Long Coated Malamutes, sometimes referred to as “Woollies” are those that are born with long and soft coat. These dogs have a soft undercoat and a soft guard coat, neither of which are weatherproof. The length of the coat may vary, but the biggest giveaway is the texture of the guard coat. Long Coated Malamutes cannot blow coat naturally and they rely solely on their owners to groom them often to keep the two layers clean and free of matts so they can be comfortable and regulate their temperatures properly.
The Long Coat gene exists within many lines of the breed and often contributes to healthy and lushes coats. As such, most preservation breeders will not purposely breed the gene out of their programs. Two parents with standard coats that carry a copy of the LC gene can produce an affected puppy (with a long coat).
Some experienced breeders will be able to pick out LC puppies at birth, but most can tell around 5 weeks of age. Puppies or dogs can be DNA tested for the LC gene which can often help breeders make appropriate decisions for their breeding programs.
Please note that responsible breeders do not breed for the long coat on purpose. As beautiful as it is, the long coat is incorrect and makes the Malamute vulnerable.
Some facts about owning a LC Malamute:
- Grooming a fully grown LC Malamute can take up to 3.5 hours.
- The recommended tools for grooming a LC is a slicker brush, metal comb and a slicker brush. Furminators or the like are not recommended as they cut in to the guard hairs. When grooming a LC you’re simply looking to take our the dead and trapped undercoat and separate the healthy undercoat from the guard coat. Depending on the coat, a LC will need to be combed at least 2-3 times a week.
- Shaving a LC is NOT recommended. It doesn’t help them stay cool, and will expose their skin to health problems. If you’re not up for the task of properly grooming the dog at home and aren’t able to take them to an experienced professional groomer a few times a year, we suggest that you do not get a LC.
- Trimming of the paws and the bum area (often called a sanitary trim) is recommended.
- Spayed and neutered LCs may have an even softer coat than one who’s intact.
- Fresh eggs, fish oil and kelp supplements are recommended to help keep the coat healthy and manageable. These supplements are also good for all dogs in general regardless of their coat length.
- Though LCs cannot be shown in the show ring, they are perfectly capable athletes often excelling in dog sports and therapy work.
- Structurally and mentally sound LCs can be used in breeding program strategically by experienced breeders, often paired up with a non-carrier or a carrier (not an affected/another LC) as they can still be excellent producers.