The Alaskan Malamute is arguably one of the most beautiful dogs on the planet. With their thick, fluffy coats and almond-shaped eyes, it’s hard not to fall in love with them. Plus, they have beautiful hearts to match their stunning outward appearance. Malamutes make lovely family pets, as they are loyal, gentle, and loving.
You might call them “gentle giants” because, despite their massive size, they’re surprisingly affectionate and playful. They have muscular, sturdy bodies and incredible endurance, originally bred to carry heavy loads as sled dogs. People living in the Arctic still use them for hauling freight, but they’ve also become a beloved household pet. They do need a lot of exercise, though, so they do best in homes with plenty of space.
Most people adopt one or two Malamutes at most, but one woman in Indonesia couldn’t get enough of them. One turned into 13 eventually, and they’ve become her family.
“About six years ago, I bought Puffy, my first Alaskan Malamute. Then I got another one, and the next one, and quickly we became a family of 7,” their owner Soesanti said. “Then they started mating, and I decided to keep some of the puppies. Finally, we’ve become a family of 13.”
The dogs are named Alfa, Puffy, Alaska, Lexi, Akira, Hugo, Goyard, Pooh, Manuka, Dakota, Chelsea, Truffle, and Lexa. Soesanti lives in an area that affords them plenty of space to roam in a natural setting. She walks them as a pack, and they all seem to get along well. After all, malamutes are used to working as a team, so they behave nicely together.
Malamutes in… Indonesia?
While malamutes usually live in colder climates, Indonesia is tolerable for them. They’ve adapted to warmer temperatures by shedding more during the summer months.
“I stay in Bandung – it’s about three hour’s drive from Jakarta – the capital city of Indonesia. The weather here is about 18 to 28 degrees (64 – 82 degrees F) for the whole year, so it’s safe for the pack here.”
Caring for the Alaskan Malamute family
“Taking care of 13 Alaskan Malamutes is totally a lot of hard work for me, so I hire some caretakers to help me take care of them,” Soesanti says. “Every day, I spend a lot of time with them, especially on the weekend, and I feed them myself with a really healthy, balanced diet.”
Due to their large size, many people believe malamutes need tons of food. However, they eat less than other dogs their size because of genetic adaptations. In the Arctic, where they once lived, food was scarce, so they got used to going long periods without food. Their metabolism converts food into fuel very efficiently, meaning they don’t need as much to survive.
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However, they’re highly motivated by food, and many owners make the mistake of overfeeding them. A typical adult malamute needs around 3-4 cups of high-quality dog food per day. They can also eat raw meats and treats on occasion. Malamutes that are very active may need to eat more depending on their exercise habits.
Malamutes can weigh anywhere from 75 – 100 pounds and stand 23 – 25 inches tall at the shoulder. They need tons of exercise since they were bred to run long distances. If you live in the city, make sure you have a large fenced area for them to exercise. While malamutes can adapt to living in an apartment, they need to be walked or exercised daily.
Many owners enjoy taking their malamute companions on hikes, backpacking trips, or bike rides. Any long-distance adventures are perfect for this type of dog to tag along. Just make sure to keep them on a leash, as they can be stubborn with following commands sometimes.
“My advice for you guys if you want to get a pet is to make sure that you can really take care of them well. You spend a lot of time with them and always make them happy,” the dog mom says. “My thirteen Alaskan Malamutes are totally a blessing for me and my family…truly fun companions for us. I really hope that you will keep enjoying our adventures.”
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Essential facts about the Alaskan Malamute
- Life expectancy: 10-14 years
- Strong, heavy-duty workers
- Needs a firm pack leader for guidance
- Known to have a stubborn, dominant streak
- Requires a lot of training and care
- Are highly intelligent and will get bored quickly if they’re not challenged
- Love exploring, so it’s best to keep them fenced or on a leash
- Very friendly with people, not intimidating
- Self-reliant and headstrong
- Can be highly possessive with food
- Are not recommended for first-time pet owners
- Have tons of energy
- Best suited to cold environments
- One of the oldest, and definitely the largest, sled dog breeds of the Arctic
- Descendant of the Arctic wolf (hence their wolflike appearance)
- They can have either an all-white or a white and gray, black or red coat
- Malamutes need socialization and obedience training due to their strong-willed personality
- They love to dig large holes in the dirt; while you can’t train them to stop, you can give them a designated place to dig
- They were first recognized by the AKC in 1935
- The breed’s name comes from the Mahlemiut, Inuit people who lived in northwestern Alaska.
Final Thoughts: A woman in Indonesia loves Malamutes so much she has thirteen of them
Most people wouldn’t dream of having so many dogs, but Soesanti calls them her family. Having 13 Malamutes to look after isn’t easy, of course, so she hires people to help. However, despite the challenges, not a day goes by that she isn’t thankful for her fur family. She enjoys making the dogs happy because they add so much joy to her life as well.
If you’re considering getting a malamute, make sure you have the time and willingness to care for it. They’re beautiful animals, but they need an owner with lots of energy and patience. However, in the right environment, they are an excellent pet to have around!
What do you love about the Alaskan Malamute?