Dogs have been companions to humans for thousands of years, serving as faithful friends, protectors, and working partners. Over time, humans have selectively bred dogs to create different breeds with distinct characteristics. However, not all dog breeds have survived to the present day. Some dog breeds have gone extinct, lost to history but leaving behind fascinating stories and insights into the evolution of dogs. In this blog post, we will delve into the world of extinct dog breeds, exploring their unique characteristics, historical significance, and the lessons we can learn from their disappearance.
Extinct dog breeds are dog breeds that no longer exist and have vanished from the modern world. These breeds have disappeared for various reasons, including changes in human lifestyle, cultural shifts, environmental changes, lack of preservation efforts, and human intervention through selective breeding or hybridization. Some extinct dog breeds are completely extinct, with no living descendants, while others are extinct in their original form but have surviving descendants through crossbreeding or hybridization.
The Turnspit Dog, also known as the Kitchen Dog or the Cooking Dog, was a small, long-bodied breed that played a vital role in the kitchens of the past. These dogs were trained to turn the spit over an open fire, roasting meat for hours on end. Their short legs and long body allowed them to easily navigate the wheel, making them efficient in their task. Despite their hard work, Turnspit Dogs were often overlooked and not recognized as a distinct breed. Today, their contribution to culinary history is remembered with admiration.
The Talbot was a large, powerful breed that was widely used for hunting in medieval times. These dogs were known for their exceptional tracking and scenting abilities, making them ideal hunting companions for the aristocracy. With their robust build and keen sense of smell, Talbots were highly valued for their hunting prowess. However, over time, their popularity declined, and the breed eventually disappeared.
The Molossus was a massive and imposing breed that originated in ancient Greece. Known for their strength and courage, Molossus dogs were used as guard dogs and war dogs. They were often depicted in ancient art and were known for their loyalty and protective nature. Today, their legacy lives on in modern mastiff breeds, which are believed to be descendants of the Molossus.
The Hare Indian Dog was a medium-sized breed that was native to North America. These dogs were highly skilled hunters and were used by the Hare Indians for hunting small game, such as hare and ptarmigan. They were known for their speed, agility, and endurance, making them excellent hunting companions in the harsh Arctic conditions. Despite their hunting prowess, the Hare Indian Dog eventually became extinct due to changes in hunting practices and the encroachment of human settlements in their native lands.
The Cumberland Sheepdog, also known as the Cumberland Collie, was a versatile working dog that originated in England. These dogs were used for herding and guarding livestock in the rugged and challenging terrain of the Cumberland region. Known for their intelligence, loyalty, and agility, Cumberland Sheepdogs were highly regarded for their herding skills. However, with the decline of traditional farming practices in the region, the breed gradually disappeared.
The English Water Spaniel was a medium-sized breed that was highly skilled in hunting waterfowl. These dogs had a water-resistant coat and webbed feet, which made them excellent swimmers. They were used for retrieving game from the water, and their keen sense of smell and natural hunting instincts made them indispensable to hunters. Despite their hunting abilities, the English Water Spaniel declined in popularity, and the breed eventually became extinct.
The Salish Wool Dog, also known as the Coast Salish Dog, was a small breed that was native to the Pacific Northwest region of North America. These dogs were highly valued for their long, thick, and soft coat, which was used to produce high-quality wool. The Coast Salish people, a Native American tribe, kept these dogs for their wool-producing capabilities, and the wool was used for weaving blankets and other items of cultural significance. The Salish Wool Dog was carefully bred and groomed for their luxurious coat, and their wool was highly prized in trade. However, with the arrival of European settlers and changes in cultural practices, the Salish Wool Dog eventually disappeared, leaving behind a legacy of their contribution to the rich cultural heritage of the Coast Salish people.
The Blue Paul Terrier was a small but formidable breed that was known for its fighting abilities. This breed originated in Scotland and was used in the sport of dog fighting, which was unfortunately a popular pastime in the 18th and 19th centuries. The Blue Paul Terrier was prized for its agility, strength, and tenacity in the fighting ring. However, as attitudes towards animal cruelty changed and dog fighting was banned, the Blue Paul Terrier fell out of favor and eventually vanished from existence.
The Alpine Mastiff was a massive and majestic breed that originated in the Swiss Alps. These dogs were known for their imposing size and strength, and were used as guard dogs and protectors of livestock. The Alpine Mastiff was a loyal and protective breed, and their imposing presence was often enough to deter intruders. However, with the decline of large predators in the Swiss Alps and changes in farming practices, the Alpine Mastiff gradually declined in numbers and eventually became extinct.
The Norfolk Spaniel was a small but skilled breed that was used as a gun dog in England. These dogs were known for their keen sense of smell and their ability to locate and retrieve game for hunters. Norfolk Spaniels were highly valued for their hunting abilities, and were used in bird hunting and retrieving small game. However, with the rise of other gun dog breeds and changes in hunting practices, the Norfolk Spaniel declined in popularity and eventually disappeared.
The English White Terrier, also known as the White English Terrier, was a small breed that was prized for its elegant appearance and friendly nature. These dogs were known for their pure white coat, which was soft and fluffy, and their expressive eyes. English White Terriers were popular as companion dogs and were known for their affectionate and playful personalities. However, due to breeding practices aimed at achieving a purely white coat, health issues arose, and the breed faced challenges with regard to their overall health and wellbeing. As a result, the English White Terrier declined in numbers and eventually became extinct.
The Tazy, also known as the Kazakh Greyhound, was a sighthound breed that originated in Kazakhstan. These dogs were known for their exceptional speed and agility, and were used for hunting small game, such as hare and foxes. The Tazy was a slender and graceful breed, with a distinctive curved tail and a keen sense of sight. They were highly regarded for their hunting abilities, but with changes in hunting practices and the encroachment of modernization, the Tazy breed faced challenges and eventually disappeared.
The Kuri, also known as the Polynesian Dog, was a small to medium-sized breed that was native to the Polynesian islands. These dogs were known for their friendly and affectionate nature and were kept as companion animals by the Polynesian people. Kuri were often utilized for their hunting abilities, as they were skilled at catching small game and were also used for herding and guarding livestock. They had a unique appearance with a curled tail and a thick coat that provided protection from the elements. However, with the arrival of European explorers and their accompanying dogs, as well as changes in cultural practices, the Kuri breed declined in numbers and eventually became extinct.
The Cumberland Sheepdog, also known as the Cumberland Collie or Cumberland Sheepdogge, was a versatile herding breed that originated in the border region between England and Scotland. These dogs were known for their intelligence, agility, and working drive, and were used for herding and guarding livestock, particularly sheep. The Cumberland Sheepdog had a medium-sized body with a thick double coat that provided protection in harsh weather conditions. They were highly valued for their ability to navigate rough terrain and work independently in challenging environments. However, with changes in farming practices and the decline of traditional sheep farming in the region, the Cumberland Sheepdog breed gradually declined in numbers and eventually became extinct.
The Moscow Water Dog, also known as the Russian Newfoundland, was a large breed that was bred specifically for water rescue and lifesaving. These dogs were known for their strong swimming abilities, endurance, and thick coat that provided insulation in cold water. The Moscow Water Dog was used for water rescue operations in the icy waters of Russia, particularly in the region of Moscow. They were trained to retrieve objects, tow boats, and even rescue people from drowning. However, with changes in rescue methods and the decline of water rescue operations in the region, the Moscow Water Dog breed faced challenges and eventually became extinct.
The Hawaiian Poi Dog was a unique breed that was native to the Hawaiian Islands. These dogs were an integral part of the Hawaiian culture and were kept as companions, hunting dogs, and even as food sources. The Hawaiian Poi Dog had a stocky build with a thick coat, and they were known for their endurance and hunting skills. They were used to hunt wild pigs and were also known to assist in guarding villages. However, with the arrival of Western civilization and changes in cultural practices, the Hawaiian Poi Dog faced challenges and eventually became extinct.
The Cumberland Spaniel was a skilled sporting breed that originated in England. These dogs were known for their hunting abilities, particularly in flushing out game for hunters. The Cumberland Spaniel had a medium-sized body with a distinctive coat that was typically liver-colored. They were used for bird hunting and were known for their agility, endurance, and keen sense of smell. However, with changes in hunting practices and the decline of popularity in spaniel breeds, the Cumberland Spaniel gradually declined in numbers and eventually became extinct.
In conclusion, these extinct dog breeds were once cherished for their unique characteristics and contributions to various aspects of human society, including hunting, herding, guarding, and companionship. However, due to various factors such as changes in cultural practices, decline in traditional occupations, breeding practices, and shifts in societal values, these breeds faced challenges and eventually became extinct. Nevertheless, their legacies live on in history and serve as a reminder of the diversity and richness of dog breeds.
“The Complete Dog Book” by the American Kennel Club
“Extinct Dogs” by Jan S. Wong
“Lost Treasures of the Dog World: Rediscovering Extinct Breeds” by Margaret H. Bonham
Scholarly articles or research papers from credible journals on canine evolution, archaeology, or breed history
Reliable websites of reputable organizations or institutions dedicated to dog breeds, history, or conservation.
Subscribe to our email newsletter to get the latest posts delivered right to your email.