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Posts Tagged ‘Native American dogs’

African village dogs are just as genetically diverse as those in East Asia, and they have been found to be closely related to Middle Eastern wolves.

From National Geographic:

Labradors may be the most popular breed of dog, but the most populous kind is no breed at all. That distinction goes to the humble village dog scratching out a semiwild living in and around human settlements.

While a postdoc at Cornell University a few years ago, Adam Boyko became curious about the little-studied village vagrants. Though dogs were first domesticated 20,000 to 15,000 years ago, most breeds go back only a few hundred years. Perhaps village dog DNA might shed light on the long, early history of domestication, when canines were hanging around humans yet not under our domain. But how to get samples?

As it happened, around the same time Boyko’s brother Ryan had married, and he and wife Corin were looking for a cheap honeymoon off the beaten track. The three Boykos decided to merge their two quests. Adam—now at Cornell’s College of Veterinary Medicine—­obtained a grant, then enlisted Ryan and Corin to spend their honeymoon traveling around Egypt, Uganda, and Namibia, befriending villagers and local vets. They collected DNA from more than 300 village dogs.

When the samples were analyzed, most of the village dogs turned out to be as closely related to wolves as they were to fully domesticated dogs. Rather than being mixed-breed mutts that had gone feral in historical times, the village dogs had been eking out an existence on the human fringe for millennia. Their genomes thus reflected a state of early domestication, before artificial selection and inbreeding directed by humans had taken over. “When you are looking at village dogs,” Adam Boyko says, “you have something more akin to natural selection, albeit in an environment that’s managed by humans.”

Unexpectedly, the study also helped to challenge the reigning view on the place where dogs first appeared. Fossil evidence had already pinned the transition from wolf to dog somewhere in Europe or Asia, and a 2002 study had shown that East Asian village dogs were more genetically diverse—an indication that wolves had first been domesticated in East Asia. But the Boykos’ 2009 work found that the African village dogs were just as diverse as the East Asian ones. Some also carried a genetic signature shared with Middle Eastern gray wolves, supporting research by Robert Wayne and Bridgett vonHoldt of UCLA that points to the Middle East as the likely cradle of dogs.

The Boykos continue to expand their sample collection, with another expedition planned for Africa. And they’ve also begun using the same techniques to solve a related mystery: the strange disappearance of native dogs in South America. We know from the historical record that Native Americans had dogs. But previous population surveys in the Americas turned up only dogs with European heritage. “How do you ship so many dogs across the world that they completely replace the native dogs?” Boyko wonders, suspecting that in fact there may still be village dogs with native DNA in the remotest areas of the continent. So in August the three Boykos packed their bags and headed into the jungles of Peru, searching for the lost American dog.

I have written about the discovery that African village dogs were just as genetically diverse as East Asian dogs– which in part falsifies the hypothesis that dogs originated in East Asia. People like that hypothesis for some odd reason.

I did not know that the Boykos had discovered that some these African village dogs showed an affinity with Middle Eastern wolves,  which I think is very supportive of the hypothesis that Middle Eastern wolves– or very close relatives of the– are the most important population that contributed to the domestic dog.

Now, it doesn’t mean that phenotypically distinct domestic dogs first appeared in the Middle East. It just means that this population contributed to the majority of dogs we have today. The small dog gene that is found in purebred dogs is also found in some Middle Eastern wolves–likely coming from Canis lupus arabs. The smallest members of that subspecies weigh only 25 pounds.

I’m very excited that the Boykos are now looking at Latin American dogs to see if any possess indigenous ancestry. We know that virtually all Native American dogs in the US and Canada have largely been swamped with Western dog blood. Testing village dogs in remote areas of Peru might yield some interesting results, but keep in mind that “double-nosed” village dogs were found in Bolivia a few years ago. They likely derive “double-nosed” pointers that the Spanish brought over. Native peoples liked to use European dogs for the hunt, and in the colonies that later became the United States, laws were passed to prevent European colonists from selling their dogs to the Indians.

Native Americans’ preference for Western dogs would have been an important factor in the extinction of Native American dog strains.

Another important factor is that these dogs may not have had much resistance to European dog diseases. Just as their human owners were no match for small pox, it is possible that common diseases in European dogs were quite devastating to Native dog populations.

And then there is also the simple fact that Native peoples were conquered– and in some cases, exterminated.  Massive social disruption leads to people not being able to care for their dogs– much less selectively breeding them. These dogs wound up wandering the countryside, where they either melded into the wolf or coyote population in North America or were shot on sight.

Any dogs that proved useful to the new order in the Americas were quickly absorbed into the growing Western-derived dog population.

To answer the Boykos’ question from an historical perspective, the Spanish were bringing over scores of dogs. Dogs were a major tool of conquest and colonization. The Navajo and Apache herders use their dogs as livestock guardians– a technique they got from the Spanish. The sheep they keep are derived from an old Spanish strain, and it is possible that their dogs trace to Spanish and maybe some  remnant Native American dogs.

It will be interesting to see if the Boykos’ work reveals any clues to the extinction of Native American dog strains in South America.  It will also be interesting to see if they find any dogs with clear indigenous ancestry. As far as I know, only the dominant hairless mutation that is found in xoloitzcuintli, Peruvian Inca orchids, and “Chinese crested dogs” has been traced to the Americas before the arrival of Columbus.

It will also be interesting to see if any of these dogs, if they prove to have ancestry from indigenous dogs, share signatures with North America wolves or coyotes or with wolves from East Asia. The VonHolt and Wayne study mentioned in this article found that certain East Asian breeds have an affinity with Chinese wolves. Because Native Americans came to the New World via Asia, it would make sense that some of these dogs would show some affinity with Chinese wolves– just as these East Asian breeds do.

Interesting questions.

I don’t know if they can be answered!

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Canid jaw bones with teeth that were found at Jaguar Cave in Idaho. Dog jaws are on the right. Coyote jaws are on the left.

One of the most interesting discoveries of remains of Pre-Columbian domestic dogs in North America is at Jaguar Cave in Idaho’s Beaverhead Mountains.  The site is rather famous in that it has pictographs and hearths– definite signs of human habitation– and various bones from a wide variety of North American fauna, including the bones of the American lion (Panthera leo atrox).

It also has bones of dogs, wolves, and coyotes. Among those bones  are canid jaw bones— 43 of which have been idenitified as domestic dogs, 28 as coyote, and 4 as wolf.

These bones were initially assumed to be older than 9,000 years old, because it was believed to have been naturally sealed around that time. Further, the oldest hearth in the cave was carbon-dated to over 11,000 to 12,000 years of age.

It was initially assume that the dog remains in the cave were that old, and what was most interesting about the bone is they represented two distinct breeds. One of these was quite large– Labrador retriever-sized– and the other was smaller– around the size of a beagle.

If these bones were that old, it would strongly suggest that Native Americans entered North America with both large and small dogs. Indeed, they may have very well have had both large and small dogs when they came into the continent.

But the dogs of Jaguar Cave are not evidence for them.

When the jaw bones were directly dated, they were found to be only 1,000 to 3,000 years old.

Not ancient idigenous North American dogs.

But definitely Pre-Columbian.

However, the finding of these Labrador-sized Pre-Columbian Native American dogs that were indigenous to what is now Idaho put to rest the commonly held assertion that Native American dogs were always coyote-sized or smaller.  This is the assertion posited on my least favorite site on Native American dogs, you know, Kim La Flamme’s site, which, among other things, claims that all domestic dogs derive from coyotes– and claims that all the DNA evidence we’ve now compiled on dogs proves it!

There is no mention of the Jaguar Cave dogs on this site– because they are in direct contradiction to the assertion that Native American dogs were all mid-sized or smaller.

Some of the coyote or wolf remains at Jaguar Cave may be those of domestic dogs.  In hunter-gatherer societies, there was often only a paltry difference between a wolf and a dog, and in the early days of domestication, one would not be able to tell the difference between wolves or dogs– which is one reason why it’s been so hard to find good fossil evidence of early dog domestication. There is always an assumption that dogs will have shorter jaws and domed heads, but the early domestic dogs would not have these features– and neither would any dogs that happened to cross with wild wolves in those days.  These coyotes could have been semi or fully domesticated, as could have been the case with the Hare Indian dog. Or they could have been domestic dogs with a coyote phenotype.

The notion that the only Native American dogs that ever existested are those that were like coyotes is one of the most bizarre assertions I’ve yet encountered.

It’s also unusually racist.

Native Americans were not ignorant savages. They were not noble savages either.

They were highly skilled people who were able to master this continent, its mercurial climate, and its wildlife.

They were also skilled dog breeders, who produced all sorts of different dogs that ranged from diminuative techichis and Tahltan bear dogs to large moose-hunting dogs that belonged to the Mi’kmaq of the Maritimes. There were the wool dogs of the Salish that produced unusually thick wool and were kept on islands and fenced in caves to keep their bloodlines pure.

These people were more than capable of breeding dogs to fit their purposes.

The reason why someone would make the claim that all Native American dogs were of a very narrow phenotype is two-fold.  First of all, that particular site offers coyote-like domestic dogs for sale. If one says that all the dogs of the Native Americans were of that type, then one would be better able to market these coyote-type dogs. Further, the larger Native American dogs would have been the first ones killed off following European conquest.  The big dogs would have definitely been a threat to livestock. These big dogs also could have melded back into the wolf population more easily, and they also could have been absorbed into massive influx of Newfoundlands and other large working breeds that were swarming across the continent.

That would mean that the only dogs that likely would have survived near reservations would have been smaller but no so small that they would have been killed by larger dogs or wolves. Native peoples truly suffered as a result of colonization. Their whole existence was distrupted, and they couldn’t invest so much of their energy into maintaining different breeds or types.

Not a single dog in existence today is predominantly Native American in ancestry. The closest one can get to dogs that have a lot of that ancestry are the Carolina dog, which remained isolated on an island in the Savannah River between South Carolina and Georgia but probably was already heavily contaminated with Western dog blood by the time it got isolated, and the different sled dogs of the arctic, including the Alaskan malmute. These arctic dogs tend to belong to the various people called Inuit and Eskimo, which are not Native American in that they derive from the earliest Siberian colonizers of the Americas. They come from a later wave of migration.

The Labrador-sized dog of Jaguar Cave shows that should not believe everything that is written on the internet. You have to be willing to look at every claim a objectively. Some things are just wrong, but they sound so good that you want to believe it.

Don’t believe. Find out if it’s true.

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Believe it or not, but this image is of two domestic dogs.

“WTF?” you say.

Yep.

This image comes  from The Natural History of Dogs (1840) by Charles Hamilton Smith and William Jardine.

On the left is an alco. If one reads the description of the alco, it is a small dog of Meso-America, probably something like what we think the ancestor of the chihuahua was like. The authors mention these dogs living as feral animals, which is currently a de rigueur comment on all official histories of the chihuahua. The only difference I can see is that alco is described as looking like a Newfoundland puppy, which means they were likely almost always drop-eared. These little parti-colored dogs were known in Mexico from the early days. Some texts, like Mary Elizabeth Thurston’s The Lost History of the Canine Race, calls them “techichi.”  Techichi are popularly known as the ancestor of the chihuahua, but the mummified dog in Thurston’s book that is said to have been a techichi is long-haired and black and white– and has floppy ears.  It is a myth that all dogs owned by Native Americans before the arrival of Columbus were all large and wolf-like. Some were quite small, and some were brachycephalic.

The dog on the right is much screwier.

Look at the head.

It looks like some kind of rodent.

I think the reason why this animal looks so bizarre is that the authors rather haphazardly conflate several different things called dog, including something that isn’t a dog at all. The engraver who produced the image was William Home Lizars, who lived in Scotland. I can’t find any evidence that he was ever outside of Europe.

The authors, however, likely confused him about what this animal looked like in their texts.

The authors came across a tawny dog in what I am guessing is San Juan del Rio in the state of Querétaro in central Mexico. The authors call this dog a “techichi,” which Thurston conflates with the alco. This conflation may or may not be correct, but it is closer to being correct than conflation that Hamilton Smith and Jardine produce.

We have seen only one individual of this race, by the Indians called Techichi. It was a long-backed heavy looking animal, with a terrier’s mouth, tail, and colours; but the hair was scantier and smoother, and the ears were cropped. It is likely that the specimen seen by us at Rio de San Juan was of the same race as the Techichi described by Fernandez.

To this race belongs the Carrier Indian Dog observed by Dr. Richardson, and described by him, in a letter we had the pleasure of receiving, as having a long body, with legs comparatively short, but not bent, and short (not woolly) hair (pg. 156).

Richardson’s dog was probably the Hare Indian dog, which was much smaller than the travois dog of the Plains Indians. This dog was described by Sir John Richardson, and he described the dog as being like a small black and white coyote. The dogs were used for hunting, and he extolled its virtues as a hard running dog. These dogs were not used for hauling, but they would carry a twig or mitten in their mouths as they ran– which is where Hamilton Smith and Jardine get the “carrier dog” name. Richardson thought the breed was a domesticated form of coyote.

It may have been exactly that, but the breed has since gone extinct. And no remains have been found for modern science to examine.

Now, Hamilton Smith and Jardine start going down several rabbit holes in their discussion of Native American dogs. They mention William Bartram’s black wolf dog, which Bartram encountered guarding herds of Seminole ponies. They also talk about a black wolf-like dog from Canada that was very much like the old Newfoundland (St. John’s water dog) in temperament.

And then the authors mention Maximilian von Wied’s encounter with wolfish dogs on the Great Plains, which he thought were derived from wolves. The authors disagree with Maximilian, claiming that the dogs derive from”Caygotte” (coyote), a view they shared with Richardson. Of course, the dogs on the Plains were larger than the Hare Indian dogs, and they were used primarily for hauling. Maximilian would also talk about these dog mingling with the large wolves of the Great Plains, which leads one to believe that if they had any wolf in them, it was the Holarctic wolf and not the coyote.

If Hamilton Smith and Jardine had left their discussion with the discussion of Caygotte as the ancestor of the Native American dogs, it would not have been confusing, but in the next sentence, the authors posit that “[T]here [is no] reason for rejecting the prairie dog (Lyciscus latrans) as one of those who have contributed to furnish breeds of original American dogs” (pg. 156).

Now, if you read a little deeper into the Hamilton Smith and Jardine text, “Lyciscan dogs” are what we would call the coyote, which the authors divide into the Caygotte and the North American prairie wolf.  The prairie wolf gets the name “Lyciscus latrans,” which we now call Canis latrans– the coyote. However, the authors use Caygotte, the supposed Basque name for this dog in Mexico, to extend not only to what we would call the Mexican and Central American coyote but to several species of South American wild dog, some of which might be nothing more than wolfish variants of the domestic dog. The authors then enter an aside which posits that a legendary dog in India, which is said to have been a hybrid between a dog and a tiger, is actually a Lyscican dog– an Old World variant of this coyote tribe. I guess the dog and tiger hybrid suggestion was too silly for them! The South American “Caygotte” is probably a reference to the culpeo (Lycalopex culpaeus), which superficially looks like a small coyote, but it is actally part of the South American “fox” genus (Lycalopex— “the wolf foxes.”).

If the authors had been more careful in their wording of the common name for the supposed ancestor of the ‘”carrier dog/Techichi” and  called it a “prairie wolf,” I don’t think Lizars would have produced such a bizarre image.

Hamilton Smith and Jardine use the word “prairie dog”  instead of “praire wolf,”  but it is obvious the authors mean prairie wolf.  They use the scientific name Lyciscus latrans.

William Home Lizars was not a scientist, so my guess is that when he saw that these animals looked like they might be derived from a prairie dog, he looked up a prairie dog.

A prairie dog is a rodent– a type of ground squirrel. They native to the Great Plains of North America from South Central Canada to Northern Mexico. They live in vast colonies that include extensive burrows, which we call “prairie dog towns.” Whenever, a dangerous animal appears on the scene, one prairie dog will warn the others through barking– well, it kind of sounds like barking– and that’s how they got this name.

My guess is that when Lizars saw prairie dog as possible ancestor of the techichi/carrier dog, he looked up the prairie dog. He saw the squirrel, and he also saw that the authors mention it as being tawny. Prairie dogs are tawny squirrels.

So he made the carrier dog look like a hybrid between a chihuahua and a prairie dog. Not only is a prairie dog long-backed and tawny, it looks like its ears have been cropped.

Black-tailed prairie dog

Now that’s  about as fanciful as the tiger dog hybrids!

One can see what sort of conflations people could produce from having very imperfect information about natural history.

The image at the top of this post comes from conflating the techichi with the Hare Indian dog and the other wolf-like dogs of the Native Americans.  The supposition that some of these dogs were derived from coyotes or “prairie wolves”  became mixed up with the prairie dog.

And the result is an image of a sort of chimerical animal that would probably scare the living daylights out of anyone who happened to encounter it.

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This painting is by an unknown artist, and it dates to around 1820.

The exact location is also unknown, but it could be within the Mi’kmaq homelands in the Maritimes or in Newfoundland, where some of them migrated in the eighteenth century.

They are shooting geese from canoes, and you can see one dog in a canoe and another dog swimming to retrieve a downed goose.

These dogs could have played some role in the development of the St. John’s water dog or the Nova Scotia duck-tolling retriever.

Granted, no genetic studies have revealed any indigenous ancestry in either of these breeds, but the indigenous people of the region did use dogs to hunt geese and other waterfowl in the fashion. They like originally used bows and arrows, or they may have stalked the birds in the late evening and early morning when they were settled in the water.

 

 

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Wrong on the internet

It’s going to be one of those posts. Don’t say I didn’t warn you.

I was perusing this site on Native American dogs, when I came across something very, very wrong:

All of these primitive dogs are probably, to one extent or another, related or have very similar ancestors. The only difference is that Native Americans also developed their dogs from crossing in coyotes thousands of years ago. Where as the dogs from Africa, India and Asia used jackals and small Asian wolves that are more Jackal-like than wolf-like. With modern DNA and logical research, it’s now known that the wolf was not the ancestor of the modern dog, but coyote and jackals were the modern dog’s ancestors. Outdated research said all people and dogs migrated into the American continents across the Baring [sic] Straits [also not true– for both people and dogs!]. New, more recent research shows they also came up from the south [not a single study suggests this].

Very little of this paragraph is true. Dogs are derived from some form of Eurasian wolf, including the native dogs of North and South America. In fact, the big contention right now is where in Eurasia. Right now, the big debate is whether Savolainen’s finding that dogs come from southern China or whether the dog comes from some other part of Eurasia.

Coyotes and golden jackals played a negligible role in developing the domestic dog. The fact that many Native American dogs in North America looked a lot like coyotes is mostly circumstantial. These dogs have had their MtDNA and nuclear DNA analyzed, and they are also derived from Eurasian wolves. The only dogs that have been known to have jackal in them are the Sulimov dogs. Dogs are wolves. That case has been settled long ago.

I found a few other things that were wrong with this site. One of them is the suggestion that the largest Native American dogs (other than those of the Arctic hauling spitz variety) were the size of a Carolina dog or dingo.

I’ve read too many accounts of large wolf-like dogs in North America during the colonial period and the era of exploration to accept this theory.

The truth is that Native Americans were expert dog breeders. They produced all sorts of different forms of domestic dog.  Wool-producing dogs in the Northwest, little bear dogs that resembled chihuahuas, and the hairless dogs of Latin America are but a few varieties that the original inhabitants of the Americas were able to create.

I don’t know why people keep repeating that dogs are derived from jackals or coyotes. It’s the one theory about the origins of domestic dogs we know for sure is false.

Research into dog and coyote hybrids suggests that there is decreased fertility and embryo survival when hybrids are bred to each other over several generation.  While we have found fertile coyotes with dog MtDNA and the Eastern North American wolf and red wolf have coyote MtDNA, the fact that hybrid coydogs cannot carry remain fertile or produce many offspring through successive generations of back-crossing suggests that coyotes played a very small role in development of the domestic dog.  It is also one reason why the coydog population remains relatively low.

When Sulimov created his golden jackal hybrid sniffer dog. He had to have husky bitches nurse jackal pups because male jackals won’t mate with a domestic dog. This is the opposite of the behavior one sees naturally occurring dog and wolf crosses. In those crosses, the male wolf readily mates with the dog bitch. The fact that Sulimov had to go to these lengths to get the animals to crossbreed suggests that they aren’t that closely related, even if they can produce hybrids that are very often fertile.

I don’t know why people hold onto these tired old theories. Konrad Lorenz was wrong. Get over it.

It’s not as bad as believing chihuahuas are derived from fennec foxes, but this theory has been thoroughly disproved.

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If you want to read the truth about Pre-Columbian Native American dogs,  check out Marion Schwartz’s A History of Dogs in the Early Americas.

Also worth reading is Mary Elizabeth Thurston’s The Lost History of the Canine Race, which has a wonderful chapter on the various types of Native American dogs.

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St. John's water dog small ears

Once the harvests of the field were safely in, the Indian [men], old and young, could turn to hunting, since the flesh animals and fowl would then spoil less readily. Morning and evening were the times for ducks and geese. Following well-known flyways, these birds settled at night in river meadows and salt marshes or rested at ease on smooth water. The hunters would drift in quietly in canoes, light torches to cause sudden confusion among the birds, and knock them down with clubs or paddles. Then a specially trained canoe dog, sitting in the bow,  would jump into the water and retrieve the game.

Howard S. Russell Indian New England Before the Mayflower (1980) p. 178-179. *I edited one word to make it sound a little less ethnocentric.

One must not assume that these dogs were ever used to make the retrievers we know today. They might be distant ancestors of the St. John’s water dog or the Nova Scotia duck-tolling retriever, but I’ve not seen any evidence that points in this direction. It is an interesting finding that dogs were used as retrievers before the Europeans arrived in North America. That said, it native North American dogs did not do well with the arrival of European strains. Indeed, virtually all Native American dogs are heavily mixed with European dogs, and it is thought that most of them are primarily of European extraction.

I have read about canoe dogs that belonged to the Innu inLabrador and Quebec. These dogs were used in exactly the same way as the New England canoe dogs.

Now, I am in no way suggesting that these dogs are ancestors of retrievers or the St. John’s water dog. I just find it very interesting that these dogs existed in pre-Columbian civilizations in the northeastern parts of North America.

It’s possible that one of these Innu canoe dogs wound up in Newfoundland during the period in which several nations of Europe were beginning to exploit the Grand Banks. Maybe a few of these dogs helped found the St. John’s water dog. I don’t know.

I do know that the native Beothuck did not have dogs, so any dogs that arrived in Newfoundland had to either come from Europe or the mainland.

Now, I do remember reading about canoe dogs somewhere, but my understanding of what they looked like was something like a Tahltan Bear Dog.

So these dogs may not have been in the retriever and Newfoundland dog gene pool after all.

However, it is interesting that the native peoples of this continent knew how to use dogs as retrievers, even if they don’t play a role in the development of the modern retrievers.

And for those native hunters, their retrievers meant the difference between getting meat for the table or not.

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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.
xolo
     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.
carolina-dog
     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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