Isn’t it fascinating how there’s such a wide variety of dog breeds and different origin stories that accompany them? It’s something that might have never passed your mind, that’s why we’re here to talk all about them!
Being a country that has a diverse set of people cultivating their culture, it’s no surprise that the USA has been basically a melting pot of not only people, but also our furry friends!
Here are some of the dogs that were first acknowledged and recorded in North America:
Hare Indian Dog
This playful wolf-like dog that once roamed and went hunting with Native Americans was known to be extremely useful back in the 19th century. A writer once said that the breed might have originated from native Tahltan bear dogs and the dogs that were brought to the North American continent by Viking explorers.
This breed was valued by the Native Americans as cursorial hunters. It’s unfortunate that the breed is now known to be extinct, though some people claim that the breed still exists in a modified form due to interbreeding.
Salish Wool Dog
This was a special breed of white, long-haired, Spitz-type of dog that was developed by the Coast Salish people. It was said that they were kept in a different area and had to be visited using canoes. The Indigenous women of the area were the ones taking care of the dogs and they’d feed the white-furred dogs with salmon and other high-quality food of that time.
The pack of dogs were well-guarded to make sure that no one would taint the breed. Once or twice a year, the women of the village would cut away the fur similar to what they do with sheep. After which they would weave it into blankets that would then symbolize wealth and a deep connection to the ancestors in the spirit world.
For the longest time, the existence and plausibility of the story has been debated because scientists could not find a blanket that was entirely woven using the luscious wool of our furry friends. But no matter what, these dogs, despite being extinct, are still special to those who know of them.
Tahltan Bear Dog
A breed that was primarily black or dark brown with white patches on the chest and underbelly and that was built like a mix of a spitz and pariah, though it may be smaller it is fully capable of hunting animals significantly bigger than it is — primarily used by the Tahltan people to help hunt bears.
Their main distinction among the other dogs is their novel tail — short, bushy and carried erect. It has been described variously as a shaving brush or a whisk broom.
As European explorers came into the territory, the Tahltan Bear Dog soon faded from history. This breed is now considered to be extinct. In 1974, the Canadian Kennel Club (CKC) rescinded their recognition of the Tahltan Bear Dog as a distinct breed, after 26 years with no new registrations.
A large husky and spitz-like dog that is almost identical to the Canadian Eskimo dog. It has a heavy build and incredibly thick fur that prevents frostbite. Greenland dogs are known to be one sled dogs. They were brought from Siberia to North America by the Thule people about 1,000 years ago.
This breed is valued in Greenland’s culture and efforts are made to protect it. However, despite several projects to preserve the breed’s sledding culture and remain a companion dog, its population is decreasing due to climate change.
During the migration across the Bering land bridge from Asia to North America, the Paleo-Americans brought along the primitive form of this breed. Their wolf-like look comes from the fact that they were bred from domesticated Asian wolves thousands of years back.
These dogs are shy and incredibly slow to trust, but once they’ve gotten used to their companion, it’s a bond that’s made to last.
Today, they are mostly located in rural areas. Some of them can still be found living wild near the Georgia-South Carolina border, but have also been seen as far north as Ohio and Pennsylvania and as far west as Arizona.
Yet another spitz type in this list! The Alaskan Malamute is a breed that is gentle and playful, they are the total opposite of their looks. The breed’s name is derived from the Mahlemiut, Inuit people who resided in Kotzebue Sound in northwestern Alaska.They’re the oldest amongst the sled dogs and are believed to be descendants of wolf-dogs who accompanied the Paleolithic hunters, just like the Carolina Dog.
Aside from being sled dogs, they were also used for carrying packs in the summer, locating seal breathing holes in the ice, and distracting bears on hunts.
It’s quite amazing how around 390-400 dog breeds are recognized by the FCI (Fédération Cynologique Internationale), but we find out that there are some that have been extinct for a while now. That just opens up the possibility of other dog breeds to have never been recorded because of extinction or that no man has ever seen one.
How many dogs around the world have you met? We’d love to hear all about it!