The American Tundra Shepherd

Claudia Bensimoun


Image Credit: Wiki

This great working dog and furry-friend was originally developed in the late 1960’s, some saying that this was part of the US Governments super dog program. German shepherds were bred with Alaskan Tundra wolves.

Major Faults in the American Tundra Shepherd Dog

Submissive dogs are thought to have a more aggressive temperament, and breeding is not encouraged. Dogs with an overshot jaw (lower teeth further back in the mouth and top jaw extended forward) are considered to be faulty. All dogs should have 39 teeth out of a possible 42 which is the breed standard norm. The Global Kennel Club states that the solid back color should not have any white markings except on the chest area. This should only be 1 inch or less.

Other Faults To Be Considered

Look out for white dogs with pink noses and pink eyes. (albino traits) Also a too short tail that extends to above the dog’s hock, or a too long tail that reaches the ground. Ears should never be bent, folded drooping or floppy. Keep an eye out for splayfeet or cat feet. The body also cannot be too short or too long in length. Teeth may not be discolored, and the dog cannot have a roach back, swayback or too narrow back. Also watch out for croup where there is a large drop from the hips to the base of the dog’s tail.


  • Shepherd type dog
  • Large, strong muscular body
  • Proud carriage
  • Extremely agile and built for great endurance
  • Black and Tan, Black and White,  Grizzled Sable
  • Males are larger than females


  • Alert
  • Intelligent
  • Great memory retention
  • Can learn numerous commands easily
  • Loyal and devoted best friend
  • Superb scenting abilities thus making him great for tracking and air scenting
  • Loves to hunt and is reserved around strangers

The American Tundra Shepherd mature slower than most other breeds, have tons of energy and a long life expectancy.The gait is similar to that of the GSD.


Females 24-27

Males 27-33


  • Females 85-100 lbs
  • Males 100-140 lbs


  • Black Grey Steel color with Tan markings.
  • Black and Tan Sable Silver with White markings.
  • Black and silver color.Black and Brindle color. Black with cream or off- white markings.
  • White Brown Brindle color. Black with Silver markings.


A level bite is accepted although a scissor bite is preferred in this breed.


The head should be prominent and strong. It is large and must be in proper proportion to the rest of the body.


Nose should be well developed,black, large with well-defined nostrils.


The American Tundra Shepherd may have black, yellow,orange, brown or hazel eye color.


These should be large, erect, upward or slightly angled.


This should be powerful, strong and must extend down to the elbows or possibly below the elbows.


The American Tundra Shepherd’s coat can be either short, intermediate or long. However with longhaired dogs, the coat should not extend to more than 4 inches.


These must be strong, well-developed and large. Both front and back legs must be the same size.


The hocks must be long and angulated and are built for sure-footedness and speed.


The American Tundra Shepherd has movement which is powerful and well-balanced.


This can be bushy, down or slightly bent. It should extend from the hocks and further but should not reach the ground. It also should not curl over the back in a complete curl.


The back must be strong and level and must be longer than the dog’s height. It all must be supported by the dog’s strong hips and thighs.

The American Tundra Shepherd Foundation

Claudia Bensimoun


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  1. April 5, 2012 at 7:33 pm

    So gorgeous 🙂
    Bella and DiDi

  2. Krimson
    June 19, 2012 at 6:00 am

    Wonderful breed, but it is so hard to find potential breeders! I have only been able to locate three so far. . .well worth the search though, these guys are amazing! I plan on working with mine in Executive Canine Security.

    • Ashley
      July 9, 2012 at 8:00 am

      Hello there, I have also been looking for a ATS breeder. Could you by chance send me the list of breeders you found? I would greatly appreciate it! Thank you for your time. (my email is

  3. Fel Car
    July 29, 2012 at 7:19 pm

    My system shut down so I’m not sure if my comment and question got posted. Pleas forgive if this is a repeat. My question: Are ATS dogs as protective as german shepherds? AND Would you please pass along ATS breeder’s info.? Thank you for your time. Fel

  4. Lindsay Vick
    August 3, 2012 at 7:37 pm

    I too am in search of a good ATS breeder. Can anyone kindly pass along the information to

  5. Gem615
    October 8, 2013 at 10:05 pm

    For anyone not familiar with this ‘breed’ specifically, any potential ‘owners’ need to be fully versed in canid behaviors (esp. wild canid behaviors). These canids require dedicated training AND SOCIALIZATION from day 1 (as early as 3 mos) that will continue throughout adulthood. With my experience in canid behavior, psychology, language, etc. AND my own rescued ‘Tundra Shepherds’ – these guys are automatically considered as NEVER beoing adoptable once obtained by animal control (and thus, always euthanized w/ the only exception being specific ‘breed’ rescue groups that usually transport them to sanctuaries or placed w/ temp or perm fosters w/ ‘breed’ specific experience). They are also considered ILLEGAL to own/ breed in many States – so make sure to do your homework on this ‘breed’ (aka wolf-hybrids, wolf-dogs, etc. regardless of content percentages). We have found that all too many that end up in animal control/ welfare that aren’t confiscated, due to behavior issues that the owner never anticipated. THESE CANIDS POSSESS BEHAVIORS UNLIKE MOST DOMESTICATED DOGS, and can certainly be challenging if training & intense socialization (not only w/ all types of people, variety of animals – esp cats & other small dogs, animals – but also different environments & objects, from city streets/ traffic to running a vacuum cleaner, etc). THEY ALSO DO NOT NECESSARILY MAKE GOOD GUARD ANIMALS! People do not realize that wolves in general, are extremely afraid of humans AND WILL RUN! Higher German Shepherd content may help to resolve some of these issues, but be forewarned that higher wolf content dogs will RUN & HIDE (usually under/ behind a bed, closet) before they will confront a stranger as many domestic dogs trained as guard animals! Those that have more dominant personalities will CONTINUOUSLY CHALLENGE you for top spot in the pack. Regardless of training in many, they may or may not always auto respond to training commands – as they are highly intelligent & INDEPENDENT animals with instinct for self preservation & can be aloof even with a close knit pack owner. POSITIVE METHOD TRAINING IS THE ONLY FORM OF TRAINING these animals should ever have! NEVER hit, yell at, or otherwise introduce negative methods in training or any other interaction with them – they will respond negatively & will never forget (esp. daunting trying to work w/ rescues). As wonderful as they can be with ONLY THE VERY EXPERIENCED, they can present problems that most people will refuse to deal with – hence, how they end up in shelters. MOST SHELTERS WILL ALSO AUTO-EUTHANIZE animals given up/ brought in by owners vs. confiscated or strays that only have a half a chance of specialized rescues saving them usually at the last minute

  6. john yanik
    November 12, 2014 at 4:18 pm

    GEM615. You are 100% correct, as the owner of one myself I could not have said it better

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