Most breeders want their dogs placed in loving and responsible homes, and take great care about who buys their dogs. As a prospective buyer you should be prepared for some intensive interrogation from the breeder. Indeed, look for breeders who have as many questions as you do, this is a good indication of a good breeder.
Don't buy a puppy on impulse. Take your time and consider your investment and ability to commit yourself for the entirety of your new puppy's life, and always keep in mind that no matter how cute it is now, it is going to be a very large dog some day. A very large, stubborn, strong-willed dog, at that.
Cute puppies grow into big dogs.
Illustrated by Tana HakansonAvoid buying puppies from pet stores or 'back-yard breeders' that may amount to nothing more than a 'puppy mill'. Such breeders are using their animals to produce puppies for money only and are unlikely to have been vaccinated or vet checked, and will not come with papers.
Look for an active, sturdy puppy, with bright eyes, an intelligent expression, and a clean , plush coat, free of parasites. A friendly puppy is good, but don't choose one that's too hyperactive, nor too dull. The breeder wants to satisfy their customer as well as ensure their puppy goes to the best home, so discuss the virtues and vices of the puppies available to find your perfect match. A good breeder will give a fair account of their animals (LeKernec 1998).
Pet or Show dog:
Malamutes love to be involved.
Illustrated by Tana HakansonBreeders strive to maintain, or even improve, desirable qualities in their breed, referring always to the breeds standard of perfection.
The standard describes the ideal dog, any dog matching or resembling that description may be selected as a show quality animal. Those dogs which do not match the ideal are separated as pet quality animals. The distinction between the two grades is so fine that in most cases only an expert can tell.
Naturally, the closer to the ideal according to the breed standard a dog may be, the more expensive the animal will be to buy. Most breeders will have selected which dogs in the litter will be of what grade and price them accordingly.
When buying a puppy, consider whether or not you may want to show your Malamute in the future. It is better to weigh this possibility in advance and be prepared to pay extra than wanting to show your Malamute in later years, only to have purchased a pet quality dog.
Likewise, don't worry about perfection in your dog's appearance if you just want a pet and companion. If you are interested in one day breeding your Malamute, definitely consider a show quality animal for the sake of the breed (LeKernec 1998).
Puppy or Adult?
Many people dream of bringing a bouncy new puppy into their lives and raising it into the perfect adult pet, but doing so requires a great deal of time and effort. A new owner is, effectively, the puppy's surrogate parent, and there are demands and responsibilities inherent in caring for, and raising, a Malamute puppy into a balanced and well-behaved adult.
Malamute puppies require obedience training along with regular housebreaking, manners training, and socialisation. As any parent can attest, this is a full-time job.
Alternatively, bringing an adult Malamute into the home may skip the ordeal of training, housebreaking, and socialising - not to mention the ordeal of adolescence - but the new owner misses the dog's puppyhood, too.
Malamutes are easily integrated into new homes and readily adopt new owners, and for many this is an ideal situation. For some, the trials of raising a puppy is too much time and effort when what they want is a companion right away.
Sadly, there are all too often Malamutes in need of a new home once they've outgrown their adorable puppy years (Siino 1997).
The right owner:
Not everyone is cut out to own a Malamute. Malamutes demand they occupy prominent positions in the family pack, to play central roles in every activity, that their instincts be respected and, when appropriate, heeded. In exchange, they willingly return tenfold to the worthy owner what is given to them.
The owner of a Malamute must be prepared to tackle the obstinate, headstrong will of a Malamute, and know they can patiently overcome to remain the assertive alpha.
A Malamute owner is committed to exercise and spending time with their Malamute, incorporating them into everyday activities as well as weekend adventures.
The sensitive Malamute is uncomfortable in tense homes with frequent arguments, and the home environment should be considered for the sake of the animal.
Other concerns for the potential Malamute owner are where you live, your experience with dogs (Malamutes or otherwise), your expectations, and the rest of your family. Can you offer a lifetime commitment to a large and energetic dog that needs regular and rigorous exercise, is headstrong and challenging, and demands a prominent place in your family pack?