Carolina Dog

Having Spent Most of its History as a "Wild" Dog, its Feral Instincts are Prevalent but are Manifested as Docile, Trainable Shyness rather than Aggression.

The Carolina Dog is still relatively "new" as a breed of dog recognized for its own unique characteristics. Also called the "American dingo," these dogs were discovered living wild by Dr. Lehr J. Brisbin in the Carolinas, and it's believed that these dogs actually have been around for thousands of years, originally descended from Asian pariah dogs that were brought to North America across the Bering Strait.

Dr. Brisbin was working at the University of Georgia's Savannah River Ecology Lab when he came across a dog he called Horace. Many stray dogs often turned up in the lab's traps, and Brisbin wondered how many of these wild dogs there were. He visited a pound and found that these dogs had a striking resemblance to dingos. Many of these dogs were ultimately moved to captivity so that they could be studied. Brisbin analyzed the origins of various primitive "pariah" dogs, including Australia's dingoes, and noticed that the Carolina dog had a remarkable resemblance to the Australian dingo. Similarly and perhaps strikingly, they also have great resemblance to dogs interred at American Indian burial sites.

Possible History

The Carolina dog is not a dingo by selective breeding practices as might be done by human breeders, but by natural selection. Their wild numbers seem to be decreasing, but Brisbin picked up and isolated a number of these animals from secluded areas in the Carolinas, leading him to believe that they had common ancestral roots. He proposed that they could have arrived in the Americas with humans along the Bering Strait, which means that Carolina dogs could be among the earliest of dogs to enter North America many thousands of years ago.

The dogs' breeding cycles point to the unique challenges these dogs faced in the wild. For example, they begin to breed young and can produce litters up to three times a year, which Brisbin thought was probably a survival mechanism. Young puppies could grow up, become fertile themselves, and produce new litters before older dogs fell prey to such diseases as heartworm.


Carolina dogs are now registered with the American Rare Breed Association and the United Kennel Club, with the latter classifying them as pariah dogs. This category includes other primitive breeds that are genetically unique. The Carolina dog and the Canaan dog are recognized as purebred by several registries.


The Carolina Dog looks like a small dingo and is very similar in appearance to what you might think of as the typical "yellow hound" of the South. Long and lean, with a well-developed chest and long neck, it has a wedge-shaped head with powerful jaws, and an acutely alert, intelligent, but very soft and gentle expression. The coat itself is short and thick and can have a dense undercoat in season. Coloring is usually a deep red or ginger, or pale buff. They can also be orange, red sable, yellow, desert sand, tan, beige, or white with spots. These dogs generally weigh between 30 and 44 pounds and stand 17 to 24 inches at the shoulder.

Carolina dogs have been called "ruggedly handsome," with strong necks, narrow chests, straight backs, and thick tails perfectly suited to outdoor life and weather.


The Carolina dog is still a pariah dog by nature, which means it mimics the behavior of a feral animal and scavenges for food. However, because it is relatively new to the domestic world and has not been sheltered for many generations, it can be very shy around people. Still, they make excellent pets and have been found to be amenable to training as long as you socialize them at an early age. They love being part of a "pack," so your pet will adjust very well to being part of a family as long as you let him or her know that you're in charge. They love children and are very obedient and eager to please, including being quickly housebroken. While they are not friendly toward strangers, they adore family members with utter devotion.

Because the Carolina dog is still quite close to its wild roots, you'll notice that your pet loves to hunt, especially small rodents and small game. The Carolina dog is not aggressive by nature, so that even if your pet does exhibit some of its more natural feral tendencies, you'll see that he or she will be withdrawn rather than confrontational around strangers. That said, your pet will bite if intimidated by a stranger, and will also howl at certain noises it finds uncomfortable.

However, it can't be stressed enough that this gentle, eager-to-please and very affectionate pet makes an excellent companion as long as you let him or her know who's boss. Because your dog's feral background is still quite prevalent, he or she will most definitely exhibit independence if necessary; therefore, you must establish yourself as pack leader to avoid behavioral problems. If you do, your dog will obey willingly and completely.

Interaction With Humans

Despite their primarily feral roots, Carolina dogs are extremely affectionate toward their humans and want to be part of their "pack." Therefore, it's very important that you give your pet a lot of attention and devotion if you decide to take one on as a pet. They do well independently and outdoors for short periods of time as well, but they really need interaction with humans on a regular basis to stay socialized and truly happy with their "pack."


It is never okay to discipline your pet harshly. These gentle spirits are very docile as long as they're given some direction and lots of love. They do best with kindness as a reward for obedient behavior, and will listen willingly as long as they know you're the leader.


The Carolina dog is not at all suitable for indoor life. They need to be outdoors, with plenty of room to run and play, because they're still not fully domesticated. They can be very energetic, though, so make sure you have enough stamina to keep up with them!


Carolina dogs are very sturdy and hearty, with few health problems. Historically, they've been used to fending for themselves and have done so for generations, only recently becoming "tame." Your pet can live as many as 15 years with few health problems.


Because Carolina dogs are so recently feral, store-bought dog food may not be tolerated well and a more natural diet necessary. Check with a veterinarian who is familiar with feral dog nutritional issues to make sure your pet is fed properly.


Carolina dogs need little regular grooming, although brushing is welcome. Carolina dogs can "groom themselves" quite well by rolling about in the grass and rubbing excess hair off as needed. They need bathing only rarely.


American Dingo/Carolina Dog: General Information.

Retrieved March 2, 2012.

Carolina Dog.

Retrieved March 2, 2012.

Carolina Dog (American Dingo).

Retrieved March 2, 2012.

Carolina Dog.

Retrieved March 2, 2012.

"Did Carolina Dogs Arrive with Ancient Americans?" National Geographic News.

Retrieved March 2, 2012.

Pariah Dog.

Retrieved March 2, 2012.

For Buyers

  • Dog breeders
  • Cat breeders
  • For Breeders

  • Advertise with us
  • Our Company

  • Home
  • About us
  • Question
    If you have any questions call us at 571-895-6407, Chat with us or send us an email.
    If you have any questions call us at 571-895-6407, Chat with us or send us an email.
    Follow Us:facebookinstagramtwitterpinterest