The Native American Indian Dog: The real skinny on an intriguing breed


When Lewis and Clark crossed North America, they found packs of domesticated dogs in almost all Native American villages. Though they hadn't generally attained the pampered, beloved status of so many of today's pets, they did play other important roles. Some tribes used them for hunting and as villages scavengers. Others found them perfect support partners for their nomadic lifestyles, using them to pull litters. Still others ate them. Lewis and Clark themselves developed a taste, and often traded for them to supplement their diet.

Unfortunately, these early dogs were forced into extinction long before they could be satisfactorily studied and documented. Early engravings and descriptions by fur-traders, missionaries, and expedition artists however, provide us a glimpse.


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