Activity & Exercise
Tamaskan are active, intelligent animals. They need training, work, and attention in order to be good family members. They are suited to many different types of work and sport, and are particularly adept at pulling sports and agility. After they have grown into their adult bones (~1 year old), they are excellent running companions, but will need some training to ensure they stay by your side (especially when tempted by squirrels). They are very clever and thoroughly enjoy training games and tricks, which are great ways to stimulate their active minds. Hide and Seek, and even Tracking are great ways to keep their brains, and noses, active.
These dogs are incredibly rewarding, and will give back as much love, caring, and fun as you give them. However, if they are not trained to be polite and behave properly as a pet, their wolfy appearance can put them at great risk. If you have not trained a more challenging breed of dog before, or have any doubts about being able to manage it, we do not recommend the Tamaskan breed for you.
Like many arctic breeds, Tamaskan have an independent streak, especially in their teenage years, which can stick around until the dog is 2 or 3 years old. Consistent training and continued focus on basics is critical to make a polite pet. They can be handled by first time dog owners, IF the owner is ready to dedicate a lot of time: work with trainers, read lots of books, persist through challenging times, and learn to change your own techniques and perspectives to suit the dog.
In short, training is critical. If you haven't trained a dog before, be ready for a major change in your life, and have as many experts in your pocket as you can. Raising a great dog starts with a great foundation. That's our part. However, the behavior you build around that foundation is often what makes the difference between a good dog and a great dog.
While they are more human-oriented than most arctic breeds, they do not have the same drive to obey just for the sake of pleasing you that you might see in a herding-breed dog. While very food-motivated in their younger years, that often wears off as they age (and learn that tastier things than treats exist). Training Tamaskan, especially for work that calls for strong drive or complex/long-duration tasks, often relies on them building a working bond with their trainer.
There is a list of all our favorite training resources on our Library Page.
Tamaskan as Guard Dogs & Gun Dogs
Tamaskan look intimidating, but they do not have the personality to act as guard dogs. They are not suited for protection work and if should a robber turn up at the door and offer treats and belly rubs, a properly socialized Tamaskan would happily let them in. Similarly, Tamaskan are not suited for hunting or gun work. Beyond not having the proper temperament, their wolf-like appearance puts them at extreme risk of being shot by mistake. If you are looking for a guard dog or a gun dog, look elsewhere.
We are personally against Tamaskan being used for protection work because that is not the intended purpose of the breed. Use of a Tamaskan as as a guard animal intended to attack a threat is antithetical to everything the breed is intended to be. Tamaskan are companions, or sledding/hiking/adventure buddies, or loving family members, or service animals, or Broadway Stars. The entire purpose of our breeding program is to make trainable, loyal, non-aggressive animal companions.
Shedding & Grooming
Tamaskan blow their entire undercoat twice a year, and shed at a medium level throughout the year (more if the weather gets unseasonably warm). Be prepared to brush your Tamaskan once a week with an undercoat rake to manage the amount of fur they deposit on your clothes/house. Their coats are very tidy and will not tangle if you do not brush them, but you may see them shake loose tufts/clouds of fur, depending on the season.
This is a breed that bonds very strongly to their families. The breed was developed from sled dog stock, and the team-mentality needed to pull a sled translates very well into a family-mentality. This means that they are much more family-oriented than most arctic breeds. However, it also means that they sometimes need help building the confidence needed to be comfortable being alone. If they aren't self-confident, being alone can be very stressful. This, combined with their active minds and large physical size, means that they often discover "creative" (ie destructive) ways to get out of the house to find you. Do some research before adopting a Tamaskan puppy on training methods and strategies to prevent and address separation anxiety.
Tamaskan as a Second Dog
Getting a Tamaskan as a second dog can help alleviate/prevent separation anxiety. However, it is not a cure-all, and relies on the Tamaskan forming a strong bond with the other dog in the household, potentially at the expense of their bond with you. They may become codependent on the other dog to the point that they will have a very hard time being confident and/or behaving properly when the other dog isn't around. The best way to address separation anxiety is by building confidence in the individual dog so that they are comfortable being alone.
Further more, good behavior (especially off-leash) relies on the dog forming a strong bond with their human. If that bond is not strong, the Tam is more likely to test the rules that you have laid out for them, ignore you when you ask for a specific behavior, etc.
In short, Tamaskan can be great second dogs. But you need to take the time and do the training one on one with the Tam to ensure that they form a strong bond with you, and can be confident and well-behaved without their canine buddy around.
With the Tamaskan's speedy rise in popularity, and the relatively small number of responsible breeders, there is an unfortunate issue with irresponsible breeders and puppy mills using false marketing and imitation tactics to trick people into getting dogs which have not been carefully bred. Please do your research carefully, talk to the breeders in person, and learn what their reputation is in the greater Tamaskan community. Time spent on this step will save you immense heartache, and potential expenses down the road. A reliable list of Registered Tamaskan Breeders, all of whom comply with the Tamaskan Dog Register's code of ethics and practices, can be found on the Tamaskan Dog Register's website.