Primitive Dogs
(Pariah Dogs, Aborignal Dogs, Feral Dogs)
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Primitive or aboriginal dogs are canids that have kept close to the original form and have evolved with little or no purposeful human intervention. They spread throughout the world with the first colonizers but preserved a loose association with man.

Primitive dogs in all countries have a very similar, typical morphology  known as the "long-term pariah morphotype" (LTPM) or primal body design from which most other dog forms are derived: a wolf or fox-like appearance with wedge-shaped head and a pointed muzzle, almond eyes, erect ears, for optimal sound retrieval and possibly body temperature regulation, and a long, curved tail. 

Australian Dingo
Photo: Robert Cumming

Recent studies investigate the possibility that all dingo-like dog populations, such as the Carolina Dog, Singing Dog of New Guinea and Basenji have descended from pure dingos. The Indian Plains Wolf would then be the likely ancestor of this group.

The dogs are generally of a medium body size, standing between 20-25 incheswitherswhithers and weighing from 35 to 45 pounds. Their coat is generally short to medium in length, but can become quite dense in winter in the colder climates. The color may vary according to the region of the world: it ranges from a dull pale-brown to dark red-brown, black and tan, and piebald. Solid-colored dogs often show some darker sabling along the back and tail. White facial markings along the sides of the checks and muzzle are not uncommon. Their long, curved tail is occasionally bushy and usually of a paler color beneath.

Other genetic studies involving Australian dingoes, Asian dog breeds and Bali street dogs support the theory that Australian dingoes originated from dogs of East Asia that followed human Austronesian migration streams into the islands of SE Asia. The Australian dingo has been isolated from its parent population for about 5,000 years, yet both dingo and Bali feral dog populations remain genetically close.

Most primitive dogs share common characteristics, which are not usually found in domestic dog breeds. Primitive dogs have one annual estrus cycle at a certain season of the year. They produce a typical howling sound. During hunting, a primitive dog uses an entire set of senses given to her by nature in order to find the game, just like it would be done by a wolf. They are extremely alert and, when kept as domestic dogs, are likely to warn their owners of anything strange long before other pets are aware of anything amiss.

In some cases, dogs taken from the original free-living population have become the founder animals of a domestic breed population bred in captivity under controlled conditions. This was the case for example with the
Telomian dog of Malaysia, the Basenji of Central Africa, the Canaan dog of Israel, the Chindo Kae dog of Korea, the Kintamani dog of Bali and several forms of native Japanese breeds, including the (original) Akita and Shiba Inu.

Others, like the
Australian Dingo are still often considered as vermin and lack protection in many parts of the world. The formal recognition and use of studbooks and registeries therefore is a way to ensure protection of these genetically unique strains of primitive dogs against extermination or assimilation within other populations of stray or pure-bred dogs.

Conservation organizations work for the preservation of the
New Guinea Singing dog and the Carolina Dog and their recognition of a separate status.

Other primitive or pariah dogs include the Aso, a native Philippine breed, the Indian Pariah Dog, the Indian Santal Dog, the Kintamani Bali Dog (Bali), the Jindo Gae (Korea), the Dingo of Thailand, the Khoi/Hottentot Dog (South Africa - Cape Area), the Indian Spitz (India) and the Santal Hound (India).

See also:
Unusual dog breeds
Rare dog breeds
Carolina dog
Korean Jindo
Kintamani dog of Bali
Canaan dog
Hairless dog breeds

Savolainen P, Leitner T, Wilton AN, Matisoo-Smith E, and Lundeberg J, 2004. A detailed picture of the origin of the Australian dingo, obtained from the study of mitochondrial DNA. Proc Natl Acad Sci USA.

I. K. Puja, D. N. Irion, A. L. Schaffer, and N. C. Pedersen, 2005. The Kintamani Dog: Genetic Profile of an Emerging Breed from Bali, Indonesia. Journal of Heredity 2005 96(7):854-859; doi:10.1093/jhered/esi06.

The Carolina Dog Association

Corbet, L.K. The Dingo in Australia and Asia. Sydney: University of New South Wales Press, 1995.

Strahan, R. (Ed.). The Mammals of Australia. Chatswood, NSW: Reed Books, 1995.

Schwartz, Marion. A history of Dogs in the Early Americas. New Haven: Yale University Press, 1997.

The Dingo. Australia's Dingo has counterparts throughout the world

Telomian by Breeds of Dogs

The New Guinea Singing Dog Conservation Society
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