When it comes to adopting an Alaskan Malamute, we understand that there are benefits to buying from a reputable breeder rather than adopting from a shelter. We will always advocate for giving rescue Malamutes a home, but we do recognise that it is not always an option for those looking to take on the breed. In these situations, finding a responsible breeder is vital not only to ensure you will get a healthy Alaskan Malamute but also to prevent an overpopulation problem that ends up with more Malamutes being put into shelters. That’s why we’ve compiled a guide on how to choose the best Alaskan Malamute breeder to help you make an informed decision when the time comes.
What Makes a Good Alaskan Malamute Breeder
If you’ve decided that adopting from a breeder is the best option for your situation, then there are a few things you should look out for to make sure you’re buying them from a reputable place. Here are the criteria we use when looking for the best Alaskan Malamute breeder:
It’s a simple fact that a good Alaskan Malamute breeder will have nothing to hide. There should be no issues when it comes to communication and a good, reputable breeder will want to know as much about you and your situation as you will want to know about them.
There should be at least one meeting with the breeder and the puppies before you actually take them home, but any good breeder will allow you see the puppy as many times as you need to introduce key family members and other pets if necessary and to make sure that you are a compatible match.
Pay attention to whether your breeder is answering all of your questions and concerns clearly, and that they are not avoiding any topics.
A good breeder will also ask you several questions about yourself to ensure that their puppies will be going to a safe home. This is completely normal so try not to take any rigorous questioning as a sign that they don’t trust you. Reputable breeders genuinely care about the livelihoods of the dogs that they raise, so make sure to answer any questions openly and honestly.
Meeting the parents of the puppy
When you go to meet an Alaskan Malamute puppy for the first time at the place where they were born, a good breeder should invite you to meet the mom of the litter. Meeting the mom is very important as it will give you an indication of what the puppies will be like when they are older, both in terms of appearance and temperament. It is also a good way of meeting a fully grown Alaskan Malamute and getting an idea of their size if you have never met one previously.
The father of the litter may not be present as it is common practise for breeders to essentially ‘hire’ a male Alaskan Malamute that has desirable genes to breed with their female. If you are unable to meet the father, a reputable breeder will still be able to give you their information. This allows you to ensure the pedigree of the breed (if that’s something you’re looking for) and will give you an insight into any potential health problems that could crop up in the future.
This one is essential. Before you take home an Alaskan Malamute puppy, you should have seen and been given copies of all the necessary paperwork and certificates relating to them. This includes proof of puppy vaccinations, microchipping details, worming and flea treatments, and any other relevant health tests that may have been recommended by their vets. Do not adopt an Alaskan Malamute puppy without being given credible health records as this is a prime indicator that a breeder cares more about your money than a dog’s wellbeing.
If you are adopting an Alaskan Malamute that has been labelled as a ‘pedigree’, i.e they have a pure bloodline, your breeder should provide you with evidence of their parent’s history. This is essential if you are planning to enter your Malamute into shows and competitions as any evidence of crossbreeding could lead to them being disqualified before they even get to compete.
Pedigree dogs will usually be registered with your country’s relevant dog-related administrative body (for example the Kennel Club or AKC) and will have so-called ‘papers’ that outline their family history. A reputable breeder will never charge you to look at these papers. Please note that these papers should not be used as an indication of the puppy’s health.
The breeder’s reputation
Administrative bodies such as the Kennel Club (UK) or the AKC (USA) have programs that recognise well-informed, experienced breeders to boost their reputation over breeders that are simply in it for the money.
The AKC, for example, have the ‘Breeder of Merit’ program that highlights responsible breeders who ‘have gone above and beyond on health issues, temperament, and genetic screening as well as to the individual care and placement of puppies in responsible homes’. Using this program to find an Alaskan Malamute is the best way to ensure that your breeder genuinely cares about the puppies they are raising, and means they have gone the extra mile to breed healthy puppies that have a lower risk of developing long-term health problems.
The UK Kennel Club has a similar program where you can search for ‘assured breeders’ who have demonstrated dedication and responsibility when it comes to breeding dogs. You can use their search tool to find a registered breeder by clicking here.
What to Avoid in an Alaskan Malamute Breeder
Looking for the best Alaskan Malamute breeder also means weeding out the bad ones. It’s really important to make sure you’re not supporting irresponsible breeders as your money could lead to the unethical treatment of Alaskan Malamutes and more dogs being put into shelters without homes.
We’ve included the red flags we look out for when determining whether a breeder is trustworthy to help you to avoid supporting someone who doesn’t deserve it.
One of the biggest warning signs you should look for is the breeder trying to rush you into a deal. We often hear stories of people who have been told they need to pay by a certain day (usually only a couple of days after initial contact) or else their puppy will be sold to someone else. In the majority of cases, the prospective owners have not even had a chance to meet the Malamute puppy yet.
If your breeder is pushing you into parting with cash in exchange for a puppy, particularly if they seem uninterested in your home situation, then you should not complete the deal.
Not allowing you to meet the mom
When you go to meet an Alaskan Malamute puppy, there should be no reason for the breeder to hide the mom from you. Seeing the puppy’s mom is vital as it provides evidence for what they will grow up to be like, and it suggests they are being brought up in a healthy environment (although this isn’t always the case!).
If the breeder makes excuses for why you can’t see the mom, for example saying they are asleep, on a walk or at the vet’s, there’s a very good chance that the puppies have no contact with the mom at all. It also suggests that the puppies were actually born somewhere completely different to where you are meeting them, meaning your purchase could potentially fund an illegal puppy farm.
Arranging to exchange the puppy away from their home
If your breeder offers to deliver the Malamute puppy to your home or to exchange it in a random location such as a carpark, you should decline and look for a different breeder. This is particularly true if you have not previously met the puppy before.
Avoiding meeting at the breeder’s home (where the puppies were supposedly born) suggests that they are hiding something. In these cases there is a good chance that the puppies are unfortunately part of a puppy mill and supporting the breeder could lead to more unethical births in the future.
Trying to convince you that defects are a ‘rare’ quality (for pedigrees)
Those of you that are looking for pedigree Alaskan Malamutes in particular should be wary of breeders who claim that genetic abnormalities are a ‘rare’ feature of their particular puppy.
When we say ‘abnormalities’, we are referring to physical features of the Malamute puppy’s appearance that do not conform to the breed standard. A common example of this is breeders claiming their purebred Malamute puppies have blue eyes which is simply not possible. In fact, if you chose to buy a blue-eyed Alaskan Malamute, they will automatically be disqualified from entering any competitions as it is a clear sign that they are the result of crossbreeding.
You can read more about whether Alaskan Malamutes can have blue eyes here.
If your intentions are to adopt a Malamute for competition purchases, we highly recommend you read the breed standard to get an idea of what features you should look out for.
Finding the right Alaskan Malamute breeder is one of the most important decisions you’ll have to make as an owner. The quality of their first few months of life can impact their health and happiness so it isn’t a decision to be rushed.
Are you an Alaskan Malamute breeder? We’d love to hear from you and potentially feature you to guide people who are looking for puppies your way! You can contact us by clicking here.