Sunday, June 19, 2011

Unusual Breed: Carolina Dog

 Two Carolina dogs

The Carolina dog is red feral-looking breed with upright ears, and long straight or slightly curved tails. They were discovered roaming free in the area of South Carolina and Georgia some time ago, and in subsequent years were captured so that they could be studied. They are classified as a pariah dog (a group that includes the dingo, New Guinea Singing Dog, Canaan dog, Basenji, and many more), due to their "primitive" behavior, and are believed to have become what they are today after decades or possibly centuries of roaming free through the swamps and forests of the South. In appearance, they do rather strikingly resemble the more famous Australian dingo. This is why the breed has the nicknames that it does: American dingo, Dixie dingo, Southern aboriginal dog, and so on. A captive breeding program has been in effect for the last thirty years. Now, these dogs make good pets.

The Carolina dog is considered a rare breed. They are not accepted by the AKC, and not even the AKC Foundation Stock Service.  It is not one that very many people know of, though their popularity is quickly expanding. One rather intriguing aspect to this is the growing number of pet Carolina dogs in the area of South Carolina and Georgia, where I live. I have a neighbor that owns one. They are not an uncommon sight, and in fact it is not that unusual to find one or two of them in local shelters.  Dogs believed to be Carolina dog mixes are also rather common. Due to this fact, a very large portion of residents are familiar with the breed's appearance if not their name. Even though it is a rare breed, it's likely locals would say otherwise.

The breed in accepted by the ARBA and UKC, among others, and there is an effort being made to get them into the AKC FSS. According to the UKC, the breed is characterized as follows: 

Height: 17¾ to 19 5/8 inches (45 to 50 cm)
Weight: 30 to 44 pounds (15 to 20 kg)
Color: deep red is preferred, but all shades of red are acceptable. Black and tan, piebald, and saddle markings are allowed but not preferred. 
Faults: long, wavy, broken, or curly coats; liver, Dudley, or butterfly noses are minor faults; undershot or overshot bite, short or throaty neck, a twisting or curling tail or one held over the back are serious faults
Disqualifications: Unilateral or bilateral cryptorchid (the nice way of saying missing testes). Viciousness or extreme shyness. Solid white coat color. Albinism.

Images used are copyright-free from Wikimedia Commons 


  1. I always find it interesting domestic dogs, in their wild form, always revert back to something akin to African or Arabian Wolf-- with a bit more hair or short hair-- allways somewhere between 25 to 40 pounds, and always the same body form.

    The only exception I can think of is when feral huskies have to compete with big-game wolves for food.

  2. They're also usually red in color. Carolina dogs, dingos, New Guinea singing dogs, and the various other pariah types and feral dog populations tend to be remarkably similar in a number of ways.