Tamaskan Dog


General Description

The Tamaskan Dog is a large sized dog with an intelligent gaze who is rangy and wolf-like in appearance bearing witness to his northern heritage of sled dog type. He is a well-balanced working dog, quick and light on his feet and free and graceful in action. He has a well-furred body, erect ears, and bottle-brush shaped tail.

The Tamaskan stands well over the pads; this stance gives the appearance of readiness for activity and a proud carriage, with head erect and eyes alert showing interest and curiosity. His characteristic gait is smooth and effortless, showing good forward reach and rear extension. He is a capable and adaptable worker, able to function as sled dog, service dog, or tracking dog, among other roles. He can easily carry a light load at a moderate speed over short distances.

The Tamaskan is intelligent and a fast learner, however he may be willful. He should be considered a working pet that is both happy in harness or at home. His body proportions, form, and movement resemble that of a wolf: balance of power, agility and endurance.

Male Tamaskan should be easily distinguishable from females.

Any characteristic of the individual specimen, including temperament, which interferes with the accomplishment of this purpose is to be considered the most serious of faults.

Size, Proportion, Substance

The Tamaskan is a slow maturing breed, reaching full maturity at 3 – 4 years.

Size: Ideal height at the withers: 
• Males: 63.5 – 73.66cm (25 – 29 inches). 
• Females 61cm – 71cm (24-27.9 inches).

Proportion: When measuring from point of shoulder to the point of buttocks the Tamaskan is slightly longer than tall. The proportion of height to length of body is a 9:10 ratio. The depth of chest is less than one half the height of the dog at the shoulders, the deepest point being just behind the forelegs. Tamaskan have a minimum depth of chest to leg ratio of 6:7 (45% depth of chest, 55% leg).

Substance: Substance is muscular with moderate bone, and an easily discernable gender difference. The Tamaskan exemplifies a sound athlete in grace, muscle tone, movement, and carriage. The body carries no excess weight, and bone is in proportion to size. Faults: Excessive weight, poor overall proportion.


Expression: Expression shows attentiveness, intelligence, alertness, and eagerness. The Tamaskan’s gaze should be intense and clever, and may even be mischievous. Sex should be unmistakable.

Eyes: Eyes are almond shaped and of medium size with black pigmentation on the eye rims. The Tamaskan’s eyes are moderately spaced and are set obliquely in the skull. On a dog with the proper eye set, the distance between the ear and the outer corner of the eye is about one and a half times as long as the distance between the eyes. Lids are close fitting. Eyes are yellow through amber and brown. Faults: Eyes set too obliquely or set too close together. Eyes which are protruding or sunken. Droopy eye lids. Blue eyes are a disqualifying fault.

Ears: Ears are fully pricked, triangular and are slightly rounded at the tips, of medium size but in proportion to the head, set wide apart on the skull and carried facing forward and erect. At full attention they are held erect. The bottom of the ear does not pass the zygomatic arch. Ears in adults should be furred on the inside. Faults: Hanging ears are a disqualifying fault.

Skull: The top of the skull is flat. Length is greater than width and should be a 2:1 ratio. There may be a slight furrow between the eyes. 
Muzzle & Back Skull Ratio 
Viewed from the side the topline of the back skull and muzzle form parallel planes, divided by a slight to moderate stop. The muzzle and back skull are equal in length forming a 1:1 ratio.

Stop: The stop is slight to moderate. Minor Fault: A pronounced stop.

Muzzle: The muzzle tapers slightly to form a blunt wedge from base to nose and is rounded at the tip. The bridge of the nose is straight from the stop to the tip.

Nose: The nose should be black, however a lighter streaked ‘snow nose’ is acceptable in winter. Nose should be bigger than the eyes. Nostrils should be open.

Lips: Lips are black and close fitting with no pink showing on the outside when the mouth is closed. Tighter flews are desirable.

Teeth: A full complement of 42 strong white teeth should meet in a scissors bite on a strong and symmetrical jaw. Faults: Undershot or overshot jaw.

Neck, Topline, Body

Neck: The neck is strong, long in length, slightly arched, muscular, and covered with fur to form a protective ruff. The neck blends smoothly into the shoulders and is carried proudly erect when the dog is standing. When moving at a trot, the neck is extended so that the head is carried slightly forward. Faults: Ruff mass should not come from improper shoulder position.

Topline: The back is straight, strong and level with no sign of weakness. Faults: Sloping topline, roach back, sway back, weak back, or slack back.

Croup: The croup should be short, not broad, and slightly sloping. The croup slopes away from the spine at an angle, but never so steeply as to restrict the rearward thrust of the hind legs. Faults:Dropped croup, flat croup.

Chest: The brisket reaches to or nearly to the elbows. With the lowest point reaching to the elbow but not beyond. The ribs are well sprung from the spine, oval in shape, flattening toward the lower end to allow for elbow clearance and efficient movement. Faults: Narrow or barrel chest, a chest that is too broad.

Ribs: Ribs are long and neither barrel chested nor slab-sided. The underline shows a tuck up in proportion to their size. The ribs are slightly flattened on the sides to allow for freedom of action. Faults: Barrel shaped ribs, ribs which are too flat or weak.

Loin: The loin should not be longer than 1/3 of the rib cage. The loin is taut and lean, narrower than the rib cage, and with a slight tuck-up. The loin has enough length to be athletic but still in proportion. Faults: A long loin that may weaken the back.

Tail: The tail is set low and is straight and full. It may be carried up if moving or excited. While at rest the tail should be held down and be straight. Tail should go to the hock joint but not beyond. The base of the tail is strong. Tail should be tipped in black, well-furred but not feathered. Faults: A tail curled over the back or a high tail set. Minor fault: White tipped tails.


Shoulders: Shoulder blades are long and are well laid back. Shoulders should be set approximately 45 degrees from vertical. Withers should be well-muscled and pronounced. The upper arm should be the same length as the shoulder blade, and attaches at an approximate 90 degree angle to the shoulder with the forelegs dropping straight, perpendicular to the ground. Most importantly, the forequarter angulation should be in balance with the rear. A 45 degree shoulder should not be favored above a balanced dog. Faults: Straight shoulders.

Forelegs: When standing and viewed from the front, the legs are closely spaced, parallel and straight, with the elbows close to the body and turned neither in nor out. Bone is substantial but never heavy. Length of the leg from elbow to ground is at least 55% when compared to depth of chest: the distance from the elbow to the top of withers. Legs are straight and strong. Bone is strong, oval rather than round. Faults: Too wide in the front, lack of angulation, elbows turned either in or out, heavy bone, fine bone, low withers.

Pastern: The pastern is medium in length and when viewed from the side is very slightly slanted. The pastern joint should be strong but flexible. Front dewclaws may be removed, but it is not required. The pastern joint is strong, but flexible. Faults: Weak pasterns.

Feet: The feet are oval, compact with close knit with well-arched toes. Pads are thick and resilient, and well-furred between the toes and pads. Front feet turn out slightly while standing. Turned out feet must accompany proper fitting shoulders, forearm, and flexible pastern. Turned out feet must not be a result of malnutrition, or turned out or turned in elbows. May be slightly hare foot. Faults:Cat foot, soft or splayed toes, paws too small or too delicate, toeing in, splay-footedness, flat feet.


Hindquarters: When standing, the width of the hindquarters is equal to the width of the forequarters at the shoulders. The angulation of the pelvis and upper thigh corresponds to the angulation of the shoulder blade and upper arm, forming an approximate right angle. While moving, and as speed increases, the Tamaskan single tracks in the front and the rear. Single tracking should not be mistaken for bad hocks. Faults: Bad pasterns, lack of angulation.

Stifles: Stifles are clearly defined, with the hock joints moderately bent and flexible. The hocks are medium in length. While standing rear pasterns are perpendicular to the ground and parallel to each other when viewed from the rear. While moving, the dog should have good follow through in the rear to balance the reach of the front assembly. Rear dewclaws should be removed. However, their presence is not a fault if the dog is from a country where removal is illegal. The rear feet point straight ahead. Faults: Straight stifles, slipped hocks, too narrow or too wide in the rear.


Coat: Guard coat is moderately coarse in texture, straight, weather resistant and of medium length. The undercoat varies in quantity with variations in climate or season, and is soft. Fur is short and smooth on the head, ears, front of forelegs and below the hocks. There is a moderate ruff, more pronounced in dogs than bitches. The coat should conform to the body without standing out or hanging down. The Tamaskan Dog should be shown in its natural appearance. Faults: Long coat, texture too harsh or too silky, trimmed coat, rough coat.

Color: Acceptable coat colors are red gray, wolf gray and black gray agouti patterns. Disqualifying Faults: Piebald, solid white, solid black, liver, lack of agouti coloration.

Masking: Face masking is required and three types of face masking are permissible: a full mask, a middle mask and a minimum mask. The mask should reach to the nose. Faults: White blazes on face, incomplete masking.


Gait: The Tamaskan Dog has a smooth, free, and effortless gait. He exhibits great agility of movement with a well-balanced, massive ground covering stride. He should exhibit good reach in the forequarters, and good follow through in the hindquarters. Fore and hind legs move straight and parallel with the center line of the body. As speed increases, the feet (front and rear) converge toward the center line of gravity of the dog while the back remains firm and level. As the pad marks converge, the forelegs and hind legs are carried straight forward, with neither elbows nor stifles turned in or out. Single tracking is highly desired. In movement the head is carried in a forward position. Faults: Short, prancing, clumsy, hindered or choppy gait, lumbering or rolling gait, crossing or crabbing, a stilted gait, or any gait that is not completely efficient and tireless.


The Tamaskan Dog is an intelligent, alert, active dog with a friendly and outgoing disposition; he is good-natured and seldom quarrelsome. He may be sensibly reserved in initial meetings but is easily won over. Some may be independent. He does not display the possessive qualities of the guard dog, and he is not aggressive with other dogs. Some measure of reserve and dignity may be expected in the mature dog. His intelligence, tractability, and eager disposition make him an agreeable companion and willing worker. Faults: Any display of shyness, fear, or suspicious temperament is to be severely penalized.


The Tamaskan Dog has a wolfish appearance, well balanced proportions, good temperament, and moderate bone, is rangy, possesses ease and freedom of movement, a well-furred agouti coat, lupine head and ears, straight tail, and large size. 
Faults: In determining whether a fault is minor, serious, or major, these two factors should be used as a guide: 
1) The extent to which it deviates from the standard; and 
2) The extent to which such deviation would affect the working ability of the dog. 
Disqualifications include blue eyes, hanging ears in dogs over 12 months of age, aggression, double-curled tail, male lacking two descended testicles.

Lyon, McDowell. 2002. The Dog In Action. Dogwise Publishing, Inc. New York. 288 pages. 
Trotter, Patricia. 2009. Born To Win: Breed To Succeed. Kennel Club Books. 427 pages.






Overall, the Tamaskan breed is relatively healthy with few serious genetically inherited conditions. This is predominantly due to extensive health testing, so that only healthy dogs are allowed to breed, but it is also the result of ITR breeders reporting all serious health issues so that carriers (and potential carriers) can be identified. Therefore, reputable breeders can ensure that carrier (or potential carrier) bloodlines are not purposefully crossed, thereby preventing future ‘at risk’ offspring.

The Tamaskan breeding program currently has an open studbook and new carefully-selected outcrosses are added to the genepool on a fairly regular basis. This means that the breed as a whole has a very low COI (level of inbreeding) and, therefore, not as many recessive disorders compared to most closed-studbook dog breeds. Notable health issues in the Tamaskan breed, which only affect a very small percentage of the overall population, include: hip dysplasia, cryptorchidism, degenerative myelopathy, epilepsy, Addison’s Disease, juvenile cataracts, and digestive problems / food allergies.


The Tamaskan Dog is a relatively new breed and, as such, it is important to remember that temperament can vary from bloodline to bloodline as well as from litter to litter, and even dog to dog. This is why reputable Tamaskan breeders will match each individual puppy to the most ideal household with regard to the puppy’s energy level and character, in consideration to the family’s lifestyle and planned activities. The Tamaskan is an adaptable breed, which can fit into a variety of different households and lifestyles. At home, they tend to be fairly calm and relaxed, mostly just lounging around, whereas they are more active on walks and particularly enjoy long hikes. That being said, unlike many other Arctic breeds, Tamaskan Dogs are not hyperactive and do not NEED to work / run on a daily basis… though they do enjoy it.

In general, Tamaskan Dogs are very loyal family / pack-oriented dogs. This means that the breed can be prone to suffering from separation anxiety and/or exhibiting destructive behavior if left alone for extended periods of time. Tamaskan Dogs tend to do best if they live with someone who works from home or who can bring them to work each day, but many Tamaskan Dogs cope just fine if they are left home alone for shorter periods, particularly if they have another dog (or dogs) for company. Tamaskan Dogs around the world successfully live with other dogs of all breeds and sizes, as well as a multitude of other pets including: cats, rabbits, horses, birds, etc. However, it is important to introduce these animals while the Tamaskan is still young so they grow up knowing that those other animals are also part of the family pack as the breed can have a moderate prey drive (again, a lot depends on the individual dog).

The Tamaskan is highly intelligent and quick to learn new things, particularly if the right form of motivation is found (food/play, etc). However, they can have quite a “what’s in it for me” attitude, which can seem like stubbornness, if they are not sufficiently motivated to do what you are asking of them. On the other hand, they are incredible problem-solvers and can learn simply by observing (such as how to open door handles or cabinets) which means that they can sometimes be too smart for their own good! Overall, the breed is extraordinarily versatile and, with persistence and plenty of positive-reinforcement based training, they can perform a broad spectrum of activities ranging from obedience trials to recreational mushing (urban / sled / bikejoring / canicross, etc) to agility to Search & Rescue to scent detection to long-distance hiking / endurance events, etc. Some Tamaskans have also been successfully trained as service / therapy dogs.

Tamaskan Dogs are usually very friendly (not aloof) and are social with adults and children of all ages. The breed standard stipulates that they are not shy or timid, nor are they aggressive (either towards people or other dogs). On the contrary, Tamaskan Dogs are generally very sensitive and highly attuned to their human pack members; therefore, it is recommended that only experienced and confident dog owners, who are positive and persistent in their training, consider ownership. Despite their wolf-like appearance, Tamaskan Dogs are not fierce or aggressive and they do not make good guarddogs. Their character is far too “soft” for protection work / Schutzhund training, but they are attentive and intuitive so they may bark if someone unfamiliar approaches their territory at night while everyone is sleeping or if someone directly threatens their owner, particularly if that person seems hostile or suspicious.

One of the main perks of owning a Tamaskan Dog, compared to other Arctic breeds such as huskies, is that they usually have much better recall and less desire to run off. The key is plenty of off-leash recall training (positive reinforcement!) in a safe area while the Tamaskan is still young. Finally, it is also worth keeping in mind that Tamaskan Dogs can experience a challenging “selective hearing” / disobedient teenage phase while they are going through puberty. Compared to other large breeds, the Tamaskan is relatively slow to mature (both physically and mentally) so they continue to grow and develop up until 2 years old, and may still exhibit goofy-puppy behavior up until this age and beyond.


The International Tamaskan Register (ITR) was founded in May 2019 by the original members of the TDR Committee of Breeders. The Tamaskan Dog Register (TDR) was originally founded in February of 2006 to serve as the official breed registry for all authentic Tamaskan Dogs worldwide. It established a comprehensive list of rules and regulations for registered breeders as well as a code of ethics. This includes a set of mandatory health, structure, genetic, and temperament requirements for all breeding or potential breeding dogs as well as standards of practice for breeding and whelping litters. In 2012, the TDR was officially registered as a non-profit company in Scotland and the registry was restructured with an international “roundtable” Committee comprised of representatives from each National Club around the world.

In 2016, the TDR decided to close the Scottish branch of the company and subsequently registered as a 501(c)(4) charitable corporation in the United States, which was governed by a Board of Directors. The Board of Directors was responsible for the organization and management of the TDR as a business (e.g., taxes, banking, management of the corporation, etc.) and appointed an advisory committee (the original members of the Scottish TDR company) known as the Committee of Breeders (COB) whose function was to manage the development of the Tamaskan breed. Due to the corruption, mismanagement, unethical conduct and poor decisions of the TDR’s Board of Directors, the COB subsequently decided to leave the TDR to form the ITR.