Wool dogs - the multifunctional Indian dog!

Narrated from: Dog Breeds

Many scientists claim that Indians didn’t have any distinctive dog breeds. They say that most Indian dogs shared a similar genome and resembled their wolfish forefathers.

It is hard to argue, since no Native American dog breed has actually survived till the present day. However, there are records that prove that Indians did breed their dogs, though not to the same extent as Europeans.

The most notable Indian dog breed developed for a specific purpose was the Wool dog. The Wool dog, also known as the Salish Wool dog, was bred around present day Washington and in the region of British Columbia.

These dogs were kept apart from other Indian dogs – sometimes they were even confined to separate islands or in special enclosures. There was a good reason for that – Wool dogs were used as sheep!

Well, I guess there truly isn’t a thing that dogs wouldn’t do for their human masters. Wool dogs resembled Spitz in appearance – however, they had distinctive, long hair. Wool dogs’ hair was sheared in May or June and used for the making of very special blankets. Those blankets were prized among Indians and often served a ceremonial purpose; thus, Wool dogs powered the main industry of the Salish.

However, the Wool dog breed has not lasted until modern times. The need for them evaporated when Europeans colonized America and brought with them cheaper fabric blankets. Thus, Wool dogs were soon interbred with European dog breeds and their unique genetic line was lost. The breed was considered extinct by 1859, and the last Wool dog died in 1940.

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