Huskamutes, or Alaskan Huskies, are a relatively new type of snow dog, created from crossing Alaskan Malamutes with Siberian Huskies.
Having been bred over-seas for several years, Huskamutes are now becoming more popular in the UK.
The Huskamutes popularity stems from their good looks and gentle temperament that results from the combination of these breeds. Huskamutes are larger than their Siberian husky counterparts (somewhere between the size of a border collie and German shepherd) and have very strong Malamute markings, whilst retaining the ice blue eyes of the Siberian Husky. Ours have the same gentle and loving temperament of the Malamutes, making them ideal family pets. Huskamutes are also good working dogs as the combination of the Malamutes strength and stamina and the Siberian’s speed and agility make them great sled dogs.
Unfortunately, Huskamutes are still not a registered ‘pure-breed’ and as such can’t be Kennel Club registered. With all due respect to the Kennel Club and the excellent work they do, there is little difference between a ‘pure-breed’ and a ‘cross-breed’ and recognition is decided by a small group of people, many of whom describe Huskamutes in a derogatory way, often disregarding them as ‘mongrels’. All ‘pedigree’ breeds of dog have, at some point in their history, been created from crossing different breeds of dog to obtain a dog that is better suited to its work, better looking, or with a better temperament. Since, in our opinion, Huskamutes meet all three of these criteria and therefore comply with the primary objective of the Kennel Club (to promote the general improvement of dogs); we hope that they will one day be added to the ‘official’ list of snow dog breeds.
Living with Huskamutes:
We’ve found that Huskamutes make great family pets; they have gentle temperaments and their intelligence makes them quick to learn. The following points are worth knowing:
How easy is it to train Husakamutes? Huskamutes are reportedly easier to train then Siberian Huskies, their intelligence and eagerness to please certainly make them very trainable. However, due to their ‘pack-dog’ origins, they can be stubborn from time-to-time (as seems to be the case with most sled dogs). We would, therefore, recommend attending regular puppy/dog classes from as young as possible – this certainly works well for us and was very enjoyable for both us and the dogs. Don’t panic though – they might not be the ideal 1st dog, but anyone with experience in owning other breeds such as collies, German shepherds, spaniels, etc. will be just fine. Remember different dogs are good at different things; don’t expect your Huskamute to be better at retrieval exercises than all the Labradors in his puppy class, and they won’t do as well as the collies at obedience and heelwork, but ours do stays and downs very well (I think it’s in their pack-dog nature to be quite trusting of you) and, if you convince your puppy class to do a sled pulling or tug-of-war exercise, you’ll have the best dog in the class by miles!!!
Do they need a lot of exercises? Yes, but not significantly more than other dogs of their size. We find that 30-60minutes walk a day is fine with a long walk or two on the weekends. Like all types of husky, Huskamutes love to run; we have harnesses for ours that allow them to pull us through the forest on mountain bikes. Other people get involved in Cani-cross (cross country running with your dog) or even join a British husky team (there are surprisingly many around), but as long as they get a good amount of exercise and stimulation they’ll be great. They tend to let you know if they’re not exercised enough, normally by digging up your plants or ‘unmaking’ your bed!
I’ve heard I can’t let huskies off the lead, is this true for Huskamutes?
This is a contentious issue. In theory, any dog should be OK off the lead if it is well trained to recall. It is probably true that the snow dogs love of running and a high degree of ‘chase’ make them potentially less likely to recall well, but it very much depends on the dog and the situation; ours would be fine in an enclosed area or well-fenced footpath, but we choose not to let them off in the New Forest because there are no fences or boundaries and they have a tendency to chase deer, of which there are many!
Do they molt? Yes. Once or twice a year – normally coinciding with changes in the weather. However, in our experience, it’s all over in a couple of weeks and regular brushing helps remove their thick undercoat without letting if spread throughout the house.
Do Huskamutes get on with strangers, children, or other pets?
Like any dog, this very much depends on the way they are brought up, but we would say absolutely yes! Their temperament makes them very friendly to anyone that they meet – part of sled dog tradition is the breeds are bred to get on with and work with, any human the meet, so they are not one-man dogs; they will love everyone, to the extent that they’d sooner greet burglars with a lick and show them around the house than chase them off! Ours have been used to socializing with new people, dogs, and our cat, since they were young and we’ve never had any issues – we hope this picture illustrates that (and no, it wasn’t posed – they were lying like this when we walked in the room)!