Tamaskan | Dog Breed Information, Pictures & Facts

Tamaskan dog walking on dirt

You may not have heard about the Tamaskan dog yet, but chances are that you’ve already seen it. Several television and films that feature a wolf use a Tamaskan to play the role of the exotic animal.

After all, it definitely has a wolf-like appearance. However, despite looking intimidating, the Tamaskan is more docile than you think. It’s renowned for being a loyal companion dog, and it gets along with kids and other pets.

Those are just some of the countless attributes known about the Tamaskan. If you want to dig deeper into what makes this a unique breed, stick to this article and learn about its appearance, temperament, and more.

Breed Overview

Height:24 – 28 inches
Weight:50 – 90 pounds
Lifespan:14 – 16 years
Coat Colors:Black grey, wolf grey, red grey
Temperament:Friendly, affectionate, eager-to-please, active
Suitable for:Experienced dog owners; active families or singles; house with a yard

What Is a Tamaskan Dog?

Tamaskan dog sitting on the snow

The Tamaskan is a native dog from Finland. It was developed by mixing Samoyeds, German Shepherds, Alaskan Malamutes, and Siberian Huskies. It’s meant to look like a wolf and bred to become a skilled sled dog. Aside from agility, it also excels in other dog sports like heelwork and obedience.

With its notable intelligence, a Tamaskan can learn things fast and complete complex tasks. It can even be trained to become a service dog.

As a family companion, the Tamaskan thrives better as a pack animal. That means it shouldn’t be left alone, not especially for long periods. It’s also a naturally active dog requiring daily tasks or exercise to keep it happy.

Despite the rising popularity of the Tamaskan, it’s still considered a rare breed. It’s also not recognized by the American Kennel Club (AKC) or any purebred dog registry since it’s still considered a designer dog. However, it is acknowledged by the American Rare Breed Association (ARBA)

This, along with the Tamaskan Dog Register (TDR) and the Dog Registry of America (DRA), helps the Tamaskan dog breed increase its numbers and people’s awareness about the breed.

3 Interesting Facts About the Tamaskan Dog

As a relatively new breed, not many people know much about the Tamaskan or how it looks. In fact, it’s often mistaken for a Utonagan, a Northern Inuit Dog, or a Saarloos Wolfdog.

Despite the similarity, there are some details you should know about the Tamaskan that separate it from other dogs that resemble wolves.

Below is a list of several interesting facts about the Tamaskan:

1. The Tamaskan name has a meaningful etymology

The etymology of the word Tamaskan is a combination of the Algonquin words “teme,” which is a root word for wolf, and “maska,” which translates to strong, big, or mighty. That said, the word Tamaska means “mighty wolf.”

2. The North Carolina State football team’s mascot is a Tamaskan

The North Carolina State was known to have live mascots for its football team. While the previous mascots didn’t work out, a Tamaskan mascot named Wave, with a screen name Tuffy, continued the legacy.

3. There are only about 400 registered Tamaskans worldwide

As a rare and new dog breed, there are only about 400 registered Tamaskans to date.

Fortunately, its popularity is reaching throughout Continental Europe, Canada, Australia, the United States, and the United Kingdom, so the breed’s number is expected to increase.

Another fun fact is that the Tamaskan only needs to increase in numbers to gain recognition from kennel clubs such as the American Kennel Club (AKC).

Tamaskan Breed Origin and History

Two Tamaskan dogs resting on the grass

The Tamaskan dog has a short history since it was developed only in the 1980s using Husky-type dogs. This is why it is sometimes called a Tamaskan Husky.

Its roots can be traced back to when Finnish breeders crossed the Siberian Husky with the Alaskan Malamute, German Shepherd, and Samoyed. This gives Tamaskans a huge resemblance to the modern-day Siberian Huskies.

Their main objective was to create wolf-like dogs, which explains why the dogs they used exhibit the same overall physical traits.

Further, it was a goal to retain the traditional work drive similar to the hardworking nature of Siberian Huskies.

During the process, they also aimed for the dog breed to be even-tempered and fit enough to become a companion animal with high levels of trainability.

When the breed was successful, they exported the dog to Finland, where the final influences were added. The offspring became the Utonagan breed.

This has been crossed further with the Czechoslovakian Wolfdog. This gave birth to what is now known as the Tamaskan dog. Unfortunately, like many other designer breeds, the Tamaskan history is not well-documented.

What’s certain, however, is that the Tamaskan is a relatively young breed that appears much like how it’s advertised — wolf-like and diligent in its work.

The first Tamaskans arrived in the United States in 2005, and Tamaskan breeders have gradually multiplied across the country. This paved the way for various clubs and associations to acknowledge the breed.

In 2017, the Tamaskan dog received recognition from the International Canine Events (ICE), the International Canine Kennel Club (ICKC), and the International All Breed Canine Association (IABCA).

Tamaskan Appearance

Tamaskan dog on white background

Like its German Shepherd ancestors, the Tamaskan exhibits lupine traits. The notable features include slightly small upright, triangular ears, a pointed snout, and a lean yet muscular physique.

Its side facial profile shows a subtle stop, streamlined to the tip of its black nose. The eyes are almond-shaped and come in various colors, such as brown, amber, and hazel. 

The most common eye color for these working dogs is brown, and it’s only rarely that you can come across one with light-colored eyes. 

On its rear end is a thick, bushy tail that hangs low at rest and goes straight up when in motion or if the dog feels excited. Ideally, its length should reach the hock joint but not beyond.

On another note, its body is covered in a thick, luscious coat. With its furry undercoat and thick guard hairs, the Tamaskan is well-protected from the heat, rain, and extreme cold climate.

The only colors available for the Tamaskan are red grey, wolf grey, and black grey, which should all come in an agouti pattern.

Take a look at the clip below to visualize what a Tamaskan looks like:


Tamaskan Size and Weight

The Tamaskan dog is larger than a typical sled dog, although slightly smaller than its relative, the Alaskan Malamute. Its height ranges from 24 to 28 inches, and its weight can reach between 50 and 90 pounds.

Males are larger than females, but both can take 3 to 4 years to reach their sizes fully.

Even though there’s an ideal standard on how tall and heavy a Tamaskan should be, diet and genetics can influence its proportions.

Generally, one way to know how big your Tamaskan puppy will get is by looking at its parents.

There’s a good chance that it will grow as big as them, although it’s also possible for a large-sized parent to produce a small-sized dog.

Tamaskan Temperament and Personality

Tamaskan dog exploring outdoors

The Tamaskan dog may look like one of nature’s fierce and ruthless hunters, but it’s known to be gentle and friendly. With its sweet and affectionate temperament, people are instantly drawn to this breed.

This pup easily gets attached to its owner. And aside from being loyal and devoted, its extroverted personality makes it a good family dog.

However, due to the Tamaskan’s social nature, leaving it alone for long periods can cause destructive behaviors. Separation anxiety may kick in, which usually manifests through barking or digging.

Meanwhile, the Tamaskan is accepting of other dogs. When it comes to strangers, they can either show relaxed or aloof behavior.

Additionally, the Tamaskan isn’t the best option for a watch or guard dog. It can protect you, but only to a certain extent due to its friendly nature.

Tamaskan Lifespan and Health Issues

Despite being a large dog, the Tamaskan has an average lifespan of 14 to 16 years, with other dogs like this breed living four years beyond what is expected.

The Tamaskan is one of the healthy, athletic breeds, which can be explained by its diverse genetic pool. However, it isn’t guaranteed to be immune to health problems.

Below are the notable health issues in the Tamaskan breed:

  • Hip Dysplasia: Hip dysplasia in Tamaskan wolf dogs is a common skeletal condition where the ball and the socket on the hip joint don’t fit or develop properly. Instead of gliding smoothly, these areas grind against each other, causing a painful experience for the dog.
  • Degenerative Myelopathy: Tamaskans with degenerative myelopathy develop weakness. They will also have an abnormal gait in the hind limbs. Over time, this may lead to paralysis in the said area, affecting the spinal cord even more. This can lead to breathing, eating, and vocalizing difficulties.
  • Gastric Dilatation and Volvulus (GDV): If your Tamaskan shows signs of restlessness, swelling of the abdomen, or heaving, chances are that it suffers from gastric dilatation and volvulus or bloat. It happens when the stomach twists and there is air buildup inside. Surgery is sometimes necessary to get this treated.

These notable health issues only affect a small percentage of Tamaskans. Thanks to diligent testing and an ethical breeding program, some of the issues common to the breed have been significantly reduced.

How to Take Care of Your Tamaskan Dog

Black Tamaskan wolf dog exploring the forest

It requires a commitment to own a Tamaskan dog. Some of the things it needs are proper nutrition, adequate exercise, training, and proper hygiene. When these are well-provided, the Tamaskan stays healthy and happy.

Read on to learn the basics of taking care of a Tamaskan wolf dog.

Food and Diet

A Tamaskan thrives well when fed with food that is complete and balanced in nutrition. The dog food formula should be size- and age-appropriate to support your pet’s growth and development.

Typically in a day, a Tamaskan must be fed 2 to 5 cups of dry kibble. This is divided into two meals. As for the dog treats, these should only comprise at least 10 percent of the dog’s total calorie intake.

Carefully choose healthier options for your dog’s snacks. Frozen fruits, tidbits of meat, and crackers are some choices you can choose from.

My uncle owns a Tamaskan named Hunter, and aside from feeding commercial dog food for his pet, he is more fond of giving him a BARF diet, otherwise known as raw feeding. He found this diet very effective in keeping Hunter fit, active, and healthy.

Hunter also enjoys the experience of gnawing on this type of food as it simulates how he would eat his food in the wild.

Although it comes with a lot of benefits, it is still best to consult your pet nutritionist first. After all, this comes with many considerations you need to be aware of.

Cleaning and Grooming

Despite the Tamaskan dog’s coat, the breed is considered a relatively low-maintenance breed. It can be brushed a few times weekly to spread its natural oils. You may increase the frequency of grooming during high-shedding seasons.

Meanwhile, you can bathe your Tamaskan dog every 6 to 8 weeks or when it gets dirty and smelly.

Another part of the grooming routine is to trim your dog’s nails regularly. If it gets regular exercise, its nails will wear down.

Make sure that the Tamaskan’s ears are clean as well. It shouldn’t smell nor have colored ear wax discharge. As for oral health, brush your Tamaskan dog’s teeth at least twice daily to remove plaque and avoid tartar buildup.

Training and Exercise

The Tamaskan dog’s intelligence is noteworthy. While it’s certainly a breed you can train and teach complex tricks, it’s also known for being stubborn.

That’s why training the Tamaskan at an early age is necessary. After all, puppies are more inclined to repeat behaviors than adults.

For its mental stimulation, you can give your dog some tasks or routines to accomplish each day. You may also invest in interactive toys to keep boredom at bay.

On another note, as a working dog, it’s natural for the Tamaskan to exhibit high endurance. This calls for certain types of exercise so that this canine can release its pent-up energy.

Ideally, 70 minutes of daily exercise where the dog can run, walk, or play with other dogs would be enough for its physical requirements.

How Much Does a Tamaskan Dog Cost? Puppy Prices & Expenses

As a relatively new breed, a Tamaskan puppy is usually sold at a premium price. Breeders usually charge $1,200 to $1,700 on average.

Aside from this one-time cost, other expenses come with owning a Tamaskan dog. Puppies would need food and water bowls, dog food and treats, and supplies like a dog bed, crate, and other pet accessories.

Here is a list of the initial expenses you need to consider for your Tamaskan puppy:

Type of ExpenseCost
Food and Treats$80 – $150
Bowls$15 – $40
Toys$30 – $100
Beds$50 – $300
Collars and Leashes$15 – $50
Crates and Carriers$60 – $500
Grooming Essentials$50 – $250
Initial Vet Visits$100 – $500
Initial Vaccine Shots$50 – $300
Deworming, Flea, and Tick Medications$40 – $300
Neutering or Spaying$50 – $500
Microchipping$40 – $60
Dog License$10 – $20
Other Essentials$30 – $80
Total Initial Cost$620 – $3,150

The figures on the table are mere estimates, which will help you know how much to allocate for the care and maintenance of your Tamaskan. The actual prices will depend on the brand and quality of the items you choose.

When my uncle got Hunter, he got a very good deal from the breeder. He was given a set of freebies that included a week’s supply of dog food, a huge bag of treats, a set of food bowls, a couple of rope toys, and a medium-sized crate.

Because of this, he was able to save hundreds of dollars at the onset, which he was able to set aside for other essentials.

Places to Find Tamaskan Puppies for Sale and Adoption

Tamaskan puppy lying on the grass

As a gentle breed with a head-turning wolf-like appearance, it’s not surprising why people want to own a Tamaskan dog. However, much as it’s fascinating, researching before getting this breed is essential.

Here are the reputable sources where you can buy a Tamaskan puppy:

  • AKC Marketplace – The AKC Marketplace is a hub of experienced and trusted dog breeders in the United States. Even though they primarily breed purebred dogs, there might be a chance that some breed Tamaskans or know someone who does.
  • Avalon Tamaskan – Avalon Tamaskan ensures that their Tamaskan pups are born and raised healthy with excellent temperaments. The lupine appearance is also maintained to ensure that their dogs conform to the official breed standard.
  • Wolfdogs of the Ebon Blade – Wolfdogs of the Ebon Blade has been selling Tamaskan puppies for years, which are selectively bred to produce only the best wolf dogs. This breeder emphasizes the importance of health testing, socialization, temperament, and appearance during the breeding process.

Meanwhile, if adoption is your preferred method of having a Tamaskan dog, you may consider visiting several animal welfare charities.

Here are some organizations where you may find a Tamaskan dog for adoption:

  • Tamaskan Dog Rescue – The Tamaskan Dog Rescue is a sub-committee of the Tamaskan Dog Register. They rescue and rehome Tamaskans across the United States and internationally. If you want to adopt from them, take time to check their available Tamaskans, which they regularly post on their page.
  • Husky House – Husky House primarily houses Siberian Huskies but also takes in other dog breeds and mixes. Knowing that a Tamaskan is a mix of a Siberian Husky and other wolf-like dog breeds, there’s a chance that Husky House has a Tamaskan for you to adopt.
  • Moonsong Malamute Rescue – Moonsong Malamute Rescue covers Idaho, Wyoming, Montana, Utah, and Northern Nevada. This rescue is dedicated to assisting and rehoming Alaskan Malamutes and other Northern breed dogs, potentially including the Tamaskan.

If you’re still looking for the right Tamaskan dog that ticks all the right boxes, drive around your neighborhood and look for local shelters and rescues.

Pros and Cons of Owning a Tamaskan Dog

The Tamaskan breed is not for everyone. Although it looks appealing, it’s best suited only for experienced individuals or families. This large dog breed bears ideal and attractive qualities, but there are also cons to consider.

First, here are the pros of owning a Tamaskan:

  • Highly intelligent: The Tamaskan has strong working abilities and can easily take on tasks. That proves that this breed is smart enough to learn tricks and drills. With proper training, it can ace several dog sports like agility training.
  • Friendly temperament: Due to the Tamaskan dogs’ heritage of being raised as pack animals, it’s natural for them to be highly social. They enjoy the company of their family and know how to form a bond with other people or even small dogs.
  • Wolf-like appearance: Not every day would you come across a dog that looks close to a wolf. The Tamaskan is deemed a carbon copy of this wild animal, and it’s something you can be proud of as an owner.

Meanwhile, here are the disadvantages of owning a Tamaskan dog:

  • High activity needs: The Tamaskan requires mental and physical exercises daily. That means you must take it out for long walks, runs, or free plays in the dog park. If you’re laid-back, this wouldn’t be the right dog for you.
  • Prone to separation anxiety: A Tamaskan wouldn’t do well alone for hours due to its social nature. It would require a pet sitter if you are away for a certain period lest it will develop separation anxiety.
  • Tendency to be stubborn: The Tamaskan can be difficult to manage, especially for first-time dog owners. Although it’s a breed known for its intelligence, it can also become stubborn; hence the owner should be firm in establishing house rules.

This list of pros and cons suggests that owning a Tamaskan comes with a responsibility. You must be up to deal with the drawbacks as much as you’re in for the benefits if you want to own this unique dog.

Frequently Asked Questions

Tamaskan dog getting some sun

Do Tamaskan Dogs Have Wolf in Them?

Tamaskan dogs are only bred to look like a wolf and do not actually have wolf blood. Understandably, its appearance can mislead people to think that they’re wolf hybrids.

However, looking at their lineage, the Tamaskan dogs’ ancestors only happen to carry a wolf-like appearance.

Are Tamaskan Dogs Rare?

Tamaskan dogs are still considered rare these days. They only have a few breeders across the United States and are still gaining popularity. It’s a new breed, so it will take time to earn worldwide recognition.

However, with the American Rare Breed Association and several breed clubs’ promotion and acknowledgment, the Tamaskan dog is slowly increasing in number.

Are Tamaskan Dogs Easy to Train?

Tamaskans are working dogs that are easy to train, provided they’re handled by an experienced trainer or owner. These dogs are intelligent and respond well to training, but positive reinforcements are necessary.

Are Tamaskan Dogs High Maintenance?

Tamaskans are low-maintenance dogs. They only require to be brushed a few times weekly and bathed occasionally.

The grooming frequency may increase during shedding periods, but other than that, the breed needs minimal care.

Do Tamaskan Dogs Make Good Pets?

Tamaskans are good family dogs since they are gentle with kids and accepting of other dogs and animals. With their high activity levels, pet owners are granted workout buddies in furry packages.

So, with all these things considered, have you decided to bring home this wolf look-alike? Let us know your thoughts about the Tamaskan by leaving a comment below!

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