Posts Tagged ‘Latin American dogs’

Hairless dogs can be found among the general dog population of some Peruvian cities.

Hairless dogs can be found among the general dog population of some Peruvian cities.

     Hairless dogs have existed in Mexico for nearly 4,000 years. They also exist in the Andean region of South America, even though their history in that part of the world is a bit more recent. Hairless dogs predate the Inca civilization, and their descendants can be found in various forms.
Early depictions of hairless dogs in both Meso-America and South America show dogs that greatly vary in type in appearance. Some have pug noses, while others are built like greyhounds or beagles.
     If you would like to see a wide range of hairless dogs from Latin America, have a look at these dogs on this site. This “breed” is called a Khala, but the Khala is more of a type than a standardized breed. There is a wide range of types that can produce hairless dogs, which shows that these dogs can exist to a certain degree within the street dog population.
     It is thought that the lack of hair is a adaptation the common parasites of this region. It is also very likely that hairless dogs were given a bit better treatment than fully coated ones. In the Meso-American civilizations, dogs were clearly a major food source. Maybe being a little strange kept these dogs from the stew pot a little longer.
     All hairless dogs are of Latin American origin, even the so-called Chinese crested. This dog is a creation of a few enterprising breeders, including Gypsy Rose Lee. This dog is of a modern crossbreeding between the small Xoloitzcuintli and various toy breeds. It has nothing to do with China.
     The Xolo is clearly of an Ancient American breed type. The standard xolo is a mid-sized dog that closely resembles a Carolina dog (the “Dixie Dingo.) If you don’t believe me, have a look at this coated Xolo juxtaposed with a hairless one.
     Now, here’s the Carolina dog, or “Dixie Dingo.”  This breed is believed to be very similar to the first dogs that accompanied the first humans into the Americas from Asia. It survived all the centuries of interbreeding with other types of Native American dog (which varied greatly in appearance and utility) and European dogs.
     We have a very poor understanding of what good dog breeders Native Americans were. All we have are accounts of various sorts of dogs in the journals of earlier explorers. The wool-producing dogs of the Pacific Northwest are gone for good, as are the “canoe dogs” that once were used to rouse beavers from their lodges. The Tahltan bear dog is also gone . It was once used in very much the same way that Norwegian elkhounds and various strains of laika are used in Russia.  It would hold the bear at bay, using it loud barks to alert the hunter of its location. These dogs are gone, replaced with the dogs of the Europeans. Their genes might still exist in some of the dogs that live on Native American lands, but one study, which I can’t find right now, suggested that all of these dogs were predominantly of a European ancestry.
     They may just be gone forever, but the hairless dogs are truly a beast of this hemisphere.

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