Once upon a time, a group of people in the United Kingdom decided it would be a wonderful idea to develop a dog breed that resembled the wolf, but retained the sociability and friendly temperament of a dog. That project began in the 1980's and produced the Utonagan and Northern Inuit dog breeds, which were bred from Alaskan Malamute, Siberian Husky, and German Shepherd dog foundation stock.
Other dog lovers came along and wanted to take this project a step further. In their view, no one had yet to develop a sufficiently wolflike dog, and there was an additional desire to incorporate modern breeding practices that ensured health and genetic diversity. Thus, breeders began developing the Tamaskan dog.
The word "Tamaskan" is an Anglicization of "teme-maskaeet,"
which means "mighty wolf" in the Lenape dialect.
Photo credit: Tahooe
The Tamaskan Dog Register was founded in 2006. The foundation dogs for the breed included Utonagans, Northern Inuits, Czechoslovakian vlcak mixes, Siberian huskies from a Finnish racing kennel, and a few wolfdogs.
Unlike most dog breeds, which have closed lines and do not permit any "purebred" dogs to breed with those of other breeds, the Tamaskans maintain open lines. This means that, if permitted and approved by the Tamaskan Dog Register (or national Tamaskan club), specific dogs from other breeds may be allowed to breed with a Tamaskan dog to produce puppies that fit certain specifications. These outcross litters are carefully chosen—with rigorous behavior and health testing—so as to ensure the future health of the breed.
Sylvaen Pikachu, sire to Oslett's Al-hob Al-akhar.
Photo credit: Oslett Kennel/Jessica Tremblay
More recent outcrosses have included White Swiss Shepherds, Saarloos Wolfdogs, Czechoslokian vlcak, a Groenendaeler, a Svensk Varghund, a Hedlund Husky, and others. Our hope is that future generations of Tamaskan dogs will continue to be healthy, increasingly-wolflike in appearance, intelligent, and friendly thanks to the very careful and selective incorporation of outcrosses.
Tamaskans are generally energetic (though typically less so than a Siberian husky), agile, and intelligent. They are trainable but sometimes struggle with motivation. They are extremely athletic and thrive at outdoor activities, including endurance efforts such as sledding and running. They require sufficient physical and mental stimulation to flourish.
Thanks to the fact that many Tamaskans carry wolf heritage (mostly distant wolf heritage, though this can vary from litter to litter), as well as the instincts of "primitive" breeds such as Siberian huskies, they can have a strong prey drive. They have been known to get along well with cats if they are raised with them from puppyhood, but they have been known to hunt other small wild animals (squirrels, etc.) as if their next meal depended upon their success.
For training, Tamaskans require consistent and calm leadership. For this reason, they are not recommended for first-time dog owners.
Tamaskans are a member of the American Rare Breed Association and registered Tamaskans are qualified to enter in any of their dog shows.
Legitimate Tamaskans are registered with the Tamaskan Dog Register. Sadly, some American and British puppymills have taken advantage of public fascination with these rare dogs and have produced their own dogs which they've also deceptively called "Tamaskans," "American Tamaskans," or "Tamaskan Wolfdogs." If you are looking to own a Tamaskan, it is therefore extremely important to make sure that any breeders you speak with are in good standing with these dog registers and subject to their rules and health testing requirements.
We are happy to produce documentation for health testing upon request.
Photo credit: Tahooe