The Carolina dog is a landrace of medium-sized, feral dog that lives mostly in the Southeastern United States, especially in isolated stretches of longleaf pines and cypress swamps. Re-domestication of Carolina dogs has recently become popular, and they can make good domestic pets with proper socialization. Since 2008, artificial selection efforts to establish them as a standardized breed (usually capitalized as Carolina Dog) has made some progress, with recognition in two smaller national kennel clubs, and acceptance into the breed-establishment program of a major one.
The Carolina dog was rediscovered living as free-roaming population by I. Lehr Brisbin Jr., though originally documented in American dog-related publications in the 1920s. Carolina dogs show admixture with other dog breeds from Europe and elsewhere. Brisbin, recognizing something different about them despite cross-breeding, proposed that the some of the Carolina dog's ancestors arrived with the first, prehistoric Americans. Some modern genetic research tentatively supports this hypothesis.
South Carolina Puppy Mill Rescue - The HSUS's Animal Rescue Team came to the aid of more than 200 dogs and puppies, along with dozens of birds and nine horses, living in awful conditions at ...
One of the earliest publications to document the "Indian" dogs of North America was the article "Dogs of the American Aborigines" by Glover Morrill Allen, published in 1920 by the Museum of Comparative Zoology at Harvard College. Allen postulated that these "Larger or Common Indian Dogs" were descended from Asian primitive dogs: "The probability therefore is, that the Domestic Dog originated in Asia and was carried by primitive man both east and west into all parts of the inhabited world. That this migration began in late Pleistocene times seems highly probable." Allen cites late nineteenth-century studies of skeletal remains of dogs that could be found from Alaska to Florida to the Greater Antilles and westward to the Great Plains, and were excavated from Indian mounds as well:
Cope (1893) was the first to describe the jaw of this dog from a specimen collected by Moore from a shell-mound on St. John's River, Florida. He was struck by the fact that the first lower premolar was missing and appeared not to have developed. He also noticed strong development of the entoconid of the carnassial.
Moore, in the course of various explorations in Florida and Georgia discovered many remains of dogs, apparently of this type. In a large mound on Ossabaw Island, Georgia, he (1897) found several interments of human and dog-skeletons, the latter always buried separately and entire, showing that the dogs had not been used as food. Other dog-skeletons of a similar sort were found by Moore (1899) in aboriginal mounds on the South Carolina coast ... Putnam considered them the same as the larger Madisonville (Ohio) dogs.
Hunters throughout the Southeast have known about Carolina Dogs in the wild throughout the twentieth century because of their familiarity with remote woodland areas. Later in the twentieth century, these dogs were republicized to the general public by I. Lehr Brisbin Jr., a senior research ecologist at the University of Georgia's Savannah River Ecology Laboratory, who first came across a Carolina dog while working at the Savannah River Site, which by design was depopulated and secured of all trespass and traffic for decades beginning in 1950.
Establishment and recognition of the Carolina Dog as a standardized breed
Since 1996, Carolinas can be registered with the United Kennel Club (UKC), which has published a detailed, formal Carolina Dog breed standard.. UKC focuses on hunting dogs and other working dogs, and categorizes the Carolina in their "Sighthound and Pariah" group, along with other breeds such as the Basenji of Africa and the Thai Ridgeback. Another, less specific breed standard has been issued by the American Rare Breed Association (ARBA), which registers feral or domesticated Carolina dogs. ARBA, which specializes in experimental dog breeds and uncommon landraces, includes the Carolina in their Group 5, which also includes the Canaan dog and the New Guinea singing dog.
In July 2017, the American Kennel Club (AKC, the largest dog breed registry in the United States) accepted the Carolina Dog breeding program into its Foundation Stock Service (FSS), the first step toward official AKC breed recognition. AKA has the dog listed under their "Hound" group.
Carolina dogs are a medium sized; height ranges from 17 to 24Â inches (45â"61Â cm), and weight from 30 to 65 pounds (15â"20Â kg). The ears are characteristic and are erect, very long, and moderately slender, tapering way up to elegantly pointed tips and they can be individually turned to the direction of any sound, providing extremely sensitive hearing. The dog ranges in build from muscular yet slender and graceful to somewhat stockier animals. The dogs legs are also graceful but strong. The hind midsection is firm and narrow. The overall build in a healthy, properly fed Carolina dog is svelte to somewhat stockier, strong and athletic. Paws are relatively large. The snout and the notably elongated, fox-like ears are spitz-like. The tail is usually upturned and often has a hooked kink in it. The coat is usually short and smooth, characteristic of a warm-climate dog.
Colors vary, and may include reddish ginger, buff, fawn, black-and-tan, or piebald with or without white areas on toes, chest, tail tip and muzzle. The eyes are at an oblique angle and almond shaped. The eyes vary in color, but are usually dark brown or medium to dark orange. The area along the edges of the eyes is often (but not always) a distinctive black "eyeliner" coloration which becomes more pronounced by contrast in lighter-colored dogs. The lips are often black, even in light-colored dogs. Frequently, puppies have a melanistic mask that usually fades as the adult coat comes in.
Behavior and temperament
Breeding in the wild
Female Carolina dogs have three estrus cycles in quick succession, which settle into seasonal reproductive cycles when there is an abundance of puppies. This is thought to ensure quick breeding in the wild before diseases, like heartworm, take their toll.
Some pregnant dogs also dig dens in which to give birth. Unlike domesticated dogs, wolves, or coyotes, pregnant female Carolina dogs may dig elaborate dens. After giving birth or while pregnant, the dog carefully pushes sand with her snout to cover her excrement. This also helps to evade wolves and coyotes, showing further behavioral adaptation to the wild. Brisbin noted that only the Australian dingo and one ancient Korean breed of dog exhibit this behavior.
The Carolina dog is highly proficient at locating prey with its elongated, swiveling, radar-like ears, and is equally proficient at catching small mammals, such as shrews and mice, using a pouncing technique similar to foxes. The dog also digs "snout pits" or "nose holes" â" numerous of tiny holes in the dirt that perfectly fit its muzzle â" usually for hunting small rodents, insects, or grubs, or to eat soil minerals. (More female dogs dig these than males.)
Elusive of larger canids and humans
One study indicated that the Carolina dog has the unique behavior in the wild of defecating and urinating in streams, creeks, and other bodies of water. This suggests long-term adaptation to the wild via the behavior of hiding their scent in water in order to evade wolves and coyotes, which are known to frequently attack dogs.
In the wild, the Carolina dog usually avoids people, often living in sparsely settled land instead of the highly populated areas that stray dogs commonly occupy. However, there are sizable wild populations in metropolitan Atlanta's wooded areas, even near industrial plants and major highways.
Though Carolina dogs may be more sensitive to hierarchy than other breeds, they are gregarious and playful, and can form close bonds with other dogs. They may be happier in captivity in "packs" of two or more animals.
Pet Carolina dogs require earlier and more thorough training compared to typical dog breeds, but they bond strongly with their owners and are said to make excellent family dogs when adequately socialized.
In 2013, a study looked at the mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA) haplotypes associated with samples of the Carolina dog.
The study showed that 58% of the dogs carried universal haplotypes that could be found around the world (haplotypes A16, A18, A19, and B1), 5% carried haplotypes associated with Korea and Japan (A39), and 37% carried a unique haplotype that was not recorded before (A184) and that relates to the a5 mtDNA sub-haplogroup that originated in East Asia. As the Australian dingo and the New Guinea singing dog belong to haplotype A29 that relates to the a2 sub-haplogroup, there is no genetic relationship in the mtDNA. Also in 2013, another study of several dog breeds in the Americas â" among them the Carolina dog, the Peruvian Hairless Dog and the Chihuahua indicated an ancient migration from Asia.
In 2015, a study was conducted using mitochondrial (female lineage marker), Y-chromosome (male lineage marker), and autosomal genetic markers in 4,676Â purebred dogs from 161Â breeds and 549Â village dogs from 38Â countries. The study tested for the degree of admixture with European breed dogs. The study found no yDNA haplotypes that were indigenous to North American dogs outside of the Arctic. However, the mtDNA of Carolina dogs contained between 10% and 35% pre-Columbian ancestry (mtDNA haplotype A184) that clustered with East Asian dogs.
- Free-ranging dog
- Native American dogs
- Origin of the domestic dog
- Rare breed (dog)
- Official United Kennel Club site, Breed information on Carolina dog