Sunday, February 17, 2013

How to Tell a Husky and a Malamute Apart

The Siberian husky and the Alaskan malamute are commonly confused. Both dogs are somewhat similar in appearance (they can have the same color patterns), they are spitz breeds; and both have a somewhat similar personality; they love to run/  But is always good to know how to tell Huskies and Malamutes apart, or know what traits either is more likely to have especially if you are considering getting either dog as a pet.

Please note that there are many different breeds of husky, in general we will refer to the Siberian Husky.

So how do you tell the difference between a malamute and a husky?

Alaskan Malamute

  • Malamutes are quite a bit larger than huskies with some males weighing in at 90 pounds (41 kg).
  • Have a wider head and ears are set further apart.
  • Malamutes have brown eyes.
  • Tend to carry their tails over their backs.
  • Malamutes are noted for digging out of yards to escape the boredom of confinement.
  • The average lifespan is 12 years.

Siberian Husky

  • Huskies are considered medium sized dogs, with males weighing around 60 pounds (27 kg).
  • The shape of a huskies head is narrower and the ears are set closer together.
  • Huskies can have brown eyes, blue eyes, or one eye of each color.
  • Tend to have a more relaxed way of carrying their tail, although they sometimes carry it high they will often hang their tail down.
  • Huskies are noted for jumping fences and will often climb a fence to get out of a yard.
  • The average lifespan of a husky is 14 years.

Both huskies and malamutes are high energy dogs who need a lot of exercise. They are considered to be “northern breeds” and enjoy colder weather and in warm weather care should be taken to keep the dogs cool.

Huskies and malamute have strong prey drives and have been known to kill cats, chickens, rabbits, and so forth. If you have other pets and are thinking of getting a Husky or Malamute, make sure to get one from a breeder that has other pets and has socialized the puppy well. 

Both are noted for being escape artists who then run, and run, and run. They are more independent than most dog breeds.

Huskies and malamutes were both bred to pull sleds. Huskies were often used in larger teams with more dogs, and are often used in sled races, while malamutes were used in smaller teams of fewer dogs, and were used to pull heavier at slower speeds.

Both the husky and the malamute dog can travel 35 miles a day and as such they need an owner that can provide them with lots of physical exercise.

Neither breed is particularly suited for being a guard dog, but both tend to love people in general.

Malamutes and huskies rarely bark but both will howl. They sometimes learn to bark if around other dogs that bark.

Both the Malamute and the Husky are independent breeds, as noted they will often run with no interest in turning around. They can be trained but are not necessarily obedient.

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This article has been republished at Full of Knowledge.

Thursday, February 14, 2013

Can Pets Be Claimed as Tax Expenses?

Who among us that loves their pet would not want to be able to write off pet expenses on their taxes?   Everything from pet food to vet care, in the eye of a pet owner, would be deductible from taxes, sadly in most cases this is not allowed.  While an attempt at having veterinarian expenses allowed as deductible in the USA, has still not passed (The Happy Act, HR 3501), there are a few cases where animals, and their expenses, can be deducted.

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What Animals can be Claimed on Taxes?

Most pets and their expenses cannot be claimed.  Generally what determines if a pet, and pet expenses, can be claimed, is if the it is used to make money, is a “working” animal, or if the animal is a service animal.

Pets Used as Service Animals

Animals, such as seeing eye dogs, are often considered to be medical needs. This is only the case when the animal has been assigned as such. In many cases the animal needs to be prescribed as a service animal by a doctor.

Pets that are Working Animals

Guard dogs are a good example of working animals, specifically when they are used for guarding a business. The business claims the dog as an expense.  Only a portion of a guard dog's expenses may be claimed, specifically in ratio to the time they spend "guarding".  Some dogs might only be used to guard a business at night, so 50% of the expenses may be claimed on taxes, as the animal is living as a "pet" for the other part of the time.  A dog that lives outside with sheep, and guards them all the time, could be considered fully deductible as a farm expense. 

Cats who are used for mousers may be considered working animals if their mousing is at a business (such as a cat kept at a warehouse or on the farm).  A pet house cat would not qualify.

Herding dogs are considered working animals and would be claimed as a farm expense.

Pets that are Used to Make Profit

This often applies more to livestock, and pets who are treated as livestock. If income from the animals is claimed, expenses can be as well. As an example, if a person is a rabbit breeder, with several hundred rabbits breeding for the pet store (or food) industry, they can claim expenses, as this is a business, but they must also report the income derived from sales.

The same would apply to dog breeders when they claim a profit, this is typically limited to mill breeders who breed pups for pet stores.  Most other dog breeders do not make (or claim) a profit and keep the dogs more as a hobby, or passion, than an income source.

When pets are used to make a profit they are claimed as a business expense, with the breeding operation being the “business".  There must be reasonable belief that the business will be profitable; a person keeping only a few hamsters or a few breeding dogs, is not an actual business and would really be just a hobby. 

Livestock animals used on a farm for the farming business can be claimed, but if the farmer also has a pet dog that stays in mostly in the house (and is not used for herding or guarding), then that dog cannot be claimed.  Horses kept as pleasure riding mounts, and their expenses, could not be claimed, however if the horses were used regularly for hire (trail rides and so forth) they could be claimed, or a percentage of their expenses could be claimed against the trail riding business that would have to be licensed as such.

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Remember if you are in doubt check with a tax specialist in your area.  Laws can change at any time and may be different in different countries.