Huskamutes, or Alaskan Huskies, are a relatively new type of snow dog, originally created from crossing Alaskan Malamutes with Siberian Huskies. Having been bred over-seas for several years, Huskamutes are now becoming more popular in the
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 which is better suited to its work, better looking or with 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); it is our 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 makes 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 retreval exercises than all the Labradors in his puppy class, and they won't do as well as the collies at obedience and heel work, but ours do do stays and downs very well (I think it's in their pack-dog nature to be quite trusting of you) and obviously 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 exercise?
I’ve heard I can’t let huskies off the lead, is this true for huskamutes?
Do they moult? 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.
Like any dog, this very much depends on the way they are brought up, but we would say absolutely yes! Their temperament actually 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 burglers with a lick and show them round the house than chase them off! Ours have been used to socialising with new people, dogs and our cat, since they were young and we’ve never had any issues.
We believe that with loving and caring owners huskamutes make excellent family pets and a dog you’ll get a lot of pleasure from.
We have published some extracts from previous forums's etc here that we hope will provide even more information and some answers to some frequently asked questions:
1. Huskamutes and Hip scores:
In response to a lot of questions we get regarding Hip scores and hereditary hip dysplasia:
Firstly the breed: Since Huskamutes don't have a breed standard yet and their aren't enough of them for us to start compiling our own statistics, we base the 'likelihood' of a huskamute having hip problems on their parental breeds. Mean, acceptable hip scores are published by the BVA for all kennel club registered breeds, these tell you two things 1) comparatively how likely it is that your dog will have bad hips (breeds with high mean numbers must have lots of dogs with big scores, i.e. bad hips) and whether or not you should breed from a dog (should have a score lower than the mean, at least). Malamutes have a score of 13 and Sibes, just 7. Both of these are very good scores given the size of these breeds, compared to other more common breeds (GSD (Mal size) = 19, Border Collie (Sibe sized) = 14 and Lab (Huskamute size) = 15. So it's fair to say that Huskamutes won't be very likely to develop Hip problems compared to other breeds.
Second: Our dogs: Our dogs have not been hip scored, only because we are not a professional breeder and (obviously) not KC registered. We have no reason to believe that our puppies are more likely than any other well bred dog to develop hip problems though as they show no symptoms of bad hips and their parents (KC Registered Mals and Sibes) were obviously scored and deemed acceptable stock.
Whilst Hip scoring - which is an old fashioned X-ray, not a PCR-based DNA test (too many genes contribute to the condition to make PCR feasible, only the more expensive Micro arraying would allow 100% DNA proof), is important it can never be 100% affective as dogs may show no physical abnormalities but still carry recessive genes that could contribute to their puppy's phenotype. Also it is always possible for a puppy to develop problems due to spontaneous mutation during development, the wrong sort/too much exercise, etc, etc.
On a whole our Huskamutes are a pretty safe bet for Hip scoring, there is no history of hip problems in the breed to date and they should stand a comparatively low chance of inheriting problems compared to dogs of a similar size and weight.
‘Janet’ commented: “Any breed creator will advise that all foundation stock be health tested for the original breeds health problems…………How can you say that there are no problems of Hips in the breed to date? Both Sibes and Malamutes have HD, to a degree and the point of it, is not to add any badly affected litters to the gene pool. Yes environmental factors can aid HD in puppyhood, but that does not mean the dog will not have it anyway, as it's parents had high hip scores……..”
Anonymous Veterinary Surgeon’ commented: “You must weigh up the pros of hip scoring. It requires a general anaesthetic, which always carries and inherent risk. And as with Humans, having an X-ray exposes you to high doses of X-ray radiation, which is not good for you, especially around the Genitalia. Obviously if a Huskamute scores below 7 then there’s no problem (mean for Siberians), but what if it scores between 7 and 13 (mean for Mals)?, does that make it acceptable breeding stock? – With no breed standard yet, it would be pure guesswork anyway, as to whether or not that dog was acceptable. My view would be probably yes (Mals have a low mean for their size & weight anyway), but we need a large cross section of the Huskamute Population to be tested before we could start assigning them mean scores, for any test to be meaningful.”
‘Doggie Welfare’ commented: “……Unfortunately there are No guarantees even if breeders go to the expense of hip x-rays and breed only those with good or excellent hips, puppies can still develop bad hips. No guarantee can be given when breeding hip dysphasia free dogs radio graphically that their offspring will not develop the disease. A dog can be hip dysphasia free on a radiograph, yet still carry the genetic predisposition to this disease that will be transmitted to its offspring. So it means nothing!! Keep up the good work and I hope people are not put off by this debate, there’s no reason to worry about dogs like these, they look happy and healthy.”
2. Getting Huskamutes to Pull bikes and Rigs:
In response to Vicky (and her Huskamute Troy)’s questions about how we exercise our huskies on our bikes:
This website is great for this sort of thing: www.culpeppers.co.uk Also, I would wait until troy's a year old before you start to do this sort of load bearing exercise.
You can get one of the dog walkie gadgets from the site’s training section that allow your dog to run along side the bike, but what you really want to do with Huskamutes (and what they really want to do) is let them pull you!.......
What we do is use harnesses (you could start of with a regular harness from any pet shop, but the husky ones on here are better). Then all you need to do is attach them to the front of your bike and hold on! There's a photo of this on our homepage; what you'll need is about 2.5m of 'gangline' you can buy this specially or use climbing rope. Securely tie one end to the handlebar post of your mountain bike and leave about 2m of rope (so
*** See the new section we added on pulling bikes - Bikejoring! ***
3. Huskamutes and the Kennel Club
In response to Janet’s comment: “I am not getting at you, but why do you think the Huskamutes will ever be a KC recognised breed?......”
Huskamutes are (in our opinion and experience - but also of others involved in this) an improvement to the class of dog and therefore comply with the KC's aims and objectives.
As a 'breed' of Snow dog they certainly have the appearance of the Sibe, but behave and have a temperament more similar to the Mal. Obviously we can't promise this (there definitely is a mix of the two characteristics), but our dogs certainly don't have many of the traits that Sibes have a reputation for (which I can't comment on for Sibes, only that our Huskamutes don't conform to this). So in terms of looks and temperament they are certainly and improvement, based on our experiences, and make a great family pet for someone who wants to own a Husky.
The other strong thing that Huskamutes have going for them is that Huskamutes are better working dogs than either of their recognized counterparts - obviously the extent to which this is true varies from dog-to-dog, but it is fair to say the following generalization: The Mal has a lot of strength but it's large frame makes if comparatively slow once the rig/sled is moving as so much energy is spent keeping those broad shoulders moving. The Sibe on the other hand is very quick and agile, but lack the strength (their reputation as being hard to train doesn't help either). Huskamutes therefore provide a feasible alternative to this dilemma. Huskamutes are more athletic than Mals, due to their slightly smaller size and the features of their frame that they inherit from their Sibe counterparts. But Huskamutes do retain the broad shoulders of the Mal, making them considerably stronger than Sibes. As I stated earlier, in our experience, they are also easier to train than sibes. As such, it is their increased ability to work, that I would hope would see the recognized as an official breed, in much the same way as Border collies in the sheepdog class, or indeed many of the closely related Gun Dog breeds.
We would hope that people that 'pay into' huskamutes do so because they decide that this sounds like the best suited breed for them and their situation, as we did (and have no regrets or doubt since). It certainly isn't the choice for someone who rates having a KC registered pedigree of the utmost importance - it'll be a heck of a long time before a Huskamute wins Crufts!!
There is always a lot of resistance and hostility towards something new in a world that is steeped in tradition and exclusive 'club' culture, but we hope this doesn't over-shadow what great dogs they can be.
Janet disagreed with the above statement pointing out that even Huskamutes wouldn’t be able to pull as heavy loads as Malamutes; that for them to be even considered we would need to breed Huskamute:Huskamute for twenty years or so and that we would need to create a breed standard from these dogs, etc.
See our ‘draft Huskamute Breed Standard’ section for more information.
‘Wolfey’ commented: “Here, here, we also own a lovely Huskymute and we don't need a rosette to know what great dogs they are!……”
To add your own testimonial please e-mail your comment to firstname.lastname@example.org, stating where your heard about us from and your name.
Warren Phillips: "I stumbled across your web page from the link you gave from the freeads, where you had your puppies advertised. It is great for you that you have found homes and a little disappointing for me that you have none left!!!! You seem like great people who love your dogs dearly; just the sort of people that I wanted to get one from. Thought I would let you know that I found your web site very informative, with some amusing photos (liked the one of your dog cuddling the cat especially) keep up the great work, it makes a difference and lets others know what they should be doing before they take getting one of these beautiful animals lightly."
Lisa Gibbons: "fabulous site. really enjoyed reading it. a refreshing change to all the "anti-huskamute" sites. we had wanted a husky for years, but werent convinced we could cope with training one. we loved the mal too, but we had convinced ourselves they were too big. we had our huskamute completely by accident. she was bred by a local breeder, and sold to a local couple. after a week they no longer wanted her. we took her on. the best decision we have ever made. foremost, she loves our three kids, and our nowegian elkhound. she seems quite fond of us too. she may be a big dog, but has the temperament of a teddy bear. i believe that buying a dog is somewhat like buying a car. we dont all have the same tastes, or the same budgets, we buy what suits us, and our family. huskamutes may not come with a pedigree, but we just want a happy healthy dog, which is what we got. good luck with the new pups. lisa and tyrone, and skye the huskamute."
Greg and the wolfster: “Just wanted to say thanks for putting up such an informative site. It's great to have some useful Huskamute-specific information as apposed to all those Sibe and Malamute sites that deny Huskamutes exist! Very refreshing and great dogs by the way!”