We all know the Alaskan Malamute for the graceful arctic breed it is, but the origins of the Australian Shepherd are shrouded in mystery. So when you mix those two distinct breeds, what do you get?
The Alaskan Malamute Australian Shepherd mix is a unique designer dog since it inherits some admirable qualities from both its parents. It has a well-proportioned body and an outgoing personality. It’s loyal, affectionate, and independent at the same time. This new breed loves the outdoors more than staying at home. But even at home, it’s still the soul of the party.
However, there’s still a lot we don’t know about this Australian Shepherd. So mixing an energetic dog such as the Alaskan Malamute with a herding dog who’s not afraid of heights like the Australian Shepherd can produce unexpected results. In this article, we try to solve this enigma and shed more light on this wonderful mix of a dog.
Physical Characteristics (Size and Physical Look)
But first things first. What does the new designer dog look like? Looks are important in dogs as much as personality. Since both the purebred parents are working dogs, you can expect their spawn to have some formidable physical qualities that combine looks and strength at the same time.
While one parent was a hunting prey in the arctic region, the Australian Shepherd was protecting herds in North America for centuries. It’s not clear where the Australian part of the name got tagged to this breed. One theory is that the dog got the name of the sheep it was herding.
Whatever the reason, one thing is for sure, the Alaskan Malamute Australian Shepherd mix is a medium to large dog with strength and a muscular body being its most outstanding features.
The designer dog rises to anything between 20 and 26 inches at the shoulders and weighs between 70 and 100 pounds after reaching adulthood. This is one large dog by all measures. It has a thick coat with long hair to keep it warm during the chilly months. In general, the new hybrid takes after the Alaskan Malamute than the Australian Shepherd especially in the face area and general appearance.
On average the Australian Shepherd tends to live longer than the Alaskan Malamute. It’s not clear why, since both breeds enjoy amazing physique and are not known to develop serious health conditions as other breeds of the species.
The Australian Shepherd lives anything between 13 to15 years in human years while the Alaskan Malamute rarely makes it beyond its 12th birthday. So would the Alaskan Malamute Australian Shepherd mix follow the steps of its herding parent as far as age is concerned? That is quite debatable.
With all other conditions equal, the longest an Alaskan Malamute Australian Shepherd mix has lived was 13 years. That’s about 2 years shy of the Australian side of the family. That said, the dog’s lifespan is a complex conundrum and both its health and dietary needs play a major part not just in how long the dog lives, but the quality of that life as well.
As soon as you mention a thick coat and long fur, you can almost certainly see with your mind’s eye the clumps of hair lying around and greeting you in the morning. While shedding is a common problem with this hybrid breed, it’s not the only problem that tags along with a dog with a full hide.
For an energetic dog, to have a thick coat means two things: it will sweat a lot during the warm days, and it will get knotted. You would have to run a brush through its fur to untangle the knots and smoothen the kinks. As for bathing, you can do it as needed. It’s not an absolute necessity unless the dog becomes really filthy and smelly.
Dental hygiene is a must here. Dental problems are common and rotten teeth and gum diseases are not pleasant. So brush those teeth and scrub those gums 3 times a week. As for nail care, that goes without saying and you’d go about it as you would with any other breed. Have a peek inside its ears for wax pileup every now and then.
Between the arctic hunter and the mountain herder, you certainly got your hands full with a hybrid dog that has a famous independence streak. It’s true the working dog side represented by the Australian Shepherd mollifies this stubborn temperament somewhat, you still need to have a lot of experience with designer dogs to make it work with this one.
This means that if you’re an absolute beginner, you might need to go with a purebred so that you won’t feel overwhelmed. We’ll talk more about that later. But that doesn’t mean that this a quirky dog in any way. Far from it. It’s a sweet and sociable dog that enjoys a cuddle and companionship as much as the next canine.
This, after all, is a calm, confident, intelligent, and super sensitive dog that thrives on love and attention as much as it enjoys outdoor activities and the occasional hike in the woods. Speaking of which, it’s time we elaborated on its exercise needs.
Right out of the gate, if you don’t like to get your body moving, then you’ve picked the wrong breed for you. Both parents of this hybrid are outdoorsy dogs that enjoy a high-octane life. Whether chasing arctic hares or fending off wolves, the purebred parents are energetic dogs that are used to the rush of adrenaline.
The Alaskan Malamute Australian Shepherd mix needs its exercise as much as it needs food and company. If you skip its daily walk it will sulk, or worse, throw a fit. It needs to let out steam and burn out calories and keeping it inside won’t help it achieve these goals. If you don’t have a yard or can’t take it to the park as often as it wants, things won’t work out between you two.
Games this dog loves include fetch, frisbee toss, the odd swim in the pool, and long hikes. It’s a friendly dog so it won’t give other people or dogs it meets any trouble. You still need to keep it on a leash though because it’s known to love to wander especially when its predator genes kick in.
While the Alaskan Malamutes and the Australian Shepherds are both healthy breeds thanks to their energetic lifestyle and natural tendency to burn more calories than they store, this active life can have its downside as well. One of the common problems that large outdoorsy dogs suffer from is hip dysplasia.
The hybrid dog might develop this problem as it gets to an advanced age. It will prevent it from enjoying the life it’s used to where running and jumping are a way of life. Another problem is the eye conditions. Cataracts and glaucoma are common among the parents so it’s only natural that you’d expect the hybrid offspring to inherit it as well.
Epilepsy is one health condition you need to watch out for. Your Alaskan Malamute Australian Shepherd mix might get it from one of its purebred parents. Be wary of the symptoms and make sure to take the dog to the vet for immediate attention.
Both parents of the Alaskan Malamute Australian Shepherd mix are used to natural food. Fish and game are on the menu. So if you’re going to get it dog food, you’ll need to be picky. Premium food is not just a matter of taste here, but a necessity.
As large dogs that spend ours on the move, these canines need nutrient-packed food. You also need to inject supplements such as fish oil in their diet to keep them healthy. How much to feed them depends on their lifestyle and age.
Puppies would eat as often as they like, so you need to keep food in their bowl all day. Once they become adults around 9 months, you need to ration their food. Three full meals a day are the norm. Give them nutritious treats and watch for their sugar and carbohydrate intake as they tend to get obese.
Are Alaskan Malamute Australian Shepherd Mixes Protective?
Despite their independent streak and predatory genes, the Alaskan Malamute Australian Shepherd mixes are not as territorial as you might expect or fear. The Australian Shepherd side tends to give the hybrid a moderate and welcoming temperament.
It’s a large dog with an instinctive desire to protect those it considers family. Needless to say that its visible strength and muscular body would scare off other animals of lesser disposition. So while it won’t get into fights that often, you would need to still keep it on a leash when you take it out for a walk.
At home, the Alaskan Malamute Australian Shepherd mix will fight off intruders successfully and drawing from its sheep herding heritage it has a few tricks up its proverbial sleeve when it comes to protecting your home against intruders be they humans or wild animals.
How Much Does an Alaskan Malamute Australian Shepherd Mix Cost?
This is a designer dog that costs a considerable sum both to purchase it as well as keep it. A puppy from a certified breeder can set you back anything from $600 to $800. Make sure you get a look at the family tree of the puppy. This gives you an idea of its health and the genes that play a major part in its life.
Food is the main part that will drain your resources. As with all large dogs, this one needs good quality food, read expensive, and it needs a lot of it. Expect to fork out about $600 a year on food and treats. Toys and accessories will also cost you but not as much as food and supplements.
Is an Alaskan Malamute Australian Shepherd Mix Right for Me?
The right answer for that question has more to do about you than the Alaskan Malamute Australian Shepherd mix itself. We already know what the dog is all about. It’s energetic, outgoing, a little independent, and has a mind of its own sometimes.
So how about you? Can you deal with that lively and muscular dog and all its needs? It’s not for a couch potato and it doesn’t compromise with what it considers to be its right in life. This includes good food, plenty of activities, and a companion willing to spend a good deal of the day grooming and caring for its needs.
Money and costs aside, you will need to invest time and emotions to make it work with this hybrid dog. If you have no prior experience with designer dogs, especially ones with high demands, you’ll have trouble keeping the dog happy.
Best Climate for an Alaskan Malamute Australian Shepherd Mix
While the Australian Shepherd is used to cool to moderate climates, the Alaskan Malamute is a strictly arctic dog that enjoys freezing wind as much as a polar bear does. So how about the hybrid canine? It’s fair to say that it leans more toward cold weather than hot and sunny climates.
The thick coat and flowing fur protect the dog from the cold temperature that would send less endowed breeds to find shelter. And while it can tolerate warm conditions, it absolutely draws the line at hot or sweltering summer months. If you live in the South, for example, you’d need to keep the dog indoors where the air conditioner is blasting the room at all hours.
If you have to leave the Alaskan Malamute Australian Shepherd mix outside where the sun is burning everything it touches, make sure it has plenty of shade and its water bowl is full to the brim. Its thick coat will protect it against the heat as much as it does against cold weather.
The Attention an Alaskan Malamute Australian Shepherd Mix Needs
With a dog this size and double genes of sociability, you can expect a lot of demand for attention and love. Don’t be fooled by its age and bulkiness, the Alaskan Malamute Australian Shepherd mix remains a puppy at heart to the very end.
At any time and without warning it will jump at you and expect you to catch it in your arms and cuddle it like the puppy it still thinks it is. It doesn’t matter it’s weighing around 90 pounds and will knock you off your feet if you’re not looking.
In the same vein, don’t leave this hybrid alone for long hours. It craves the company and gets bored being on its own. So if you can’t be there, make sure it has another companion.
Compatibility with Kids
Both kids and the Alaskan Malamute Australian Shepherd mix get along just fine. This is a dog that comes from a breed known for its patience. The Australian Shepherd has been dealing with stubborn and unruly sheep for ages, so surely its descendent can deal with a bunch of kids.
It has a high tolerance for the kind of antics an inquisitive child is up to. And thanks to its large size and protective coat, it will indulge in a bit of rough play without looking too much worse for the wear. It’s a good companion with kids of all ages especially those with high energy levels that can keep up with it.
Compatibility with Other Animals
As a sociable animal that prefers the company of others over its own, the Alaskan Malamute Australian Shepherd mix gets famously well with other animals in the house and even those that live a few doors down the road.
Animals big and small are welcome in its social circle of friends. It can handle the mean cat as well as the gullible hamster and make friends wherever it goes.
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