Native Indian Dog

Dog Sled

The Native Indian Dog
Facts and history about the life and lifestyles of Native American Indians. The Native Indian Dog was extremely important to the tribes of North America. Dogs were primarily used as beasts of burden. Harnessed on wooden frames called travois, the dogs of the Great Plains transported tents, firewood and even children as tribes frequently moved to to different hunting grounds. The Native Indian dog of the Arctic and Subarctic tribes pulled sleds across the 'snow desserts'.

The Native Indian Dog also provided companionship and protection to the people of different tribes. Dogs were also important as guard dogs, alerting the people to any strangers approaching their camps.

Native American Life - Native Indian Dog
The life, history and lifestyle of Native American Indians Native American Indians is a varied and fascinating subject. The following fact sheet contains interesting facts and information on Native Indian Dog.

Native Indian Dog Fact Sheet for kids

  • Native Indian Dog Fact 1: The dogs owned by the tribes were not pure breeds, they were a mixture of breeds. However, some tribes were known to selectively breed dogs that showed good traits, such as speed, stamina, and strength
  • Native Indian Dog Fact 2: Description:  The North American dogs had long heads, small eyes and pointed noses. Their ears were pointed and erect like those of the wolf and their hair was short and smooth, except on the tail
  • Native Indian Dog Fact 3: Black, white, brown and brindle were the most usual colors of the dogs
  • Native Indian Dog Fact 4: Many tribes considered that dogs of a sacred tortoiseshell color and a coat with a broken pattern had supernatural powers and were referred to as "Spirit Dogs"
  • Native Indian Dog Fact 5: Many tribes held the belief that visions and dreams came from animal spirits. Dogs were perceived as guardians and symbolizes guidance, loyalty and trust
  • Native Indian Dog Fact 6: Scientists now agree that dogs are directly descended from Canis Lupus - the Grey Wolf
  • Native Indian Dog Fact 7: The early tribes are believed to have tamed wolves, introducing selective breeding to eliminate those with aggressive natures and breeding dogs with desirable traits such as a good temperament, keen senses and even their swimming abilities 
  • Native Indian Dog Fact 8: This process of selective breeding began the evolution of the wolf to the domestic dog
  • Native Indian Dog Fact 9: Dogs were the only beast of burden until the Spanish introduced the horse in the mid-1500s - refer to the Native American Horse. Dogs were used to haul possessions on a type of sledge called a Travois
  • Native Indian Dog Fact 10: The dogs that pulled the travois were strong and able to pull loads of up to 50 pounds. They were also able to travel at rates of 2 -3 miles per hour
  • Native Indian Dog Fact 11: The Inuit tribe bred strong, working dogs with thick furs, like huskies.  These dogs were used to haul sleds or a dog travois to transport people and possessions across the snow. A sled has runners and a raised platform whereas a toboggan has no runners and their platforms sit directly on the snow
  • American Indian Dog Fact 12: The Eskimo, or Inuit Dogs, the Qimmiq, are now known by the names of the Inuit sled dog, the Canadian Inuit or the Greenlander
  • American Indian Dog Fact 13: Dogs were also valued for their warmth. The expression "three dog night" originated with the Eskimos (Inuit and Yupik tribes) and means a night that was so cold that you have to bed down with three dogs to keep warm.
  • Native Indian Dog Fact 14: The Inuit tribe told stories and legends of a mythical monstrous, hairless dog called 'Keelut'
  • American Indian Dog Fact 15: Some tribes trained their dogs to hunt and fish
  • American Indian Dog Fact 16: Dogs, wolves, and coyotes are eaten by many tribes of the Great Plains and their fur was used to trim their clothing
  • American Indian Dog Fact 17: The little Tahl Tan Bear Dog was only was from 12 - 18 inches tall and was used to track bears by the Tlingit tribe who inhabited areas on the Northwest Pacific Coast
  • American Indian Dog Fact 18: Dog's Wool: The Northwest Pacific Coast Salish tribe raised Clallam Indian Dogs using their long, thick, white pelage (hair) to make clothing and blankets
  • Fact 19: The dogs were used for hauling, hunting, fishing, clothing, warmth, food, companionship and as pets
  • Fact 20: The modern day Native American Indian Dog breed, also known as the Carolina Dog and the Dixie Dingo, comes in two distinct sizes, two hair coat lengths and color combinations. It is an ancient breed that developed in the deep south and now is extremely rare in the wild
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