FAQ's about O'Mal Alaskan Malamutes
Questions we are asked most often:
Q: Do you ship puppies?
A: No, NEVER. It is too stressful on the puppy. We usually require at least one meeting with you in person before we decide we would like to place a puppy with you, and usually another to pick up the puppy (and the puppy can't fly home in a cargo hold even if you ARE on the plane...). Obviously, we won't place puppies outside the US and Canada for the same reason.
Q: Do you have reds, whites, black and whites?
A: No, they are not in our dog's genetic makeup. We typically have sables, gray and whites and an occasional seal. Our dogs typically have open masks (white faces) with very little eyeshadow.
Q: Where are you?
A: Michigan in the USA - about halfway between Lansing and Detroit off I-96 or not too far from US-23. We are about an hour from Detroit or Lansing in driving time.
Q: How big are your dogs?
A: We breed to the AMCA standard so our dogs typically are about 80-100 lbs for a male, 60-75 lbs for a female. Of course, as puppies it is not possible to know *for sure* how big any puppy will get. Sometimes they will take after a long lost relative (just like people) and grow bigger or smaller than anticipated. Our largest dog is Riggs (110 lbs) our smallest is Moola (64 lbs).
Q: When will you be breeding again?
A: When we hope to keep something for ourselves to show. We do not have many litters, so puppies are not always available. The best place to check is this website as we will put up information about planned litters here. If you are patient and can wait, it's best to write and let us get to know you. It's not unusual for our puppy owners to wait up to 2 years - of course by then we know them quite well because they have stayed in touch and have become good friends.
Q: Can you keep me in mind for a future litter?
A: We receive many requests a week from people asking us to do that. Of course, not all are suitable homes, but even with the ones that are, I have no way of knowing who is serious and who isn't. Like any good breeder we want to meet you, invite you to meet our adult dogs, build a relationship with you as a friend, then if you seem like the kind of home we are looking for, we will take a deposit and you will wait for the next available litter - and sometimes maybe even the one after that since obviously we can't know how many puppies and of what sex they will be. The reason a breeder can't "keep you in mind" is because we need to know where our puppies are going. We plan and prepare for specific homes. By the time we have that next litter, you will have likely found a puppy elsewhere, and if we "kept you in mind" we would have a puppy without a home. As breeders, we can't know who will wait and who won't without a deposit. We won't accept a deposit until we have met you and feel comfortable that you're the kind of home we want to place our puppies with.
Q: How much are your puppies?
A: It will depend on our expenses for that particular litter. We try and give you a specific figure once we have determined the stud fee, potential expenses, etc. We use quality stud dogs and have exceptional blood lines. We try and keep the price reasonable for a typical family. We use premium foods, excellent veterinary care, and screen for health problems and on top of this microchip and register the puppy for you. We spend an extrodinary amount of time socializing the puppies, and have taken off work (unpaid) when circumstances require it. Our litters are not large, averaging about 6-7 puppies, and we put extra effort into planning the litter and raising it properly because breeding a litter is the only way we can continue our lines. We are breeding so we can choose a puppy for ourselves - if we have a couple of extra pups we can place in terrific homes - great - but that is not why we are breeding (to sell dogs). It is much cheaper to buy a top quality puppy than breed your own, if you make the effort to do it right!
Q: Can I pick out the puppy I want?
A: No, see the explanation here. If you have a preference for sex, or wooly, or anything else, let us know. However, preference for sex will go to people that have a NEED for a specific sex first (i.e. they already have a male and need a female to prevent fighting issues for example) rather than those that just WANT a specific sex. However, those that can be more flexible (male, female, temperament, color), obviously will have a better chance of getting a puppy in an upcoming litter. The order in which we receive a deposit may have some bearing, but is not the only criteria we use. We always reserve the right to refuse to give you a puppy if we don't have one we feel is of a temperament, sex, or other circumstance that will fit into your household. As guardian of the puppy, it is our responsibility to place it in the best situation we can. We typically have more requests for males for some reason (and I have a friend that always gets more requests for females - we can't figure that one out!). Our "prices" are the same for either sex, and both sexes require neuter/spaying, no exceptions. The rare times we place a pup in a show home will require the dog live INDOORS and not in a kennel. Obviously, since we are doing the breeding for our breeding program, we will choose the puppy we intend to keep, and any show puppies (not too often) before placing Malamutes. You will usually have to wait until just before the puppy goes home to know which wil be "yours", though I try and keep you informed about all the puppies sending pictures, updates, etc. as often as possible.
Q: What health checks do you do?
A: We OFA, CERF, and have CHD clearances from the AMCA on any dog we breed. We attempt to use stud dogs that also have similar clearances. Only under certain circumstances would we not do this and would inform you ahead of time if this were a special case. If it seems there are problems we will test for anything else necessary before breeding. We also microchip and register all puppies before they go home.
Q: I think I'd like a show puppy or a dog to breed...
A: Sorry, we can't help. All our puppies are sold on limited AKC registrations and are REQUIRED to be spayed or neutered. We only sell show/breeding dogs to people we have known a long long time and trust implicitly. We never sell show/breeding dogs to the general public.
Q: Are you anti-child like some breeders...
A: Definately NOT!!! We feel most puppies benefit from having a full pack that includes children. Some puppies NEED children, and some would be best placed in homes without them. Generally, our puppies have done wonderfully in homes with kids. Of course, it depends on the maturity and behavior of the children too - we are not going to place a puppy in a family where the children are too rough, too wild, or may abuse it. Gentle, well-mannered children are best and both the puppy and the children can benefit from the relationship if the parents are willing to take a hand in BOTH of their training. In other words, teaching children respect for the dog, and the dog respect for the child.
Q: What about multiple dogs or other Malamutes?
A: We consider each family individually - whether it's children, other dogs, or other animals in the home and decide whether a specific puppy will fit in well. We will not sell you a puppy if we don't feel we have a puppy that will fit nicely into your situation and become a valued member of your family.
Q: Can I talk to you about a puppy once the pups are born?
A: We hope to have most puppies spoken for before they are born. Most times they are. Occasionally we will have a pup or two if we have a larger than expected litter, but typically we look for homes that are willing to wait for the pups to be born and sort it out then. That gives us time to get to know the families waiting and what personality would best fit with them. That's always worked well for us and for the people who hope to get a puppy.
Q: Ok, I give you a deposit - but what if there aren't enough puppies? Do I get it back?
A: Sure. If for some reason, there isn't a puppy that is right for you, we will talk and find out if you'd like to wait for a future litter, like your deposit returned, or would mind the opposite sex. We prefer people who can be flexible to begin with (no sex preference). The exception would be if YOU change your mind after reserving a puppy. In that case, the deposit is forfeited.
Q: Why don't you sell to show homes?
A: In our experience show homes tend to have too many dogs, or the dogs live in crates too much, or never get the opportunity to be a family Malamute. Our first priority is the mental health and happiness of the dog - if you can provide a wonderful Malamute home that wants to show - we can talk. If the dog will live it's life in a kennel, would no longer be loved because it developed something that precludes it from being shown - we have no interest in selling to you.
Q: Geez, it's like adopting a child.
A: No, maybe worse. We want to stay in touch with you for the life of the dog. We have a strong contract. We screen our homes VERY carefully. We enforce the contract if we determine there are problems and the dog is not treated humanely or well. On the other hand, you always have our support and we're always here for you no matter what. You get extended family with the pup! We love our pups - Malamute and show and care always what happens to them.