Alaskan Malamute

Grooming Advice

One of the oldest of the Arctic sled dogs, the Malamute has a long history dating back to the Innuit tribe of the Mahlemuts of Kotzebue Sound in northwest Alaska.

Used as a draft dog for hauling sledges for heavy arctic freighting, he is a powerful and substantially built dog with an overall appearance of strength with a proud carriage.

A good family dog, he is fond of children and makes a loyal and devoted companion.

Never the one intended for racing in speed trials, his overall silhouette on presentation in the show ring is one of strength and balance with good substance. Thus the picture we need to present in the ring in that key 3 minute window of opportunity that we get if we’re lucky!

I have written a couple of detailed articles on the Malamute grooming available on our Australian website but it has been some time since that was done. This article will outline quick and easy techniques to give you a thumbnail routine of how to make the most of your Alaskan Malamute and give him all the substance and majesty needed.

Everything I am outlining here is to make the most of the coat whether he is in coat or out of coat. I am showing you here how to get maximum lift and bulk to the coat. Seems to me everyone wants more no matter what the state of the coat and as your standard mentions a number of times the strength, bulk and substance of this breed it seems that is what presents as best. Just tone it down if you have suffi cient coat and substance and that is easy - just harder getting more bulk to the coat and this will show you how.

This coat is characterised by a dense, woolly undercoat and coarse guard hair, requiring products that do not soften the coat - it is an arctic coat after all. Firstly, use for the major part of the coat, Plush Puppy Body Building Shampoo diluted 3:1 for out of coat and 5:1 for a regular coat i.e. 5 parts water to one part shampoo etc. This shampoo does have enormous lift and bodifying effect to the coat without an artifi cial feel plus it is wonderfully good for the coat containing plant extracts & naturally sourced. Use this on the longer lengths and areas that need bulk and lift. For the white areas, use Plush Puppy Whitening Shampoo diluted 5:1 and leave for a couple of minutes and then rinse. You can for those less than pristine whites, start with Plush Puppy Deep Cleansing Shampoo diluted 3:1 and work well through the coat and leave in for 5 minutes, rinse and then follow with the Whitening Shampoo which does not lighten but works as a toning shampoo to minimise and tone unwanted warm tones in the coat. A good dose of 1 tbspn each day of Apple Cider Vinegar each day in his food, will after 6 weeks or so, start to reduce that red staining to the whites that so many seem to have. None of my dogs have reddened elbows or between the pads and they are outdoor dogs 24/7. They are all Apple Cider Vinegar dogs and have been since they were weaned.

Now to maintain hydration and elasticity to the coat without softening and to keep that nice healthy vigour to that woolly undercoat with gleam and glam to the outercoat, use as a fi nal rinse Plush Puppy Seabreeze Oil diluted - and here’s the secret - 1 tbspn to 1 gal/4 lt warm water - and saturate through the coat with a hydro bath OR a large car sponge, getting it right down to the skin. Leave in, do not rinse. Seabreeze Oil gives a great gleam to the coat and keeps that waterproof/resistant look to the coat which is the hallmark of all waterdogs or arctic breeds, without being greasy!

For extra oomph to the coat, and every one wants extra pizzazz and lift for that robust “I can do a hard days work” look to their Malamute, add 1 tbspn Plush Puppy Volumising Cream to the Seabreeze Oil and water mix. If mixing in cold weather, add the tbspn Vol Cream to 1 cup warm water and mix with a fork and then add to the Seabreeze Oil and water mix. It is always left in and not rinsed when used this way. It is not greasy, trust me - it is just magnifi cent and Seabreeze Oil, frankly, the one thing we all cannot live without. Nothing works like this. It is Evening Primrose Oil, Calendula Oil etc and the very best one can get.

For drying the Malamute, use a Master Blaster/Oldfi eld/turbo cool air type dryer and starting at the rear, dry everything up and forwards towards the head using the heel of your hand to push the coat against the growth of the hair for maximum lift as the air from the nozzle of the dryer parts the hair. Dry to 100% dry - that is a given. No short cuts on this if you want bulk and lift and magnifi cence to the coat. It’s not the ends of the coat that make the coat look full, it’s the lift at the root/skin area of the hair that determines the outline silhouette. You cannot spend enough time drying correctly. You have a show dog and one that is not to be trimmed except for neatening of the foot, so spend the time other breed owners spend on trimming, shaping etc on your drying instead!

Show day, give the legs a light freshen up with Plush Puppy Wonder Wash, rub through to thoroughly cleanse any dirt or pee stains acquired overnight and towel dry. Spritz up the body coat with a light spray of OMG Concentrate diluted 30:1, i.e. 30 parts water to one part OMG, and put into a spray bottle with a fi ne mist/actuator e.g. the 500 ml Plush Puppy Spray Bottle. This is your reworking, brushing, grooming spray for just about every occasion. It reduces static and allows the brush to glide through the coat without drag or stretching. Not called OMG for nothing! Can be used at 15:1 for dematting those “about to felt” areas - shouldn’t happen, but perhaps there are times it is needed - heaven forbid! - and it works. Now blow dry the legs and body coat quickly up and forwards using the Plush Puppy Blue Pin Brush Regular length OR Long Pin for the pants if preferred. The dog will give a good shake and the coat will settle in to the outline/silhouette. Finish off the ends of the coat with a light go over with the new Plush Puppy Soft Slicker.

The icing on the cake is the texture - how to tweak it to perfection on some of the softer results some of you end up with at times. Add just a touch of Powder Puff for Terriers/Harsh Coats to your brush and fl ick lightly through the body coat. Yes, it is a white powder but it disappears into the coat fast and without problem and leaves the most incredible texture. You can always add more, so don’t go overboard as it makes the coat really harsh very easily. It is all natural so no problems if the dog licks it, or, whatever else people worry about with products - LOL! Incredible harshness instantly and doesn’t feel foreign.

You can also use other things to tweak the outcomes too such as Plush Puppy Puffy Dog on the legs for extra bulk to that area if required or lift to the hair if sparse. Plush Puppy Coverup Cream lightly smeared onto a barely damp sponge and lightly dabbed layer upon layer, rather than smearing it on to white areas and then hit it with a cover of loose chalk or Corn Starch will add to a super white fi nish. A light spray to the topline of Plush Puppy Shine & Comb for extra shine etc etc etc. So much one can do, but refer to the detailed articles on the website for those extra situations and ideas.

Your Malamute is one hard working yet beautiful breed. He is a glamorous dog but not a frou frou dog! He should and can work that ring like no tomorrows with great transmission of muscle power into a smooth and balanced gait that is surprisingly agile. A very regal member of the Arctic spitz breeds he has weathered time to bring us a window onto a disappearing world without any sacrifi ce or quarter to his breed type and ability. A tough competitor and one to always spend the time to watch.

- Cheryl Le Court