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 known as the Tamaskan Husky or the Tam.

Despite this breed’s astounding resemblance to the wild wolf, it is all dog.

A Tamaskan dog laying on the snow
Image source

Breeders carefully selected domesticated canines to create the Tamaskan dog’s wolf-like appearance. Besides that, this article will cover everything else you need to know about Tamaskan dogs.

What is a Tamaskan Dog? 

The Tamaskan dog breed originated in the 1980s to develop a canine with the wolf’s appearance, a working dog’s drive, and intelligence, but with a house pet’s temperament.

This is the goal of the breeders from Finland, Canada, and the United States.

Besides Northern Inuit and other select breeds, only a few dogs resemble wolves.

So, founded in 1988, the breed club imported five Husky-type dogs from the US to the UK that were then bred to the Alaskan Malamute, Siberian Husky, and German Shepherd.

As a result of this breeding program, the Utonagan Dog was born.

Despite this success, breeders thought that there was not enough diversity in their collection. To improve its bloodline, they exported the breed to Finland for additional development.

Some believe that breeders further included the Czechoslovakian Wolfdog, making the Tamaskan dog we know today.

There’s also some debate that Finnish Origin Huskies have been bred into the Tamaskan bloodline.

It was 2002 when breeders produced the first litter of Tamaskan puppies.

At that time, it’s normal to see one litter of puppies with entirely different features as there was no standardized breed profile or breeding stock. The name Tamaskan didn’t even exist back then.

But in 2006, The Tamaskan Dog Registry was founded, naming this new breed the Tamaskan dogs.

From the 21st century, breeders started working together to create litters with a consistent appearance and temperament.

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

For this reason, the American Kennel Club (AKC) does NOT recognize the Tamaskan breed.

But, the following organizations recognize this breed:

  • TDR = The Tamaskan Dog Register
  • ACA = American Canine Association
  • DRA = Dog Registry of America, Inc.
  • APRI = American Pet Registry, Inc.

Appearance: How does a Tamaskan dog look?

A fully grown Tamaskan dog standing in a forest
A healthy and fully grown Tamaskan dog standing in a forest – Image source

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

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

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

With solid and athletic bodies, Tamaskans appear more dangerous and intimidating than they are in reality. They have strong toplines, well-proportioned features, and balanced bodies.

They 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 and intelligent almond-shaped eyes that can either be yellow or have a shade from brown to amber.

Though rare, some have captivating light-colored peepers.

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

Tamaskans have long, dense hair in colors like red-gray, wolf-gray, black-gray, and white. Their thick double coat is weather-resistant with a soft undercoat.

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

Size: How big are Tamaskans?

Tamaskans are large dogs, with males standing as tall as 33 inches (84 cm) and weighing between 66 and 95 pounds (30 and 43 kg).

Females have a height of 28 inches (68 cm) and can weigh around 55 to 85 pounds (25 and 39 kg).

They can even reach 100 pounds (45 kg)!

Due to their significant size, Tams are NOT apartment-friendly dogs. Once they reach their full size at 12 months old, they will need ample space, preferably a yard, to play in.

Temperament: Are Tamaskan dogs good family pets?

Happy Tamaskan family sitting on the grass
Meet Nova, Grey, and Avon, the Tamaskan dogs posing for a portrait – Image source

Tams make great family dogs as they are friendly canines, even with children. However, they will only behave this way if they get early training and socialization.

If not, they may act with aggression until they know the other people, as well as pets, in their person’s home.

Despite being a wolf-like dog, Tams are NOT aggressive, but they’re protective. And you may count on these easygoing fidos to be good guard dogs, not as watchdogs.

We also recommend them to homes where they always have company as they hate being left alone for long periods and are prone to separation anxiety.

This alone can lead to destructive behaviors, like howling, digging, and chewing.

But Tamaskan Dogs are not big barkers or howlers unless they hear other doggos do it, just like in this video:

You can’t go wrong with this dog breed when it comes to smarts. They’re highly intelligent and are easy to train as puppies and adults. But as with any pooch, the earlier you teach them, the better.

Positive reinforcement is always important when training dogs, but brilliant ones need an owner who’s firm and consistent.

Taking Care of Your Tamaskan Dog

Tamaskan dogs loves to hang out in the snowfield
Two Tamaskan dogs loves to hang out in the snowfield – Image source

Tamaskans are a low-maintenance dog breed requiring little in the way of grooming. As long as you get them their regular exercise and nutritional needs, you’ll have a happy and healthy wolf-like pooch.

Their thick double coats make them better off in moderate to cold weather.

How much exercise do Tamaskan Dogs need?

Because they’re related to amazing working dogs and sled dogs, you can expect Tams to have high energy levels, and having 60 to 90 minutes of exercise daily is non-negotiable.

If you’re going to let your puppy spend it all on running or jogging, at least 18 miles per week would be sufficient for this canine.

If you have a pool or live somewhere near a lake or beach, you can also take your Tamaskan dog swimming.

Other than that, they need a spacious, fenced-in yard to ensure that Tams can run or play on their own without escaping or running after a cat or a squirrel.

Intelligent breeds like the Tamaskan also require mental stimulation. Think of activities that would make him think and keep him from getting bored.

You can use an interactive toy, do a hide-and-go-seek treats game, fetch, or let him help with errands.

Want to take it up a notch? Tams are also versatile doggos that excel at different canine sports, too.

You can sign your pup in field, agility, or obedience trials. There’s also flyball, mushing, canine freestyle, and many more! You and your fur baby won’t run out of activities to do.

Grooming: Are Tamaskan Dogs hypoallergenic?

Tamaskans are moderate shedders and NOT hypoallergenic, so consider your allergies before buying or adopting one.

But, they’re easy to groom, and you only need to brush them once a week for the majority of the year.

Be aware, however, that Tamaskans are molting their hair bi-annually, meaning they shed more than usual.

During this time, it’s best to brush them daily during this period, but they barely cleared the rest of the year.

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

To keep ear infections away, clean your dog’s ears once a week with some damp cotton. Then, dry them out with a clean cloth.

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

Tamaskan Dog Food Consumption

Your dog’s age, weight, metabolism, or activity level, as well as health conditions, will determine what type of diet is suitable for him.

These working dogs require high-quality dog food that’s packed in nutrients, calories, and high in protein.

It’s best to know that Tams are not good at digesting complex carbohydrates found in low-quality dog foods.

How much food your Tam should consume will also depend on the factors we mentioned earlier, like its size.

The average recommended number of cups to feed this fido is between 3 to 6, divided into two to three meals daily.

This may not be as common, but Tams don’t like to eat much on hot days, but they tend to have an enormous winter appetite. This increased appetite helps them gain extra fats that will keep them warm during winter.

Not sure if your fur baby is overweight or underweight? Then, decide to adjust his meals accordingly. Also, make sure that you read up about human foods your dog can’t eat.

Health: How long do Tamaskan dogs live?

Close-up portrait of a smiling Tamaskan dog
A close-up portrait of Tamaskan dog sticking his tongue out – Image source

Tamaskans have a lifespan of 14 to 15 years. So, they can live long, happy lives if they have regular exercise and a nutritious diet.

But, even healthy dogs can still suffer from hereditary conditions. For this breed, these include:

  • Epilepsy
  • Degenerative Myelopathy (D.M.)
  • Hip Dysplasia
  • Cryptorchidism

Health screenings are excellent ways to check for preexisting hereditary conditions. This check-up is on top of the occasional tests that come with the territory of owning a pet.

It’s a good idea to ask your breeder if the dog you want has received a DNA test. This can confirm the presence of Degenerative Myelopathy (D.M.) and help you prepare to manage any other prominent health concerns.

As Tams are relatively 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

Tamaskan puppies have a price range of $600 to $2,000 each. A litter can consist of 6 to 10 pups, but it’s no easy feat to find a Tamaskan, as there are little over 400 of these dogs registered worldwide.

The American Rare Breed Association lists Tamaskans as a rare breed.

You can find Tamaskans from breeders, or you can adopt if you’re able to find one who needs a home. You’ll have to be persistent, though!

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.

Shipping your new best friend to your country differs depending on the breeder or kennel. So be sure to ask them about this fee before getting a Tam.

Consider other expenses, as well, like treatments, deworming, medical check-ups, grooming, and feeding. Spaying or neutering alone could probably cost you $200 or more.

Tamaskan Dog Breeders

Ensure that you’re buying a healthy puppy from a reputable breeder by asking for certification, and of course, by doing your research.

The certificate is proof 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 various registered Tam breeders.

Tamaskan Dogs for Adoption

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

We found this Facebook page for Tamaskan Rescues, and this Tamaskan Dog Rescue is based in the UK.

Tamaskan Dog Compared to Similar Canines

Tamaskans have notable differences from their wolfdog cousins due to the selective breeding program 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 ground
Meet Kira, a big and cuddly Alaskan Malamute lying outside – Image source

Alaskan Malamutes are friendly dogs too, but the Tamaskan beats it out in terms of playfulness – with kids in particular.

Also known as Mals, this breed also has more rigorous grooming needs than the low-maintenance Tams.

Siberian Husky VS Tamaskan dog

Siberian Husky dog in autumn
An amazing Siberian Husky dog lying in autumn

Siberian Huskies have fewer health conditions than those Tamaskans suffer from, although Tamaskans have longer lifespans. Siberian Huskies have much smaller litters, with only 4 to 8 puppies.

Who should get a Tamaskan Dog?

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

As gentle as they are, we do NOT recommend Tams for first-time dog owners.

They require a lot of attention and can’t be left alone much, which poses a constantly for people who are always working or love to travel.

Their intelligence does make them susceptible to training, yet they need an owner who’s present and dedicated to a strict discipline regimen every day.

A significant pro in favor of the Tam breed is their lively demeanor with children and peaceful nature, making them 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 we’ve missed anything about the Tamaskan dog breed, don’t be shy and leave a comment for us below.

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