Just recently discovered in the wild, Carolina Dogs are still not a fully domesticated breed. However, these “wild dog” qualities blend together into a loving, cooperative and protective companion. Carolina Dogs are self-sufficient, intelligent and “pack” oriented, making them crave togetherness and family time above all else. They can be slightly reserved with strangers, but grow more outgoing over time. Carolina Dogs are great workers, herders and outstanding playmates for children.
Carolina Dog Pictures
- 30 - 44 pounds
- 17 - 24 inches
Ideal Human Companions
- Outdoorsy types
- Active singles
- Families with older children
Carolina Dogs on Dogster
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Things You Should Know
Carolina Dogs can live as long as 15 years with relatively few genetic health issues. They are fairly easy to groom, needing only an occasional brushing. Carolina Dogs are used to fending for themselves in the wild. For this reason, they might not be happy living in apartments. A large, fenced yard is ideal. They also appreciate long hikes in the woods. When in public, always keep the Carolina Dog on a leash.
Carolina Dog History
Discovered in the American South, Carolina Dogs are believed to have descended from Asian “pariah dogs” brought to North America across the Bering Strait 9,000 years ago. Much more recently, a University of Georgia professor discovered these Dingo-like dogs living in a remote area of South Carolina. Some historians have noted that the Carolina Dog’s bone structure resembles the dog bones found in American Indian burial sites.
The Look of a Carolina Dog
Carolina Dogs have muscular, medium-sized frames covered in short coats that come in tan, black & tan and off-white. They have wedge-shaped heads with pointed ears, long muzzles and dark, almond-shaped eyes. Their strong necks lead to narrow chests, straight backs and thick tails that either hang low or curl in a hook. Overall, Carolina Dogs have a ruggedly handsome look.
Talk About Carolina Dogs
A wild canine who has captured the family's heart
Carolina Dogs are actually the North American version of the Dingo, and are (more appropriately) nicknamed Dixie Dingos. And as the name indicates, they have a very intense loyalty to their family packs. Just as a wild canine would have this trait, so does our Augie -- and this is why he has captured my family's heart. He spends time with every member of the family, even the cat and Winnie, the Dalmatian/Lab, every day. If you are busy, he will lay quietly nearby until you ask him for interaction.
Carolina Dogs can be challenging, and their exuberance and high energy can be disconcerting until you learn not to be apprehensive of their actions. Trust is key; they will always want to please you. Augie has always been self-disciplined and has learned to respond to my commands. I am especially proud of his understanding of "Get out of the road." He will immediately go to the shoulder and stand perfectly still until the car has passed and I have said okay.
He never plays with anything, preferring hunting and running. A minimum of a mile walk every day is what it takes for a bowel movement. Augie tends to refrain from excreting in his "territory," but will when necessary. His toilet is always well away from the path and is usually in a group of low bushes or tall grass. He also always kicks dirt at the site when finished, almost like a cat, but not as effectively. He also displays this behaior when he picks up the scent or actually sees a male dog. Is he sweariing? Females, however, are always given deference.
Augie's communication is remarkable, so learning his body language was key. Even his tail is an accurate signal flag. His ability to understand people is enormous. This must be because his senses are so acute that every little movement has meaning to him. He always knows when I am going for a car ride before I pick up the keys.
An all-natural diet is highly recommended. I learned this the hard way after Augie was almost poisoned to death by a common store-bought food. After that, with the natural diet, not only did his physical features improve but his personal demeanor improved as well. Eating has always been a hit or miss for him. Skipping meals was routine. But I found that he always maintained 55 pounds, and if he gained weight, he skipped meals. It was like he kept a survival physicality. Of the hundreds of pictures I've seen of Carolina Dogs, there was never an obese representative.
Fur is more hairlike and shedding is a nonissue. Grooming is not required. Augie regularly rubs himself in the grass to rid excess hair, but I brush him every once in awhile for the bonding. Even nail clipping is minimal as their active lifestyle wears the nails down naturally. Augie even bites his dewclaw short. I have only needed to clip maybe three nails three times in the last nine years.
~Stoddard H., owner of a Carolina Dog
Often wrongly identified at shelters
I was told that mine was a Doberman/boxer mix, which he does resemble, but after seeing the pictures he has a lot of identical twins out there.
This breed is incredible with kids. I live on a 13-acre farm in the mountains of Western North Carolina, and Ike runs up and down the mountain all day long and enjoys chasing wild turkeys. He is very stealthy and rarely barks at all, and when he does it resembles a howl.
This breed is really nice looking. These dogs are very loyal. However, I noticed that they can be very jealous of their owners giving attention to other animals. Our dog will headbutt other dogs out of the way to get my 12-year-old daughter's attention!
~rg, owner of a Carolina Dog
The perfect active family dog
We recently adopted a Carolina puppy and she is fantastic. She was house trained in three weeks and extremely bright. She learned how to sit at 12 weeks old and walk on the leash. She loves her brother, a Shih Tzu, and loves all people and children. Very active, needs lots of exercise. Very lovely temperament. Responds well to training and commands.
~Rachel R., owner of a Carolina Dog
Extremely energetic dog
We adopted Wrangler about 8 years ago. He was supposed to be around 4 years old at the time. The shelter said he had been returned four times as he continued to run away from his previous owners. Even today at age 12, he cannot be walked without a leash and must be fenced in our large backyard.
He has been a wonderful and excelent family member, though his energy level is still the same as it was when we adopted him. His best friend is our 15-year-old female cat, though I don't think she would agree with the "friend" part!
He has never had an accident in the house and is extremely self-sufficient. Though he is allowed inside and usually sleeps in the house, he would rather be outside at a high perch on our deck.
From our experience with Wrangler he is an excelent friend, though very skittish around strangers. He is a great family pet and is gentle with our 2-year-old. They do require a large area to run and several hours of exercise each day (we have clocked him running at close to 35 mph!).
They must have lots of human interaction, as he gets depressed when we go out of town. I would recommend a Carolina dog to any family that has a large fenced-in yard and is ready for an energetic dog that will have puppy energy even when they are old.
~Mark A. , owner of a Carolina Dog