The Alaskan Malamute was originally selected for long distance haulage. In time, however, it has become more versatile; due to its psychophysical traits and its temperament, the Malamute is used as a guide for the blind in the USA.

Its sweet nature coupled with an even temper make it ideal for pet-therapy.

The Malamute is a trotter; its innate ability to concentrate and move at a constant and regular pace over long periods of time make it an ideal companion for Dog Trekking, Dog Biking and Skijoring.

Dog Trekking

Secure the trekking harness onto the dog, connect it with a cord to a padded leash (rock-climbing type) and we are ready, with the dog in front of us, for our walk, perhaps along a mountain path, in the cool shade of pine trees and with the scent of the woods delighting our senses.
You will realise how practical it can be to have help going up steep mountain paths, your dog will be more than happy to help you, but above all to be in your company.
This is also a winter activity which can be done on the snow using snow shoes.

 

Dog Biking

The same technique, but faster through use of a bicycle, preferably a Mountain Bike.
It is great on a bike as
one can fully appreciate the natural pulling skills of this wonderful dog. Once it has learnt how to pull the bike, peddling will be minimal. Enjoy cycling along lanes in the country side; it is great for both you and your dog and a wonderful way to unwind from the stresses of a long day at work.

     

 

Skijoring

Great fun for both the cross country skiing enthusiast and his Alaskan Malamute. Once again the same technique, but this time on the snow and wearing skis. Harness the dog and connect it to you with a tow line. This leisure activity is not recommended to the inexperienced cross country skier.
I would like to finish by saying that if what you are looking for is a loyal and trustworthy dog which adapts to every situation and has a really unique relationship with man, then the Malamute is the dog for you. I can sum up in a simple sentence, “It is not a dog that lives for you, but with you.”

 

 

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SALVATORE FOGLIANO & HIS ALASKAN MALAMUTE TEAM THE "POLAR DISTANCE"

 

FRANCESCO BIAGIOTTI & HIS ALASKAN MALAMUTE TEAM  AT THE WORLD SLEDDOG CHAMPIONSHIP IN SCHARNITZ.

 

Salvatore: From an early age I have always appreciated and loved wild nature and the irresistible charm of the wolf, so much so that when asked which animal would you be? My answer was always "A WOLF" I believe their appeal can be defined simply superlative, that sense of protection and respect of the herd, the irrepressible desire for freedom the way they deal with new situations often with courage and mistrust, which It makes it an excellent predator, but a difficult prey just in some of these aspects I can say reflect me, from here my great team name is"WOLF'S SPIRIT". The first contact with the sled I had him at age 18, at the School of Renato Alberoni, from which I learned the important bases for the conduct of the sled, at 23 years finally arrived my first Alaskan Malamute a girl named Summer, called by me in a joking manner wise / crazy which gave a birth to other six little wolfs, followed seven years of dog sledding by myself  in which i observed carefully the competition the most experienced musher to try and pick up new techniques secrets and tricks that only the many years experience can teach you. I believe that in this world there is always somethig to learn, despite the excellent results that can be achieved in the competitions, you should never feel "Incoming" but always try and still to improve. With my team we have participated in all or most of, the disciplines that provide dog sledding ground / snow going from season to season to improve performance, as well as competitions between clubs (where we had satisfactory results, we separate in context International today I won four medals at the European FISTC 2 Bronze, 1 Silver & 1 Gold.

 

Francesco: My Story of mushers started at age 8, being the son of a breeder of Alaskan Malamute. At the time there were two guys running with our dogs: Giovanni Pandolfi and Rita Figini. I went with them to all the races in which they participated: Italian Championships, European and  World. I attended after two races, one on snow Castelluccio di Norcia with two dogs, and one on the ground with a mountain bike and a dog. After a few years at the time the two boys stopped running and I was too small to just go alone. The years pass, finished my studies and started working. I spent a few years to work outside, until I decided it was time to return to work with my family at our kennels where I cultivate the passion that I carry inside since my childhood, to lead by musher my dogs on snow and "dirt ". Much of my time at work, I dedicate to the training our dogs.

  

 What kind of relationship is established between musher and his dog’s team?

 

Salvatore: It is a bond that goes beyond the human / dog relationship, you are moving in unison to conquer a goal, surrounded by snow and ice, and nothing human force depends only from the herd, a ratio of mutual trust, respect, and desire to fight together, I would like to quote a phrase that makes it perfectly the idea of the relationship it establishes with its team: “the strength of the wolf is in the pack, the strength of the pack is the every single wolf including the individual ' man”.

Francesco: The bond that develops between muscher and wetsuit is an agreement made of small gestures and looks, emotional complicity and perfect harmony. This is what I have established in 2013, already the first laps in training, with two of our dogs Alkan Silent Kinght Del Biagio and Chessie Del Biagio. With them I discovered the excitement of being part of a united group and work in unison to achieve a common goal.

 

How long have the sled and what led you to participate in the Polar Distance / The World Sleddog Championship in Scharnitz?

 

Salvatore: That unbridled desire of adventure, wanting to continually test and why not, a bit 'of healthy madness has led us to participate in a big race like the Polar Distance.

Francesco: The first try I made as a child. Then in 2014 I got the urge to prove myself. I met one of the Italian veteran musher and great person Fabrizio Filoni. Thanks to him I became interested in competitions, and asked him the opportunity to join and to try to take part of one of them race. He organized one at Campo Felice, but because of the lack of snow the race does not disputed. Time passed and I found myself in participating as a contributor to the Eleventh Malamute Day at Alpe Giumello although in truth long time since I work in this organization. As always, the event was very successful, both for the Malamute and them owners. Returned back home more load than before with Filoni in my head and Sleddog Races. I was still finishing to fix the material from the return of the Malamute Day and I say, as soon as I finish I call Filoni. It does not take a minute that I will ring the phone, look: is Filoni!!!  We talk about our past experiences, until I ask him if there are any scheduled races. He replied that it was planning in Austria, Scharnitz February 19th till 22nd  to which I could take a part, from that moment my head was in Austria. I was bombarded with emotions. Only to end call told me that it was the World WSA. At first I was a bit 'as well! Confused. But he told me with his genuine peace of mind that would be a good experience, and most importantly I felt the confidence reposed in me. I was overjoyed. And I was the only team with Alaskan Malamute coming from Italy !! At first I did not say anything to anyone, even with my family I was vague. Then one night while I was watching on the internet information on the race, my father saw it and said: "But is the World Sleddog Championship!!!" I smiled. He initially looked at me a bit 'puzzled, then spare my smile with his accomplice and smug smile. I perceived in his eyes and in his silence that he was pleased with my choice.

 

What is the competition?

 

Salvatore: The Polar Distance is Endurance Race 160 km  to deal with in total autonomy in the majestic Swedish territory. http://www.polardistans.com/text1_47.html

Francesco: The race consists of three timed heats, one per day, on a path of 6 km. http://www.wsa-sleddog.com/index.php/en/

 

A bureaucratic and veterinary level what you have done?

 

Salvatore: Passports, standard vaccination, more rabies, certificate of good health for me and the dogs and also you must be in possession of Mucher Pass (a special license for the sled) which releases the association.

Francesco: The documents that I had to prepare were passports, health book, pet passports, Pedigree (given that it is a competition reserved for purebred dogs), certificates of good health for all three.  

 

What kind of training did you do?

 

Salvatore: Basically I focused to put a great cross to the dogs, we presented at the race with about 900 km in the body, we have worked very hard on the aerobic endurance and muscle strength with a specific job, so we skipped the speed that in a competition of genre was unnecessary.

Francesco: Normally I went out with my two malamute every day with a over a distance of 4.5 km. Then for the race I reached the path by adding the 7km uphill and downhill track.

 

The best moment and the worst of the race?

 

Salvatore: You can define the worst moment of the race when at 16:40 after spending 140 km after being left without water, we stopped at the first stream, the time to leave exhausted Kiba says "NO" I just have to take quick decision to stop or put it in the sled bag, opt for the second option, loading the boy and I constitute a makeshift sled bag for the estimated 90 Kg weight equipment, the mountain begins and with it the storm, 50 cm of fresh snow, the wind and nearly a hundred pounds of ballast , I put myself in front of the team and start to climb the mountain, to see how my team broke with the snow that sled looked like a plow had me brought tears to my eyes with emotion. The best time of the race was undoubtedly cut the finish line, a firm, almost a struggle for survival, despite the climatic conditions found along the contingencies anticipated, we did it!!!!

Francesco: Since I left home, my head was full of thoughts and fears: The thrill of participating in a race of this importance, the fear of disappointing the expectations, the fear of English language knowledge. There were no bad times, there have been a succession of events, and each gave me emotions. Upon arriving at the place of the race and all those vans and campers from all over the world. Meet again with the whole of the Antarctic group, Filoni, his partner Olivia and Julia. All great people and always ready to lend a hand. It 's always been a succession of emotions from day one when I was assigned to the harness with the number 48. So as not to miss anything, the Antarctic group enrolled me to a trophy in the world: the trophy of nations which consists of that each nation chooses 3 mushers and according to their order of arrival points are awarded; He wins the nation that accumulates the most points. Fantastic was the opening ceremony, when all participants marched through the city divided by country. Concerns, joys and anxieties are as followed from the first run of the race. When I crossed the finish line the first time I was exhausted, even for my dogs, they were so excited, for them it was the first race and perceived early on that it was not the usual run. I gave them cuddles like never before !! Since then it has always been a growing up emotions experienced in an unforgettable and exhilarating performance thanks to the unforgettable experience that help I received from around the Antarctic group that has provided me not only moral support but also valuable information.

 

If there were those who helped you, and who would you like to thank?

 

Salvatore: As for the workouts, I would like to thank my friend Gabriele, a key person, as well as the owner of a beautiful Siska wolf which I placed into my team, also a special thanks to all the people who supported me and encouraged, but the biggest thanks goes to my wonderful team!

Francesco: There are many people I have to thank, from my mother, who is also the mother of all our puppies, because she assist all them birth; My sister Elisa who knows all of his little once and means that things are done perfectly because she loves them to madness and for the help they gave me with documents. Monica always ready to help me in everything, especially hold the dogs at the start, then my father who, thanks to his passion for this wonderful breed, I have had the opportunity to live this experience. I wanted to thank then Filoni and his family, the Antarctic group and particularly Luca Quartullo, a friend with an incredible tenacity. Finally, and not least my friend Mario Vincenzi, for the help in preparation of equipment. I think this Scharnitz  I will never forget!!!

 

Next appointment?

 

Salvatore: I hope to be able to participate in some races of the Far North and maybe repeat the great experience of the Polar Distance

Francesco: For next year I hope to do a National Championship and I think the Swiss.

 

What advice would you give people who are planning to approach this sport?

 

Salvatore: The advice I would give is to live fully  dog /s not to focus exclusively at the final object but to have fun and take everything as an unforgettable experience, it is important to love dog sledding not the sled.

Francesco: What I can recommend is to enjoy as much as possible any time, from preparation to competitions, without losing sight of the fact that you are part of a herd: you and your dogs, and we must all go in the same direction.