Tamaskan Dog: All you need to know about the Finnish wolfdog 

The Tamaskan, meaning “mighty wolf” in Munsee, is an athletic and cuddly dog breed also known as the Tamaskan Husky or the Tam.

This breed bears an astounding resemblance to the wild wolf, with which it shares over 90% of its DNA. This article will cover everything you need to know about Tamaskan dog wolves. 

A Tamaskan dog laying on the snow
Meet Thabo, a Tamaskan dog enjoying the snow – Image source

What is a Tamaskan Dog? 

The Tamaskan dog breed originated in the 1980s. Breeders from the United States, Canada, and Finland aimed to develop a dog with the appearance of the wolf, the temperament and intelligence of a house pet, and the drive of a working dog. 

The history behind the Tamaskan’s breeding clubs is complex. Many breeding authorities did not accept the effort to develop wolf-like dogs.

The breeding community saw crossbreeding with wolves as transgressive, causing the early wolf-cross breeders to form their own breeding program. 

Watch the video below for ten interesting facts about the Tamaskan dog breed:

The Northern Inuit Society (NIS) – also responsible for developing the Northern Inuit dog breed – set up their own code of ethics for breeding wolf-dogs. 

Due to further disagreement amongst breed clubs, an offshoot of the NIS formed their own group, called the Utonagan Society.

Member Lynn Hardey split ties with the group in 2004 when she decided to develop the Tamaskan breed using Finnish bloodlines. 

Thus the Tamaskan was born out of a cross between various other pure breeds, such as the Alaskan Malamute, the Siberian Husky, the Czechoslovakian Wolfdog, and the German Shepherd.

A strong and powerful breed with ties to Native American dogs, it made sense to give the breed a Native American name, hence the use of the Munsee language. 

Tamaskans today are famous for being one of the closest approximations to wolves amongst wolf-type dog breeds, with high genetic similarities. 

Tams are considered “designer dogs” due to the breed’s careful and selective crossbreeding with purebred bloodlines.

This is why the American Kennel Club (AKC) does not yet recognize the Tamaskan in its official registry. 

It’s no easy feat to find a Tamaskan, as there are little over 400 of these dogs worldwide. The American Rare Breed Association lists Tamaskans as a rare breed.

You can find Tamaskans from breeders, however, or you can adopt if you’re able to find one who needs a home. 

What does a Tamaskan dog look like?

A full body image of Tamaskan dog standing in a forest
Image source

Tamaskan dogs have a wolf-like appearance: large size, timbre, or grey hair, prominent teeth, and soft hair.

They are so similar to wolves that one award-winning Tam played a convincing wolf on Broadway’s “The Crucible.” 

Another well-known Tamaskan in the U.S is the North Carolina State University mascot. This Tam is the mascot for the athletics team, nicknamed the NC State Wolfpack. 

With strong and athletic bodies, Tamaskans appear more dangerous and intimidating than they are in reality.

Tams have strong toplines, with alert, almond-shaped eyes like their wild ancestors in dark brown tones. They have well-proportioned features and balanced bodies. 

Tamaskans stand well over their feet in the forequarters and hindquarters, keeping a poised stance to be ready for anything.

Their heads are rounder than wolves’, but they bear a resemblance in the gaze: Tams have intense, intelligent eyes. 

Tamaskan tails are fluffy and stand up-right rather than curved. Beneath the body, you’ll find straight legs set close to one another. 

Tams have wide nostrils on their black (sometimes streaked) noses. 

Size: How big are Tamaskans?

Tamaskans are large dogs, with males standing as tall as 33 inches (84cm) and females 28 inches (68cm). Male Tams weigh between 66 and 95 lbs (30-43kgs) and females between 55 and 85 lbs (25-39kgs). 

Due to their significant size, Tams are not apartment-friendly dogs. Once they reach their full size at twelve months old, they will need ample space (and preferably a yard) to play. 

What are Tamaskan coats like? 

Tamaskans have coats with long, dense hair in several colors. They can come in red-gray, wolf-gray, black-gray, and white. The thick double coat is weather-resistant with a soft undercoat. 

Temperament: Are Tamaskan dogs good family pets?

A portrait of a happy Tamaskan family sitting on the grass
Meet Nova, Grey, and Avon, Tamaskan brothers posing for a portrait – Image source

Tams are highly intelligent canines, which makes them easy to train as puppies and as adults. Training a Tamaskan requires early socialization with strangers, children, other dogs, and other household pets.

The earlier you teach a Tam, the better, and be sure you’re firm and consistent. The same goes for potty training a Tamaskan puppy. 

Tams make great family dogs as they are good-natured and friendly around children. This is only if they get socialized early.

If not, they may behave with aggression until they get to know the other creature in the room. 

Tamaskans are fun-loving and playful, so don’t be afraid to take them swimming with you. This is a great way to satisfy their high activity levels, and they’ll love running and jogging around with you too. 

Despite being a wolf-like dog, Tams are not aggressive, but they are protective. That said, they do not make competent watchdogs or — due to their friendly nature — good guard dogs. 

Tams will sometimes howl if they hear other dogs doing the same, but they are not big barkers unless it’s an innocent bark emitted while playing. 

Tamaskan dogs hate to be left alone and are prone to separation anxiety, so you cannot leave them alone for long periods — more than a couple of hours — at a time.

Taking care of your Tamaskan Dog

A Tamaskan walking on grass
Meet Vega, a Tamaskan Wolf dog enjoying a walk – Image source

Tamskans’ thick double coats make them better off in moderate to cold weather. They are also a low-maintenance dog breed requiring little in the way of grooming.

As long as they get regular exercise and nutritional food, you will have a happy and healthy Tamaskan. 

If drooling is a dealbreaker for you, the Tam may not be the best breed of dog for you. They do drool a bit, although not as much as the Basset Hound

Exercising your Tamaskan Dog

Tams have super high energy levels because of their history as working dogs and sled dog lineage, so they need regular exercise.

A long walk (about ninety minutes) each day will suffice, and you can up the pace to a jog or run, too. 

Grooming: Are Tamaskan Dogs hypoallergenic?

Tamaskans are not hypoallergenic, so consider your allergies before adopting one. However, they are easy to groom, and you only need to brush them once a week for the majority of the year. 

Be aware, however, that Tamaskans go through molting bi-annually when they shed more than usual. You need to brush them daily during this period, but they barely shed the rest of the year. 

Due to Tams’ repellant double coats, you should only bathe them if they get dirty or mucky from swimming, for example. Their coats will keep them from getting smelly unless they get wet. 

To take care of a Tamaskan’s ears, you should clean inside of them once a week with some damp gauze. Then dry them out with a clean cloth. This process will keep your Tam from getting ear infections. 

Tamaskan Dog food consumption

Tamaskans need 3-4 cups of dry, high-quality dog food daily. Tam puppies take 2-3 cups, broken into four meals over the day.

Once they reach six months old, you can change this regimen to three meals a day. Increase the portions under a veterinarian’s advice and reduce the meal count to one per day once the Tam turns one year old. 

Tamaskan puppies have sensitive stomachs, so sticking to dry food is your best bet. The consistency in meals is good for a Tam puppy. 

Make sure that you read up about human foods your dog can’t eat. If you do feed your adult Tam raw food, make sure it is high in protein and low in carbohydrates. 

Lifespan: How long do Tamaskan dogs live?

A full face of a smiling Tamaskan dog
Image source

Tamaskans have a lifespan of 14 to 15 years, and they can live long, happy lives if they have regular exercise and a nutritious diet. These are healthy dogs, although some hereditary conditions crop up often with this breed: 

  • Epilepsy
  • Degenerative Myelopathy (DM)
  • Cryptorchidism

With a designer dog such as a Tamaskan, health screening is crucial to check for preexisting hereditary conditions. This is on top of the occasional tests that come with the territory of owning a pet. 

With Tamaskans, it’s a good idea to ask your breeder if the dog you want has received a DNA test.

This will confirm the presence of Degenerative Myelopathy (DM) and can help you prepare for managing any other prominent health concerns. 

As Tams are quite healthy dogs, they usually pass away due to old age or from cancer. 

How much does a Tamaskan puppy cost?

A Tamaskan puppy with pointed ears up
Meet Takoda, an adorable Tamaskan puppy sitting – Image source

Once you find a Tamaskan breeder, you’ll have your choice of a litter of 6 to 10 puppies. Tamaskans will cost you anywhere between $1200 and $2000 if you buy them as puppies. 

Before you buy a puppy, it’s important to note that the sale price is not the only cost involved in caring for a Tamaskan.

Since they are such a rare breed, shipping your new best friend to your country could set you back as much as $2000. 

Then there are the costs of treatments, deworming, medical check-ups, grooming, and feeding. Throw in the toys and special treats, and the cost of care can reach as high as $3000 per annum. 

Find Tamaskan dog breeders

As mentioned, Tamaskans are not easy to find, but there are breeders online where you can adopt these lovely wolf-dogs.

If you keep checking in with puppy farms and pet stores, you might be lucky enough to find a Tamaskan dog for sale or up for adoption, too. You’ll have to be persistent though! 

Remember to ask for certification from your Tamaskan breeder. This ensures that the dog meets ethical breeding standards and regulations and has undergone health screening for hereditary conditions.

The Tamaskan Dog Register (TDR), the official international organization for Tamaskan breeds, lists many registered Tam breeders.

Tamaskan dogs rescue and adoption

It may be even more challenging to find a Tamaskan rescue than Tamaskan dog puppies for sale, as these designer dogs are usually owned by serious fanciers and breeders.

That said, you may be able to find a Tam rescue if you keep checking the Tamaskan Dog Rescue website in the U.K. 

Tamaskan dog compared to similar canines

Tamaskans have notable differences between their wolf-dog cousins, the Siberian Husky and Alaskan Malamute, due to the selective breeding developed in the 1980s.

We’ve broken down some of the key differences below: 

Alaskan Malamute VS Tamaskan dog

A fluffy Alaskan Malamute laying on the grass with petals
Meet Kira, a big and cuddly Alaskan Malamute – Image source

Alaskan Malamutes are friendly dogs, but the Tamaskan beats it out in terms of playfulness – with kids in particular. Alaskan Malamutes also have more rigorous grooming needs than the low-maintenance Tams. 

Siberian Husky VS Tamaskan dog

Siberian Husky in autumn
A fluffy Siberian Husky laying on fall leaves

Siberian Huskies have fewer health conditions than those Tamaskans suffer from, although Tamaskans have longer life spans of the two. Siberian Huskies have much smaller litters, with only 4-8 puppies. 

Who should get a Tamaskan Dog?

A Tamaskan looking up and standing on the snow
Meet Nymeria, a Tamaskan dog with beautiful eyes on the snow – Image source

Tamaskans are a gentle breed, but we don’t recommend them for first-time dog owners. This is because they require a lot of attention and can’t be left alone much, which poses a challenge for working people. 

Their intelligence does make them susceptible to training, however, owners still need to be present and dedicated to a strict discipline regimen every day. 

A major pro in favor of the Tam breed is their playfulness with children and amicable nature; Tamaskans make great additions to family households. 

If you have the time to invest in caring for a Tamaskan dog, you’ll have a loyal and devoted companion for life. 

If there’s anything we’ve missed about the Tamaskan dog breed, don’t be shy and leave a comment for us below. 

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