Often mistaken as a wolf, the American Indian Dog is a recreated version of an ancient dog breed that roamed and hunted with the Native Americans. But don’t let its wild look fool you. Loyal, affectionate, and smart, this dog has the perfect personality combination that makes it a very coveted companion.
With a history that spans thousands of years, the American Indian Dog is one of the most ancient dog breeds around. It’s so ancient, that the breed is thought to be the missing link between the first wave of domesticated pets over 12,000 years ago and the modern furry friend living in our homes right now.
In the early 1500s, Native Americans settled in the country, bringing along with them their way of life and their pack, which includes dogs from their homelands. The early settlers bred those dogs with the coyotes that were predominant in North America, resulting in the distinct breed of dogs known as the Common Indian or Native Dog. The Natives continued breeding different dogs to produce canines with distinct abilities to aid them in their everyday life.
Time has seen the decline of this native breed but it wasn’t completely forgotten. In the mid-1990s, modern breeders started to recreate this ancient dog breed. Using historical documents, the modern-day American Indian Dogs was resurrected through selective breeding, giving them winning characteristics like intelligence, versatility, and longevity—characteristics that make it a prized family companion.
This breed is an Einstein in the canine world and it’s highly trainable. They are also very devoted and protective of their humans. That’s why it’s important to socialize them while they’re still a pup as they have the tendency to be very aloof with strangers. With proper socialization, they can thrive well with other animals and even older children. Some trained pups are even tasked to babysit their human siblings.
Although they’re excellent family companions, your American Indian Dog is happiest when it’s got work to do. This breed makes excellent watchdogs. And though they can be protective and wild-looking, this pooch is a gentle soul and is not known to be an aggressive breed. If you’re an outdoorsy type, this pup has what it takes to match your lifestyle.
Aside from brains, this breed has the beauty to boot. They look a lot like other breeds with wolfish looks like the Alaskan Malamute, Siberian Husky, and American Alsatian. The best way to differentiate the American Indian Dog from those other breeds is through the eyes, the American Indian Dog sports heart-melting brown or amber almond-shaped eyes.
They have erect and upright ears on a long and triangular face. You could lose yourself in its dense, fluffy, and hypoallergenic double coat, which is made up of a thick overcoat and a waterproof undercoat. Their color can range from silver to black; and then there’s the rare tortoiseshell-patterned coat. This medium-sized pooch has a height of 23-34 inches and it can weigh 55-120 lbs.
Common Health Issues
These dogs are generally a healthy bunch with no known breed-specific health issues and very few genetic diseases. In fact, they can live to a ripe old age of 14-19 years. However, as a pet parent, you just need to be extra mindful of these few possible health issues that the American Indian Dog may develop over time.
Hip Dysplasia is a very common hereditary or acquired disease in the canine world. This occurs when there’s a deformity of the hip so that the hip bone does not fit snugly into the socket. Dogs who have this problem will usually exhibit early symptoms like weakness in the hind leg, lameness, and pain. Depending on the severity of the case, the vet may prescribe medications or hip replacement surgery to treat this condition.
Cost of Treatment: $4,000 to $6,000
This condition is a dislocation of the kneecap (patella) from the groove in the thigh bone. The dislocated kneecap will revert back to its normal position once the muscles in the hind leg lengthen and relax. This is why pups that have this issue will usually hold up their hind leg for a moment or exhibit occasional skipping. To correct this, surgery is needed in most cases to treat the pooch out of this dysfunction and relieve the pain.
Cost of Treatment: $1,500 to $3,000
Also known as gastric dilatation and volvulus, or simply, bloat, this condition can be life-threatening. This medical issue happens when the pup’s stomach dilates and then twists around, cutting off blood supply and increasing pressure in the stomach. This is an emergency situation and the pooch has to be admitted to the veterinary hospital to stabilize organ function. Once that’s done, surgery will most likely follow to revert the stomach and all other affected organs back to their normal positions.
Cost of Treatment: $1,500 to $7,000
Tips for Taking Care of an American Indian Dog
As a pet parent, it’s your responsibility to know what you’re getting into before you raise an American Indian Dog. This breed has its specific needs and it’s vital that you are able to provide for it so you get to enjoy the companionship and devotion of a stable and well-rounded dog. Here are important considerations:
Choosing a puppy
Although ancient in origin, the resurgence of this breed is very recent and therefore, getting an American Indian puppy can be very hard. And even if you do manage to find a reputable breeder, expect to bide some time in the waiting list.
Even if finding a puppy can be a test of patience, it’s very important that you only deal with reputable breeders. They should be able to provide you health clearances of the parents, particularly for hip dysplasia. It’s best to visit the breeding facility as well and meet at least the mother of your soon-to-be pup so you have a feel for its temperament.
The veterinary bill is one of the biggest expenses in raising a healthy pooch. That’s why it’s wise to be prepared and get pet insurance so that in the unfortunate event that your fur baby has to visit the vet, the money will be the least of your concern. When shopping for the right insurance, make sure it has these key coverage:
- Emergency Care
- Orthopedic Issues
- Hereditary Conditions
- Prescription Meds
Pet insurance companies usually don’t cover pre-existing conditions. So the best time to get insurance for your furry friend is when it’s still a pup and in tiptop health.
With fur that thick, you would think that they need constant brushing. On the contrary, they don’t. A weekly good brushing will do except during springtime when this breed sheds a fair amount of fur. Also, this pooch is naturally clean and will have no need for regular bathing so this can be done on an as-needed basis. While you’re grooming your pet, also make sure to check its ears and body to check for something out of the ordinary like lumps or pain in a particular area.
This smart dog is eager to please so it’s highly trainable. Back in the days, this breed’s forebears were trained to do a wide range of activities like hunting, fishing, and hiking. Some were even considered beasts of burden when horses weren’t around to do the job yet. While you may have no need for your canine friend to do any of those things, you can train your pup on basic obedience commands and babysitting. If you’re up for it, it can even be trained to become a therapy dog.
Choose an age-appropriate kibble. Or if you prefer to feed your pup with raw food, make sure that you consult with the vet first to ensure that your fur baby is getting all the nutrients that it needs considering its age, size, and activity level.
Furthermore, canine food rich in glucosamine is good for this breed. This amino sugar helps build bone cartilage, which minimizes the risk of orthopedic problems like hip dysplasia. Slow-feeding food bowl prevents your pup from gobbling down its food in a blink of an eye so it can also help reduce the risk for bloat.
Ideal Living Condition
The American Indian Dog is not your ordinary apartment dog. They thrive well in a home with a fenced yard as they need the space to be their natural active self. You can count on your pup to always be up for an outdoor adventure with you. Activity keeps your furry friend happy and mentally stimulated so make sure your pooch has loads of that on its schedule.
The American Indian Dog can be strong-willed because it is a thinking breed. But if you are able to establish yourself as the alpha of the pack through consistent training, you’ll have a devoted and obedient companion and guard dog before long. And you’ll soon see why breeders go to such great length to recreate this breed—this is a breed that deserves its place in the home even in these modern times.