Carolina Dogs - The Amercian Dingo
While many dogs around today have been around for hundreds of years (and in a few cases thousands of years), most have been crossbreed after crossbreed of domesticated canines and are classified as either being hunting dogs, guard dogs, companion dogs, pastoral dogs, or sled dogs.
There is, however, another type of dog that is much more rare. This is the pariah dog. Pariah dogs are rarely anymore found as they are mostly wild dogs that span completely from primitive dogs which have never been tamed. Most of the few pariahs that are found are often quickly domesticated and bred with other dog breeds. One type of pariah dog that’s only been known about since the 1970’s and still run wild in nature is the Carolina Dog (also often referred to as the American Dingo, the Dixie Dingo, the Southern Dingo, the Native American Dog, the Indian's Dog, the Southern Aboriginal Dog, or even just “Old Yaller” as the southern natives refer to them as for their yellow coats).
Carolina Dog picture by Aaron Tubbs.
Carolina Dog History
In the 1970’s, Senior Research Ecologist for the University of Georgia’s Savannah River Ecology Lab, Dr. I. Lehr Brisbin Jr. discovered a stray dog wandering out of the nearby woods and onto the work site. Assuming it to be a typical stray, Brisbin went to a local dog pound where he realized how strikingly similar this animal was in appearance to the Dingo.
Naming this individual dog Horace and calling the breed Carolina Dog and went in search of more like it. He and a team rounded up some of the dogs that seemed to be Horace’s pack and brought them to a captive breeding facility while studying them. Fossils were found of ancient American dogs used by the Indians for various tasks more than 2,000 years ago, and DNA testing showed that there may be a link between those breeds and the Carolina Dog, although nothing has been made conclusive.
Carolina Dog Behavior In The Wild
Upon bringing the Carolina Dogs out of the wild and into captivity, they were studied to see how these modern day versions of primitive wild dogs differed from domesticated animals most people know and love today. There were some very peculiar findings.
The dogs were completely pack animals, like wolves. They did all their hunting together, they helped out as a community to raise newborn pups, the pack had a hierarchy with a lead dog all the way down to the scape goat. Even the individual Carolina breed dog females acted quite different from other breeds of dog. For one, they would regurgitate food for their young pups to eat once they were a few weeks old and could handle solid food. This is an action that has been bred out of memory in domesticated dogs and generally only exists in certain wild canines like the wolf.
The females also had 3 estrus cylces in rapid succession, and it’s believed this is to breed quickly before disease and parasites have a chance to set in. While pregnant, the female dog would create “snout holes” which were the exact size of her muzzle where she’d “do her business” and quickly and carefully cover it up with the dirt or sand. She would also dig a small den to birth the pups into.
Behavior In Domestication
Carolina Dogs, even if domesticated and raised in a household from infant age, are still partly wild.
They have the pack mentality instinctually and will treat the family that own them as their pack. It’s because of this that the owner needs to be the “lead dog”. You must set forth and make it clear who is in charge, or the dog will believe itself to be the leader of the pack. This is not good, especially since they show disapproval by growling and often biting. They are good with children though and love to play with the “human pups”.