Tamaskan dogs are a Finnish dog crossbreed that has been specifically bred to resemble a wolf. It is a cross of several types of sled dogs, including the Siberian Husky and the Alaskan Malamute, and some wolfdog. As of NovemberÂ 2013, Tamaskans have not been recognized as a breed in its own right by any major breed registries or kennel clubs, only being recognized by Tamaskan-specific breeder clubs. It is a highly versatile dog that can excel in agility, obedience and working trials.
Tamaskans are large, athletic dogs, slightly taller in size than German Shepherds. With regard to build, they are substantially larger than typical sled dogs but smaller than the Alaskan Malamute. They generally resemble grey wolves and wolfdogs.
On average, Tamaskan adults measure around 24-28Â inches (60â"70Â cm) tall at the shoulder and typically weigh between 55-88 pounds (25â"40Â kg)â"the heaviest recorded Tamaskan males (to date) weigh just under 50Â 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 gray, red gray, and black gray. Each individual guard hair is agouti banded along its length. The almond-shaped eyes range from yellow through to amber and brown, with lighter colored eyes being very rare. Blue eyes are not acceptable, nor are mismatched eyes.
Overall, the Tamaskan variety is healthy; only a few notable health issues affect a small percentage of the bloodlines to date. Roughly 10% of males 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 five dogs, affecting about 1 out of every 100 registered Tamaskans worldwide. Several dogs have been found to be carriers of degenerative myelopathy. As with all large breed dogs, hip dysplasia is a risk.
In the early 1980s, five dogs, of Siberian Husky origin, were imported into the UK from America. These dogs were then bred to the Siberian Husky, Alaskan Malamute, and German Shepherd, but also possibly other breeds exhibiting a lupine phenotype to form a variety called the Utonagan dog. The Utonagan was perhaps later crossed with the Czechoslovakian Wolfdog to form the Tamaskan dog as it is known today.
In 2009, the Tamaskan Dog Register introduced a Saarloos Wolfdog as a single out-cross to bring some fresh blood into the breed. However, it is believed that none of his progeny have been bred from it to date. This particular Saarloos was specifically selected due to his great temperament, appearance, and health.
There are breed clubs in the United States (Tamaskan Dog Register), Canada (National Tamaskan Club of Canada), France (Club FranÃ§ais du Tamaskan), Germany (Tamaskan Club Germany), the Netherlands (Nederlandse Tamaskan Club), Croatia (Hrvatski Tamaskan Savez), and the United Kingdom (Tamaskan Dog Society of Great Britain).
Famous Tamaskan dogs
In October 2007, a Tamaskan named Genghis Khan featured as a wolf in a music video for the band Lucretia Choir.
In September 2010, a TDR registered male Tamaskan named Wave became the official Live Mascot of North Carolina State University's football team: NC State Wolfpack. Wave (aka "Tuffy") now attends most home games and can be seen on the sidelines.
In September 2012, four Tamaskans were featured on the Croatian HRT 1 television program KuÄni ljubimci.
In September 2015, a Tamaskan named Adler (White Elk Brighid) appeared in several news outlets including the Daily Mail, the Boston Times, and the Bark Post for mastering the game of Tug-of-War by using her mass instead of her strength.
In 2016, a Tamaskan named Luchta (White Elk Luchta) appeared on Broadway. Luchta played the role of "The Wolf" in Arthur Miller's The Crucible produced by Scott Rudin and directed by Ivo van Hove.
September 19th, 2017, Kaoru, a four year old therapy dog, was accompanied by her owner, another handler, and 10 other dogs on a hiking trail in Whistler, British Columbia, Canada. Mistaken for a wolf, a hunter shot Kaoru at close range, which resulted in Kaoru's death. Kaoru provided support to many people, including children with autism.
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