2000 - Volume #24, Issue #4, Page #21[ Sample Stories From This Issue | List of All Stories In This Issue | Print this story | Read this issue]
Indian Dogs Make Great Companions
Plains Indians relied on dogs for companionship and more. Dogs were guard animals, baby sitters, hunters, pack animals and foot warmers. Their fur was often used in weaving. And when it became necessary, dogs were used for food.
There were many different breeds of "native" American dogs. Eskimo dogs, for example, were sturdier and closely resembled wolves. Dogs from southwestern areas were smaller and had thinner coats, similar to terriers. One type of dog from central Mexico was hairless and resembled a greyhound.
The Indian dog breeds nearly disappeared, but in recent years, dog breeders like Beverly Woodcock, Grants Pass, Oregon, have been working to re-establish them.
Woodcock specializes in a breed kept by the Plains Indians. The breed, called the American Indian Dog, is medium-sized and looks somewhat like a coyote, which some native Americans called "God's Dog." American Indian Dogs weigh about 30 lbs. and have long upright ears, a bushy tail that is carried down (like a coyote, not a wolf) and fur that is black, brown, gold and red. Eyes can be yellow, amber, blue or brown.
Woodcock says native American people continued to breed their dogs back to coyotes to retain certain desirable traits, like pack loyalty and high intelligence. "Today's American Indian Dogs retain the desired traits of their ancestors, through careful breeding programs and research rather than through introduction of primitive stock," she says. "These dogs should not be confused with coyote or wolf hybrids."
Bev's Waggin' Tail Farm offers American Indian Dogs for sale. She has a new litter coming in August. Pups sell for $500 to $800 each. She says they make excellent companions and guard dogs.
Contact: FARM SHOW Followup, Beverly Woodcock, Waggin' Tail Farm, 11656 Williams Hwy., Grants Pass, Oregon 97527 (ph 541 846-6501 or 541 846-6747).
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