Native American Dog Breeding vs the Eugenics Movement in Breeding Dogs

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If one inquires academia about “native American dogs”, the response is that there are no more nAds. They were overwhelmed by Euro dogs. They died of diseases the Euro-dogs brought in. Though I can’t find the actual sources that make those claims, they seem to be dogma.
(nAd: native American dog is not a breed name thus only “American” is capitalized)

nAds may not have been breeds as we think of them today, but they did come in distinct types or landraces that looked very much alike and were close to the wolf archetype in the prick ears and relaxed tails. They came in sizes roughly equivalent to foxes, coyotes and small wolves. No odd mutations marked the common dogs of the Americas, they retained the general shape of the wolf, though the particulars varied. The Harvard scholar , Grover Allen, who studied the entirety of nAd literature at the turn of the 20th century called the common dogs, Common Dogs. And that is because they were common, and found all over North America. This is the dog depicted in many artworks by 19th century Euro-artists who painted all aspects of the lives of various tribes.

These dogs all shared a phenotype, the general phenotype of the wolf. None of them shared the same “genotypes” with each other, because they were very outcrossed. There must have been times when dog populations got a bit inbred compared to free ranging wolves, due to a lack of fresh blood within a group, but these times rarely lasted and new dog blood was always welcomed.

The concept of sharing a genotype to be a true example of a breed or type of dog arose pearl dog croppedlout of the Eugenics Movement as it was quickly applied to dogs. The most elite of the Victorian era, the royalty, and to some extent, the nobility had kept a closed registry on themselves for many generations previous to the expression of the Eugenics movement by Sir Francis Galton, an unfortunate relative of Charles Darwin and quite inbred, himself. That is, the Eurostocracy bred from within themselves, a small, elite group of people who sought to contain the power of European thrones amongst the smallest group of people possible. This narrowing of purity in the royal bloodlines actually arose out of the idea of keeping royal power intact.

francis galtonSir Francis Galton, Father of the Eugenics Movement cousin of Charles Darwin

Generation after generation of these royals and nobles had married cousins and by Victoria’s age, the results of such inbreeding for many generations had begun to manifest in deadly ways. Deeply buried recessives started to couple up more and more often resulting in genetically based problems such as hemophilia and the “Hapsburg jaw”. The absolute worst of these genetic problems piled up in Carlito, the son of Phillip of Spain (ca 1700). Phillip himself was handsome and healthy in appearance, but his bloodline was so messed up, he could not produce a healthy, fit heir to the throne. Carlito was a dwarf, with diminished mental capacity and the most exaggerated of the Hapsburg jaws. He was also an emotional tantrum throwing mess who could not entertain a real concept of rulership.

carlito of spainCarlito of Spain.d. ca 1700 the first real monstrosity of Hapsburg inbreeding.
Charles II was moderately more inbred than the average among the offspring from brother-sister matings.

About the time the royals were figuring out that they needed new healthy blood and began to marry non-relatives or at least, distant relatives, Darwin published his theory of evolution. He was clueless that genetics was the basis of how evolution happened, let alone how genes worked, though he got the basic principles right.

So a big piece of the puzzle was still missing when Darwin’s so-called genius of a cousin, Francis Galton, seized upon his cousin’s work with a bunch of half-baked ideas about how to breed “better” people using the principle of “survival of the fittest”. He called his new theory of people-breeding, “eugenics”. He was still embracing the idea that royals should breed to royals as much as possible and nobles should try to upgrade their own bloodlines with royal blood, even if it was not legally recognized. He also thought that the unfit should be culled and prevented from breeding.

Well, these ideas soon ran into problems when applied to people, so the Galtonites who had focused on controlling the breeding behaviors of humans were soon recognized for what they were and disparaged, if not made illegal.

Strangely enough, while these ideas of pure breeding the best people and culling the others was soon squashed, those same principles were embraced by the dog breeding elite who were, of course, all influenced by the aristocratic Galton’s ideas. The idea of purebreeding elite dogs out of rough country stock dogs was the very expression of eugenics and dog breeding was the ultimate manipulation of “purebred” dogs and the “closed registry” was the ultimate expression of the principles of eugenics.
On the other hand, nAds were generally so outcrossed, weird genes hardly ever doubled up and became manifest, and though this seems to have happened many times, the general tendency was for the odd dog’s genes to melt back in to the general population within a generation or two. Although there were exceptions, this was the dominant tendency and so nAds tended to remain generally wolflike from large to small dogs.

Although purebred dogs can be said to share “genotypes”, this is an entirely new concept in dog breeding in the last 150 years. This word is a cleaned up way to say, “overly inbred” However, even people who disparage the closed registry policies of kennel clubs, if they have AKC dogs, they believe the genotype should be maintained as an intrinsic part of the breed.

They believe the genotype is everything! This is entirely racist thinking intimately connected to the true identity of the dog in question. Native American dogs are not about genotypes! They are about phenotypes. Genotypes are an aspect of Galtonian thinking. Phenotypes can sustain a large variation in genotype, yet all look similar.

adopt a shep huskyA belief that genotypes must match is behind the claim that nAds are extinct. This is an idea based on a eugenics theory that to be a true Native American Dog, your genes must match the genes of dogs who were here before the Conquest to a high degree even if a dog looks like a typical nAd. As I said before, this whole idea of requiring matching genes to be declared an aNd is pure eugenics theory put into practice.

I know that practically 100% of the American Indian Nations had dogs and loved dogs. One thing about dog people is that many fancy the different looking dog, so when Euro dogs arrived, they were probably embraced by any native who could get one. No doubt the new dogs, most with dropped ears, bred freely with the native stock. I would even guess the Euro-type dogs spread out more quickly than the Euro peoples, being that the entire continent was a vast intertwined network of trade and trading routes. I even think that grandfather of a breed, the St John’s Water Dog, could have arisen from an early mix of native and Eurodogs. Crosses with Eurodogs probably contributed to a lot of American hound breeding, too.

Eurodogs is my word for European created dog breeds.
My Pearl and the Wolf PackThere are many examples of dogs that look like the old native American common dogs still showing up in animal pounds across the nation. They are practically always called “husky/shepherd mixes” by the pounds. I am sure that some are husky shepherd crosses and that a few are other crosses that create a similar phenotype. The funny thing is, that if you took two such mixes and bred them, the offspring would retain the same phenotype as the parents, though there will be variations in tail set and ear set and/or size, coat length, texture and color, or the spitz tail can show up now and then. No matter what shows up, breeding the next generation from unrelated dogs with the husky/shepherd phenotype will produce more husky/shepherd lookalikes. It is a surefire formula to produce dogs that look more like wolves than any but a few brand new breeds of dogs. They can look very wolfy, but it is easy to see that are not wolves.

Native American Dogs

http://www.techichi.org is my current blog. Please visit and look at the techichi slideshow gallery. I am not posting over here any more, so come visit my new blog!!!

Wherein I first push the idea of deer chihuahuas as possible direct descendents of the old techichis since there has been a virtually unbroken historical record of them from the conquest to today. Any apparent gap in their history is due to the lack of translation between Spanish and English during the late 19th to early 20th century.

Secondly, I push the idea of recognizing, recreating and/or devolving the “common dog” lines of the far west, where they still appear in phenotype, if not genotype.

Thirdly, I might get around to an exhaustive summary of known pre-conquest dog types of the Americas, just so the info is online in one convenient place.

Mutts All: Breeding against the Acronyms

Hi Folks

This is probably my last post on this blog. My transition to techichi.org is almost complete.The title of the blog, Techichis, Itzquintle and Dingos points to the major conclusion I have reached through the course of researching and writing this blog.

I learned how to blog on this blog.I started on google Blogger, and probably should have kept this blog over there. But moving it was a great learning experience in itself. I never did recover the momentum the Blogger blog built up, but I figured out what topics keep me thinking, researching, and writing-

When I started researching the title name of this blog, I didn’t even know dogblogs existed, let alone that there are some really smart people out there dog-blogging. Some of these people were doing the research I was interested in and they became excellent resources for me to use. Sure saved me a lot of researching and thinking, especially on dog genetics issues.

I eventually learned enough to figure out who to agree with and thus, my personal Philosophy of Dog was born. I learned how to sort out various Philosophies of Dogs and who held them, thus I came to a fairly cohesive personal view of Dog Politics.

In Dog Politics, the big guys are the AKC, the ASPCA, HSUS, PETA who are all out there to make money and provide their top administrations with high dollar jobs and highfalutin connections. The former likes to register their own gated community’s births  and the last three are the operators of all the major kill units in the dog world and still behave as though stray dogs are a plague and abused dogs make up most of the pet owning population. The kill shelters mostly deal with unpopular breeds and mutts. AKC breed clubs usually have a rescue unit to get their breed out of the local pound. they have private foster care systems in place and usually try to find new homes for their rescued breed.

These institutions’ own statistics show that the no kill movement has caused a huge dog recycling industry that operates just under the level of public awareness where “kill”  shelters trade dogs around to different parts of the country to fill local needs. At present, only 2% of all dogs in the US ever end up dead at the hands of the kill shelters run by aspca, hsus and peta and local government agencies.

The main thing ALL the above named institutions agree on, is that regular people should not breed their dogs. At all. Ever. Period. The latter three kind of ignore that the AKC and  other smaller dog registries absolutely OWN the right to breed dogs. No one else should have the right to breed except purebred dog owners in good standing with the AKC and maybe their breed clubs. People who breed their purebred dogs and do not participate in the the AKC are barred from ever changing their minds. Once out, always out. God should forbid you should want to breed mutts or crossbreed AKC dogs with other closely related AKC breeds. Such independence is not tracked, it is heresy.

I expect that I am a very small voice, and I know I carry no authority in the dog world whatsoever, but after having thought things through and reading several trusted sources, I have come to the conclusion that dog birth rates are falling everywhere, not just in the AKC. Although it is not well known, it is easily researchable that our politically correct view that no dog should be bred has caused a market shortage. That is, there are fewer dogs being bred in the USA than desired by the market, which in turn, causes other countries, particularly Mexico, to fill up the market with Mexican-bred dogs.

I finally reached the conclusion, that we need to purposefully breed mutts! Why mutts? Because they will tend to increase the heterogeneity of the mutt gene pool which could have several good outcomes. It is a counter to the hereditary problems that keep increasing in a majority of the AKC breeds of dogs. Mutts may all carry their quota of genetic problems, but their frequency drops as the likelihood of fewer bad recessives meeting up, drops.

I think people should develop local landrace dogs if they have one- ie the deer Chihuahuas of the southwest, previously known as Techichis or “short nosed dogs” . The main thing I think mutts should avoid is any extreme in conformation. Not too big. Not too small. But a good variation in size. No dwarfed legs, or flat faces or extremely curly tails. Any variation in coat color should be fine except breeding for merles. A large range of coat texture and lengths can be present, but also avoiding extremes.

I have been thinking a lot about phenotype vs genotype in dog breeds and come to one wild conclusion….

I guess what I am advocating is a kind of deliberate canalisation of dogs based on the basic dog archetypes such as the old travois dogs, Itzquintles, and techichis.

Canalisation????!!!!!!

What the heck is that? Is it kosher to use this word in dogs at all? Can canalisation of a part of a species take a place at the center of the dog gene pool?

Well, if you care to follow me on this topic, I’ll see you over on my new blog where I will soon post something on the potential of a model like this applied to dogs or recognized to be present, perhaps, in some dog landraces already.

http://www.techichi.org/

Big Chihuahuas are Deer Chihuahuas and both are, most likely, Techichi Dogs

I had gotten away from using the “deer” adjective for chihuahuas, but I don’t know why. Maybe because so many akc types say, “There is no such thing as a deer Chihuahua, there are only the short coat and long coated varieties of Chihuahua”. Well, the AKC has no such type of Chihuahua, but that does not mean it does not exist. One thing all these over-sized Chihuahuas have in common is that they lack the apple head of the too small AKC variety.

The history books have tantalizing tidbits about the techichi dogs. Everyone agrees on one thing: that they are small dogs.

This is a very old Spanish depiction of a techichi dog
I have had this sub-project of getting people to recognize the big Chihuahuas or deer Chihuahuas are a landrace dog, native to the deserts of the southwest and northwest Mexico. They probably ARE the techichi dogs described in history books.  I have decided to take the step and call them Techichi dogs. It is a perfect fit in many ways.
Anyway, rather than argue the point over here, I actually bought a domain: http://www.techichi.org  and downloaded wordpress to the site. I will present a variety of arguments for calling the 10 pound or 5 kilo dogs, also known as Chihuahuas, big Chihuahuas or Deer Chihuahuas, Techichi Dogs.
Heck, I could be wrong, but what we have is some kind of landrace small dogs occupying these desert places. They are not just oversized AKC wawas, they are the stock that went into the creation of what is now the Applehead Chihuahua of the AKC. The only reason I think the AKC chis have any of the old techichi blood in them is that the deer heads still show up in the AKC registered dogs, though they are not preferred.
I would like to see a registry of sorts, for these dogs- all of them whether they are neutered or not. I want to see an entirely different kind of registry. A non-profit database kind of registry. 
I would like to see a club, a breed club, get it together and develop the first “standard” for a landrace dog. It will take a whole other way of thinking about breeding- one which, if we are to continue to have non-AKC dogs as pets- we need to think about how nonprofessional breeders can do it best. I hope to take a look at some of the old ways of breeding these very dogs.
Maybe sports could be developed to use their special talents, like say lizard pouncing (with a fake lizard, of course) or digging after ground squirrels. I have one who likes to catch flies- and sometimes does. I have another who has caught and killed two mice of her own. She learned from the cat. And of course, barking at every dandelion fluff that floats by….
I would like to see the little ones who land in local pounds be adopted, so I will continue my “Big Chiwawa” watch on my new blog and move it off this one. Did you know that Chihuahua is a Nahuatl word and some modern day Nahuatl speakers are leaning toward using ‘wawa’ instead of ‘huahua’, which is pronounced exactly the same way. They spell in English, so no longer have to contort Spanish spelling to make a “w” sound.
I am not quite ready to quit this blog, but the day is coming when I will move it all over to my own site. 


 

Why the hairless dog is not the underlying breed, but grafted onto it.

As the hairless gene does not define the actual breed, but only a hairless version of the breed, the Xolo breeders are the tail waving the dog. The hairless gene (Hh) can be imported to any line of dogs. Take a couple of Mexican Xolos to Peru and breed to the local spotted hound type then keep breeding  the hairless ones to the local stock and to each other. Because the hairless gene will show up about 25% of the time when bred to any coated local stock, which is actually the true rate at which the hairless ones were wanted or needed in the old populations. The hairless ones were originally used on their hairy counterparts as well as to each other. This is where the difference lies. The Xolotl Dog just had to be weird. Xolotl was the God of the weird or deformed and was also doglike. If a dog was born bald, it could have short legs or other deformities as well and still be “of Xolotl energy”. The Hairless Dog was the quintessential Xolotl dog, the archetype, but not the only one possible. Thus, the hairless gene was not necessarily used on pretty dogs. When Xolotls were wanted, a hairless dog was bred to either another hairless dog, or to a hairy dog with an anomaly like a “human” face or short legs. When the hairless gene was used in the smallest of the house dogs, it looked like the type we know as deer type Chihuahuas today, only hairless. So originally there were only the xolotls born out of breedings of at least one xolotl dog, there was no breed and could not be, because it did not breed true.

Too bad the “new style” breeders of the hairless ones have devalued the coated dogs, because using them in a breeding program will get a percent of pups with the hairless gene, every time. But in order to have coated pups you can sell, you need to define the actual foundation breed for the hairless genes.  The coated Xolos are quite variable in color and coa ttype, but very little care has been given to breeding them as the true foundation stock. The ones in the registries today are the less desirable siblings of the sought after hairless ones. Little to no effort is made to breed them in registry circles, which is a deep mistake, in my opinion. If this breed does not want to go through a Basenji-type crisis, when all the dogs share all the founder’s genes (or rather, what is left of them!)

Gracie was identified as a coated Xolo in a Memphis shelter.

What is this breed, the Itzquintle? It is a fairly wolfy looking dog slightly longer than tall with a relaxed slightly curved tail that comes in many colors, including fawn, the tri-color, black, black and white and more.Color is not important. Coat types vary from short to slick. The small shepherd type is important. These small dog wolves, as far as any of the dog history books go, are most likely the direct descendents of  the same type dog which originally traveled to the New World with their families. (Various dogs came at various times and in various ways and there were probably already some variations on the standard dogwolf. Dogs with long hair, for instance.)

Pre-Conquest Mexico tended to have smallish dogs. The Itzquintle type was the in same size range as today. Toy, around 10-15 pounds, intermediate, around15- 20lbs, give or take, and standard, around 20+ pounds, was always more of  a luxury dog, probably not all that common in the old days, but due to the variable sizes possible in the genetic structure, there would be a few larger ones, which only rich or royal people could support. The average ones were 10-20pound coursers, watch dogs. There were also dogs smaller than 10 pounds, which were considered sports or runts. It created bad energy to breed them to each other, because the female usually died, so the tiny ones remained rare sports.There is no percent in keeping a large dog on small acreages. When food gets scarce, the little ones and the medium ones will fare much better until times get better. You can feed 3 ten pound dogs as easily as one 30 pound dog and they can chase game just as well as the bigger dogs. Their legs can actually match the loping  speed of the average male in a society where all men allover the continent were runners, but they were capable of very fast bursts of speed as well, thus helpful in hunting. Thus the 10-20 pound dogs were the most usual.

Lots of bigger dogs came with the Conquest. The conquest seems to be the beginning of the dropped ears too. At least I have have not yet seen dropped ears in pre-Conquest New World pottery or art. So, the Iztquintles were a dingo-like dog, typically not over 20 pounds. In fact, the 10-15 pound dog was widespread from an early time, probably as early as the hairless mutation. We see short legged dogs in ancient pottery, hairless dogs, tiny dogs, small dogs,but no big dogs and no dropped ears.

When the “Expedition” went to Mexico decades ago and collected Xolos, they concentrated on collecting only the hairless ones and breeding them to each other from that point on. Of course they always got a percentage o fcoated dogs because of the nature of the hairless gene as a heterozygous dominant. (HH would be pure hairless, but is never seen, indicating it is lethal as a pure dominant. All hairless dogs are Hh and when bred to each other will have 25% hh puppies, which would be the coated version) Certain things seemed to be built into the chosen dogs, coated or hairless, and those would be the general proportions of the dog and the build, which remained the same regardless of size. The eyes are almond shaped (also typical of dingoes and even Basenjis) the hare foot. They are a breed and would probably genetically test as a distinct breed. The coated ones are the descendents of the original immigrants who never got the Hh gene, which is the huge, vast majority of dogs.The correct promotion of these guys, finding their true Aztec identity as the typical house and field dogs, would give them a highly desirable breed provenance,so to speak. They are little, domestic dog wolves, tried and true.

What? Is this one a coated Xolo or a Chihuahua? If you guess, how could you know for sure? I too, wonder what the DNA holds on these little-tested dogs way beyond the state of their hh-ness?

Canine Diversity Project

August 2011. A cat walks by off camera.
I was checking out the responders to one of the posts on Borderwars, Bonnie Dalzell,  and I found this wiki project for dogs. http://dogdimension.org/dokuwiki/doku.php?id=shared:purebreddogs21stc
It made me so happy, I could cry. I had independently reached so many of the same conclusions just through my layman’s reading of population genetics or biodiversity projects for other animals over the past decade, especially. I came to this position easily, just by thinking about dogs as I read about other animals.
I am not a dog professional. In fact I have come to loathe the term, if it means lay people do not have the natural ability to love and understand dogs, without making a living at it, or forming an organization that arrogates  all dog territory to themselves. There was a day when I was headed that direction. I served an apprenticeship in showing dogs as a potential breeder, so I know the landscape,though I left it behind as I came to understand the problems of the closed gene pool through my breed, the Basenji.
My next dog was a “wolfdog”, or a “rez”dog. I keep promising to post the photos from those years and I did find an old pedigree, too. I was part of a far flung network of people who kept these dogs, many were enrolled and many were not, though the dogs were all considered to be the descendents of the dogs pictured in the paintings of Bodmer, Catlin and others like them. I go into more detail about this in other posts, so this is just a brief review of myself as a dog person. I never heard the term “landrace dogs” back then, but that is what these Rez dogs were. All the breedings were outcrosses, yet all the pups remained true to type- a type I can pick out of western shelters any day of the week as husky or shepherd crosses. Husky-shepherd crosses is what they are often labeled by the shelter people, but they don’t quite look quite like a husky or a shepherd or a wolf, but something combined, or better- like the possible ancestor of the husky and the American Shepherd types. (Not there is any such breed, yet.). I know from my “dogwolf” days, that all those breedings were outcrosses and yet the “type” remained.
I have also discovered the same thing to be true of Chihuahuas from this area. The border region, from LA to El Paso is rife with landrace Chihuahuas whose ancestors were never registered with the AKC. They tend to run twice the size of AKC Chis at a 10 pound average. I have filled my blog with pix of these sweeties and will continue to do so, because most people do not know what the real Chihuahua used to look like. I have some small historical verifications, though no one has ever made this a topic of study, before, as there was little interest. The proof is actually in the present day dogs seen in shelters, though this is but a tiny fraction of the ones in happy homes.
Sidebar:
I think the complaint that the shelters filled up with Chihuahuas after Paris Hilton got Tinkerbell is not quite stated properly. In the first place, Tinkerbell was a very expensive dog and tiny. I doubt she is still alive as dogs that small do not live to an old age. So people wanted teacups, which cost thousands, then they would see the old “Chihuahua pups, $100.00” ads and buy one which would grow into a 10 pound dog. I know people will get rid of a dog that doesn’t look right or fulfill their fantasies. They will also get rid of dogs who won’t housebreak, for instance. Chihuahua who are not property trained to housebreak outside at the beginning, may never change their minds. They want the world settled, with rules and will learn quickly, but it is hard to change the rules on them by say, switching cold from a potty pad to outside without a transition. Even when they are young. But I digress.
 As long as I am digressing… Me and pet turkey. Novato CA, 1974. We did eat him for Thanksgiving.
I was lucky to grow up in the 40’s and 50’s in a multicultural atmosphere. So anthropology as a topic of study came naturally tome and still does. I got my BA in anthropology and built up a lot of graduate level courses at fine schools, but no advanced degree in Anthropology was ever finished,though it remains the foundation of my POV. (I did get a Masters in Counseling) One of the things I “got” quickly was the extremely conservative and racist atmosphere in the AKC. I had a privileged upbringing so I was familiar with this culture and saw it as a “culture”. The AKC Dog Culture was pervasively run by the lords and ladies of America. The names of judges routinely hark back to the Mayflower or at least before the war. The Revolutionary War that is.  I did my apprenticeship in Washington DC and went to shows from Delaware to VA. But basically, the heritage of the dog people was firmly rooted in eugenics, which although they no longer practice as much inbreeding themselves, seeing what it did to royalty, were still applying the same principles to their dogs! The AKC was run by Anglophiles whose dearest wish was to be presented at the Court of King James, if they hadn’t been,already. I know that has changed considerably around the edges, but at the core, this is still the culture of the real powers in the organization. And for what end, but to carry on the mistakes they made in thinking when they first started forming into breed clubs, then in the original KC in the late 19thcentury.
I have joined clubs and lists for various breeds. In my opinion, most breeder are fundamentalists. They carry out breeding programs in the same manner as they have always been carried out in the past. They don’t look at the big picture including the history of the dog, the different approaches to breeding, genetics, except to whittle down their own stock’s diversity by eliminating bad genes. They do not look at population genetics, evolutionary biology (probably a number of them don’t even believe in evolution) or try to place their breed into the center of its variety rather than breeding for extremes.
If you mention “outcross” ears slam shut! They feel horror at the idea! Yet they never have done the academics to be able to place current breeding practices into context. Messing with the “purity” of their dogs’ breeding is a sure way to get kicked out of the club! No one even seems to be able to entertain the idea rationally. But no one has looked at what this purity is- homozygousity to the extreme- and placed that into the scientific knowledge that is growing everyday.
In fact, the Canine Diversity projects’ pages are all from2003! You’d think dog people would have seen them and thought about it and added to them as a wiki, but they are ignored- just as the knowledge in them is abhorred. A huge, resounding silence has greeted the legitimate work of the contributors and nothing has been added, for years.
As happy to tears as I was when I found these pages, I am now saddened to tears at the lack of response. BTW, I found they had a forum,so I applied and was immediately rejected for being an amateur, or rather not being a professional in the field. OK, so I can’t join and see what they are doing behind the scenes, but I can still say, they are on the right track and will probably have a huge “I told you so” to the AKC, some day.
Meanwhile, the work done by Chris of Border Wars lately is a stunning continuation of the same work as seen in the CDP. If people have to look at the 10 generations and count the missing ancestors in every such breed, count the actual number of founders, and point it out to the public, then the only refuge for people with their head in the sand, is to hope the internet gets shut down.
I see a popular blog is dissing this work, by attacking the Young Turks carrying it out, but everything he said to insult them, only endeared them to me. And meanwhile some really good suggestions for diversifying the genetics of purebreds are laid out and easily doable, if people will just give up the concept of Genetic Purity (read Racial purity) by eliminating the dominants in favor of homozygousity of the alleles. and instead go for heterozygous dominants whenever possible
Someday dogs like the pug will be a thing of the past and regarded as a terrible part of the history of the dog. Or the pug will be redone into a Chihuahua, maybe. Yeah, right.
Naiche and me at Morro Bay, summer of 1983

Wolves in Mind

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Here is a right brain thingy I condensed when I was all Mystic about wolves, two or three decades ago.

Current mood:
grateful
Wolves in Mind
I.
Wolves surround me. They accompany me wherever I am. They check things out before me and behind me and to each side. They are the first to read the vibe to which they then attune me. Their presence illuminates my sense of protection. They operate as extensions of my consciousness, as well as being way showers and inspirations for my life.
II.
Wolves guard my doors, my boundaries. One guards the door of memory, not to stop access, but to help me past my fears of inner journeys to deep underworlds. One bounds ahead extending my vision. My wolves share their feasts and their knowledge with me,spitting forth their best tidbits at my request. They also clean up what I don’t want.

They bring me skins and feathers, because they know I like them, but even better, my wolves are bards. They know their history and love to tell me stories. They sing me to sleep, guard my dreams, and wake me in the morning.They guide my steps to higher paths

III.
My wolves teach me for the way of the wolf is a path to the door in the top of the head, the experience of universal harmony.

My wolves eyes are sharp, their ears are keen, but their noses have such power they pick up the first atom of the winds of change so far ahead of the others that it is a type of precognition.

My wolves pick up on emotion. They amplify and feedback emotional currents like a crystal can pick up sound waves and act like a radio.

If the vibes aren’t right, my wolves slide to the side and I have the wisdom to join them. I walk in the way of my wolves. Their family nature is the same as mine. Though I am two legged, I am more like my wolves in temperament and life style.

Wolves are carnivores and athletes, but they also know many fruits and vegetables and herbs that nourish and balance. They teach me to use these and how to find the healing clays and waters. My wolves use the magnetic currents and lights of the interactions of heaven and earth in their calculations of Time Space and Seasons. They are always in the right place at the right time.

IV.
Wolf consciousness surrounds me as I walk, my Father Sky above, and Mother Earth supporting me. I am in the right Time, Place and Mind, receiving and radiating universal harmonies.

More on the Chinese Crested Powderpuff Dog

 1886 from an out of copyright book “Dogs, Illustrated”

Right now, there is only one version of the Chinese Crested Dog that counts as the proper type. This perfect type dog has a hairless body and neck, with flowing hair on the lower legs, tip of the tail and the “Crest” itself is like a horse’s fetlock and mane, a spendiferous fest of flowing locks. This dog may be the most flashy and decorative dog to  grace the kennel clubs since the poodle’s distinctive cut made it a fashion icon, decades ago.

There is little known about how the Chinese Crested breed was designed. The lies about the founding of the breed, still redounding today, are indictments of truth-telling in Dog Breeders, in general- they are ALL fish stories for popular consumption, little jingles to imprint the breed on your mind, for all breeds have a sales pitch. And yes, The CC was a designed dog, cobbled together from 3-4 varieties of  hairless dogs from Latin America and perhaps several dogs with white, long, hair. The major architect of the breed was Debora Wood, though she inherited foundation stock and philosophy from Ida Garrett.  who learned her methods  helping to form the AKC Chihuahua and the Akc Chihuahua standard. Ida Garrett, perhaps a bit ego-inflated from her success with the Chihuahua, which she completely removed from its roots, took on the hairless dog breeders around at the time, mostly in Europe. Dog breeding was a societal pivot and the British were its masters. In the achievement of the Chinese Crested Dog,  Ida, who conceived the idea and had started collecting the dogs, was at once playing homage to the “Kennel” club’s idea of breeding dogs, by creating a dog breed, and at the same time, have an American try to out show them at their own “best” as creators of breeds. This was the ultimate pinnacle in Dog Society, to design and produce a breed for the modern age, to base it on one of the “old types”. Early in the game, Debora Wood took over the work and is credited for refining the deer type body in the crested. Later, Gypsy Rose Lee added stock and ideas to the mix.

Only someone else of that day could understand how being a “Dog Fancier” gave status to the new “Upper Middle Class” in England and America (and by “me, too,” default, Canada). Ida Garret and Deborah Wood were part of that scene. They had enough money to breed dogs and to collect them, which was a prerequisite in dog breeding. Garrett had collected hairless dogs, but passed them to Wood- (I think because of the variable hairless problem, which she referred to as “mixed breeding”). She even claimed there were no purebred Xolos any more. (There probably never were, but they didn’t recognize that in the 1950′s)

Wood  looked at the Xolos and PIO’s and Pila dogs and whatever was hairless that she had gotten from Garrett, and had a Vision of this dowdy little food dog as Dog Royalty. Some of her hairless dogs were squat and fat. too much of a food dog, though they were very gentle and well behaved dogs. Some were average in proportion. They had a slightly longer back than leg, erect, large ears. When bred to a long hair dog of about the same type and proportions, they got all the now known hairless dog patterns in the first few litters. I would imagine that every hairless dog in the experiment was mated to a long hair. The first (F1) generation would have sorted into 50% long (hopefully)  haired dogs and 50% with the hairless mutation.

If Wood had 20 hairless to start, (that’s a guess at a minimal number and she picked several different long haired breeds to cross with, then she interbred the results. One thing seems clear. The general type is still like a small xolo, with hare feet, almond eyes and big, upright ears. These probably came in all of the Latino hairless dogs. They are probably dominant features or maybe not, but they breed true most of the time. They came out as the strongest showers in the earliest matchings, thus bringing something else kind of distinctiveto the breed,  in addition to the hairless traits. This part was easy to fix into the new breed compared to getting the correct hair pattern. Although many xolos of the day were long backed with shortish legs, Wood emphasized the more deerlike traits, finer bones and longer legs. This dog is almost indistinguishable from toy sized Xolos, except in the fancy furnishings.

The long hair crossings with the correct hairless pattern were producing true hairless, with hair in the correct places, but the powder puffs and the hairy hairless and the blotchy hairless pups have to go to pet homes and often that was most of the litter. At first, Wood must have thought she would be able to improve the odds for getting more hairless with the proper hair pattern. As soon as possible, she started breeding hairless to hairless. She would have chosen to skip over the powder puffs and the ones with too much hair and perhaps even too little hair, unless some other consideration was in play. This did appear to help produce more pups of the correct pattern, but did nothing to stop producing the powder puffs and a huge number of pet quality pups, in which the pups are missing the very trait that defines their breed.

Breeding correct hairless to correct hairless may have lowered the chances for the hairy hairless and blotchy bald types to show up, but, 60 years after Wood’s main work, unacceptable hair patterns and baldness still occur in the best of litters. Chinese Crested breeders can count on about 25%- powderpuffs even if they breed only the proper baldness pattern to proper baldness pattern and reject all the powderpuffs for breeding, plus the hairy hairless, of course you must not breed a blotchy hairless dog under any circumstances and the ones that look like xolos should be designated pet quality too.

Obviously, this is not the breed to make money breeding on, unless you can get good prices for the improper types as pet quality dogs. It would appear to be lucky to get 2 with the proper hair pattern in one litter, 2 powder puffs and 2 with improper hair patterns in a litter of 6. Even the 2 with the correct hair may have other issues keeping it from being show quality. I am sure it is the economics of breeding this breed that is the basic reason for some breeders, using the hairy-hairless and the blotchy hairless in the ring. They have the dentition, so why not just shave off the offending hair, and voila! one more show dog enters the ring.

I get to this point in my thinking and have to stop, because in a world with too many dogs to have homes for them all,  I need to reflect on the ethics of creating a breed that only breeds true 25% of the time…………I am positive Wood saw this as a solvable problem, but nothing has eliminated the variety of improper types, so far.

Instead, it makes me think about how this was dealt with in Mexico and other places that kept this breed before Debora Wood and her new breeding notions started using the Hh gene in her breeding scheme to develop a “My little Pony” Breed out of the original hairless breeds. The more I say, the more I need to study.

You know that if a hairy hairless wins in the ring, it will be used for breeding. Some of the honest Cresty breeders who play by the unfair rules of their game, deplore this and fear the entire breed will turn into hairy hairless.  So far, I have seen no evidence that breeding the hairy hairless to each other produces anything but the same old pattern baldness. That is, the proper type can be found in hairy hairless litters. In fact the hairy hairless seem to birth pups with the same basic four hair patterns: hairy hairless, blotchy hairless, true hairless and too hairless. I am sure that two blotchy hairless can produce a true hairless. If the hairy hairless breed true and produce only hairy hairless, that also appears to be yet another breed the CC has produced, but there is no evidence that this is true. Hairy hairless don’t breed true any more than true hairless.

In a world that does not need more puppies anyway, the CC breeders are producing a lot more pet quality dogs because of the low percentage of true Cresteds to come out of most breeding programs. Then if they doctor the looks, it thumbs the nose at the Breed Standard as it is written today. And then, the CC breed also throws a certain percent of xolo-type dogs. what do you do with them? Some CC people appear to start raising Xolos too. I feel that dog breeders using the AKC style of inbreeding is not working in this breed, In fact, eliminating all the ones with incorrect hair patterns from breeding programs accelerates the inbreeding coefficient.

Hairless street dog with blotchy baldness and a full mane.

Rez Dog Types: Xolos and Iztquintles

A Xolo and an Itzquintle from the same litter. Photo from Wikipedia.

Xoloitztquintles are the naked dogs of Mexico, but what do you call the hairy version? One of  my Xolo friends in Mexico recently told me that the hairy version of the Xolo (which are born into every litter with 1 or 2 naked parents) can be called just plain Itzquintles, which means Dog in Nahuatl. The capital letter is because Dog or Itzquintle has an important place in the culture and is represented as a daysign on the Aztec calender.

The photo above is seen all over the internet. When I saw it in Wikipedia, I figured there was no copyright. I really love this photo because the hairy girl in the photo was born to a hairless sire and dam. She is so absolutely classic ancient Norte Americano hunting dog in size and coloration. Once the hairy Iztquintle dogs in a litter leave home, there is absolutely nothing to characterize them as coming from the same litter as a hairless. Except maybe a piece of paper, if the litter was registered.

If I use this photo as a prototype of the ancient classic hunting dogs of North America, we can see that the general type is repeated everywhere in the US. I have a small collection of shelter dogs looking like this girl. Yes, you may argue, these dogs are phenotypically similar, but who knows what genes went into them? My answer is whatever the genes, a dog looking like this has reverted to type: a general type seen all over the world. First there are the Dingo type dogs, then there are the Carolina dogs, but mostly they go unrecognized for their type. It is clear that those two named types of dog are mostly feral and the tougher temperaments are more successful in the feral dogs.

If I were to try a breeding project to reconstruct old style dogs into a landrace type seen before the Conquest, I have to decide what features best show the old type. I have in mind a picture of what I want to breed for this project. It would be a dog that looks very much like the Itzquintle shown above. I want a smallish dog, not over 40 pounds or maybe 22″ tall for males, 20″ for females. These are guidelines, not something to be fixed into the breed. I would require prick ears for this project and a slightly curved tail. I would try to stick with the yellow dogs to begin with and see what they produce when bred to each other. My ideal for this project would be a dog with as few recessive traits as possible. I would avoid blue eyes, crumpled ears, too short legs, spotted coats, merles, in my foundation stock. I would breed to the Iztquintle type above. I would maybe use actual Itzquintles, who knows they may have some really ancient genes, but I would not worry about the genetics. I would pick for soundness and type and decent temperament. Since I am breeding for the temperament of a stay around the house type, a really laid back personality, I would choose some of that for for the foundation stock, though I recognize and expect a range of laid back dogs to ones with a strong inclination to go hunting in each litter. They were, after all, originally men’s dogs, hunters. As in the past, the laid back types generally don’t hunt, but will cooperate in other ways.

This shelter girl looks like maybe a Basenji cross, but she exhibits all the right traits for my hypothetical breeding program. If she were to produce pups with the Basenji tail, I would  know her mate had that tail recessive, too. Pups with really curly tails would not be preferred, because I don’t want that allele to become widespread. Still, a bit of African landrace Basenji blood- in the fawn color- would probably also add some really ancient genetic diversity to my project. One purpose in my breeding program would be to increase the genetic diversity of my line of dogs while keeping the basic phenotype. I think I could find this phenotype anywhere in Mexico and the US and use new stock for every generation.

Once I start breeding these guys together, I expect some variations will emerge and some recessives could come out, but there will always be pups who fit this type. This phenotype is made up of a lot of dominant genes, but they can carry a lot of recessives. One goal might be to use the ones who are pure dominant for the phenotypical trait of prick ears, for instance. This would require genetic testing to do it efficiently, but it certainly would establish the type and keep it. I don’t know if anyone has ever bred dogs to get a pure dominant genotype in their phenotype, but it could be done. In my opinion, it really doesn’t matter that there are recessives, if you do not inbreed, they are only likely to meet up in rare instances.

I can;t find the source for this picture, but the owner of this dog celled it a shepherd/husky cross.

This breeding project is the back to basic type of dog project. There is actually a continuum of dog types between these guys and the more wolfy looking types of Indian dog and I found photos of them all in shelters. They are usually cached photos, which means the dog is no longer available. When I find ones that are available now, I name the shelter where they are.

Rez dogs: Navajo Dogs.

Kayenta Navajo dog (LINK)

I’ve been Googling rez dogs to see what is going on. After all, my previous two posts were really discussing the state of affairs 20-30 years ago. Sadly, things have degenerated a bit. An elderly man recently got killed by a feral dog pack.  I watched a 45 minute video about stray dogs on Navajo.

It made me start thinking. I did not read the following somewhere, I am extrapolating from clues. The first clue is that some years ago the Navajo/Hopi land dispute was settled and a number of Navajos found themselves living on what was Hopi land. So, they had to move. Most of them moved into subdivisions. The video looks like it was filmed around Window Rock in a deary subdivision with no plants anywhere around.

Navajos have always been dog lovers and every home had a little pack, especially if they herded sheep. Before the land settlement, many Navajos living on the Rez lived in small family units which were widely separated by open land. Many fewer people live that way, now.  When people moved into subdivisions, of course they brought their dogs. Something about subdivision living was easier on the dogs. They lived in tight quarters. Now a subdivision with a hundred houses takes up less space than one hogan surrounded by open space.

Few, if any of the environmental pressures on dogs living out in the country, like coyotes, wandering off, cactus assaults, extreme weather and variable food sources now applied. The size of the country pack could be limited by the food sources, plus many pups did not make it to adulthood because they made mistakes and got into trouble, so only clever dogs who figured out how to deal with the environment made it.

In the subdivision, life was easy for dogs at first, but some of the forces governing dogs in the country were no longer in play and so almost all the pups born from random matings survived. Before many years had passed, the dogs were overrunning the subdivision. A lot of the results of the random breeding were not keepers, they weren’t culled, but turned loose. Most of the subdivision culls (or what should have been culls) survived, with no selection going on over who  they bred to. So they started self selecting so to speak. The more aggressive dogs had an advantage over the gentle dogs because they were not under human control.

The dog population absolutely exploded according to this AP article.

On the vast Navajo Nation, wildlife and animal control manager Kevin Gleason estimates there are four to five dogs for each of the more than 89,000 households — or as many as 445,000 dogs, most of which roam unchecked, killing livestock and biting people with alarming regularity.
“They kill everything,” Gleason said in a recent interview. “Cats, dogs, cattle, sheep, horses. We’ve also had people severely injured by them. We’ve had people with horrendous bites. We just had a case … where a man lost 37 sheep to a pack of dogs.
“We have that going on all the time. Our officers respond to more than 25 bite cases a month, and 25 livestock damage cases a month.”

While I strongly dispute those numbers of strays!!!- The rest of the article is interesting reading too.

Attempts to diminish the problem with round-ups by animal control officers, weekly spay and neuter clinics in Gallup, and ongoing efforts by small group of volunteers to ship a few healthy puppies and dogs to shelters in Albuquerque and Colorado have had virtually no impact.
“You look at the Sundance area where that gentleman was killed, we went in and removed 79 dogs after that and it looked like we never touched it,” Gleason said.
Dogs roam the sides of highways, restaurant, gas station and store parking lots and just about anywhere else they might find food. Their carcasses in various stages of decomposition litter spots along the sides of the main roads and interstates.

This is a nightmare state of affairs. According to the video, there are squads that go out and catch subdivision strays and feral dogs and euthanize them in huge numbers. There is one rescue agency in St, Johns called Blackhat Rescue. (I collected a couple of shelter dog photos at their site). It is hard to tell which dog is owned, because they all run loose. There aren’t too many fenced yards.  They form packs and roam for food. They are turning into critters that compete for the garbage, and can attack anything that moves. All their pack instincts are still intact, though they lack efficiency and discrimination.

The way of living has changed,, but traditional views of dogs are still the most common ones. Neutering a dog is a shocking idea to many Navajo, and the mobile neutering units have not made a dent in either the belief system or the actual neutering. The unit in the video was whining and critical – and then they left.

Why wasn’t there a major dog population problem in years past? When traditions were intact, many if not most tribes, except Navajoes,  killed bad dogs and ate the culled dogs. Now the idea is revolting, but that is our conditioning, not a Universal Truth. Some tribes, maybe many of them had special dog eating ceremonies. A Siouxish person I know told me about the Lakota ceremony. The ritual dog eating gave them a time and place to reiterate the meaning of dogs, and on what makes a good dog and which dogs you cull when young and which adult dogs you cull.

The dog eating tradition was alive and well in Mexican lands, when the Spaniards came. According to the doggy anthropologists like Derr and Schwartz, once they ate it, they loved it and actually preferred it to the point they reduced the dog population quite a bit. That is what everyone who eats dog meat says. “It tastes good”. I think of all the meat from the dead dogs from shelters, and I wish they could at least make it into cat food, or lion food or something. I believe that if you breed dogs, you have to cull poor temperament and lack of soundness. If you can’t take responsibility for what goes out into the world, and make them the best dogs you can, you shouldn’t breed dogs.

The situation is so bad on Navajo land, I think they have recently decided to take drastic measures. I think the measures are warranted. With just the sheer number of feral dogs, it would be impossible to home them all if they went to every state in the union. Plus a lot of them should have been culls in the first place.

My Suggestion:

Once the dog population is reduced drastically, I would wish for Navajos to decide on a Navajo landrace type dog like this one, perhaps, and or the ancient type in the top photo.

Navajo sheep dog of an ancient type (LINK)
Doing this would be worth it. Using landrace breeding styles, the type will be maintained, but there would be little to no inbreeding. The little sweetie just above is a type I have seen in many Navajo dogs that tend sheep.
He is truly a Navajo “Shepherd” Dog type that can be traced back to the Basket Maker dog mummies before there were sheep to shepherd.

My wildest speculation is that the classic type in the top photo was the type the Athabaskan tribes brought with them as hunting and hauling dogs. They basically fit the Xolo’s Itzquintle types (The hairy version of the Xolo, which is far more ancient than the hairless mutation). It is impossible to tell how many European dog genes are in play, but both dogs are true to the landrace types.

I found this lovely picture on

http://www.nikisawyer.com/sheep/sheep_image_0522.htm

It is really nostalgic for me to see this,this photo could be from the 50′s when my family lived in Window Rock, but note the little dog like the one above. We have a real landrace dog type here. So far I have only searched shelters for photos of the classic hunting dog, but I’ll look for more of these, too.