Alaskan malamutes have history of deadly attacks

An Alaskan malamute competes in the Westminster Kennel Club dog show. Two dogs of the breed attacked a girl in rural Manitoba and killed her. Frank Franklin II / The Associated Press

WINNIPEG – Alaskan malamutes are generally known as a friendly breed of dog but have fatally attacked children before.

At least three people have been mauled to death by malamutes in the USA since 2005. Two of those killed were kids. In Canada, four people have died after being attacked by “sled dogs” between 1990 and 2007 according to the Canadian Veterinary Medical Association. It’s not known how many, if any, of those deaths involved malamutes. Last month, a six-day-old baby girl was mauled to death by an Alaskan malamute in the United Kingdom.

A seven-year-old St. Andrews, Manitoba girl was killed by a pair of Alaskan malamutes Sunday afternoon.

The challenge for police will be to figure out what set the dogs off in this case, suggested Bill McDonald, CEO of the Winnipeg Humane Society

“Any large dog, be it a collie or a golden retriever, and young people, they have to be monitored,” said McDonald. “When you’ve got a seven-year-old and a dog that’s mad, these are the tragic results.”

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Alaskan malamutes are described by the Working Alaskan Malamute Club of Manitoba as a large, powerful dog suited by nature for its original purpose as a heavy work dog in the north. The average male weighs 85lbs. Females are somewhat smaller, usually weighing 75lbs. The breed is roughly comparable to the German Shepherd in size but is thicker-set, heavier boned, more powerful and compact in build with shorter ears, broader head and shorter, heavier muzzle. Alaskan malamutes are said to be a wonderful pet and companion dog who are dependable and extremely affectionate.

– with files from The Canadian Press

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