One of my lifelong fascinations has been with dogs and their relationships with humans. In March of 2003, we adopted Misty, a 2-year old “Yaller Dog”, who fits the Long Term Pariah Morphotype (LTPM) that Native dogs, and many primitive dog breeds, fall into. Here’s a photo of Misty:
There are many archaeological and historical references to dogs among native people in the new world.
“The remains of at least four domesticated dogs were buried by Early Archaic people at the Koster site [Green Co, Illinois] more than eight-thousand years ago. Each dog was laid on its side in a shallow grave and then covered with dirt. None of the graves appear to have been marked. The dogs were buried in an area of the village where residents also buried the remains of adults and children.” http://www.museum.state.il.us/muslink/nat_amer/pre/htmls/a_animals.html
The archaeological record is older than the written historical one, however, and not just because of the lack of written records. Burial of dogs was not always widespread, and in some areas ended rather quite some time before European contact. See http://news.nationalgeographic.com/news/2008/04/080423-dog-burials.html for a discussion of this.
On to Southeastern dogs. The general type of southeastern “Indian dog” is a medium-sized, long-legged, prick eared dog, with a racy body and a narrow, fox or wolf-like appearance. They are often yellow or ginger colored. They are/were primarily hunting and warning dogs, not used for pulling sleds or travois, nor for wool as some dogs in the Pacific Northwest were. You’ve seen dogs like this in photos from many parts of the world. The pariah dogs of India, the dingo of Australia, the New Guinea Singing Dog, even the Alaskan and Siberian Huskies have similar appearance, but a build appropriate for their use and climate and a color appropriate for their genetic makeup.
Native breeds had widely divergent appearance and use in the different tribal groups across North and South America. The resources here are a good start towards understanding more about them.
Primary sources (full citations in the SE Native Bibliography)
Swanton, John R. 1946 “Indians of the Southeastern United States”, p. 344-346 quote various sources, including those below.
Lawson, John. A New Voyage to Carolina
Adair, James: History of the American Indians,
“A Gentleman of Elvas” – DeSoto’s travels in the Southeast
Bartram, William. Travels Through North and South Carolina, Georgia, East and West Florida.
Bino, R. 1996. “Notes on Behaviour of New Guinea Singing Dogs” (Canis lupus dingo). Science in New Guinea 22:1: 43-47.
Brisbin, I.R.,R.P. Coppinger, M.H. Feinstein, S.N. Austad, and J.J. Mayer. 1994. “The New Guinea Singing Dog: Taxonomy, Captive Studies and Conservation Priorities”. Science in New Guinea 20:1: 27-38.
Brisbin, I.R., and T.S. Risch 1997. “Primitive Dogs, Their Ecology and Behavior: Unique oppurtunities to study the early development of the human-canine bond”. Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association 210:8: 1122-1126.Mlot, C. 1997. “Stalking the Ancient Dog”. Science News 151: 400-401.
Morehead, E. 1992. “The Carolina Dog: Making a Comeback”. DogWorld May: 50-51.
Pferd, William, 1987. Dogs of the American Indians. Fairfax, Virginia, Denlinger’s Publishers Limited (very little on Southeastern dogs)
Schwartz M. 1997. A History of Dogs in the Early Americas. Boston, Yale University Press
Vila,C., P. Savolainen, J.E. Maldonado, I. R. Amorim, and J.E. Rice. 1997. “Multiple and Ancient Origins of the Domestic Dog”. Science 276: 1687-1689
Allen, Glover M. 1920. “Dogs of he American Aborigines.” Bulletin of the Museum of Comparative Zoology, Harvard College, Vol 43, No. 9. Cambridge.
(click the link for access to WorldCat, which will give library availability:
Allen, Glover Morrill. Dogs of the American Aborigines. With Twelve Plates. Cambridge, Mass: Printed for the Museum [of Comparative Zoology], 1920.
Pferd, William, William Watson Denlinger, and R. Annabel Rathman. Dogs of the American Indians. Fairfax, Va: Denlinger’s, 1987.
Schwartz, Marion. A History of Dogs in the Early Americas. New Haven, Conn: Yale University Press, 1997.
Online Links to information on Native-type Dogs
The New Guinea Singing dog article from UGA’s SREL
The Carolina Dog:
http://www.carolinadogs.org/ – An organization dedicated to the type.
http://www.carolinadogs.com/ Another online group of Carolina Dog fanciers.
Smithsonian article on Carolina Dogs: http://www.carolinadogs.com/smithsonian.html
National Geographic television show including info on Carolina and other North American Native Dogs titled Search for the First Dog. (site currently offline)
Native American Dogs
Native American Indian Dogs’ history page from Majestic View Kennels Their own kennel’s photos are worth a look too.
Stalking the Ancient Dog by Mlot, C. Science News 151: 400-401.1997.
The Carolina Dog: Making a Comeback by Morehead, E.. DogWorld May: 50-51. 1992.
Multiple and Ancient Origins of the Domestic Dog, by Vila,C., P. Savolainen, J.E. Maldonado, I. R. Amorim, and J.E. Rice. Science 276: 1687-1689. 1997.
Molecular Evolution of the Dog Family by Wayne, R.K.. Trends In Genetics 9:6: 218-224.1993
The New Guinea Singing Dog: Taxonomy, Captive Studies and Conservation Priorities. by Brisbin, I.R.,R.P. Coppinger, M.H. Feinstein, S.N. Austad, and J.J. Mayer.. Science in New
Guinea 20:1: 27-38.1994.
Notes on Behaviour of New Guinea Singing Dogs (Canis lupus dingo) by Bino, R. Science in New Guinea 22:1: 43-47. 1996.
Primitive Dogs, Their Ecology and Behavior: Unique oppurtunities to study the early development of the human-canine bond. Brisbin, I.R., and T.S. Risch. Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association 210:8: 1122-1126.1997.
A Celebration of Rare Breeds Volume II, by Flamholtz, C.J. Centreville, Alabama: OTR Publications, 1991. .