Speak with a pet specialist
Toll Free: 855 908 4010
 
 

 

Pet Bucket Blog

Extinct Breeds: Salish Wool Dog

 by danielle on 14 May 2014 |
No Comment

Breeds go in and out of fashion – and sometimes they fade entirely. The Salish Wool Dog is an extinct breed that was a true ‘sheep dog’ farmed by Native Americans for its valuable fur.
 
The Salish Coast tribe inhabited what is now Washington State and British Columbia. They carefully cultivated a population of dogs with white, long hair which they would shear like sheep in May or June for wool.
 
The Salish Wool Dog is considered the only prehistoric North American dog breed created by true animal husbandry, which is to say, it was selectively and purposefully bred to create traits useful for the community. Other dogs in the tribe were not cultivated intentionally and developed traits through chance and natural selection. Salish Wool Dogs were segregated from other dogs in the area, on islands and gated caves in packs of about twelve to twenty individuals.
 
Wool Dogs were fed a diet of raw and cooked salmon. Today fish oil is used by the dog showing community as it is well-known to improve coat quality and lustre.  
 

The Salish tribe lacked access to sheep and mountain goat wool which was hazardous to gather, hence the substitution of dog fur.
 
The explorer Captain George Vancouver reported the Salish Wool Dog’s coat was so thick when sheared one could pick up a corner and the whole fleece would hold together. The “Salish blankets” made by the tribe from the fur were prized by Native American tribes, being almost as valuable as slaves.
 
In order to improve the yarn quality and extend supply of the valuable fur, dog hair was mixed with other local materials, such as mountain goat wool, feathers and plant fibres.

 
 
The arrival of Europeans in North America was the beginning of the end for the Salish Wool Dog. Increased access to sheep, Hudson bay blankets and the destruction of the Native American population itself due to disease and conflict lead to a disruption of traditional cultivation methods. The Salish Wool Dog began to interbreed with other varieties of dog and lose the traits that made it so distinct. By the mid-19th century the Salish Wool Dog was understood as extinct as a separate breed. In 1940 the last known descendent of the Wool dogs passed away.
 
Doubters who claimed the Salish Wool Dog was nothing but folklore have been disproven by recent DNA analysis, which has proven dog hair is a component of a number of surviving examples of Salish weavers’ works.
 

Today, the Salish Wool Dog lives on in the oral history of the Salish Coast tribe and ceremonial blankets preserved in museum collections. There is also a pelt that was re-discovered in a drawer of the National Museum of Natural History in Washington, D.C. of a dog fittingly dubbed ‘Mutton’ who once belonged to a scientist who studied the tribes of the Pacific Northwest. 
 

Comment(s)0

Join the Conversation

* Please enter your name.
Email address will not be published
Please enter a valid email address.
* Please enter your comment.
Image Verification
'Please enter security code.

You may also like

Why is my dog losing his hair?

Hair loss is a common problem in dogs and can affect your pet’s skin, as well as his endocrine, lymphatic and immune sys...

Pet Jewelry

Human beings have been wearing jewelry for over 100,000 years – much longer than we've kept domestic cats and dogs (70,0...

Teaching your cat to like his carrier

Most cats only see a cat carrier when it’s time to go somewhere new: the veterinarian’s office, a new home or a boarding...

How to stop cats from attacking your feet

When we shuffle around in flip flops or shoes with bouncing laces, our feet look can look an awful lot like prey to cats...

Six Ways to Calm an Anxious Dog

Just like people, dogs can suffer from anxiety disorders. Whether he’s afraid of social situations, suffers from separat...

Why dogs lift their legs to pee

Dogs are territorial by nature and nothing says, “I’m here,” like marking a tree, fire hydrant or fence post with their ...

Why dogs love to lick?

It can seem like a nuisance, but to our canine companions, licking you is most often a sign of affection. While it is a ...

Vegetarian and Vegan Pets

Approximately 7.3 million people living in the USA alone are vegetarian and the popularity of a plant-based diet and lif...
Call Us - 855 908 4010
Placeholder
.
Customer Testimonials
Larry Marshall
Larry Marshall
United States, Raleigh
24 Sep 2017
So far so good,shipping has been on time and prices have been great.
 
 
Shop with Confidence
  • Low Price Guarantee
  • Free & Fast Shipping
  • Best Customer Service