any dog, they deserve a home suitable for them, and humans that will understand their needs.

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