Are the pre-Columbian American Indians' dogs completely extinct?

I’ve often read that pre-Columbian Native Americans had only one domesticated animal: The dog, which they apparently brought with them across the Bering Strait millennia ago.

I once read in National Geographic that those breeds of dogs the Indians once had are now completely extinct, because, after the Europeans came, the Indians decided the Europeans’ dogs were better, acquired some, and would not allow their own old ones to breed with them.

This Wikipedia article is about a “Native American Indian Dog” that is “reported to be a mix of husky, Malamute, Chinook, German shepherd, [1] and dogs from Indian reservations. . . . Breeders say they are attempting to recreate a type of dog of similar appearance to those shown in historical illustrations and photographs of dogs in native american villages, as well as from stories told by Native Americans about dogs owned by their ancestors, when available.” But is there any pre-Columbian-American dog in it at all?

For the record, it’s five. The dog, the llama, the alpaca, the turkey, and the guinea pig.

I very much doubt that Native Americans knew how to effectively neuter their dogs, so, short of mass slaughter, I do not see how they could have prevented them from interbreeding with the ones from Europe. If nothing else, there were bound to have been some feral native dogs. I am sure there are genes from the native dogs still around, even if native dogs have all become so blended in to immigrant breeds as to lose all distinctiveness.

I once read that that the only truly American breed of dog is the Chesapeake Bay Retriever. I am not sure there is any truth to that, or what it was supposed to mean, but perhaps it meant that they were a breed kept by Native Americans, and the only one to survive and remain distinct through to today. I am fairly sure there have been lots of breeds developed in America in post-colonial times, but maybe all of them derived mainly from immigrant stock.

The Carolina Dog is supposed by some to represent something close to the type of dog that was present in the Americas before the arrival of Europeans. This American “yellow dog” seems to be similar to the dingo, pariah dogs, and other “primitive” dog breeds.

The modern day Chihuahua is believed to be a descendant of the Techichi dog kept by the Toltecs and Aztecs.

I should have thought of the others, but I don’t think the Indians ever domesticated the turkey.

The Aztecs domesticated the Mexican wild turkey.

Some people think the Catahoula Leopard Dog is descended from Native American dogs domesticated from red wolves.

Assuming the shelter was right about that being what Captain is, the red wolf is a sorry animal.

I don’t understand this comment. Farmers have been neutering stock of many species probably for millennia to reduce aggression and make them easier to handle. Is there something special about dogs that wouldn’t allow this? Are you saying that Native Americans couldn’t do this for some specific reason? That they didn’t know the connection? That they never castrated other humans, a practice found all over the world?


Castration has been used for nearly as long as any animal has been domesticated, but neutering female dogs has only been possible in the last century or two. So even if every single male native dog had been castrated (which isn’t possible of course) the female dogs would still be reproducing, hence the native dog genes would survive quite well.

The xoloitzcuintle is a breed that still exists today.

Better known in the US as the Mexican Hairless.