The master’s voice

I thought it’s about time I posted some malamute photos – I guess I am missing these dogs with not having travelled to the Arctic last winter.

So here they are, a picture of obedience, all watching and waiting for their master’s voice, and that is definitely not mine, I just happen to be standing next to Joe Henderson with camera in hand. It’s a remarkable thing to see but Joe’s relationship to his dogs is so close that he just has to give the command and the team instantly springs into action, a simple “ok” and the power of twenty two malamutes’ eager fury is unleashed, a formidable force that moves thousands of pounds of expedition gear through deep untracked snow all day long. Anybody who owns a dog knows that training a pup can be a handful but training twenty two head strong malamutes to not only obey voice commands but to work together in unison, putting aside doggish distractions and team rivalries, is a remarkable feat and boy can they be distracted and unruly when they are not at work!

Camp time is filled with little light provocations

and playful revenge

that tests each of their limits and strengths, they really do like nothing more than to play, posture and settle scores within the pack hierarchy.

At times the posturing amongst “teenagers” can be fierce, this is Howdy trying out his snarling, snapping best, asserting his own sense of his position within the pack, but Tip and Dino really are not having any of it, their placid demeanor says it all, they can see through the posture and they are not bothered.

Other “teenagers” in camp, like Petra, can’t get enough of us humans

and will pull any kind of stunt

to give you a big wet lick.


Joe’s malamutes are brought up from birth with heaps of human contact and love and they are like family. As fierce as the dogs can be in their own social order they are the gentlest of human companions and this seems to be at the crux of Joe’s relationship to his team, their trust and respect for him is absolute and they will follow his every word.

FURTHER READING: To read more about these amazing dogs, visit Joe Henderson’s website and check out his magazine articles:

Andrea I love this post! You have always taken such stunning photos of our dogs and you really have a knack for capturing their personalities on camera. They sure can be ornery!

Angus Mill Glad you like the post, it was fun to assemble and it made me realize how much I miss the feisty enthusiasm of those dogs! You’ve just taught me some US english too, ornery, I like it, I never heard it used over here.

Kim Thanks so much for sharing the pictures and commentary. I just love reading your insight into the Malamute personality. So many times I read it and think my Malamute does that too! I’m really hoping for a book of your stories and photos! Thanks again!

Tim McElravy Awesome…simply awesome!

Gil That is some wondrous life man.

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