You are never given the dog you want, but the dog you need.

Breed All About It- The Carolina Dog

Happy Monday everyone!

I always greet Monday’s with a bit of trepidation, don’t you? There’s so much weight that Monday’s carry. If you have a crappy Monday, odds are, you’ll end up having a not so great week. Everything seems to spawn off of how your Monday goes. It’s crazy, at least in my experience.

All ramblings aside, the votes are in for the Breed All About it, and the Carolina Dog won (with a vote for Australian Kelpies later on)! So, today we’ll be learning about the Carolina Dog, or as some call it, the American Dingo, or Pariah Dog.

(I’m actually kind of glad that this one was chosen- I did a 20 minute presentation on this breed a few years back and I still remember most of it.)

This breed is one of the more fascinating ones, as far as American dog breeds go- at least in my opinion.

Discovered by Dr. Lehr J. Brisbin in the 1970, this breed is a “landrace” or naturally selected type of dog. They were generally wild or free roaming dogs, but now they are bred and kept in packs by specialized breeders.

Some of the most interesting facts about these dogs:

  • They have similar physical traits to Australian Dingoes and the Korean native dog, the Jindo.
  • Ancient paintings and rock art of the Native Americans show dogs that are physically similar to the Carolina Dog. They are believed to have crossed the Bering Strait landbridge over 8,000 years ago, and may have also come through the Ice Free Corridor with the traveling populations to enter the Americas.
  • Rather than most dog breeds DNA, the Carolina Dog’s DNA pattern is not distributed throughout the canine family tree, but rather all are found at the base, where one would find the DNA patterns for very primitive dogs.
  • They are placed in the ‘pariah’ or ‘primitive’ breed groups as a result.
  • Female Carolina Dogs have 3 short estrus cycles that are all in relative succession to one another.
  • They dig ‘snout pits,’ small, tiny holes dig into the dirt that perfectly fit their muzzles.

General Appearance:

These dogs are very similar in appearance to the Dingo, although they are smaller in size. They have adapted to survive in the swamps and forests of Southern America, having a straight back of medium length, a well-developed chest, and a tucked up belly. This lends the breed a resemblance to the sight hound breeds. They have a long neck, wedge shaped head and powerful jaws that work to their advantage during a hunt. Their almond shaped eyes are intelligent and alert, and have highly mobile ears.

Able to turn on the dime, agility is a key factor in proper movement. They have a long and free stride, and are extremely flexible. Their ‘fish-hook’ tail is a distinctive marker of the breed, and while carried in various positions depending on their mood, the tail will never fall slack or uncurl.


Although usually a deep ginger shade of red with pale buff markings on the shoulder and sides of muzzle and pale beneath the throat and chest, lighter shades are also fairly common. However, in the end, the ideal appearance is one that lends the Carolina Dog the image of looking like a natural dog, one that is capable of surviving in the wild, being hardy and strong. For this reason, they are kept untrimmed. The colors can range from:

  • White with spots
  • Tan, beige, desert sand, and yellow
  • Orange ginger red
  • Red sable


As this breed is one of the few truly primitive breeds that still exists today, they are not entirely domesticated. However, those that have been taken into captivity from the wild have proved to be very adaptable and responsive to the concept of domestication, and those who have been taken in by a family have made excellent pets.

Some main points about their temperament:

  • They are extremely shy around people and dislike excessive handling unless they were socialized to it at a young age.
  • If properly socialized, they are a loyal companion and loving pet.
  • They need to be a part of the pack and as a result, will meld into your family with little effort- also due to their adaptive nature.
  • They are gentle and social towards their pack members (their family, human and otherwise).
  • They bond very well with children and enjoy playing with them.
  • Clean by nature, they are easy to housebreak, which means less messes for you to clean up.
  • Intelligent, responsive, and quick learners, this breed can be left to their own devices and be trusted to not be destructive while you are away.
  • Non aggressive towards other animals, provided they are introduced while the dog is still young. This is due to their highly developed hunting instinct.
  • Provided that there is a clearly established pack leader (human) in the group, the Carolina Dog will maintain its lower ranking without question.
  • As their Dingo and Pariah ancestors, they have a tendency to howl at certain sounds.

This dog is a primitive breed, so it cannot be expected to be friendly and welcoming to everyone. They will be suspicious and somewhat shy around strangers, and will shadow you closely when in unfamiliar places, or faced with an unfamiliar obstacle.

Height and Weight:

Height ranges between 17-24 inches.

Weight ranges between 30-44 pounds.

Health Problems:

The Carolina Dog is free of most health problems.


These dogs are not meant to be apartment dogs (sorry guys, I know you’re disappointed. I kind of am too.), as they are still not entirely domesticated. They require a minimum of one long walk a day in which the pack order is maintained (read: The human Alpha leads the way). They do well with having a large area to run and stretch their legs, and make great running companions for the more athletically inclined.


The Carolina Dog can be expected to live between 12 and 14 years, with few health problems.


Relatively work free, the Carolina Dog requires little effort. As they are kept in an untrimmed state, grooming is minimal. Other than an occasional brushing to work out the undercoat, the Carolina Dog should be bathed only when necessary in order to keep the natural oils of the coat intact.


  • UKC (United Kennel Club)
  • CKC (Continental Kennel Club)
  • NKC (National Kennel Club)
  • ARBA (American Rare Breed Association)
  • CDA (Carolina Dog Association)
  • APRI (American Pet Registry, Inc.)
  • ACR (American Canine Registry)
  • DRA (Dog Registry of America, Inc.)

And there you have it! The Carolina Dog, or American Dingo/Pariah Dog. I find them to be a rather fascinating breed, and I hope that you all learned something new and interesting about them. So far, the vote for the next “Breed All About It” is for the Australian Kelpie. Another other suggestions for future breeds that you would like to hear talked about? You can go back a post and choose one of the other four that were voted on with this breed , or choose a whole new breed! Let me know in the comments below. As always though, remember to do your FreeKibble for the day and help a great organization feed hungry shelter pets! These guys need our support until they can find their own forever homes, and they deserve to go to bed with a full belly until their the right person finds them.

I hope you enjoy your Monday!



Image credit (in order of appearance):

Information from:

and prior knowledge.


8 responses

  1. Thanks for sharing! We like the breed!
    Bella and DiDi

    April 30, 2012 at 7:49 pm

  2. Tina

    very intersting, I remember that presentation! How about the Irish Wolfhound? Or we could go with the PBGB? I just love that….I liked how you added in the good with the bad of the breed!

    May 2, 2012 at 8:42 pm

  3. Sue W.

    Your article was spot on! My Carolina was exactly as you described. She was the greatest dog ever! I would love to rescue another one someday.

    June 5, 2012 at 7:16 pm

  4. Tricia McGillan

    I have 2 CD/ADs and can vouch for most of your great summary. I would add that when loved and trained as puppies, you will never find a better dog. My sisters have Dalmatians and Goldens and I would put my smart, agile, curious loyal dogs up against them any day. One word of caution-mine can RUN!! Fencing crucial-these guys are jail birds and live to run.

    September 6, 2012 at 9:42 pm

  5. I love that the word is spreading about this amazing breed. I have a Carolina Dog, Bea, and she is truly a wonderful dog. Loyal and sweet can’t even begin to describe her. Thanks for the fantastic, informative post!

    May 8, 2013 at 12:44 pm

    • Glad you liked it! I always love hearing from people who actually own, or have owned, the breeds I cover. This one was a flashback to a public presentation I did while I was in 4-H years ago. I’ve met a few and they have been some of the sweetest dogs 🙂 Thanks for stopping by!

      May 8, 2013 at 12:51 pm

  6. Lynn Garcia

    I read your article.We are very curious about our shelter dog we adopted a year and a half ago and are convinced he is American Dingo rather than shepherd/husky mix.we have seen many photos if American Dingo/Carolina Dogs that resemble ours .His traits and temperament seem to be indicative of this as well.How would we confirm this?

    July 7, 2017 at 4:08 pm

    • You can always do breed testing! If nothing else, it gives you an idea of what he all is 🙂 has a breed testing panel that is incredibly comprehensive and screens them for any drug sensitivities or exercise induced issues he may have. Hope this helps!

      July 7, 2017 at 4:38 pm

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