The development of accurate structural modelling techniques is required to promote the use of timber as a renewable alternative to other structural materials. Due to their remarkable influence on the global behaviour of a timber structure, an accurate description of the performance of structural connections is needed. Particularly in the case of moment transmitting beam-to-column connections with dowel-type fasteners, such properties are difficult to obtain experimentally. This paper develops a finite element (FE) model that simulates the behaviour of these connections under quasi-static loading, with a focus on the estimation of rotational stiffness and load distribution among the dowels. The model is validated against short-term laboratory tests. Resulting friction between timber members due to the installation procedure must be considered, as it greatly influences the rotational response. Besides, non-linear behaviour of timber and a softened contact parameter have been implemented, and their influence on the FE model validation process is demonstrated.