Sometimes it can be hard to distinguish between a reputable breeder versus a breeder who's breeding for the wrong reasons.
The easiest way to see a reputable breeder is by the health
tests and clearances they perform on their dogs. Just saying "I've never seen a problem" is a terrible excuse! It's important to know what health conditions their dogs have and reputable breeders health test their dogs. You can look dogs up publicly on the
OFA website (www.offa.org). Make sure you can get proof that their dogs were tested - some people are dishonest enough to lie about it.
Be wary of breeders
who only do DNA tests through Embark or WisdomPanel. Although they "test for 200+ genetic diseases", malamutes are only prone to about 3-5 of them. It's good information to have, but it is NO substitute for actual evaluations such as hips, eyes, heart, etc.
A responsible breeder will always take their dogs back. They will have a health warranty on their puppies.
They also won't guilt you into keeping a dog by threatening to euthanize
your dog! There are breeders who offer to take a dog back but tell you they'll have the dog put to sleep. Barring any serious issues, that's a way to guilt trip you into not returning a dog.
Spoiler alert - if they have a link to Paypal or another payment service on their website, run far away.
Not every reputable / responsible breeder participates in conformation shows, BUT claiming a dog has "champion bloodlines" is a crock. Malamutes have a very small gene pool compared to some other breeds.
*Every* malamute has champion bloodlines because they all go back to the same dogs!
If there aren't dogs within the last 2 generations of the pedigree with some form of titles (either conformation, working, or
performance) ask the breeder what they do with their dogs. If they work their dogs in harness but don't compete, that's different than someone breeding two non-working, untitled dogs together. Having a dog occasionally work does not make it a working dog;
that makes it an active pet. With all the dogs in rescue, there is no need for two pet dogs to have puppies; they won't be contributing to better or preserve the breed.
A great resource to look for a responsible breeder is on the Alaskan Malamute Club of America website. Even if a breeder in your area doesn't have puppies, they can direct you to someone that they
trust for other options.
The average price of a malamute puppy ranges from $1000 to $2500.. If a breeder is charging differently based on size, coat color or coat length, run away. A puppy with a long coat is no more or less valuable than a regular coat, there are no rare colors that are worth more money, and there are NEVER blue eyes!
Questions you may want
to ask a potential breeder include:
Do the parents have health clearances? (Ask for their registration numbers so you can find the results yourself, or ask for proof elsehow)
Are your puppies sold
on a contract? What does the contract entail?
What is your health guarantee and warranty on the puppies?
How are your puppies raised? (Many people have had lovely dogs come from kennels. Others only want puppies raised in the house, and others
still want them raised in the living areas of the house without any kennels, etc.)
What sort of support do you provide for puppy buyers? (This is also personal preference. You may never want to speak to your breeder again, or you may want them to
remain in touch throughout the life of your dog. Either way, if you're both on the same page, it makes for an easier relationship on whatever level you choose).
How do your malamutes get along with other dogs? Some malamutes are aggressive, some are
reactive, and some (rare ones) do get along with any other dog.
Do you do any activities with your dogs?
Think of what's important to YOU. Hopefully you'll have your new dog for at least 10-12 years. What kind of dog do you want
for that length of time?