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Pariah dogs: 9 ancient and wild dog breeds

June 26, 2014, 12:55 p.m.
carolina dog named Hunter

Photo: Calabash13/Wikipedia

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Carolina dog

The "American dingo" was discovered in the 1970s living wild in isolated stretches of the southeast United States away from human settlements. Long mistaken as a feral stray, the Carolina dog’s uniqueness wasn’t recognized until Dr. I. Lehr Brisbin Jr. spotted one and saw it for what it was: a landrace dog that relied on natural selection to create its defining characteristics. With a buff or ginger-colored coat and behaviors much closer to wild dogs than feral dogs, DNA testing eventually showed that the breed is more closely connected to primitive East Asian dogs than European dog breeds. It is possible (though not confirmed) that their ancestors were dogs that migrated to North America from Asia alongside humans, and that they are of a Native American origin. Scientists are still figuring out just where the Carolina dog stems from but in the meantime, they are an example of a pariah dog breed brought back to the notice and care of humans. Like several other breeds of pariah dog, the Carolina dog is now recognized as a pure breed by the United Kennel Club, which could help protect it from losing its genetic uniqueness.