Woolly Dog: Reconstruction with Arctic dogs and spitz breeds

Karen Carr
December 14, 2023
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Computer generated rendering of medium-sized dog with white, fluffy coat.
Karen Carr

The reconstructed woolly dog shown at scale with Arctic dogs and spitz breeds in the background to compare scale and appearance; the portrayal does not imply a genetic relationship.

Researchers from the Smithsonian’s National Museum of Natural History led a new analysis that sheds light on the ancestry and genetics of woolly dogs, a now extinct breed of dog that was a fixture of Indigenous Coast Salish communities in the Pacific Northwest for millennia. The study’s findings, published today, Dec. 14, in the journal Science, include interviews contributed by several Coast Salish co-authors, including Elders, Knowledge Keepers and Master Weavers, who provided crucial context about the role woolly dogs played in Coast Salish society.

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