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During Johnny’s younger years he was quite a terror. He dominated the dog yard with a menacing snarl and a growl that sounded like a grizzly bear. But, after ten years, Johnny has settled down to a perfect Alaskan malamute gentleman.
Johnny, reminiscing his younger years of terror as the arctic noon sun sets.
Johnny in his prime, around 9 years old.
I took this photo a few years ago on an expedition in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge (ANWR). There are 22 mals pulling three sleds tied to one another. The sleds are loaded with three months of supplies. Those leaders do a fine job keeping the team lined out and traveling on good hard pack snow. In this image there are four leaders; from left to right, Boss, Bear, Little Savage, and Farmer. My best leaders are the smaller guys and gals. They are more athletic and agile except in deep, soft snow and that’s where my big brute leaders come in. They plow right through deep snow like draft horses and it doesn’t phase them a bit.
If she could speak, Little Savage would have quite a story to tell about her adventurous life. She was only 10 days old when I loaded the sleds with 4,000 lbs of supplies, hitched up 25 malamutes, pulled the snow hook, and headed out on a 5-month solo expedition in Alaska’s Arctic. At the end of our expedition the team and I were greeted by some folks at Barter Island, a small village on the arctic coast. Poor Little Savage, completely scared out of her wits at the sight of another human, ran like the wind from the village. Eventually, I found Little Savage shaking in fear, but after some coaxing and treats from the good folks at Barter Island she settled down. Today Little Savage is one of our friendliest team members.
In this photo Little Savage is 3-month old, hitching a ride.
Posted in Alaskan Malamutes, Arctic, dog sledding, expeditions, Puppies
Tagged Alaskan Malamutes, Arctic, dog sledding, expeditions, mushing, puppies, working dogs
Tikka shows off her snow cave building ingenuity. It’s amazing how malamutes instinctively know what it takes to survive in the brutal arctic environment, just like wolves. But malamutes have the least amount of wolf DNA in comparison to other dog breeds.
These photos were taken March 2010, North Slope, Alaska.
Here’s a great image Angus Mill captured a few years ago while we trekked across the arctic on an 21 day expedition. The team loves to follow me. They just get ecstatic when they see me pull out the snowshoes and get out in front like a lead dog. They’d follow me anywhere!
In this photo, the wind was blasting about 60mph. My tent was half buried and the sleds were completely under the snow. If you look closely, right behind the sled’s handle bars, to the right side of the photo, you’ll see Bear, one of my lead dogs. Although, Bear isn’t 100% pure breed Alaskan malamute, he’s dealt with enough blizzards to know how to take cover in these devilish windstorms.
Most of the adult malamutes protect themselves from the wind by allowing themselves to be completely covered in snow. Yet, some of the pups can’t seem to figure it out at first. They’ll whine, howl and shake the snow off , but after a few blizzards they wise up and dig in like the adults..