Pre-Columbian Dogs In North & South America


(image via Saving Carolina Dogs Rescue & Adoption Network)

Folklore says that Carolina Dogs predate Columbus, and a recent study shows these stories may actually be true.  Carolina Dogs, ChihuahuasPeruvian Hairless Dogs, & Mexican Hairless Dogs are missing certain gentic markers that link them to European dogs,  Instead, these breeds share markers with East Asian dogs indicating they descend from dogs that crossed the “Ice Age land bridge known as Beringia some 12,000 years ago” and are much older breeds than most dogs in the Western Hemisphere.  (You can also check out the original study, which goes into greater detail.)

By the way, I love learning new words and here’s a useful one when talking about stray, feral, or Rez dogs—“landrace“, which means:

a local variety of a domesticated animal or plant species which has developed largely by natural processes, by adaptation to the natural and cultural environment in which it lives. It differs from a formal breed which has been selectively bred deliberately to conform to a particular formal, purebreed standard of traits. Landraces are usually more genetically and physically diverse than formal breeds.


Landraces are not all derived from ancient stock unmodified by human breeding interests. In a number of cases, most commonly dogs, domestic animals have reverted to “wild” status by escaping in sufficient numbers in an area to breed feral populations that, through evolutionary pressure, form new landraces in only a few centuries.

Happy New Year!

I hope everyone had wonderful holidays!  I wish you and yours all the best in 2013.  My main hope for the coming year is for progress on animal welfare issues in developing countries and in areas with severe poverty.    There are signs of hope in some places.  Egyptian Society for Mercy in Egypt, Rudozem Street Dog Rescue in Bulgaria, Rez Dog Rescue in the Yakima Valley of Washington State.

My plans for the New Year are fairly simple:

  • I want to add a second walk for Saffron per day to the one looong walk she already gets—good for both of us!  MapMyWalk is my favorite tool for finding out how far we walk.
  • I’m going to get more DIY projects done for the furred ones.  I’m currently working on a cute, red raincoat for Saffron based on this DIY Doggie Raincoat.  She looks like Little Red Riding Hood.
  • I also need to do more to enrich our cats’ lives.  More playtime and more places for them to perch around our house.

We hope you all have a happy, healthy, & prosperous year!