Grooming the Alaskan Malamute is surprisingly easy, despite its dense, heavy coat. The coat is thick in the coarse outer guardcoat; the undercoat is dense, oily and woolly. The coarse guardcoat stands out, with thick fur around the neck. The coat is of medium length, increasing around the shoulders and the neck, down the back, over the croup and in the breeching and plume. Regular brushing is essential from puppyhood.
The Grooming Process
Equipment needed: Slicker or pin brush, wide-toothed comb, rake.
Breed tip: Brush against the lie of the coat on a regular basis.
- This coat often benefits from a protein coat conditioner to aid grooming and to help protect the hair from breaking.
- Brush with a slicker to remove dead hair.
- Comb with a molting comb to remove any loose undercoat.
- Bathe the dog in a good quality shampoo. Many breeders recommend a pH-alkaline shampoo when bathing is undertaken. It is not a breed that is frequently bathed, but Alaskan Malamutes do look stunning after such ablution. Certainly, a warm bath helps to lift the coat during shedding.
- Dry with a power dryer to blow out any excess water after toweling to speed up drying time.
- Finish with a blower, brushing the coat with a pin brush, being careful not to dry out the coat. Or allow the coat to dry in warm air.
- Remember to check the dog’s nails, ears and teeth.
- With pet dogs, you might want to neaten the hair on the back of the pastern with small scissors or thinners, but show dogs should be left natural.
This coat should never be long and this means it doesn’t normally mat. And, like many of the Spitz breeds, the Malamute’s coat doesn’t smell. A daily brush against the lie of the coat is basically all that is needed and bathing isn’t required on a regular basis. Brushing the coat against the lie helps for the off standing requirement of the breed standard.
At the time of molting, more attention will be required. There is a difference between males and bitches at this time. Males tend to have one molt heavier than the other, whereas the bitches have two roughly equal molts. This molting has been described as being like a mattress coming unstuffed and also as resembling an exploding thistle.
Raking or combing at this time is required every day or every other day to remove the dense, oily, woolly undercoat as quickly as possible to allow the new coat to come through. It is particularly important to get the dead hair out of the feathering and the tail to prevent matting. A pin or slicker brush is used, as is a medium- to fine-toothed comb, and simple hand-plucking is also effective.
When the Alaskan Malamute is being shown, it is better to bathe it at least two days before a show to aIlow the coat to regain its desired texture and oiliness. Chalk is sometimes used to harshen the coat but all traces must be removed before the dog enters the ring.
Get more useful tips on how to groom your Alaskan Malamute at home