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ALASKAN MALAMUTE ALASKAN MALAMUTE SEMINAR SEMINAR by Lisa Piccolo by Lisa Piccolo Al Qantarah’s Kennel Al Qantarah’s Kennel Start Start

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  • ALASKAN MALAMUTE SEMINARby Lisa PiccoloAl Qantarahs KennelStart

  • Alaskan Malamute History The Origins and The Golden Rush

    The name Alaskan Malamute derives from an Inuit tribe known as Malemutes, or Mahlemuts, who once lived in an area close to the Kotzebue Sound on the north-western coast of Alaska. The Mahlemuts were hunters and fishers; they were nomadic tribes, whose seasonal migrations depended on the work of their dogs - the forefathers of todays Alaskan Malamutes.Thanks to their exceedingly dense fur and thick footpads, the Mahlemuts dogs were able to stand the harsh climate of Alaska and cover long distances on ice in spite of extremely low temperatures.Like nowadays domestic Alaskan Malamutes, those dogs depended on their owners for food. Dogs were essential for survival and the Mahlemuts established a relation with their dogs based on mutual independence and respect.In 1896 gold was discovered in Klondike and people from all over the world arrived in Alaska. The flourishing activity of gold mining in remote areas of Alaska gave origin to an unprecedented demand for dog teams, necessary for sledge hauling and to supply the numerous workers from all parts of the world with water, food, mail and equipment. In 1908 a man called Jackson B. Corbett, Jr. wrote: "They are hereditary workers, their ancestors for hundreds of years back having toiled along the frozen trails of Alaska and the British Yukon in Indian and Eskimo teams... They are 'wise' in the slang meaning of the word, it being a common saying that... a Malamute is the most cheerful worker and the nost obstinate shirk; intelligent or dense, but always cunning, rafty, and wise; stealing anything not tied down...He makes an exceptionally strong and reliable leader, in that place displaying the cunning wisdom and trickery that characterize the breed. No smoother or smarter leader exists. No other can make life so miserable for an inexperienced or cruel musher".MENU

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  • Eva Brunelle Seeley, nicknamed "Short" for her height, is often considered "the mother of the Alaskan Malamute". Mrs. Eva Seeley has been equally influential for the development and recognition of the Siberian Husky, and perhaps that's why she is considered as a giant (in spite of her height) in the field of Northern Breeds in general and of sled dogs in particular. Born in Worchester, Massachussetts, 19??, she developed an interest in sled dogs through her friendship with Arthur T. Walden, a famous explorer, writer, breeder and musher. In 1923, when she was commissioned to organize a winter carnival in her town, Worchester, Eva Seeley asked Arthur Walden to give a sleddog demonstration as the main attraction of the feast. Walden agreed and during the carnival Eva Seeley had an opportunity to lead a team herself. This experience was so exciting that Eva's course of life would utterly change. In 1924 Eva Seeley (then Brunelle) and Milton Seeley got married and spent their honeymoon at Arthur Walden's inn. The friendship between Walden and the Seeleys went on and a few years later, when Walden was preparing an expedition to Antarctica with Admiral Richard Byrd, he convinced the Seeleys to run his Chinook kennel at Wonalancet, New Hampshire, during his absence. The Seeleys agreed and the couple dedicated themselves to the world of sled dogs with increasing passion. Eva "Short" Seeley soon became a skilled musher and trainer of a sleddog team of her own. During Byrd's expedition, the Great Depression struck America and the financial situation was so bad that Arthur Walden's wife, Kate, had no other choice but sell the Chinook dogs to the Seeleys. Thus, all the dogs Walden had set off with on his expedition and the name of the "Chinook" kennel passed to the Seeleys. To escape the Great Depression, the Seeleys took part in trade activities. They moved the Chinook kennel to a land of 200 acres and started to advertise their dogs as Dogtown Village, proposing sleddog laps to tourists and capitalizing the profits in polar expeditions. During the arrangements for Admiral Byrd's expedition to Antarctica, a good number of dogs had been brought to the Chinook kennels to be trained and selected. Chinook sixteen dogs were not enough for the expedition, so more dogs were acquired from Labrador and Alaska. Among the arrivals was a big male with a thick wolf grey coat and a beautiful tail like a plume. His name was Rowdy Of Nome and he had been brought by "Scotty Allen", a famous sleddog musher. Allen had bought Rowdy Of Nome in Alaska and, enthusiastic about the gentle nature of the dog, he kept Rowdy with himself. He told Eva Seeley that, in his opinion, Rowdy was the ideal representative of Alaskan sled dogs. Eva Seeley was captivated by Rowdy's beauty: he was very different from the dogs she had seen so far. Rowdy was bigger than a Siberian Husky, he weighed about 80 pounds, while he looked just like a wolf, but had a very sweet disposition. Eva Seeley and The Kotzebues strain


  • When Byrd's Expedition left, Eva Seeley began to search for more specimens of that kind of bigger sled dogs and in Elizabeth Ricker's kennels, called Poland Springs, in Maine, she met a dog called Yukon Jad, who had been imported from Yukon to Canada. Leonhard Seppala was breeding Siberian Huskies at Mrs. Ricker's kennels. He was more interested in smaller sled dogs, who were more suited for racing. It was Seppala who gave the Seeleys Yukon Jad, who had become famous after the 1925 heroic serum run to Nome. Like Rowdy Of Nome, Jad was a big, strong dog of a wolf grey colour, his ears were straight and his tail was carried over his back like a plume. The Seeleys found a suitable mate for Yukon Jad called Bessie, who had been given them by Walden. Bessie's ancestors were unknown, even though Eva Seeley once referred to her as an Groenlanded dog ("Kit Kirby's Interview to Eva Seeley", Alaskan Malamute Annual, 1981). According to Eva Seeley, Bessie had a rougher coat than a Siberian Husky and he had a "wide head, erect ears and an excellent racket snow foot" ("Kit Kirby's Interview to Eva Seeley", Alaskan Malamute Annual, 1981). Bessie was crossed with Yukon Jad and on the first days of 1929 Seeley's first litter of Alaskan Malamutes was whelped - four remarkably similar puppies. They were called Tugg Of Yukon, Gripp Of Yukon, Finn Of Yukon and Kearsarge Of Yukon. The Seeleys soon developed a uniform strain of dogs. This was accomplished thanks to accurate interbreeding and by choosing dogs of similar looks only. In order to preserve the original function of the breed, i.e. work dogs, the Seeleys used specimens that had taken part in the various expeditions and whose skills had been ascertained. Eva Seeley turned to the American Kennel Club (AKC) to have her dogs officially recognized. The AKC would accord recognition provisionally. There must be the necessary conditions: a number of dogs of sufficient quality and uniform features were to be shown in mixed class till it was possible to have such a number of them as to grant the continuity of the breed. Seeley and the other breeders of northern breeds agreed to the condition and began showing Alaskan Malamutes, Siberian Huskies and Samoyeds in some of the most prestigious shows of the country. In 1935 the registration of the Alaskan Malamutes with at least two generations in their pedigrees was started and Rowdy of Nome was the first Malamute to be registered. Registration was granted even to dogs with unknown ancestors, provided they got points in conformation shows. Shows, anyway, were not Eva Seeley's priority. Her breeding program was mainly based on the selection of work dogs for expeditions. In fact she was carrying out two kinds of selection at the same time, one to produce work dogs, including crossbred dogs, the other to develop the Alaskan Malamute pure breed. After a few years, the Seeleys decided to adopt the name "Kotzebue" for their kennels. The original name "Chinook" was not abandoned, though, and it was used as a suffix, for example in the case of Kotzebue Panuck Of Chinook.MENU

  • Every Alaskan Malamute that was registered before 1950 was a Kotzebue, or a descendant of the Kotzebues. During this period, however, a lot of other dogs, not registered at the AKC, were defined Alaskan Malamutes by their owners and breeders. Roughly at the same time, while the Seeleys were acquiring dogs for their kennel of Alaskan Malamutes in New Hampshire, a man called Paul Voelker was similarly operating for his kennel in Marquette, Michigan, known as M.Loot Kennels. Together with the Kotzebues, the M'Loots and the Hinman-Irwin dogs are the basis and the foundation of the breed. When the Alaskan Malamute Club of America (AMCA) became a member of the AKC in 1953, Eva Seeley became its first president. She was officially bestowed the title of AKC judge. Her merits are many; she was the owner and breeder of the first Malamute to become an AKC champion (Gripp Of Yukon, in 1936), as well as the owner of the first Alaskan Malamute to be registered (Rowdy Of Nome). Eva "Short" Seeley became famous also for the demonstration given with her sled dogs at the Olimpic Games of Lake Placid in 1932, an event that helped to promote the popularity of Alaskan Malamutes and other sled dogs. When Eva Seeleys died in 1985, Carol Williams, who had been collaborating with her for years, took over the Kotzebue line. Her dogs are pure Kotzebues and have Heritage and Chinook as their kennel name, as in the case of Heritage's Kotzebue Dakota. The other kennels that bred or are breeding pure Kotzebues are Sno-Pak, of Arthur e Natalie Hodgen, and Tigara, founded by D.C. and Dorothy Dillingham, now owned by Samuel Walden (Arthur Walden's nephew). The mingling of Kotzebues, M'Loots, Hinman-Irwins e Husky Paks, the selection that has been mostly successful, is going on today and has dimmed the differences among the original strains; Eva Seeley's legacy, however, shall be remembered forever. Thanks to her dedication, the Alaskan Malamute was officially recognized as a breed and successfully presented at shows. Yet, Eva B. Seeley's most relevant contribution to the development of the breed perhaps lies elsewhere, that is, in her love for sled racing. As a breeder, as well as a professional musher of sled dogs, she offered all modern breeders a standard and a model, showing how the best show dogs are also skilful workers on a trailMENU

  • Some KotzebuesMENU

  • Paul Voelker and The MLoots strain

    In the twenties, just while the Seeleys were acquiring dogs for their kennel of Alaskan Malamutes in New Hampshire, a man called Paul Voelker was similarly operating for his kennel in Marquette, Michigan, known as MLoot kennel. Voelker had spent most of his life breeding and training dogs and had become familiar with a good number of breeds. Now he was looking for something different, so he began to breed a new kind of dog, which he called Malamute. The Malamutes of MLoot kennel had different origins: some dogs had been purchased in Alaska, some from the Army in Montana, others from Mackenzie River Huskies in Minnesota and two bitches came from a litter of an all white Canadian Eskimo Dog. In a kennel brochure Voelker writes that his foundation dogs, both males and females, came from the film industry in California (Barbara A. Brooks and Sherry E. Wallis, "Alaskan Malamute - Yesterday and Today").Owing to their different origins, the MLoot Malamutes were not so uniform as the Kotzebues. While the Seeleys Kotzebue strain included only dogs of grey and white colour, the colours of the MLoots varied from black and white to silver grey and white. The MLoots were also heavier and taller than the Kotzebues. Like the Kotzebues, however, Paul Voelkers MLoots had a thick straight coat, a bushy tail carried over their back like a plume and straight ears.Just like Eva Seeley, Paul Voelker was a skilful sleddog driver and his MLoots were excellent work dogs and received many an official recognition for their performances. Unlike Eva Seeley, Paul Voelker didnt breed only excellent sleddog subjects. MLoots were mainly publicized as excellent companion dogs, ideal for whoever was looking for a dog which was so beautiful and eye-catching as to make people stop in the street (ibidem). Paul Voelkers MLoots became popular thanks to his kennel advertisements and lots of dogs were sold to lots of houses all over North America. As Voelker said: The best examples of the greatest breed have become perfect company dogs for the families in different places from the north in Alaska to the states exposed to the sun in Florida, California and in New Mexico in the south. MLoot dogs were not bred only by Paul Voelker, but also by other breeders, who used them as the foundations of their breeding programs. Other MLoot dogs soon became influential: Gentleman Jim, who became famous for his service in World War II, Silver King and Silver Girl, and a dog called Mikiuk, bred by Paul Voelker and owned by Raplh and Schmitt of Silver Sled Kennels in Wisconsin. Mikiuk was crossed with a bitch called Noma; this combination bred two important champions, Ch. Mulpus Brook's Master Otter (the first Alaskan Malamute to come out on top in show groups) and Ch. Ooloo M'Loot (the first bitch to get a champion title in the history of the breed). Both of them were owned by Silver Sled.Another important combination was between a dog called Nanook and Ch. Ooloo M'Loot. Two puppies were whelped by this mating: Ch. Nanook II and Ch. Gyana. The descendants of these first MLoots became later the foundation dogs for many a kennel and are the ancestors of lots of todays MalamutesIn 19?? the American Kennel Club reopened the Alaskan Malamute breed to registration. This decision delighted the owners of MLoot and Hinman-Irwing dogs. They had been possessing dogs that were not officially recognized as Alaskan Malamutes.MENU

  • Eva Seeleys followers and the Kotzebues fans, instead, strongly objected to the decision. In their opinion only Kotzebues were really representative of the breed. In order to be AKC registered, the owners of the new Alaskan Malamutes were to show their dogs till they reached 10 points. Strangely enough, no dog personally owned by Paul Voelker, Dick Hinman or Dave Hinman was ever registered. In all cases, many of the breeders that had based their breeding programs on MLoots and many owners that had bought their original strain dogs managed to have their Malamutes registered. After 1950, most Malamutes had evolved thanks to the mingling of Kotzebues, M'Loots and a little Hinman-Irwin. Some breeders, however, kept crossing pure MLoots only. Among these was the Canadian breeder Lorna Jackson, owner of Lorn Hall kennel. Lorna bought her first dogs directly from Paul Voelker, and one of these, Oogorook M'Loot, was the first Alaskan Malamute to become a Canadian Champion. Oogorook has also been the first all white Alaskan Malamute that became a champion in the history of the breed. Another breeder that went on breeding pure MLoots was Jean Lane, owner of Mulpus Brook kennels. Like Eva Seeley, Jean Lane practised sleddog and bred Alaskan Malamutes and Siberian Huskies. Her Malamute breeding program produced Ch. Mulpus Brooks The Bear, purchased from Bill and Lois Dawsons of Kobuk kennel. Bear was the first Malamute to win first prize in the show group (B.O.G.) in 1954. He was also the sire of Kobuk's Dark Beauty, a black and white bitch owned by Mr. and Mrs. Rifkind, from Kodara kennel. Kobuk's Dark Beauty is one of the most important dams in the history of the breed, and she bred Ch. Sno-Crest's Mukluk, the first Alaskan Malamute to win a Best in Show in America.In 19?? AKC suddenly decided to close breed registration again. A lot of MLoot owners who hadnt yet shown and registered their dogs were bitterly surprised. To achieve greater cooperation with AKC and more influence in important decisions, the Alaskan Malamute Club of America (AMCA) began operating in order to become an AKC member. This purpose was achieved in 1953, when AMCA received a letter from AKC, which informed that AMCA had been officially accepted as a member. After that, Kotzebue and MLoot breeders strove to get round their differences, and the evolution of the breed gradually moved toward the final fusion of the two strains. Although she had strongly objected to MLoot dogs for years, at a certain point even Eva Seeley took an interest in what this strain could offer and agreed to cross Ch. Chinook Of Kotzebue with Ch. Tuyah Of Silver Sled, an MLoot bitch owned by Delta Wilson Smith. In 1960 a new breed standard was adopted for the Malamutes, because of the increasing number of MLoot dogs which had remarkably influenced their aspect.MLoots were much bigger than Kotzebues, therefore the breeders that mainly used the MLoot strain urged to increase height and weight limits (the first breed standard had been based on Gripp Of Yukon, one of Seeleys dogs). Nevertheless, several Kotzebue breeders had different opinions, and the question was eventually settled by means of a compromise: the present standard is the outcome of that compromise.MENU

  • Some MLootMENU

  • Differently from the Kotzebues and MLoots, the Hinman-Irwin dogs are often defined as the third strain. Some influential people, above all Robert Zoller, coined the definition, as there were too few of them to be recognized as a proper strain (Barbara A. Brooks and Sherry E. Wallis, "Alaskan Malamute - Yesterday and Today"). Nevertheless, the Hinman-Irwin dogs contribution to the history of the breed is remarkable. Their ancestors, Igloo and Lynx, were imported in New Hampshire from the area of Baker Lake in Canada by a man called Dave Irwin. From the mating of Igloo and Lynx came a dog called Irwin's Gemo (also known as Erwin, Gimo o Chimo). Gemo was brought to Craig Burts Ranch in Vermont, where the dog worked as a teamdog. Whenever Dick Hinman (who was a barber) had the opportunity, he would go to the ranch to drive the sleddog team, and Gemo was used by Dick Hinman for reproduction, too. The Hinman-Irwin dogs, however, would never have become a part of the official history of the Alaskan Malamute, hadnt it been for a man called Robert Zoller. Robert Zoller (or rather, Bob Zoller) had served as a navy officer in World War II and, while on service in Newfoundland, he was deeply impressed by an Alaskan Malamute he met there. When the war was over, Zoller decided to contact a few breeders so as to see this magnificent breed again. He was first addressed to the Seeleys Chinook kennel, which was at the time run by a man called Dick Moulton. Zoller saw the Kotzebue Malamutes, but he found them a bit too small. So Moulton suggested that Zoller should go and see Dick Hinmans dogs, which were probably more similar to what Zoller had on his mind. Zoller went to see the Hinman/Irwin dogs, and from that time on they were involved in a remarkable breeding program and became a part of the history of the Alaskan Malamute. When Bob Zoller went to see Dick Hinman, Hinman was working and was busy, so he sent Zoller to his kennel to see the dogs. There Zoller saw two specimens he described as the two most impressive Malamutes he had ever seen in his life. The two dogs were Hinman's Alaska and the sire Irwin's Gemo. Zoller, who had met both the Seeleys Kotzebues and Voelkers MLoots, thought that these Hinman-Irwin dogs were better than any other dog he had seen before. He decided to purchase a puppy from the litter Dick Hinman had currently available. The sire was Hinman's Alaska. The puppy, Kayak Of Brookside, was later crossed by Robert Zoller with Ch. Artic Storm Of Husky-Pak (Zoller decided to call his kennel Husky-Pak) and from this mating Buccaneer, Black Hawk and Banshee were whelped. They all became champions. Zoller thought he was lucky he had met the Hinman-Irwin dogs; they offered additional quality to his breeding program. Thanks to the Husky-Pak Alaskan Malamutes, the Hinman/Irwin dogs became very popular among other breeders and effectively contributed to the evolution of the Alaskan Malamute. Hinman-Irwin (third strain)


  • Some Hinman/IrwinMENU

  • Robert Zoller (or rather, Bob Zoller) had served as a navy officer during World War II and, while he was in Newfoundland, he met an Alaskan Malamute that greatly impressed him for his bold attitude and powerful build, but also for his gentle expression. When the war finished, Zoller decided to contact a few breeders in order to see this splendid breed again. When he turned to AKC to collect information about this breed kennels, Robert Zoller was addressed to Chinook kennel, owned by the Seeleys. At that time Eva Seeley was ill and she had entrusted the provisional management of the kennel to a man called Dick Moulton. Zoller admired the Kotzebue Malamutes, characterized by strong uniformity, good posteriors, fine heads, muzzles and ears. However, Zoller thought that Chinook Malamutes were a bit too small and that some of them had bad front legs. Bob Zoller also saw Paul Voelkers MLoots, which he found very different from the Chinook Kotzebues. In Zollers opinion, the MLoots were actually much bigger than the Kotzebues, they had good front legs, but lacked angulations and their long moving legs suggested a sort of stilted gait. After visiting Chinook kennel, Zoller was advised by Moulton to go and see a man called Dick Hinman, who was also a beeder of Alaskan Malamutes. Zoller followed Moultons advice and in Dick Hinmans kennel he met the two most beautiful Malamutes he had ever seen: Hinman's Alaska and Irwin's Gemo. To Zoller the two dogs outdid both the Kotzebues and the MLoots in beauty. Delighted by what he had seen, Zoller decided to buy a puppy from the litter that Hinman had available at the moment. The sire was Hinman's Alaska. The puppy, Kayak Of Brookside, was very lively and Zoller and his wife Laura thought he needed to Robert Zoller and the Husky-Paks

    socialize with another Malamute puppy. Thus the Zollers, who were considering several mates for Kayak, purchased three puppies: Ch. Husky-Pak Mikya of Seguin, Ch. Apache Chief of Husky Pak and Ch. Arctic Storm of Husky-Pak. All of them were shown so as to be registered. Zollers first Husky-Pak dogs were a mix of M'Loot and Hinman-Irwin, but Zoller had never forgotten the Seeleys dogs, so he searched for a Kotzebue to include him into his breeding program. His search led him to a pure Kotzebue called Toro of Bras Coupe. Toro of Bras Coupe was crossed with Arctic Storm Of Husky-Pak and the combination of the MLoot and Kotzebue strains was successful. The resulting litter consisted of six puppies, five of which became champions; Robert Zoller became a personality in the Malamute rings. These dogs were Ch. Cliquot of Husky-Pak, Ch. Cheyenne of Husky-Pak, Ch. Cochise of Husky-Pak, Ch. Comanche of Husky-Pak and Ch. Cherokee of Husky-Pak. One day Bob Zoller said that Ch. Cherokee of Husky-Pak was the best Alaskan Malamute he had ever had. Thanks to Zollers success in crossing the M'Loot/Kotzebue/Hinman-Irwin strains, lots of other breeders chose similar mating combinations, though many of them preferred to cross M'Loots directly with Husky-Paks rather than use pure Kotzebues. Today most Alaskan Malamutes are the result of the MLoot Kotzebue (or Husky-Pak) mix, and the direction that the breed development has ever since taken owes a lot to Robert Zollers work and vision.MENU

  • StandardZoller interviewBalto HistoryBreed DiseasesWork SectionBreed History

  • StandardGENERAL APPEARANCE: The Alaskan Malamute, one of the oldest Arctic sled dogs, is a powerful and substantially built dog with a deep chest and strong, well-muscled body. The Malamute stands well over the pads, and this stance gives the appearance of much activity and a proud carriage, with head erect and eyes alert showing interest and curiosity. The head is broad. Ears are triangular and erect when alerted. The muzzle is bulky, only slight diminishing in width from root to nose. The muzzle is not pointed or long, yet not stubby. The coat is thick with a coarse guard coat of sufficient length to protect a woolly undercoat. Malamutes are of various colors. Face markings are a distinguishing feature. These consist of a cap over the head, the face either all white or marked with a bar and/or mask. The tail is well furred, carried over the back, and has the appearance of a waving plume.The Malamute must be a heavy boned dog with sound legs, good feet, deep chest and powerful shoulders, and have all of the other physical attributes necessary for the efficient performance of his job. The gait must be steady, balanced, tireless and totally efficient. He is not intended as a racing sled dog designed to compete in speed trials. The Malamute is structured for strength and endurance, and any characteristic of the individual specimen, including temperament, which interferes with the accomplishment of this purpose, is to be considered the most serious of faults.This premise describes the Malamute in generic way but it perfectly gives the idea of as this breed has to be what the most important things are to appraise. As we will also see in the following points, every part of the standard is characterized from moderation. While instead it will be resulting evident to all the readers the extreme importance that is set to the movement and the temperament, that owe to be the principal merits of an Alaskan Malamute.SIZE, PROPORTION, SUBSTANCE: There is a natural range in size in the breed. The desirable freighting sizes are males, 25 inches at the shoulders, 85 pounds; females, 23 inches at the shoulders, 75 pounds. However, size consideration should not outweigh that of type, proportion, movement and other functional attributes. When dogs are judged equal in type, proportion, movement, the dog nearest the desirable freighting size is to be preferred. The depth of chest is approximately one half the height of the dog at the shoulders, the deepest point being just behind the forelegs. The length of the body from point of shoulder to the rear point of pelvis is longer than the height of the body from ground to top of the withers. The body carries no excess weight, and bone is in proportion to size.The breed history teaches that the size isn't to consider of primary importance being the product of a historical compromise with the purpose to reconcile the supporters of the three founder lines extremely different among them. When an Alaskan Malamute is judged, it must be keeps in mind that so many typologies and different lines exist. A careful reader owes, instead, to understand the importance of the proportions and the substance. Often happens to see subjects with chests a little developed, too much compact subjects, too much light subjects or excessively heavy. In all these cases the dog wouldn't have that functional attributes that would allow him to haul big weights. It's important that the chest is correctly come down, that the skeleton is in proportion to the size, that the length of the body excessively isn't long or short, the correct word is moderation. The subjects in overweight must be penalize.MENU

  • StandardHEAD: The head is broad and deep, not coarse or clumsy, but in proportion to the size of the dog. The expression is soft and indicates an affectionate disposition. The eyes are obliquely placed in the skull. Eyes are brown, almond shaped and of medium size. Dark eyes are preferred. Blue Eyes are a Disqualifying Fault. The ears are of medium size, but small in proportion to the head. The ears are triangular in shape and slightly rounded at the tips. They are set wide apart on the outside back edges of the skull on line with the upper corner of the eye, giving ears the appearance, when erect, of standing off from the skull. Erect ears point slightly forward, but when the dog is at work, the ears are sometimes folded against the skull. High set ears are a fault. The skull is broad and moderately rounded between the ears, gradually narrowing and flattening on top as it approaches the eyes, rounding off to cheeks that are moderately flat. There is a slight furrow between the eyes. The topline of the skull and the topline of the muzzle show a slight break downward from a straight line as they join. The muzzle is large and bulky in proportion to the size of the skull, diminishing slightly in width and depth from junction with the skull to the nose. In all coat colors, except reds, the nose, lips, and eye rims' pigmentation is black. Brown is permitted in red dogs. The lighter streaked "snow nose" is acceptable. The lips are close fitting. The upper and lower jaws are broad with large teeth. The incisors meet with a scissors grip. Overshot or undershot is a fault.This part of the standard is to free interpretation, but there is some important things to appraise. The eyes are very important since they confer that typical expression but, above all, the small eyes and to almond shaped have a functionality (the flow tears acts from antifreeze. You try to race to -30 without glasses and you will realize that your eyes will freeze and you won't see anything, but to the Malamute this doesn't happen. That's why it's important that the eyes are small and never round. A good almond shaped is a protection to the eyes that are exposed to the cold through this crack, that more they are thin and more are functional). The dark eyes are preferred since they make the least wild expression, but clearer eyes don't interfere with the breed functionalities, besides the eyes color depends often from the bloodline and the color of the dog. The pigmentation is important too, it has to be absolutely black to exclusion of the red dogs, the snow nose isn't a guilt: the confirmation that this dog is a "machine" able to face the cold, the Malamute nose is enough great and with ample nostrils and of black color. The extraordinary characteristic of this animal is the "snow nose". In the warm season (summer - spring) the nose is black, in the cold season (autumn - winter) the pigment becomes clear black, then grey up to to have a stripe pink in full winter. The nature thinks indeed about everything: in the cools season the nose clears to facilitate the assimilation of the ultraviolet rays of the sun, the days are more short and accordingly the exposure to less sun.Important the ears have rounded tips, small proportions in comparison to the skull, perfectly erect and with substantial cartilaginous thickness, big ears and thin cartilages would be the cause of a big thermal the bites there is many confusion. There is the tendency to penalize dogs with level-bite or pre-molars lack. In both cases the standard doesn't make reference. The judges have free interpretation, in Europe the dog culture is different than in America and often both the cases are considered guilts. But in the origin country these aren't guilts (scissors or level-bite isn't of fundamental importance, both have merits, the scissors bite is surely better, but the level-bite is more functional decidedly to truncate bones, to lacerate meat and to crush fleas. But the important is that the teeth are strong, big and wide, they have to be able to fragment bones or frozen meat without problems).A last thing concerns the lip: absolutely well adherent. Falling lips would allow the spillage of saliva that would immediately freeze, this would get bothers and pains too). MENU

  • NECK, TOPLINE, BODY: The neck is strong and moderately arched. The chest is well developed. The body is compactly built but not short coupled. The back is straight and gently sloping to the hips. The loins are hard and well muscled. A long loin that may weaken the back is a fault. The tail is moderately set and follows the line of the spine at the base. The tail is carried over the back when not working. It is not a snap tail or curled tight against the back, nor is it short furred like a fox brush. The Malamute tail is well furred and has the appearance of a waving plume.

    The Malamute is never square, but it hasn't even the long kidneys that could weaken the back; this underlines the importance in the back evaluation that doesn't have to ever yeld. The yelding back implicates a serious dysfunction in a working dog and it's a serious fault. The correct back is slightly tilted toward the hips; this doesn't imply that the Malamute has to be rampant, such structure would be unbalanced among front and rear and it would interfere with the correct movement that MUST be balances. A good along neck is very important, we will see the functionality in the movement paragraph.The tail has aroused many polemics in America too because the standard isn't perfectly explicit and there aren't illustrations that can confirm the exactness of the position. It doesn't have to roll up as the Akita and it doesn't have to fall on the side. The most greater part of the American judges and breeders don't consider very important this problem, because in this breed it's very easy to see dogs with narrow tails or without characteristic curve. Surely the tail that touch upon the back is aesthetically appreciable and preferable, but the tail that doesn't have the half-moon form isn't a serious guilt.

    FOREQUARTERS: The shoulders are moderately sloping; forelegs heavily boned and muscled, straight to the pasterns when viewed from the front. Pasterns are short and strong and slightly sloping when viewed from the side. The feet are of the snowshoe type, tight and deep, with well-cushioned pads, giving a firm, compact appearance. The feet are large, toes tight fitting and well arched. There is a protective growth of hair between the toes. The pads are thick and tough; toenails short and strong.HINDQUARTERS: The rear legs are broad and heavily muscled through the thighs; stifles moderately bent; hock joints are moderately bent and well let down. When viewed from the rear, the legs stand and move true in line with the movement of the front legs, not too close or too wide. Dewclaws on the rear legs are undesirable and should be removed shortly after puppies are whelped.

    This standard part makes a direct reference to the moderation when it describes the correct anglings. This standard part makes a direct reference to the moderation when it describes the correct anglings. A dog very angulated or few angulated isn't incorrect, in fact the moderation arrives from the historical compromise of the three founders lines. The angling degree has to be equal in front and in the rear to have a balanced movement and constant. A shoulder less angulated of the rear will visibly confer an unbalanced movement; the push of the rear would be too strong for a front in degree to receive it, the front to adjust would be forced to any other mechanism to compensate the unbalance. Vice versa, with a front angulated more than the rear, the movement would be characterized by a gait insufficient. Important the feet evaluation too, that must to be great, while the tendency of selection both in America and in Europe make more and more small feet, aesthetically more appreciable but completely useless from a functional point of view. Therefore the small feet are to penalize.StandardMENU

  • StandardfeetCorrect FrontCorrect RearMENU

  • COAT: The Malamute has a thick, coarse guard coat, never long and soft. The undercoat is dense, from one to two inches in depth, oily and woolly. The coarse guard coat varies in length as does the undercoat. The coat is relatively short to medium along the sides of the body, with the length of the coat increasing around the shoulders and neck, down the back, over the rump, and in the breeching and plume. Malamutes usually have a shorter and less dense coat during the summer months. The Malamute is shown naturally. Trimming is not acceptable except to provide a clean cut appearance of feet.

    The undercoat can reach 5.8 cms, coarse guard coat can reach 12 cms, therefore it never needs to exchange a more abundant coat with the long coat. There is a variable and it doesn't have to be considered in the evaluation. The long coat is to penalize.

    COLOR: The usual colors range from light gray through intermediate shadings to black, sable, and shadings of sable to red. Color combinations are acceptable in undercoats, points, and trimmings. The only solid color allowable is all white. White is always the predominant color on underbody, parts of legs, feet, and part of face markings. A white blaze on the forehead and/or collar or a spot on the nape is attractive and acceptable. The Malamute is mantled, and broken colors extending over the body or uneven splashing are undesirable.

    On the color it would need to open a debate, since it's evident, especially in Europe, the tendency to prefer the grey in the various tones and the white faces without mask. Instead the color or the mask it wouldn't owe in any way to interfere with the evaluation of a dog. The tendency to prefer some colors and some masks pushes the breeders to select these characteristics, unfortunately in the time to future the rarest colors and masks could unjustly disappear.Standardsome beautiful maskMENU

  • StandardMENU

  • StandardGAIT: The gait of the Malamute is steady, balanced, and powerful. He is agile for his size and build. When viewed from the side, the hindquarters exhibit strong rear drive that is transmitted through a well-muscled loin to the forequarters. The forequarters receive the drive from the rear with a smooth reaching stride. When viewed from the front or from the rear, the legs move true in line, not too close or too wide. At a fast trot, the feet will converge toward the centerline of the body. A stilted gait, or any gait that is not completely efficient and tireless, is to be penalized.


  • TEMPERAMENT: The Alaskan Malamute is an affectionate, friendly dog, not a "one man" dog. He is a loyal, devoted companion, playful in invitation, but generally impressive by his dignity after maturity.

    An aggressive temperament towards people is to consider a serious guilt that must be underlines in each judgment; in any way a dog with such guilt must be exhorts to the reproduction. A balanced temperament is at the base of each breed of sleddog that it has to work in a team, this has to be always kept in consideration. Aggressive or scary temperament is hereditary.

    SOMMARY: IMPORTANT: In judging Malamutes, their function as a sledge dog for heavy freighting in the Arctic must be given consideration above all else. The degree to which a dog is penalized should depend upon the extent to which the dog deviates from the description of the ideal Malamute and the extent to which the particular fault would actually affect the working ability of the dog. The legs of the Malamute must indicate unusual strength and tremendous propelling power. Any indication of unsoundness in legs and feet, front or rear, standing or moving, is to be considered a serious fault. Faults under this provision would be splay-footedness, cowhocks, bad pasterns, straight shoulders, lack of angulation, stilted gait (or any gait that isn't balanced, strong and steady), ranginess, shallowness, ponderousness, lightness of bone, and poor overall proportion.

    The summary is the perfect synthesis of the whole standard and it's the most remarkable part too: never, to neglect in any case the functionality of the breed. That this comment to the standard can make clarity on some dark aspects of the standard, and that it can help in a more correct and technique evaluation.


    Approved April 12, 1994 - Effective May 31, 1994StandardMENU

  • by Tracy YoungReproduced here with the written consent of Robert Zoller & Tracy YoungStarhawk congratulates and thanks these brave and dedicated individuals for their forthrightness and determination to the true story of the Alaskan Malamute history!Copyright - Robert Zoller / Tracy Young 1998-1999Any reproduction of this article must be done with the written consent of the copyright holders.A particular thanks to Christopher Cooper of the Starhawk Kennel that has allowed me to publish this very beautiful and interesting interview Piccolo

    Blue type: Tracy Young - Black type: Robert Zoller

    Robert Zoller - "who is this man?I think everyone has heard of the Husky-Pak line. Well, that's who he is. This man is now 83 years old and is a major part of the Alaskan Malamute history with a factual history of our breed. Several years ago, Dick Tobey persuaded Bob Zoller to write an article for the A.M.C.A. newsletter describing the first years of the development of this breed. He complied then, and some of the tales that were part of history seem to not be exactly as we have been led to believe. I have the pleasure of being a friend of Sam Maranto, a member of A.M.C.A. since 1952 and who owned Ch. Cochise of Husky-Pak and finished his championship in 1955. He was out of Ch. Toro of Bras Coupe X Ch. Arctic Storm of Husky-Pak. After reading the story, I called Sam and questioned him in regard to the article. He stated that the article was very factual. In my opinion, Robert Zoller has not been given the credit that he deserves. So sit back, relax and enjoy " the other side of the story".

    Part I - Robert Zoller's StoryI haven't been active in Alaskan Malamute affairs for quite a long time. But I keep in touch with a few people and dick tobey is one of them. A couple of years ago I told him about an article I had written for the New Zealand Kennel Gazette, about the many problems we encountered in getting our breed established in the 1940's and the 1950's - the critical years. Dick thought it should be published in our newsletter. The more we talked about it, the more I agreed with him that the events of those years following world war 11 should be told in some detail, before all the people who were there were dead and the true facts lost forever. I had tried to do this in my New Zealand article. But, done properly, it's a long story and I felt there was a limit to the space an all breed publication halfway around the world would devote to a 30-year-old history of a single breed here in America. So I had to skip a lot of details and just hit the highlights, without explaining what really happened and why. I had also shied away from naming names. Even after thirty years, it is difficult to call a spade a spade, because it may appear self-serving to do so. It may even be construed as an attack on old enemies who are no longer around to defend themselves. I assure you it is not that at all; I just became convinced that, finally, the full story should be told. For many years some of the bizarre happenings were covered up to spare feeling and to maintain as much unity as possible within our club. In the short run, I believe that is the proper thing to do. So I rewrote the story and here it is: names, dates, places, people, dogs - all as accurately as possible. Its important to say some things clearly, right up front. My first point is that after all these years I bear no animosity toward anyone. Not even a little bit. In those days I had ample reason to be outraged on many occasions but I don't think I ever was, really. And lest you think with that statement I may be proposing my own candidacy for sainthood, I assure you I am not. I am human. I bleed when punctured, and I bled from a lot of stab wounds in those early years. I was indeed "teed off" from time to time, but I got over it quickly - for several reasons. Bob Zoller InterviewMENU

  • First, by nature I am not a grudge-holder. I am a fighter, and I suspect not one bit less opinionated than most others in our breed. But I have never believed that others must agree with me to deserve my friendship or respect (I've been a democrat surrounded by republicans all of my life!).Secondly, after the initial shock, much of what I saw coming out of new hampshire in those times was so audacious that some of it was actually amusing, and practically all of it was fascinating to observe at close range. You had to see it to believe it.Most important, I think, it wasn't all that difficult for me to be somewhat generous in my judgment since, eventually, I ended up winning all the fights, at least the really important ones. It wasn't always easy, believe me. Many times I sincerely feared for the welfare of our breed. I was relatively young, not well known in our breed or anywhere in the world of purebred dogs, and I was taking on some pretty important people. Like many other newcomers to the wonderful world of Malamutes, I was a bit "snowed under" in my initial contacts with the "in" group. But I learn fast and was able to sort things out in rather short order. After that, it was mostly a matter of hard work.The second point to be made up front is that some of the following is opinion and some is fact, and I hope there is no misunderstanding or confusion as to which is which. It should be clear to everyone that when I say our Cherokee was the best Malamute ever, that's an opinion. While there is much evidence to support such a belief, there is of course no way to compare him or any of the top dogs of this time with any of the outstanding winners who may have come along twenty or thirty years later. On the other hand, much of what I write is indeed fact: the show records of "third strain" dogs; the events that resulted in changes in the standard; the charges and counter-charges and the outcome of the historic "Seeley Vs. Zoller" trial at A.K.C. much is well documented by official records, some is subject to verification by people still living who are knowledgeable about the happenings described. In a few cases, I present facts I can no longer prove, perhaps because they were never made a part of official records, or because after many years the letters or whatever were lost, or maybe never intended to be kept. In these cases you can take my word for them - or not. They are facts, nonetheless (you can rest assured that I will understand it if you find some of the facts incredible. If you were there and I was not, and you were telling the story, I'm not sure I would believe you). Having said that, I will get to the point and tell you my story.. It's about the Kotzebues and the M'Loots and our own Husky-Pak days. About where our breed came from and how it got to where it is. It's about a few years when varying opinions led to vigorous disagreements, choosing sides, and bitter battles over what the Alaskan Malamute is and what it should be; about a rare on-again, off-again policy as to the American Kennel Club registration, about changing the standard; about who runs the club and how. It's about the trial that totally determined what our breed was from that point on.Almost all registered Malamutes today are in some way related to the events that occurred in a relatively short period of time, more than thirty years ago. Had things turned out differently then, our breed would be a lot different now! Malamutes are pretty much a product of evolution, so they've been around for a long, long time. Early explorers wrote that the dogs of the Malamute indians of Alaska were bigger, stronger, more beautiful and more gentle with their human companions than any other arctic dogs they had seen. But the breed was virtually unknown for many years. Until AKC recognized Malamutes as a distinct breed in 1935, they were lumped with a lot of others as "eskimo dogs". eskimo dogBob Zoller InterviewMENU

  • Bob Zoller InterviewEven then, not much happened before and during World War II. But in the late 40's and early 50's a lot of people became interested, all about the same time. That is when the modern Malamute really began. I saw my first Malamute in a primitive U.S. Navy Officers Club in Newfoundland in 1941. Impressed, I decided to learn more about those dogs -- someday. When "someday" came in 1947, my wife Laura and I began our search. We read everything we could find (there wasn't a great deal to be found). We fell in love with the breed, went to New York and talked to AKC, wrote dozens of letters (maybe hundreds), and logged thousands of miles driving around to see almost every Malamute we could locate.There were so few dogs to see, so little written about them, so few people who seemed to know much, that we were doubly interested. We felt we had stumbled upon something rare, beautiful and virtually unknown.In our search we saw a lot of Malamutes that were not Malamutes - some not even close. Everyone with an arctic dog had a story to tell, and no two stories were alike (in those times they didn't even agree on how to spell "Malamute"!). Pedigrees, often recorded in handwriting, were difficult to decipher and frequently misread. We soon learned that most early sled dog people were not very good at record-keeping, and usually didn't really know much about our breed.In all, it was like living a detective story - trying to sort out the clues, separate facts from fiction and the good buys from the bad guys, and somehow arrive at the truth. It took a lot of work but we finally learned, and we applied what we learned to a limited breeding program. I stress the word "limited"; people today are surprised to learn that Husky-Pak's numerous national championships and breed records were achieved with a handful of dogs, and we produced only twelve litters in 12 years, start to finish!Our dogs won about everything there was to win. This made me exceedingly unpopular with an awful lot of people. But it helped us develop credibility and resulted in a following of good people who supported us and became important contributors on their own.From almost total chaos in the late 1940's, it took us less than ten years to achieve a stable, established and secure Alaskan Malamute breed; an active, growing, democratic national breed club; and a new standard that worked well and which everyone could live with for many years to come.At that time, mission accomplished, we quit and went on to other interests, and let others carry on the legacy we left to them and all who followed. In one sense, Husky-Pak came to the end of the line on July 16, 1968, the day "Eagle", our last Malamute died. But in reality we closed up shop in 1962 when we sold the last puppy in our "m" litter (in case you are counting, we didn't have an "f" litter). So it has been years since we have been active in any way. Remarkably, we still get letters, some from overseas. They are nice letters that talk about the great Husky-Pak dogs of the 1950's and many tell us there have been nothing like them since. We are exceedingly grateful to be remembered after all these years.

    The Kotzebue and the MLoot and the third strain dogsIn the 1920's and 30's a few people here in the USA became interested in sled dogs and discovered the Malamute. They brought from Alaska a number of dogs believed to be Malamutes. But nobody really knew what they were. There was no IKC (Indian Kennel Club) or EKC (Eskimo Kennel Club) - and of course none of them were registered, and with many, even their immediate ancestors were unknown. In all cases, it was a matter of opinion. Since opinions differ, different-looking dogs were selected, labeled Malamutes, and bred.In New England we found the Kotzebues. Their stateside beginnings were mostly at arthur walden's kennel - he was the noted dog puncher who handled the dogs on byrd antarctic expeditions - but they were taken over and their progeny later AKC registered by milton and Eva Seeley. Seeley's also imported other dogs that resembled what they believed the Malamute to be. MENU

  • Bob Zoller InterviewScattered about in other places were the M'Loots, assembled and developed by Paul Voelker, near Marquette, Michigan. Voelker was an enthusiast who sold a lot of puppies but wasn't interested in showing or in the AKC, so none of the M'Loots were registered.In Newbury, Vermont, we saw an older dog named Irwin's Gemo that we thought was the best we had run across. Once owned by Lowell Thomas, the famous explorer-newscaster, Gemo (sometimes Gimo or Chimo) had been shown to best of breed at Westminster in Madison Square Garden in 1941. We bought his grandson, a puppy we named Kayak, and we learned these dogs were neither Kotzebue nor M'Loot: they weren't many of them, and some had been crossed with M'Loot-strain dogs. Dick Hinman, the owner, had gotten some of his dogs from Dave Irwin, another explorer and author of "alone, across the top of the world". Later I began to call these dogs the Hinman-Irwin strain or the third strain, although actually they weren't a strain at all, just a few individual dogs (perhaps a family) that were neither Kotzebue nor M'Loot.Our main asset in those days, I believe, was a rare degree of objectivity. The Kotzebues and the MLoots had developed fanatical followings who were too busy maligning the other side to really look, listen and learn. We kept open minds and eventually came to these conclusions: the Kotzebues were good type, mainly because of their heads, muzzles, eyes, ears, expression and good body proportions. They were more uniform than the MLoots, mostly wolf gray, usually about the same size and structure. Generally good rears and bad fronts - chests too wide, out at the elbows. And most of them were much smaller than we believed the original Malamute was or should be.The MLoots had better size but some were rangy and lacking in substance. Good fronts, many bad rears - lacking angulation, which produced some stilted gaits. Tendency toward long ears, long muzzles. Some snipeyness. Much variation in coats and colors - long, short; from light gray to black and white, some all-whites. Dispositions differed as well. The Kotzebues were less aggressive, easier to control; the MLoots prone to fighting, often difficult to handle around other dogs.In short, the MLoots were bigger, flashier and more impressive, but they had some rather characteristic faults and I felt they varied considerably in type and in quality. Kotzebues were too small, but they had uniformity going for them, and their main asset was type-as a whole they more closely resembled the original Malamute as we believe it to be.We easily concluded that crossing these strains with some skill, to combine their good points and minimize the faults, would produce better Malamutes than by breeding within either two strains. MENU

  • Bob Zoller InterviewThat third strain, however, could not be ignored. Kayak, unfortunately, never turned out to be another Gemo. Our second Malamute was one of the better pure MLoot bitches: she became Ch. Husky-Pak's Mikya of Sequin. Then we really got lucky. Near Great Barrington, MA., we found a pair of pups sired by an impressive dog named Alaska (later Ch. Spawn's Alaska). This brother-sister pair that we bought, raised and took to national championships became Ch. Apache Chief of Husky-Pak (Geronimo) and Ch. Arctic Storm of Husky-Pak (Takoma). They were the biggest winners of their era and became milestones of breed progress.Best of all, they had third-strain genes; they were three-quarters MLoot, one-quarter other going back to Irwin's Gemo and Hinman's Sitka. Sitka, incidentally, may have been an even better bitch than Gemo was a dog. I think she deserves a great deal of credit for the quality that resulted later on.Our pair were as large as the bigger MLoots but a bit heavier in bone and better proportioned; in body they were almost like king-size Kotzebues. Good coats and coloring and excellent overall balance. Heads were broad. Ears were correct size and shape and set properly on the skull. We knew this combination was superior, and the show results soon convinced a lot of other people.But we weren't entirely satisfied. We felt a third-strain-cross would heavy up the muzzles and set the type. We searched for a Kotzebue of adequate size and came up with Toro of Bras Coup, then owned by Earl and Natalie Norris of Anchorage, Alaska. Fortunately, Toro was in the states being shown by a professional handler. He had just gone best of breed at Westminster. We brought him to Husky-Pak, mated him with Takoma and produced our C litter.We think this was the greatest litter in the history of our breed. Five were shown, all became champions. One was Cherokee, and we think he was the best Malamute ever: three consecutive National Specialty best of breeds, and three consecutive AMCA dog-of-the-year awards. There was not the slightest doubt in my mind that he could easily have gone best of breed at the next two specialties, for five years in a row, had we chosen to keep showing him. But we retired him as a gesture of good sportsmanship.Cliquot-the dog shown in our official AMCA emblem - was the first Malamute to win both a championship and a CDX. He was also the top winner in New England. Cochise was the best in California for a time, and the sire of Ch. Snocrest's Mukluk, our breed's first best-in-show. Comanche and Cheyenne, the C litter females, were consistent winners starting with the big 1953 national specialty where, at 14 months, they were winner's bitch and reserve winner's bitch - to their mother's best of breed! Zoller with Ch.Apache Chief of Husky-Pak MENU

  • Bob Zoller InterviewComanche died shortly thereafter. Cheyenne produced two daughters who won three consecutive national specialty bos, and both of whom defeated most of the top males of our breed in that era - including Ch. Mulpus Brook's The Bear, who was our 1954 national specialty best of breed and dog-of-the-year. The sixth C litter pup was Chippewa, a sure champion except for one little detail: his owner, who I couldn't talk into showing him!The saying is, the lord giveth and the lord taketh away. Our "c" litter was the formula. Unhappily, Arctic Storm (Takoma) and Comanche died from hardpad distemper following the december 1953 Philadelphia K.C. show. When Takoma died, we had advance orders for more pups than she could have produced in a lifetime. And Comanche, owned by Martha and Bob Gormely, was an extremely powerfully-built, broad-headed, heavily-muzzled bitch that I thought could have become a superlative producer of the real, original Malamute type. What a loss!When we settled down from these tragic events, we decided on two ways to approximate the C litter. (1) mate Geronimo to Takoma's surviving daughter, Cheyenne. And (2) import a Toro daughter, also for mating with Geronimo.Cheyenne's litter produced three champions including Ch. Husky-Pak Marclar's Sioux, national specialty BOS (to Cherokee) both in 1956 and 1957, and ch. Barb-Far's Marclar's Machook, Specialty BOS in 1958 and our breed's first female to place in the group.Sioux just has to be the finest show female in our breed, unless I missed count somewhere in recent years. She completed totally in top national competition against the best of those times, from her first show until her retirement. And no other female ever came close. The only male she never beat was Cherokee! Consider this: Sioux finished her championship in four straight shows in one month's time, defeating 55 different Malamutes including nine champions! (fifty-five was a might impressive number in the mid-1950's) and, like Cherokee, she could have won at least two or three more national specialties, had we chosen to show her.Toro's daughter was ch. Kelerak of Kobuk, right off a dog team in Anchorage, Alaska. The Norris' had sold us a good one: we showed her to two national specialty BOS. (and after all these years, we still talk about her wonderful disposition.) Her mating with Geronimo produced three fine champions. Erok was the youngest ever to place in group and he became a winner and outstanding sire in California. Echako was rated the outstanding Malamute of 1960 (Phillips System), held the record for group placings (and probably still does on a percentage basis) and was our 1960 best of breed at Westminster. Except for his first show as a puppy, Echako was never beaten by any other Malamute!MENU

  • Bob Zoller InterviewEagle was the best of the three, but he came along about the time we lost interest in showing. We showed him only a few times and he was never given a chance to show what he could do. Still, he was best of breed at Westminster in 1958, held the dog world award for his overall show record, and in group placings he defeated several of the all-time record holders in other working group breeds. And I think Eagle may have been the best moving Malamute I ever saw. Our Husky-Pak E litter was the first and perhaps the only one in our breed to produce three brothers to place in group (which was difficult for any Malamutes in those days) and two to win best of breed at Westminster.Show results play a major role in the improvement of all breeds because they are supposed to be expert, unbiased, third-party judgments. They usually are that (or about as close as you can hope for in this imperfect world)-except for relatively unknown breeds as ours was in the 1950's. In which case, expertise is not always provided. Since judging is a matter of opinion, mistakes are made, probably a lot more often in the lesser-known breeds. I showed under several judges who were seeing Malamutes for the first time. But that's all part of the game and there isn't much you can do about it.So a few wins or losses don't mean a lot; a consistent pattern of winning is what counts. Quality of the competition, and who beats whom, how often are the major factors indicating relative quality.Before 1953, with a few exceptions, competition among Malamutes was mainly local or regional. It was in early 1953 at the National Capitol and Harrisburg shows that the top regional winners got together and national competition in our breed began. Then in october 1953 we held our first real national specialty in rye, New York. In these biggest and most important shows of their time, the results were revealing. Geronimo won both at National Capitol and Harrisburg. Takoma came out of two years retirement to win the specialty, defeating all the best dogs and bitches of that era. Her brother Geronimo was BOS and three of her 14-month-old pups won just about everything else: WD, WB, RWB, BW! (in the bestof breed judging, Takoma's and Geronimo's main competition was their father, Ch. Spawn's Alaska). By year-end - after the Philadelphia show in December was again a total family affair - the message was loud and clear: strain crosses had produced a superior Alaskan Malamute.If further evidence is needed, consider this: in national specialty shows in the seven years 1953 - 1959, all seven best of breeds and five best of opposites were strain crosses involving third strain genes. (our Kelerak, a Kotzebue, had the other two BOS).In 1955 AMCA selected it's top ten in our breed and eight were the strain crosses. Toro and Kelerak were the two Kotzebues. No pure MLoots. (nine of the top ten, incidentally, were part of, or results of, our Husky-Pak breeding program!) MENU

  • Bob Zoller InterviewQuantum leap? At this point an interjection; you will remember that former President Nixon often said, now let me make one thing perfectly clear. I need to do that now, because I well understand that what I have been telling you sounds like a eulogy of Husky-Pak. That - I assure you - is not my purpose. My recitation of the foregoing statistics is essential to prove beyond any doubt that dramatic improvements in the Alaskan Malamute breed had taken place at this point in time. You might well call it a quantum leap forward.I'm convinced that statistics prove this point-of-view because they are overwhelming. That's point number one.Point number two, equally important, is that because of this obvious breakthrough, immediate steps were taken to discredit all the dogs involved in it; to totally destroy this noteworthy progress, and return our breed to the rather sorry state it was in, only a few years before. I will describe these events in some detail. But first a few observations on some of the important dogs of those times.Except for moosecat MLoot - our Mikya's sire, owned by Cecil Allen of Fayetteville, Tenn. And I thing never shown - the best pure MLoot those days was Ch Mulpus Brook's Master Otter, owned and extensively shown by Jean Lane (formerly massaglia, and later briar). This dog was the first to place in groups and helped publicize our breed. But he was beaten by Toro, and consistently by Ch. Spawn's Alaska. Alaska was the big winner - twice best of breed at Westminster - until Geronimo and Takoma (Apache Chief and Artic Storm) came along and totally dominated the breed. Geronimo was AMCA's first "dog-of-the-year". He was a tremendously popular dog, so powerful, regal, impressive, yet gentle and friendly. I suspect he may have done more than any other dog to call attention to the Malamute breed in those days when we were relatively unknown.Master Otter sired one outstanding winner, Bill and Lois Dawson's Ch. Mulpus Brook's the Bear. Bear was our national specialty best of breed in 1954 and our first ever to win the group. He got his third strain genes from his dam, and he was a better Malamute than his sire.The best Kotzebue I ever saw was, of course, Toro. And I suspect his daughter Kelerak was the best of the Kotzebue bitches; show records support this opinion. I was most fortunate to discover these two and appreciate their virtues. And over the years I have deeply appreciated the generosity and good sportsmanship of Earl and Natalie Norris who were willing to share them with us.In all, the Kotzebue and the MLoots were important contributors to our breed, and the third-strain and the three strain crosses we pioneered in the 1950's added significant quality and ended up improving our breed for countless generations to come. MENU

  • Bob Zoller InterviewJanet Edmonds, an English lady who researched the origins of the present day Malamute and published her findings in 1979, tells pretty much the same story I am telling you now, although in less detail. She did miss an important point - the role of the third-strain dogs - but I forgive her because she wrote:I find it interesting that it was when the types were sensibly interbred that the resulting dogs looked most like the (original) pre-gold rush Malamutes. The classic examples of this are the Husky-Pak dogs of the 1950's.

    Robert Zoller storyPart IIThe story continues...

    Eva B. Seeley, a formidable opponent The breeding program described was a significant development, but there were others in those critical years: the lengthy battles over revising (or clarifying) the standard was one, the fight for control of the club was another. These major conflicts occurred about the same time, with Eva Seeley being the major proponent of the status quo, and yours truly leading the newcomers who came to believe the status quo was intolerable and had to be changed.To me, the status quo meant total domination of both the breed and the club by Mrs. Seeley. And so long as that continued, our breed was dead in its tracks and going nowhere. In my initial contacts with Mrs. Seeley and other New England owners, the idea of all-out war never entered my mind. I felt sure that cooperation and negotiation could solve the problems and get both the breed and the club moving. I was wrong. Mrs. Seeley like things the way they were and she intended to keep them that way, no matter what.She was indeed a formidable opponent. Less than five feet tall and maybe 90 pounds - her nickname was "Short" - she would nonetheless fight like a tiger when crossed. Unfortunately, I seemed to have crossed her, early on. And repeatedly. Everything Malamute soon become Seeley vs Zoller.I really did not want to fight. She was, I thought, something of a legend in our breed and I was the new kid on the block. But I did have one thing in my favor: early in life I learned you should not believe everything you read or are told. There is value in being skeptical, in finding out for yourself. Already in my life I had met a lot of celebrities and was never all that impressed with any of them. I learned we are all human, with our own peculiar set of faults and virtues. Nobody's perfect; it's just that some of us are luckier than others. It is right and proper to acknowledge achievement, and even to honor it when it deserves to be honored. But hero-worship is not my thing, and never was.MENU

  • Bob Zoller InterviewSo I was a bit skeptical right from the beginning and I'm sure Eva Seeley detected that. Unlike many others new to our breed, I did not become a disciple and I did not believe everything she said, simply because she said it - especially when I discovered that what she said didn't always make a lot of sense. Still, I knew she was a pioneer and had rubbed elbows with the likes of Arthur Walden, Leonhard Seppala, Scotty Allen and Admiral Byrd. She owned Chinook kennels and was well known by most sleddog people, and apparently by some of the people at the American Kennel Club. So at the beginning I was willing to give her the benefit of the doubt. I listened a lot more than I talked. But eventually I came to not believing a great deal of what I was being told.It bothers me when the pieces of the puzzle began to fall into place. She had a virtual monopoly on AKC-registered Alaskan Malamute and wasn't about to let that get away. According to the Seeley-Riddle book, there were no more than thirty registered Malamutes in 1947! She owned a number of those and the rest were owned by close friends or had been sold by her under written agreements that no breedings would ever occur without her approval, and then only with a male of her choosing!That you could buy a dog or a bitch and not be allowed to breed it, was a new one on me. But you have to admit it's a great way to protect a monopoly.All this wasn't too surprising in view of two later discoveries. When AKC reopened our breed to registration - based on the same requirements under which her dogs had been registered, plus a quality test requiring each candidate to be shown and accumulate ten championship points as well - Eva Seeley immediately declared all Malamutes not of her own Kotzebue stock as Eskimo dogs, not Malamutes!This was quite a shock for new owners in those days. They would approach the legendary Short Seeley at a dog show, or by journeying all the way to her home in the middle of New Hampshire, to get her opinion of their new Malamute puppy, and be told their pride and joy was not an Alaskan Malamute and probably not a purebred of any breed!I have seen people shattered by this experience. But in time the word got around. Since it had happened to almost everyone at one time or another - even those of us whose dogs were going best of breed (or even placing in groups under AKC licensed judges) - we all began to view this as a sad joke. You just weren't important in our breed until Eva Seeley had labeled your dogs as Eskimo. It was just Seeley being Seeley. MENU

  • Bob Zoller InterviewToro repudiatedStill, I was indeed surprised when she repudiated Toro of Bras Coup, probably the best Kotzebue ever. Eva's husband, Milton Seeley, had died and it seems that in the mid or late 1940's she became quite ill. Unable to care for her dogs, she sold her kennel to a man named Dick Moulton, who lived nearby. Dick produced two litters from the same sire and dam and sold them both to a winter resort in Canada, called Bras Coup. After a couple of years the resort decided to sell the dogs. They offered them to me and other Malamute people - apparently I was one of the first. Toro was one of these dogs and he caught my eye immediately; I would loved to have had him. But we were just getting started, already had four dogs, and no plans whatever to ever be more than a very small hobby-type operation. Toro really tempted me, but Laura said no. So Earl and Natalie Norris bought toro and some of the others. When Toro started showing and winning, I asked Mrs. Seeley how she ever let him get away. She literally bristled. those two litters were a mistake, she told me. those two should never have been mated! I am going down to AKC next week and have all those registrations revoked!They were not revoked. But not because she didn't try. I know she tried because later, at the "Seeley vs. Zoller" trial, I cited her actions against Toro and his littermates as evidence of the lengths to which she would go to discredit any Malamute no longer under her ownership or control. I did this both in my defense briefs and again in person at the trial, and it was never denied either by Eva Seeley or her lawyer.That she was willing to repudiate Toro was surprising, but I thought it was even more surprising that she actually believed AKC would revoke his registration on her say-so. But again, it was another example of Seeley being Seeley. Later on, of course, she claimed full credit for Toro. When I used him at stud with Takoma, the Norris' instructed me to send him on to Mrs. Seeley who wanted to use him as well. (surprise, surprise.) A bit later, while Toro was still at Chinook kennels, I drove up to attend the annual meeting and specialty show in Framingham, MA. Since I had brought no dogs of my own, Mrs. Seeley asked me to handle Toro in specialty. He was entered in open dogs and Seeley wanted like crazy for him to beat the specials entry, who was Ch. Mulpus Brook's Master Otter, the MLoot owned by Jean Lane. Well, Toro won and I think short Seeley actually liked me for about ten minutes on that june day back in 1952!It didn't last long. A year later, at the 1953 annual meeting in Winchester, MA., the AMCA President, Paul Pelletier, greeted me with a verbal attack so violent that I was stunned, and bill and Lois Dawson who were nearby couldn't believe what they were hearing. After all these years, I don't remember what he said, or what I replied. I do know that he and I had had virtually no contact ever before. He knew nothing about me from personal experience, so obviously somebody had done a real hatchet job on me among the New England members. It wasn't hard for me to figure out who. Ch. Toro Of Bras CoupCh. Toro Of Bras Coup head MENU

  • Bob Zoller InterviewThe Alaskan Malamute ClubUntil 1952 the club was very small, closed (Kotzebue only) organization composed solely of New England members and dominated by Eva Seeley. These people were not very active, either in breeding or showing. Mostly this was just a few friends with a common interest, getting together at a dog show or at someone's house to talk dogs and socialize a few times a year. I didn't know it at the time, but the club was not affiliated with or officially recognized by the American Kennel Club.But with Malamutes suddenly growing in popularity and quite a number now being shown in other parts of the country, it apparently occurred to the New England group they'd better hurry and get AKC recognition as the official breed club before someone else beat them to it. So I figured they petitioned AKC, or at least inquired and apparently were told they'd have to grow a bit and get some members from outside their own neighborhood. Or, in other words, appear a bit more like a representative breed club. This seems logical in view of the fact that all of a sudden, I was allowed to join their club! (me, the guy with the Eskimo dogs down in Maryland!)They also took in another outsider, Jean Lane. She lived in New England but owned an outside dog, Master OtterSo I paid my dues and over the next several months began to wonder why. All I got out of it was an occasional postcard announcing a meeting at someone's house in New England. Some of these even reached me a few days after the meeting had been held! Some arrived prior to the meeting date but seldom far enough in advance for me to plan on going and actually get there. And none ever included a reason for me to drive that far.Reading show reports in the AKC gazette, I knew there was a lot more Malamute activity taking place in other parts of the country. Especially in the Milwaukee area. On a business trip out that way, I visited Ralph and Marcheta Schmitt who owned Silver Sled, the largest Malamute kennel in the country. They had heard of me and welcomed me, and immediately started phoning people. In a couple hours they had assembled more than twenty members of their Alaskan Malamute club, all of whom lived reasonably nearby. They also knew of other interested owners in Chicago and other parts of the Midwest. Some people in California were getting active as well.We soon figured out that if my group and their group joined forces we could come up with fifty or sixty members in a few weeks time.The Schmitts proposed we do just that and petition AKC for recognition as the official National Breed Club - and leave the new england people out in the cold. But I felt AKC would look more kindly on our putting together a truly national membership, including the owners in New England. I also argued that a cease-fire, if one could be arranged, would be better for everyone. the official AMCA emblem representsCh. Cliquot of Husky-PakCh. Husky-Pak EchakoMENU

  • Bob Zoller InterviewIt wasn't an easy sell. The Schmitts were singularly "unfond" of Mrs. Seeley. But they agreed, reluctantly, to give me a chance to see what I could do. I was to attend the next meeting in New England and spell out the new facts of life to the people there. Their choice: open the club to new members everywhere, or we would start our own National Breed Club without them. Their response would determine out future course of action.A few weeks later I drove up to the 1952 annual meeting in Farmington, MA. This was the same day and place where I had handled Toro to the specialty best of breed over Master Otter. We held the meeting in a tent on the show grounds. Only nine or ten members were there, including Jean Lane and me. I was surprised to learn the total club membership was only about twelve; or sixteen or seventeen, depending on whether you counted those who hadn't paid any dues for the past year or two.I told them about my meeting with the Milwaukee club - including the arithmetic of the breeding and showing activities going on in other parts of the country. After some discussions they agreed but not very enthusiastically, as you might suspect - to my proposal that we open the membership to any Malamute owners who wanted to join, unless there was some legitimate reason not to accept them.Jean Lane, apparently still feeling a bit of an outsider, did not have a great deal to say at this meeting. Mrs. Seeley, however, was not at all pleased with the proposal to expand. And, true to form, she came up with a great idea: we would have two classes of members - the new ones would be auxiliary members and only original members would be allowed to vote! I guess that was a bit much, even for the other original members. Her motion didn't pass: nobody seconded it and it never came to vote.At this meeting, I also pointed out that we have to give our members something for their dues. A nationwide membership, whenever it came about, would require more services than a few postcards each year about occasional get togethers somewhere in New England. What Malamute owners wanted, I submitted, was information. Communications was the key requirement.I volunteered to write, produce and mail an official monthly newsletter to all members. After much discussion - and apprehension - they said okay. But they made it clear they would cancel it if they didn't like what I wrote.Our newsletter, I think has been published every month since I wrote and mailed the first issue in august 1952. Membership grew rapidly as the Schmitts and I and a few others contacted our customers and got them t join. Before long, the new majority pretty much took over, achieved a great deal of growth and progress and planted the seed that grew into a democratic national breed club. Today we have a membership of nearly 900 including a fair number outside the USA. While growth isn't everything, we're a lot better off than when we had twelve or sixteen members in early 1952. Ch. Husky-Pak JingoCh. Husky-Pak ErokMENU

  • Bob Zoller InterviewIt wasn't an easy sell. The Schmitts were singularly "unfond" of Mrs. Seeley. But they agreed, reluctantly, to give me a chance to see what I could do. I was to attend the next meeting in New England and spell out the new facts of life to the people there. Their choice: open the club to new members everywhere, or we would start our own National Breed Club without them. Their response would determine out future course of action.A few weeks later I drove up to the 1952 annual meeting in Farmington, MA. This was the same day and place where I had handled Toro to the specialty best of breed over Master Otter. We held the meeting in a tent on the show grounds. Only nine or ten members were there, including Jean Lane and me. I was surprised to learn the total club membership was only about twelve; or sixteen or seventeen, depending on whether you counted those who hadn't paid any dues for the past year or two.I told them about my meeting with the Milwaukee club - including the arithmetic of the breeding and showing activities going on in other parts of the country. After some discussions they agreed but not very enthusiastically, as you might suspect - to my proposal that we open the membership to any Malamute owners who wanted to join, unless there was some legitimate reason not to accept them.Jean Lane, apparently still feeling a bit of an outsider, did not have a great deal to say at this meeting. Mrs. Seeley, however, was not at all pleased with the proposal to expand. And, true to form, she came up with a great idea: we would have two classes of members - the new ones would be auxiliary members and only original members would be allowed to vote! I guess that was a bit much, even for the other original members. Her motion didn't pass: nobody seconded it and it never came to vote.At this meeting, I also pointed out that we have to give our members something for their dues. A nationwide membership, whenever it came about, would require more services than a few postcards each year about occasional get togethers somewhere in New England. What Malamute owners wanted, I submitted, was information. Communications was the key requirement.I volunteered to write, produce and mail an official monthly newsletter to all members. After much discussion - and apprehension - they said okay. But they made it clear they would cancel it if they didn't like what I wrote.Our newsletter, I think has been published every month since I wrote and mailed the first issue in august 1952. Membership grew rapidly as the Schmitts and I and a few others contacted our customers and got them t join. Before long, the new majority pretty much took over, achieved a great deal of growth and progress and planted the seed that grew into a democratic national breed club. Today we have a membership of nearly 900 including a fair number outside the USA. While growth isn't everything, we're a lot better off than when we had twelve or sixteen members in early 1952. Ch. Kelerak Of KobukCh. Kelerak Of KobukMENU

  • Bob Zoller InterviewToday's members should know the facts about the democratization of our Malamute club. At the 1953 annual meeting in Winchester, MA., the new majority had gained complete control and I submit, we exercised our control in a most responsible manner. We elected more than a proportional number of New England members - including Eva Seeley - to our board of directors. And then our majority on the board - I was one of them so voting - elected Eva Seeley as our president!We tried hard to be more than fair because we felt that by doing so, we could convince Mrs. Seeley and her followers that working together was the best thing any of us could do to benefit our breed and our club. It really didn't help. Nothing much improved.The 1954 annual meeting, for some stupid reason (like believing if we continued our goodwill and cooperation we might get some in return) we again allowed to be held up in the middle of New England - actually in Wonalancet, N.H., just a couple of miles from Seeley's home. This, of course, was about as remote and inconvenient as we could get, for the vast majority of our members.This meeting, however, was a major step forward, in that Eva Seeley was not re-elected to anything. And this was not my doing: she alienated too many members outside her own group. It didn't help any when she hired a high- powered boston lawyer, and brought him into our meeting to make sure the rest of us did not pull any illegal shenanigans!(the lawyer's name was Kenneth Tiffin. He had been an official of the American Kennel club, and at the time, I believe he was president of the Great Dane Club of America. More on Mr. Tiffin later.)At the 1954 annual meeting, I was re-elected a director and elected president. We continued to be fair; we elected Nelson Butler of the New England group to our board of directors, and appointed Dr. Lombard as our delegate to AKC. We also decided to incorporate - in the state of New Hampshire, as a further gesture to Seeley and our New England members. Shortly thereafter, we became the Alaskan Malamute Club of America, inc.Incidentally, in the interest of accuracy, it is necessary to point out that Mrs. Seeley was not the founder of our club. I cannot remember exactly when we achieved official AKC recognition as the parent club of our breed - it probably was in 1953 - but I know for sure after we had grown into a truly representative national organization (over Eva Seeley's vigorous objections), thereby meeting the requirements of the American Kennel Club. In my view, it was probably not until the 1954 annual meeting that we really became and began to act like, a national breed club. Ch. Barb-Far's Marclar's MachookMoosecat M'LootMENU

  • Bob Zoller InterviewStandard of the breedThe original standard was based on the Kotzebue dogs, because it was written by the people who had Kotzebue dogs. In all, it wasn't a bad job and it never occurred to me to try to change it. Contrary to some opinions, I was never one who believed the bigger, the better when it comes to Malamutes. Still, I thought that 20-inch, 50-pound bitches and 22-inch, 65-pound males - allowed by the standard - were smaller than Malamutes ought to be. And I could not see that 23-inch, 70-pound bitches and 25-inch, 85-pound males should be the upper limit of our breed. But we had been showing our larger dogs under that standard and were doing quite well. Only one judge ever put down one of our dogs for being over the standard size, and I could live with that.It was Eva Seeley who wanted to change the standard. She had come to Washington, D.C. in early 1953 to show one of her dogs at the National Capitol Show. It was a large turnout for those for those days, and it included dogs from several different areas of the country. Her dog didn't do all that well, while our king-size Geronimo took Best of Breed.She didn't like that. So after the judging she called a meeting of all the Malamute owners and announced that on her way home she would stop at AKC to see my good friend John Neff and have our standard clarified to disqualify all Malamutes who were over the sizes stated!She said the original intent was to disqualify; they just overlooked making that clear.This announcement created quite a stir, as you might expect. Almost everyone's dogs were over 25", 85 lbs and bitches over 23", 70 lbs. We were all fairly naive about AKC: based on her claimed relationship with good friend John Neff, whom we did recognize as the guy who pretty much ran AKC, we figured maybe she just might be able to pull it off.We heard no more about it, though, until October that year, at the Big National Specialty in Rye, NY. After judging, Mrs. Seeley (now the president) convened an official meeting and the first thing she did was to introduce the executive vice president of AKC - her good friend, John Neff!We were totally taken by surprise, and most of us fully expected him to make some pronouncements about disqualification's that we really did not want to hear. But he spoke briefly, complimented us on our large turnout and the excellence of our dogs, and then departed. This was a happy surprise.The first point of business at the meeting then, was standard clarification. By obvious pre-arrangement, Delta Wilson made a motion that Eva Seeley be designated as chairman (we didn't have chairpersons in those days) of a standard review committee and appoint her own committee members to serve with her! Fortunately, we had the votes to put a stop to that sort of thing. I made a short speech about democracy, and upon my motion we voted to elect a committee representative of the membership as a whole.Then, with fair and proper consideration for all points of view, we voted Mrs. Seeley a seat on the committee. Bill Dawson, Ralph Schmitt, Jean Lane and I were also elected.Ch. Mulpus Brook's Master OtterCh. Mulpus Brook's The Bearfirst BOG in the breed historyMENU

  • Bob Zoller InterviewLeaning over backwards