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BREED PROFILE / Carolina Dog

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Carolina Dog
Alternative names
American Dingo
Dixie Dingo
North American Native Dog
Indian's Dog
Country of origin
USA
Common nicknames
Ol' Yaller
Yaller Dog
Yellow Dog
Classification and breed standards
UKC: Sighthounds & Pariahs Stds

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The Carolina Dog is a type of wild dog discovered in the late 1970s.[1] They were located living in isolated stretches of longleaf pines and cypress swamps in the Southeastern United States.

Discovery

Dr. I. Lehr Brisbin Jr., a Senior Research Ecologist at the University of Georgia's Savannah River Ecology Lab, first came across a Carolina Dog while working at the Savannah River site. Horace, a stray white dog with brown markings, was wandering the site??s boundary when he caught Brisbin??s attention. Brisbin, who had seen many rural dogs chained to the back of porches and doghouses, assumed this was just a normal stray. Many of these dogs roamed the woods and would turn up in humane traps, and Brisbin began to wonder how many more of these were in the wild. On a hunch, he went to the pound and was surprised by the resemblance the dog had to dingoes.[2]

Evidence of ancient roots

Physical

Some ancient paintings and rock art of Native Americans depict dogs that have physical traits similar to those of Carolina Dogs. Carolina Dogs also have a ginger-colored coat that is found on other wild dogs, including Australian Dingoes and Korea??s native dog, the Jindo.[3] Experts have said that Carolina Dogs are seemingly indistinguishable from the Jindo. Also, fossils of the dogs of Native Americans exhibit similar bone structures to Carolina Dogs. Brisbin found a resemblance between 2,000-year-old skulls and those of the Carolina Dogs, but concluded that there was too large a difference to prove any connection.[4] Along with this, behavioral attributes and DNA testing have pointed to a link.

Behavior

An intriguing trait of Carolina Dogs is their feral tendency, never before observed in domesticated dogs. In the 1980s, most Carolina Dogs were removed to captivity for study.

Female dogs had thrice annual estrus in quick succession, which settled into seasonal reproductive cycles when there was an abundance of puppies.[5] Brisbin noted that this was most likely to ensure quick breeding before diseases, like heartworm, take their toll. Some pregnant dogs also dug dens in which to give birth. After they gave birth or while pregnant, the bitch would carefully push sand with her snout to cover her excrement. The dogs also dug ???snout pits???, or hundreds of tiny holes in the dirt that perfectly fit their muzzles during this time. More bitches dug them than males.[6]

The pack dynamic was also unique. When hunting, Carolina Dogs used an effective pack formation. They used a whip-like motion when hunting snakes.

In the wild, Carolina dogs live in swampy, sparsely settled land instead of the highly populated areas stray dogs commonly occupied.

DNA testing

The preliminary DNA testing provided an intriguing link between primitive dogs and Carolina Dogs. Brisbin stated, ???We grabbed them out of the woods based on what they look like, and if they were just dogs their DNA patterns should be well distributed throughout the canine family tree. But they aren't. They're all at the base of the tree, where you would find very primitive dogs.??? This wasn??t conclusive, but it did spark interest into more extensive DNA testing.[7]

Breed recognition

Carolina Dogs can be registered with the American Rare Breed Association[8] and the United Kennel Club.[9] ARBA includes the breed in its "Spitz and Primitive Group", which includes primitives such as the dingo and Canaan Dog. The UKC has classified them as a pariah dog, a class which includes other primitive breeds such as the Basenji of Africa and the Thai Ridgeback. The type designations "pariah" and "primitive" are commonly used interchangeably in cynology.

References

  1. ^ Weidensaul, Scott. "Tracking America??s First Dogs", Smithsonian Magazine, 1999-03-01. Retrieved on 2006-10-11. (in English) 
  2. ^ Handwerk, Brian. "Did Carolina Dogs Arrive With Ancient Americans?", National Geographic News, 2003-03-11. Retrieved on 2006-10-11. (in English) 
  3. ^ Mlot, Christine. Stalking the Ancient Dog. NetPets. Retrieved on 2006-10-15.
  4. ^ Weidensaul, Scott. "Tracking America??s First Dogs", Smithsonian Magazine, 1999-03-01. Retrieved on 2006-10-11. (in English) 
  5. ^ Handwerk, Brian. "Did Carolina Dogs Arrive With Ancient Americans?", National Geographic News, 2003-03-11. Retrieved on 2006-10-11. (in English) 
  6. ^ Primitive Dogs Of The Southeast. University of Georgia (2001-04-13). Retrieved on 2006-10-15.
  7. ^ Handwerk, Brian. "Did Carolina Dogs Arrive With Ancient Americans?", National Geographic News, 2003-03-11. Retrieved on 2006-10-11. (in English) 
  8. ^ American Rare Breed Association. Retrieved on 2006-10-15.
  9. ^ United Kennel Club. Arienne Associates (1996). Retrieved on 2006-10-15.

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