Know about Carolina dog

Carolina Dog

Carolina Dog



The Carolina dog or the American Dingo was originally a land race or naturally selected type of dog which was discovered living as a wild dog or free roaming dog by Dr. I. Lehr Brisbin. The dogs of this breed are now bred and kept in captive collections or packs, and as pets. The United Kennel Club has developed a breed standard that specifies the appearance of these dogs.

Carolina dogs were discovered during 1970s living in isolated stretches of longleaf pines and cypress swamps in the South-eastern United States. They are medium sized dogs, that come in varying shades of red, ginger, buff, and fawn, black and tan with or without small white markings on toes, chest, tail tip and muzzle. These puppies even have a melanistic mask which usually fades as the adult coat comes in.



Dr. I. Lehr Brisbin Jr., a Senior Research Ecologist at the University of Georgia’s Savannah River Ecology Lab, first came across a Carolina Dog while working at the Savannah River Site.

He saw Horace, a white stray dog with brown markings and assumed it to be just a normal stray. He started to think about them that how many more of these were in the wild. On a hunch, he went to the pound and was surprised by the resemblance of these dogs to the dingo.

Carolina Dog



Evidence of ancient roots


Some ancient paintings and rock art of Native Americans depict dogs that have physical traits similar to those of the Carolina Dogs. They also have a ginger-coloured coat that is found on the other wild dogs, including Australian Dingoes and Korea’s native dog, the Jindo. The fossils of the dogs of Native Americans also exhibit the similar bone structures as that of the Carolina Dogs. Brisbin also found a resemblance between 2,000 year-old skulls and skulls of the Carolina Dogs, but concluded that there was too large of the difference that they could not be related. The height of the Carolina Dogs is 17 to 24 in (45-61 cm) and the weight varies between 30 and 65 pounds (15-20 kg).



In the 1980s, most Carolina Dogs were moved to captivity for study. The females had three estrus cycles in quick successions, which settled into seasonal reproductive cycles when there was an abundance of puppies. Brisbin noted that this was most likely to ensure quick breeding before diseases among this breed. Some of the pregnant dogs also dug dens to give birth in.

After they gave birth or while pregnant, the dog would carefully push sand with her snout to cover her excrement. They were excellent at locating and catching small mammals like shrews and mice, using a pouncing technique similar to that of the fox. The dogs also dug “snout pits” or hundreds of tiny holes in the dirt that perfectly fit their muzzles during this time. These were mostly dug by the female dogs than the males.

The Carolina dogs mostly lived in the wild, in sparsely settled land instead of the highly populated areas. They used an effective pack formation for hunting. They killed snakes using a whip-like motion, and preyed on the small and medium-sized mammals like raccoons.



Carolina dogs are natural runners. When in the wild, they are helped by their excellent nose to hunt the animals. They require moderate exercises and sufficient space as a pet dog. They need to be exposed to a lot of social activities from a young age. They are said to make an excellent family dog, once trained well.


DNA Testing

The preliminary DNA testing provides a link between the Carolina dogs and the other primitive dogs. The ancient Asian origin of the breed was confirmed in 2012. Their mitochondrial DNA carried mainly haplotypes (37%) that were unique and closest to East Asian dogs. Others were shared with Chinese non-breed dogs or Japanese breed dog and the rest were non-specific European but universal haplotypes.


Breed recognition and Domestication

Carolina Dogs can be registered with the American Rare Breed Association and the United Kennel Club. The UKC has classified them as the pariah dog, a class which consists of other primitive breeds like Basenji of Africa and the Thai Ridgeback.

The word pariah is derived from a Tamil word, first used in English in 1613, to refer the lowest level of the Indian caste system. In English it basically means “a social outcast”. It is assumed that the dogs kept under the section “pariah” or “primitive” are considered to be of older type than any other modern dog.

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