The Tamaskan Dog is a rare dog breed of sleddog type, originating from Finland. It is a highly versatile breed that is known to excel in agility, obedience and working trials. It is also capable of pulling sleds, which is inherited from its Siberian Husky and Alaskan Malamute ancestors. Morphologically, Tamaskans have been bred to look like wolves and have a notable lupine appearance, although they contain no recent wolf ancestry. Although there are fewer than 3000 registered Tamaskan Dogs worldwide, increasing interest has resulted in their spread throughout continental Europe, the UK and the USA, as well as Canada and Australia.
All pedigree Tamaskan Dogs are registered with the Tamaskan Dog Register (TDR) and are DNA profiled; there are notable differences between genuine Tamaskan Dogs and the copycat versions with regards to appearance, temperament and health
Tamaskans are large, athletic dogs; slightly taller in size than German Shepherds. With regards to build, they are substantially larger than their Siberian Husky ancestors but smaller than the Alaskan Malamute. They resemble the grey wolves.
On average, Tamaskan adults measure around 24-28 inches (60–70 cm) tall at the shoulder and typically weigh between 55-88 pounds (25-40 kg)–the heaviest recorded Tamaskan males (to date) weigh just under 50 kg. Females are usually slightly smaller and lighter than males, with a distinct feminine appearance. Males are more heavyset with broader heads and a heavier bone structure. Tamaskans have a lupine appearance with a straight bushy tail and thick double coat that comes in three main colors: Wolf Grey, Red Grey, and Black Grey. Each individual guard hair is agouti banded along its length. The almond-shaped eyes are yellow through amber and brown, with lighter colored eyes being very rare. Blue eyes are not acceptable, nor are mismatched eyes.
Tamaskans are highly intelligent and have been known to excel in agility, obedience and working trials. They also make good sled dogs and many Tamaskans living in colder climates regularly participate in recreational, and occasionally competitive,dogsled racing as well as skijoring. They make excellent search and rescue dogs due to their keen sense of smell, stamina and endurance. Tamaskans can also be successfully trained as therapy or assistance dogs due to their friendly and laid-back personality. As a breed they are very social and are good with people, children, and other dogs, as well as other family pets (cats, chickens, rabbits, hamsters, parakeets, etc.). However, Tamaskan Dogs do not cope well without company and if left alone for long periods of time they may become bored, which can lead to destructive behavior and/or escape attempts. Moreover, Tamaskan Dogs love to dig holes and can pull quite strongly on the leash; both traits they have inherited from their arctic heritage. However, unlike some of their husky ancestors, Tamaskans generally respond well off the leash and, with a small amount of training, will return when called.
Overall the Tamaskan breed is very healthy with only a few notable health issues, which only affect a very small percentage of the bloodlines to date. Roughly 10% of males, as with all other dog breeds, suffer from cryptorchidism: undescended testes. With these cases, usually only one testicle fully descends within the scrotum, while the other testicle remains "hidden" up within the abdominal cavity. Epilepsy has been diagnosed in three dogs, affecting less than 1% of all registered Tamaskans worldwide. Several dogs have been found to be carriers of Degenerative Myelopathy so it is very important that all breeding dogs are DNA tested for DM so as to prevent the creation of sufferers of this genetic disease. As with all large breed dogs, hip dysplasia is a risk; however, due to the work of the Tamaskan Dog Register (TDR) and strict health requirements, which ensure that only dogs with good hip scores are allowed to breed, this risk has been greatly reduced.
The first generation of registered Tamaskan Dogs were born in 2002. Breeds used to create the Tamaskan Dog include Northern Inuit, Utonagan, Siberian Husky, Alaskan Malamute, German Shepherd and other arctic breeds including Finnish racing huskies (unregistered huskies and husky crosses bred for competitive sled racing in Lapland). Each dog was carefully selected for its appearance, intelligence, temperament and health.
The first Tamaskans to be imported into the United States arrived in 2005 and they had their first litters in 2007. Since that time the Tamaskan's popularity has grown exponentially and there are now many TDR-registered breeders worldwide.
The Tamaskan Dog Register (TDR) consists of an international committee and is the official Governing Body and Registration Database for all Tamaskan Dogs worldwide. The TDR maintains the pedigree and health records for all authentic, registered Tamaskans. The Tamaskan Dog Society of Great Britain (TDSGB), the National Tamaskan Club of America (NTCA), the National Tamaskan Club of Canada (NTCC), European Tamaskan (EuroTam), and the Tamaskan Dog Showing Club (TDSC) are all affiliated with the TDR.