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Tamaskan Dog

Nicole Cosgrove

The Tamaskan Dog is a developing modern dog bred in Great Britain but given the involvement of dogs from Lapland also by some given origins of Finland. It has the looks of a wolf but there is no wolf in this dog but was created to have that noble appearance by its creators. It is intelligent and versatile and as well as being a great companion can be a great sporting dog or working dog. It is a dog best suited to active and experienced owners. It is large in size and has a life span of 14 to 15 years.

The Tamaskan Dog at a Glance
Name Tamaskan Dog
Other names Formerly the Utonagan
Nicknames Tam, Tamaskan
Origin Great Britain and Finland
Average size Large
Average weight 55 to 100 pounds
Average height 24 to 28 inches
Life span 14 to 15 years
Coat type Thick double coat, dense undercoat and coarse outer coat.
Hypoallergenic No
Color Wolf grey, red grey, black grey
Popularity Not recognized by the AKC
Intelligence High
Tolerance to heat Moderate – take care to look after it in warmer months
Tolerance to cold Very good to excellent
Shedding Average to above average and then heavier during shedding seasons
Drooling Moderate
Obesity Average – measure food and make sure it gets daily activity
Grooming/brushing Average to above average – brush twice a week usually but daily is needed during the heavier times
Barking Occasional
Exercise needs High – active breed that needs active owners
Trainability Moderately easy with experienced handling
Friendliness Very good with socialization
Good first dog Good but easier for experienced owners
Good family pet Very good with socialization
Good with children Very good with socialization
Good with other dogs Very good with socialization
Good with other pets Good to very good but socialization is needed
Good with strangers Good but needs socialization as can be wary
Good apartment dog Low – needs space and a yard
Handles alone time well No – prone to separation anxiety as does not like being left alone
Health issues Fairly healthy but a few issues include Cryptorchidism, epilepsy, hip dysplasia and degenerative myelopathy
Medical expenses $485 a year for basic health care needs and dog insurance
Food expenses $260 a year for a good quality dry dog food and treats
Miscellaneous expenses $675 a year for grooming, miscellaneous items, toys, basic training and license
Average annual expenses $1420 as a starting figure
Cost to purchase $1,200
Rescue organizations None breed specific, check local shelters and rescues
Biting Statistics None reported

The Tamaskan Dog’s Beginnings

The Tamaskan’s beginnings are also the Utonagan’s beginnings as the Tamaskan split from the Utonagan. It was first bred in the 1980s by a breeder called Edwina Harrison who called the dog the Northern Inuit Dog initially and was developed using 5 mixed dogs imported from the US which included Alaskan Malamutes, Siberian Husky and a German Shepherd. These dogs were rescues though and nothing is known about their background. The goal was to create a dog that had a great temperament and was wolf like in looks but not temperament. Utonagan means spirit of the wolf in Chinook Indian.

In the late 1990s a breed club was formed but in the early 2000s they divided into two groups one of which was the Utonagan Society. This group then split again one staying with the Utonagan Society and one taking the name the British and International Utonagan Society. This latter group is the group that then change their dog’s name to Tamaskan Dog and changed their groups name to the Tamaskan Society. Tamaskan means mighty wolf.

The first breeders of the Tamaskan Dog were Jennifer Peacock and Lynn Hardey. They had crossed their Utonagan with dogs from Lapland, Finland and the Czechoslavakian Wolfdog to create a dog that was still wolf like in appearance and with a good temperament to be a great companion, but also to have more of a working drive than the Utonagan had been bred to have. The first registration of Tamaskan Dogs happened in 2006.

New Lease on Life

The TDR (Tamaskan Dog Register) was started in 2006 in GB but came to the US in 2005. The National Tamaskan Club of America was started also in 2006 and in 2009 the Euro Tamaskan was started. Breeders should mate Tamaskan to Tamaskan today not back to the Utonagan or adding any other mixes. The dog has some following around the world, Europe, Canada and Australia included. In the US the ARBA (American Rare Breed Association) recognized it but no major kennel clubs have.

The Dog You See Today

This large sized dog weighs 55 to 100 pounds and stands 24 to 28 inches tall. It is wolf like in appearance and males are larger than females. It has a rectangular body shape as it is longer than it is tall and it is strong and powerfully built. It has a long neck that has a slight arch and its topline is slopes just a little with a straight and strong back. Its belly is tucked up and tight and its front legs are straight and back legs powerful. The feet have arched toes and the tail has thick coarse hair and is held down when relaxed and higher though not over its back when alert.

The head of the Tamaskan is wedge shaped and its forehead is a littler arched with a muzzle that is long and strong symmetrical jaws. Its teeth come together in a scissor bite and it has a black nose. The eyes are almond shaped, medium sized and colors are brown, amber or yellow. The ears are triangular, small and set wide apart. They face forwards and are erect and the tips are rounded. Its has skin that is tight and a double coat, the under being thick and the outer being straight and coarse. Colors are wolf grey, black grey and red grey for the most part. Its face commonly has a mask.

The Inner Tamaskan Dog


Tamaskan Dogs are great family companions and can also be very committed working dogs too. They are intelligent and dominant so do best with experienced owners who can make it clear they are in charge not the dog. It is a social animal, it likes to be included with family activities and does not like to be left alone for long periods, it likes to be a part of a pack. That companionship can be its human family or another dog. It is affectionate and loyal with its family and is generally good though wary initially with strangers so socialization is important. It is alert and will let you know if there is an intruder trying to get in by barking. It is not though a good guard dog.

When bred and raised well the Tamaskan should be a laid back dog, obedient and gentle. It forms close attachments with its family and needs people who are around more than not. As well as needing a certain level of attention it also has fairly high needs in terms of mental and physical exercise. It is not an aggressive dog, it may be wolf like in looks but it is not in nature.

Living with a Tamaskan Dog

What will training look like?

The Tamaskan is moderately easy to train in general especially if you have experience with dogs, but its dominant nature means it can be stubborn, it will challenge your leadership so it can be harder for new owners. It is an intelligent dog, and it is eager to please so if you are confident, consistent, positive and fair training will go better. Make sure too that you keep the sessions shorter, more frequent and interesting for it as it does get bored easily. Start the training as soon as you bring it home, and also start its socialization sessions too. Introduce it to different people, animals, places, situations and sounds and so on. This way it will learn what acceptable responses are.

How active is the Tamaskan Dog?

Tamaskans are very active dogs and are best with active owners. As well as needing plenty of physical and mental stimulation it is hard working and does well as a working dog. Give it at least two long vigorous walks a day and then some off leash time somewhere safe like a dog park, which is also a great opportunity for it to socialize and play with you. When you go for your jogs, bike rides, hikes and such it can join you for them. It is not an apartment dog, it needs space and at least a large yard that is well fenced as it is agile and a good escape artist! Mental challenge is also important, interactive toys, training, sporting events like agility, obedience and trail are also a great way to give it both needs. If it does not get what it needs it can become destructive, restless and hard to live with. It is best suited to cooler climates.

Caring for the Tamaskan Dog

Grooming needs

Looking after the Tamaskan Dog takes some effort as it does shed an average to above average amount and then during warmer months there is some seasonal shedding that is heavy. There is cleaning up to do around the home and you should brush it twice a week usually and then daily when it is especially heavy. All dogs have natural oils that keep their coats moisturized and in good condition. If you over bathe or use incorrect products and shampoos you can strip those oils. Therefore keep the baths to just as needed and only use a proper canine shampoo.

There are other grooming needs that are regular maintenance concerns like looking after the nails, teeth and ears. Dog’s teeth just like ours need to be kept clean to prevent decay and disease. Brush them regularly, two to three times weekly with a dog toothpaste and toothbrush. Check weekly in its ears for infection like a bad smell, a build up of wax, redness and irritation. When you have done that you need to wipe then clean with a damp cloth or a dog ear cleanser. Do not push something into the ears though as that could do damage and cause pain. Its nails will need to be clipped when they are too long using clippers or scissors made for our pets, not our own ones. Take care and do it properly as lower down are nerves and blood vessels that if cut will hurt it and cause bleeding.

Feeding Time

Feeding the Tamaskan Dog is likely to require somewhere between 3 to 6 cups of a good quality dry dog food each day, and that is in at least two meals. How much it needs depends on its size, age, metabolism and level of activity. Make sure it has water at all times and that it is changed for fresh as much as possible.

How is the Tamaskan Dog with children and other animals?

Tams are actually very good with children, with other pets and with other dogs with socialization and then of course being raised with them. It may knock over toddlers by accident though when it gets more playful or when it is a larger puppy and being more rambunctious so supervision is a good idea. Always teach children how to approach, properly touch and play nicely with dogs. In most cases Tams are said to have a low hunting drive so can get on fine with other pets. It does enjoy the company of other dogs being a pack dog and would really appreciate another dog or two in the home with it.

What Might Go Wrong?

Health Concerns

Tamaskan Dogs live for 14 to 15 years and are quite healthy but there is the potential for a few issues to arise which include Cryptorchidism, epilepsy, joint dysplasia, eye problems and degenerative myelopathy.

Biting Statistics

In reading reports of dog attacks against people in North America over the last 35 years no mention is made of the Tamaskan Dog being involved. It is not a common dog there though, so the odds are understandably lower in it appearing in such statistics. There are some canines that are more aggressive than others and some are built so that they could do more damage should something happen. However a large part of how a dog is and responds to situations is its breeding and its raising. While no owner can guarantee 100% of the time that their dog is never going to react aggressively you can lower the risk and give the dog some of the tools it needs. Give it at least basic obedience training, socialize it well. Then make sure it gets the attention it needs, the exercise and mental stimulation it needs and that can help. Tams are developed to be fairly non-aggressive but it is still in that early process.

Your Pup’s Price Tag

The Tamaskan Dog is not common and there are therefore fewer breeders than ones that are well established. This may mean finding one that you are comfortable with and can trust takes a bit more work but this is not something you should rush through. It is important to avoid puppy mills, backyard breeder and even pet stores. The price of a Tam puppy right now is probably around $1200. Adoption is less, you can adopt a rescue or shelter dog for $50 to $400 but the dog is likely to be an accidental mix and there are more adults needing a new home and owner than a puppy.

When you have found the dog or puppy you want to bring home there are some items to get for it for when it is home. A crate, bowls, carrier, bedding, leash and collar and such cost about $200. The when it is with you, it needs to take a trip to its vet. It needs a physical examination, blood tests, be dewormed, vaccinated, micro chipped and spayed or neutered and such for another $190.

There are also then the ongoing costs of pet ownership. If we condense it into yearly costs there are three main areas, medical needs, food and then miscellaneous. A good quality dry dog food and doggy treats for the Tam are going to start at $260 a year. Basic medical and health care needs like vaccinations, tick and flea prevention, pet insurance and check ups come to a yearly sum of around $485. Other miscellaneous costs like grooming, license, basic training, toys and other items are about $675 a year. This is a yearly total estimated cost of $1420.


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The Tamaskan Dog has to offer as a great companion and an obedient working dog for the right owners but it is still in development. It is usually though a devoted, loyal and affectionate dog. It is best with experienced and active owners and should be given early socialization and training. With them it gets on very well with others. If you are really drawn to dogs that have the wolf like appearance but want one that has nothing of that in their actually temperament this could be a dog to have a closer look at.


Nicole Cosgrove

Nicole is the proud mom of Baby, a Burmese cat and Rosa, a New Zealand Huntaway. A Canadian expat, Nicole now lives on a lush forest property with her Kiwi husband in New Zealand. She has a strong love for all animals of all shapes and sizes (and particularly loves a good interspecies friendship) and wants to share her animal knowledge and other experts' knowledge with pet lovers across the globe.