The History of the Tamaskan Breed
In the early 80's, five dogs, of Siberian Husky origins, were imported into the UK from America. These dogs were then bred to Alaskan Malamutes, Siberian Huskies and German Shepherds to create a wolf like dog, but with a good temperament, thus being suitable as a family dog. In the 80's these dogs were labelled as wolf dogs or simply wolf look-a-likes. Poor records were kept from this era and so the ancestry of most of these dogs is totally unknown.
In 1988 a group of people got together and formed a club with the name, The Northern Inuit Society (NI), although this name suffered criticism as they are neither from the North nor have they any association with the Inuit people. Lynn Hardey of Blustag Kennel, the founder of the Tamaskan breed joined the committee of this society and purchased her first two breeding dogs. Arguments ensued over what the standard should allow with some people wishing to work towards one look while others wished the breed to go a different way. Very soon there was a split in the breed, several committee members stayed with the NI society and several others started a new club. As the new clubs standard was going to be different than that of the NI, they also decided to chose a new name for their dogs, Utonagan. Lynn Hardey decided that the Utonagan had better ideas about standards and how to move forward and so she joined the committee on the Utonagan Society.
Lynn wished to implement a strict health testing regime for breeders of Utonagan, to try to combat some of the poor hips seen in many NI and Utonagan at the time, but conflicts of interest between Lynn and other breeders led to Lynn forming her own club, The British and International Utonagan Society. The British and International Utonagan Society created the first mandatory hip and eye testing scheme.
Soon after starting the new club and researching into the
pedigrees of her NI and Utonagan dogs she discovered that many of the pedigrees
did not add up with those given to other people. After a bit of digging it was
discovered that dogs names were changed or parents were altered entirely to
cover up mother-son and brother-sister matings. Lynn decided that in order to
progress with the breed we would have to forget what we have been told about the
pedigrees of our dogs and instead add in new bloodlines in order to save the
breed from any health issues that could arise from unknowingly mating related
dogs. Lynn spent the next few years searching for suitable outcrosses. To
disassociate herself from the scandal surrounding the alteration of pedigrees in
the ancestry of her dogs, she gave her dogs new registered names and altered her
pedigrees as far as she could to reflect the truth of their past. The British & International Utonagan Society continued to selectively
breed and improve type, keeping all records of matings, health issues, etc.,
setting rules and regulations, a
code of ethics and providing breeder’s contracts. Eventually these dogs started
to look different than the dogs being bred by The (original) Utonagan Society.
The search for other wolfy looking dogs led Lynn to Lapland, where dogs of a very similar appearance were being bred for sled pulling in extreme temperatures. These dogs’ close ancestors were also some of the best sled racing dogs in the world and would enhance the breed’s future working ability. After some negotiations with kennel owners, a female was purchased and imported into the UK, with an additional six dogs booked for import from the same kennels. It has been suggested that Czech Wolfdog was added into some of these dogs in the past. Due to poor record keeping and a lack of any pedigree for the dogs purchased, this has never been able to be proven. However, Lynn did visit the kennels personally and met many of the relatives of each dog, assuring herself that each had an exemplary temperament.
With a collection of new bloodlines now organized, it was time to think about the future. So, it was decided after much debate by the committee members of the British & International Society to close down the Society, as the (original) Utonagan Society did not wish to include the same type of new bloodlines in their breeding program. Therefore, it seemed obvious that the present Utonagan would soon not resemble the ‘new’ dogs whatsoever and they would need a new name.
After Lynns visit to Finland in 2004 she fell in love with the country and moved there in 2006, taking with her 7 of her Blustag dogs, her original female import and collectiong the other 6 dogs from Lapland. 5 other Blustag dogs belonging to other breeders were also included in the foundation stock and 2 of her new Finnish dogs were flown to these breeders in the UK. Two other foundation dogs were added in 2006, purchased from breeders in Finland and a male was added in 2008 (a black grey) and two more (wolf greys) were added in 2009 to bring in fresh bloodlines and add in desirable traits to the breed.
In February 2006, The Tamaskan Dog Register was formed with the founder, Lynn, sitting as its chairman and her daughter Jennie of Blufawn Kennel as the secretary. The same strict rules and regulations enforced by the British and International Utonagan Society were carried over, with one new addition. In 2008 DNA testing became mandatory for all breeding dogs. It was important to Lynn that all records were correct from the very beginning of the breed for any future KC recognition and for peace of mind that future breeders would not be able to breed related dogs and falsify pedigrees. All dogs used in the Tamaskan Dog breed from the very first foundation dog, to 'one time only' stud dogs have been DNA profiled and recorded.
In 2006 Lynn's daughter and co-founder Jennie set up Tamaskan Rescue UK, which catered not only for Tamaskan but for all other wolf like breeds. Not only did she take in dogs for rehoming but she also looked after dogs while their owners visited hospital. Jennie also started the affiliated breeders program in 2008, to encourage new breeders to do further health tests on their dogs. Gold, silver and bronze awards were handed out to those breeders who completed more health tests than required by the TDR and also to those who micro-chipped their puppies.
‘Mighty Wolf’ in North American Indian language.
The Tamaskan Dog Register is now the Governing Body for all Tamaskan dogs throughout the world. Since forming in early 2006 many tributaries of the TDR have branched to include clubs in many foreign countries. Tamaskan Dogs have been exported all over Europe, America, Canada and Australia.
Please note that the Tamaskan Dog has no wolf content and is classed as a breed of dog, not a wolfdog or wolf hybrid. While it is possible that Czech Wolfdog may have been added at some point in the Tamaskans history, the Czech Wolfdog is a registered breed of dog with only a tiny percentage of wolf content in its ancestry. Once mixed with husky and then diluted again with NI and Utonagan to create the Tamaskan, only the smallest of traces of any wolf could possibly be found. So far, two Tamaskan Dogs of varying pedigrees have been independently tested for wolf content by the TDR, both results have come back as negative, more tests are planned for the future.
In 2012 several disgruntled breeders decided to start their
own register of the same name, claiming that they owned the rights to the TDR
name. It is widely accepted that these breeders were unhappy with the cost of
importing pure bred Tamaskan and disagreed with the founders wish to keep out-crossing to a minimum, to protect the character and conformation of the breed.
Since splitting from the original TDR, they have bred many outcross litters,
altering the genetic makeup of the Tamaskan irreparably. The original Tamaskan
and this 'new' Tamaskan can no longer be considered to be the same breed of dog.
To learn more about this lovely natured family dog please visit the information pages.
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