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Hudsons Alaskan Malamutes - AKC bred for temperment, quality and size
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Hudson's Malamutes - Frequently Asked Questions

44. Down Ears, Floppy Ears

Here at Hudson's we do not encourage the inbreeding of our Mals. Inbreeding is breeding very tight lines, ex. (father/daughter, litter mate brother/sister, Mother/son, etc). We have found in our early breedings (1990's breedings) with "standard" show Mals, these lines had very tight if not directly inbred mals in the pedigree's. Many times in the "show" world this is looked at as a positive attribute and breeders are encouraged to inbreed, to ensure a set or type at each kennel. What is a kennel set, type? This is to make every Mal that is bred at that individual kennel with looks and traits the same. As with show kennels many are breeding for tail set, bite, conformation, etc. You can check out our link here for further information on this subject -
What is Inbreeding/Linebreeding? Genetic Diversity? What do breeders need to know?

With our late 1990's breeding program with the standard show lines with which we were working, we had many genetic issues that could not be seen with just basic observation. Many of the puppies were crippled with HD before even a year of age. Many had cancers and other problems that shortened life spans to four/five years of age. And this happened from OFA Excellent and Good parents. The standard Mals we encountered were much more snippy, bull headed, and had tendencies to be aggressive above just your average dominant Mal. I recognize this is not the case with every bloodline or kennel and not every inbred or line bred Mal out there will have this issue. Nor is it attributed to just "standard" show lines. But in the case of the lines I dealt with this is some of the issues I found with the breedings. And I am sure every bloodline out there has it's problems, standard or giant - there are no perfect dogs anywhere. Early in our breeding program here at Hudson's we learned to out-cross because of these serious issues with the standard "show" lines I had. We have not for many years bred the standard line Mals and for over a decade concentrated on only the Giants. Our kennel and bloodlines have limited if any line breedings in them, and only with the best of care with our lines to ensure the healthiest well tempered "Giant" Mals out there. So our breeding program is based mainly on out-crossed bloodlines lines.

We breed first for health and temperament and then for size. As many who have spoken with me in detail know I believe if your dog is beautiful but was very sick, it really would not make a difference if you had the best looking Mal in the world if you could not enjoy a long healthy life with your Hudson's dog. The same would go for temperament, if you had an aggressive, hard to handle, unruly Mal it would not make a difference how beautiful the dog was.

All of this information lays the foundation to answer one question that seems to be going around, "Why does Hudson's have some dogs with floppy ears?" First detail that people need to be aware of is that having a mal with down ears is not an AKC disqualification. It also does not effect their health or temperament in any way. You also can tape or assist ears up if you choose, and not have a Mal with down ears with a little work. This is a personal preference to each owner to love their puppy the way they like it, up or down ears. And if you can get ears to come up with just a little tape then it is not a genetic problem. It is a cosmetic thing. Because genetic problems do not have remedies with a little tape. In fact when going to AKC shows in the back grooming areas I have seen for my own eyes breeders of "show" dogs also assist their puppies ears up with tape and other remedies. So this is not a "Giant" flaw either. Floppy and down ears can occur with standard or giants. I have many puppy buyers who do not care either way. I have also had people ask specifically for a down eared Mal puppy. As well as up ears. So either way you like it you can assist to get the desired look that you want in your puppy. Also with this, I have had a female Malamute put her floppy ear up at four years of age with no assistance. There are also pictures of an IWPA weight pull malamute having down ears for eight years. And now at eight years old, her ears have come up! Another thing that you can notice at Hudson's is our dogs are not as consistent as some kennels. Meaning, some are tall, some short, some are wide, some long and lean. So there are different variation of dogs here at Hudson's. This happens when you out-cross. As explained some in the above text, your dogs are not as consistent when you do not inbreed. But we at Hudson's choose to have healthy dogs over A tail set, (that does not effect health) or floppy ears, (that does not effect health). Or any other cosmetic flaw that does not effect the life span, health or temperament of our dogs.

One dog in particular that I have been asked about is Hudson's Edge. Edge's mom has an Excellent OFA hip rating. This is very unusual for a Malamute to have Excellent hips. She had long lived healthy genes and her puppies were just as good if not better then her. Her mother was the top #1 female Alaskan Malamute weight puller with the most titles of a female Alaskan Malamute in IWPA at that point when she was competing. And a long line behind that of great dogs. With that being said about his mom, Edge is just as awesome and "HUGE". And he himself has an OFA hip rating of Good. We tried for Edge for four years. With several failed insemination and implants on his mom, we finally had a natural breeding when we had given up hope and stopped trying. And we waited patiently for nine weeks to pass. On the nine week mark we brought her in for a check up, Edge's mom's uterus was twisted and he was stuck and couldn't come out on his own. So she could not have the puppies naturally and we had a C-section. He was the only surviving puppy when born so that means he is "One a Kind". My vet raved when he was born at how hard we had worked for this puppy. He was huge and the most beautiful boy I could have hoped for. I wouldn't have traded him for a million dollars.

When Edge was a few months old I found a bump on his ear. It was hard to see as his ears were still down at the time, as I don't usually start trying to assist ears up until they are six months, as I allow them time to go up on their own. Upon bringing him to the vet we found he had a hematoma in his ear from playing with one of his non litter-mate sisters. She must have bit or bent his ear while playing that caused blood to fill in his ear and clot. My awesome vet did surgery on his ear and we fixed the ear to the best of our ability but damage was already done. He got a nick name at my vet clinic "the million dollar puppy". Yes, that is what Edge is called in my vet's records. Because we worked so hard and tried for so many years to get this puppy and I am proud that he is here with us, with or without a broken ear. Now why would you give up such a great bloodline, a one of a kind dog for a small cosmetic flaw? Why would you eradicate a bloodline that you had worked so hard and so many years for because of such a little thing as an injury to an ear? And something that is not genetic, does not effect life span, health, temperament or any of those things. I also would like to add, just because a specific dog has up or down ears does not mean a thing about the puppies. At this time Edge's puppies have up ears and they are HUGE just like him. So with all of that information, now you know why Hudson's would breed Edge with no concerns :)

We are avid fans of Joe Henderson's Alaskan Arctic Expeditions. Joe Henderson drives a 22 Alaskan Malamute team for 3 to 5 month expeditions in the Alaskan Arctic. From reading the articles on his site, as well as his fantastic book, he breeds for dogs that will work efficiently for the snow and ice conditions that he encounters. He's got quite a range of size in his malamutes, from 60lbs to 130lbs, and he puts them all to work. A number of them have floppy or down ears. Guess what, they're still on the team! He's breeding for working malamutes, and if they have a cosmetic flaw it sure doesn't inhibit their ability to work and survive in the Arctic.

We're breeding for health, temperament and then size. Every now and again we get a cosmetic flaw in floppy ears. That doesn't inhibit the dog from being healthy, having a good temperament and being large and lovely.

So if you get a Hudson's pup we can assist you on how to get your puppy's ears up if they are not up by six months. Or if you don't want to wait that long to see if they are going to go up on their own we can help you before then. Ether way we can assist you in getting the desired look of your puppy no matter how you prefer your puppy ears.

Psalm 115:1
Not to us, O Lord, but to you goes all the glory for your unfailing love and faithfulness.
© 2004-2013 Jolene Houghtaling
Hudsons Huskies and Malamutes
P.O. Box 241
Baxter, TN 38544
(931) 432-0955
Pups@HudsonsMalamutes.com