By in Animals

Forecasting weather by my dog's nose

One thing, that not many people may know about, is that you can foretell the winter weather very easily if you have a red Malamute. Gaia is such a dog, it means that her coat has a lovely chestnut sheen particularly when the sun catches it.

Beside being such a beautiful dog these are actually very friendly and are often described as big teddy bears. I know that there have been a few incidents around the world in the last year but these really are down to the owners. It is useless trying to use this breed as a guard dog because they are likely to only detain the thief by licking him to death. They love fuss. Malamutes are very intelligent and require a lot of exercise - a minimum of 5 miles a day. They are built for strength as their natural role is to pull great weights such as the sleds of the Innuit. If they get bored they can be a bit destructive but in a mischievous way rather than spiteful, for instance Gaia will take the laces from hubby's shoes and chew the ends of them if he doesn't listen when she asks for something.

That is another aspect of the breed, they don't bark and are normally quiet dogs but they are very vocal in that they sing and can talk in recognisable human words. Gaia can say 'Go out' when she wants the toilet and for some reason when she is hungry she calls hubby 'Raoul' and she can say 'hello' and 'love you'. It isn't conversational speech, more like Chewbacca forming intelligble words, but is clearly recognisable and it is such fun watching the faces of people who have never met her before when she speaks.

The title of this post refers to the fact that with a lot of Malamutes and Husky's if the winter is going to be cold their nose turns pink. As you can hopefully see from the photos Gaia has a very dark brown/black nose in the summer months but this fades to pink (although darker than the picture shows - not sure why it looks quite that pale). The first time we saw this I was worried that she had something wrong with her and so we took her to the vet ASAP. Luckily our vet knows the breed and was able to tell us that, in common with plants that grow lots of extra berries if the weather is going to be bad, Malamutes develop 'Snow Nose'. It will darken again once the weather warms up. Nobody knows why it is only the 'red' Malamutes that develop this phenomenon, the greys and brown coloured dogs keep their dark nose all year around.

So next time you see a Malamute with a pink nose you will know to get your warm jumpers ready.

picture is my own and all rights are reserved

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grandma20121 wrote on January 17, 2015, 1:00 PM

This is amazing, I never had a malamute dog but it is something for you to keep in mind in the future like you said about their noses changing like that, its almost like a warning, how neat is that?

Kasman wrote on January 17, 2015, 2:22 PM

Maybe it turns pink with increased blood supply to warm the cold air the dog breathes in during winter?

mrsmerlin wrote on January 17, 2015, 4:01 PM

I is actually losing pigment, they have longish snouts and quite narrow nostrils in order that the air is warmed and their tails are long haired so that when they lie down they can wrap them around the front and they cover their ears, and face. They are capable of functioning completely normally at 50 below

mrsmerlin wrote on January 17, 2015, 4:02 PM

I guess that could be a part of it but as her nose is quite pale I don't think there are many blood vessels near the surface

angelaterese13 wrote on January 17, 2015, 4:22 PM

This is fascinating! Not only the nose coloring phenomenon, but the "talking" bit. That would be so cool! On the other hand, I'd never be able to keep up with a doggy who needed 5 miles of exercise a day - mine would end up pulling me on a sled...

OldRoadsOnceTraveled wrote on January 17, 2015, 4:36 PM

I didn't know their nose would change color! I did catch the Chewbacca reference though, because I did know that George Lucas based the Wooky on his Malamute, Indiana, (who seemed to inspire a lot of things!)

seren3 wrote on January 17, 2015, 6:59 PM

Whoa! I never knew any of that! I find that fascinating.

AngelSharum wrote on January 17, 2015, 7:05 PM

I didn't know that. Very cool. She is a beautiful dog.

who_wants_a_fish wrote on January 17, 2015, 7:34 PM

Oooh I shall this is amazing!

mrsmerlin wrote on January 21, 2015, 4:57 PM

Hubby does the long walks not me. We have considered fitting her with a set of reins to pull my wheelchair but I worry she would run off and deposit me in the river or something lol. She will be taught to do harness work pulling a special sled/bike when she is wee bit older. she will be 3 in May so just about old enough. If you don't exercise them enough their hearts give out early so it would be a bad thing for her, plus she is less of a bouncy teddy when she has exercised more

mrsmerlin wrote on January 21, 2015, 4:58 PM

Oh wow I didn't know that. I understand why a malamute could inspire a lot - I have written short stories and poems about Gaia

mrsmerlin wrote on January 21, 2015, 4:59 PM

The trouble is she knows she is a beautiful dog and can't understand when people don't fall instantly in love with her.

mrsmerlin wrote on January 21, 2015, 5:00 PM

I was fascinated when I found out - at first I thought she must have some awful condition lol

OldRoadsOnceTraveled wrote on January 21, 2015, 5:24 PM

Google it. It's really interesting. That's both where Indiana Jones' name came from and why Chewbacca sounded the way he did.