The Carolina Dog breed is not a very popular domestic pet. In fact, many still live naturally in the wild.
These dogs are medium sized. They grow from 17.5 to 19.5 inches tall, and weigh 30 to 55 pounds as adults.
They are intelligent, loyal, and independent. But they have a very strong pack mentality.
Carolina dogs as pets are likely to form strong bonds with their families. But, they will be wary of strangers. Socialization is vital with this uncommon breed.
What’s In This Guide
- Carolina Dog At A Glance
- In-depth Breed Review
- Carolina Dog Training And Care
- Pros And Cons Of Getting A Carolina Dog
Carolina Dog FAQs
Here are some of our readers’ most popular and frequently asked questions about the Carolina Dog.
Breed At A Glance
- Popularity: Uncommon as pets
- Purpose: Hound dog
- Weight: 30 – 55 pounds
- Temperament: loyal, intelligent, independent.
Carolina Dog Breed Review: Contents
- History and original purpose
- Fun facts about Carolina Dogs
- Carolina breed appearance
- Carolina Dog temperament
- Training and exercising
- Carolina breed health and care
- Do they make good family pets?
- Rescuing a Carolina Dog
- Finding a Carolina Dog puppy
- Raising a Carolina Breed puppy
- Carolina Dog products and accessories
History and Original Purpose
The Carolina Dog has been around for a long time. But it is still not hugely common as a domesticated pet.
Their history stretches back thousands of years. Many believe they were originally domesticated from Asian wolves, and then brought across the Bering land bridge to North America with primitive humans.
This history has been deduced from mummified and skeletal remains of these dogs discovered alongside artifacts from Native Americans.
Carolina Dogs still live in the wild today. They’re very uncommon as pets, but can be found living in rural areas.
Fun Facts About Carolina Dogs
Carolina Dogs are not a common domestic pet. They have been accepted into the AKC’s Foundation Stock Service since 2017.
But, they do not yet have complete breed recognition.
These dogs go by a number of different names. You might hear them called yellow dogs, Dixie Dingoes, American Dingoes, North American Native dogs, and Indian dogs.
These dogs can be hard to find. But, they have certainly made their mark on the pet world.
Carolina Dog Appearance
This breed is foxy in its appearance. They have triangular ears, narrow snouts, and a curved tail.
Many compare the appearance of these dogs to that of the Australian Dingo.
They are medium sized dogs, growing to between 17.5 and 19.5 inches tall. Healthy adult Carolina Dogs usually weigh between 30 and 55 pounds.
Coat Type and Colors
These dogs have a short to medium length coat that needs little grooming. They can come in a variety of colors, including:
- black and tan
- and yellow.
Carolina Dog Temperament
The Carolina breed temperament won’t suit every family. So, make sure to learn as much about it as possible before choosing this breed.
These dogs have a very strong pack mentality. They still live wild in many rural areas of America.
This means domesticated Carolina Dogs will be both independent and loyal. They will form strong bonds with their closest family members. But they are likely to be very wary of strangers.
This can be problematic if you don’t have the time to properly socialize and train your dog from the moment you bring them home.
Carolina Dogs are also intelligent. So, they need plenty to stimulate their minds. Boredom can result in destructive behaviors.
Importance of Socialization
Socializing a puppy from a young age will help to prevent fearful, aggressive reactions when your dog is older.
Puppies need to be introduced to as many new people, things, and environments as possible before they are 16 weeks old.
This will help to create a confident adult dog. And will reduce the risk that your Carolina Dog is aggressive to strangers, or even to welcome guest who don’t live in your household.
Carolina Dogs have been categorised as hound dogs. In the wild, these dogs would hunt for themselves in order to eat.
As a recently domesticated breed, they will likely have strong natural instincts to chase other small animals.
This means they may not be the best breed if you have other pets at home. Particularly cats and small dogs.
Powerful natural instincts like this cannot be trained out of dogs. So, be careful when exercising your dog in non-enclosed spaces.
Training and Exercising your Carolina Dog
Carolina Dogs are eager to please. But they have an independent streak. Individual dogs will react differently to training.
Some will be easier to train than others.
The key is to use consistent, positive reward training methods. As an intelligent, alert breed, the Carolina Dog will pick up new commands quickly.
Keep training sessions short and exciting to keep your dog’s interest.
For more training tips, take a look at our online training course details.
This breed needs lots of daily exercise. They do best when they have the opportunity to run in a safe, enclosed area.
You can incorporate exercise and training in fun games for your dog. They will enjoy games like fetch and hide and seek.
Carolina Dog Health and Care
Compared to a lot of more common breeds, there have been relatively few studies on the health of this semi-wild breed.
But, this doesn’t mean that the Carolina breed is completely free of hereditary problems.
This gene mutation can cause a sensitivity to ivermectin, which is a common ingredient in flea and mite treatments.
Your dog can be tested for the MDR1 mutation. If your Carolina dog tests positive, check ingredients of medications and treatments carefully before giving them to your dog.
The Orthopedic Foundation for Animals doesn’t currently recommend any tests for the Carolina Dog specifically. But, it’s worth speaking to your vet to see if there are any they advise.
There has been limited data collected on health tests in this breed. But, the OFA has recorded cases of Carolina dogs with degenerative myelopathy.
This is a disease that affects a dog’s spine. It leads to paraplegia, and can require euthanasia.
Your vet may also recommend health tests for hip and elbow dysplasia, eye diseases, and cardiac problems.
Do Carolina Dogs Make Good Family Pets?
For the right family, the Carolina breed can make a great new companion. But, they aren’t best for first-time dog owners.
They need lots of training and socialization from puppyhood. They have strong pack mentalities, and may have natural hunting instincts that make them unsuitable for homes with other pets and very young children.
This breed needs a family that can exercise them every day. Plus, they need plenty of mental stimulation.
This can be in the form of training, games, or even canine sports.
Rescuing a Carolina Dog
It’s possible that you’ll find a Carolina Dog in rescue centers. If people are unprepared for the amount of care and time that these dogs need, they may give them up.
Not all dogs in rescue centers have behavioral problems. But, it’s important to ask lots of questions to make sure the dog will suit your home.
Rescue dogs are often cheaper than puppies from reputable breeders. Plus, adoption is a great way to give an older dog a loving home.
Be prepared for rescue centers to ask you lots of questions. They will be keen to match potential owners to the best breed for them.
Finding a Carolina Dog Puppy
Carolina Dogs are not very common. So, you might struggle to find a breeder.
Despite this, it’s important to make sure you’re only buying puppies from reputable breeders. Avoid pet stores and puppy mills.
You can search online, on social media, and in newspaper ads. If you’re still struggling, speak to your vet. They may be able to point you towards local breeders.
Take a look at our puppy search guide for more tips on finding a healthy puppy.
Raising a Carolina Dog Puppy
Raising any puppy is a lot of work. But, this breed needs particular care when it comes to training and socialization.
Luckily, we have some great guides to help you with raising a Carolina puppy. Take a look at some of them using the links below.
We also have an online Puppy Parenting course that new puppy owners may find useful.
The Carolina Dog isn’t for everyone. But, here are some similar breeds that might be more suitable for your family.
Pros And Cons of Getting A Carolina Dog
Hopefully, this quick summary will help you finalise your decision about getting a Carolina Dog.
- Can be very wary of strangers
- Not the best for homes with small children or other pets
- Hard to find puppies
- Very few studies on health problems
- Very loyal breed
- If raised with other dogs, likely to get along well with them
- Takes to training well
- Great breed for canine sports
Carolina Dog Products and Accessories
New puppies require a lot of stuff. So, here are some guides that will help you find the best products for your new friend.
Carolina Dog Breed Rescues
As a pretty uncommon breed, it might be hard to find breed-specific rescue centers for the Carolina Dog.
If you’re looking for this dog, check with local non-specific breed rescues. Some will keep an eye out for you if you are looking for a specific breed.
Here are some rescue center links to help you start your search.
If you know of any others, please leave them in the comments.
References And Resources
- Howell, T. (et al), ‘Puppy Parties and Beyond: The Role of Early Age Socialization Practices on Adult Dog Behavior’, Veterinary Medicine Research and Reports (2015)
- Uzunova, K. (et al), ‘Socialization of Puppies – A Marker of Their Future Behavior’, Trakia Journal of Sciences (2010)
- Van Asch, B. (et al), ‘Pre-Columbian Origins of Native American Dog Breeds, with only Limited Replacement by European Dogs, Confirmed with mtDNA Analysis’, Proceedings of the Royal Society B (2013)
- Mealey, K. (et al), ‘Ivermectin Sensitivity in Collies is Associated with a Deletion Mutation of the mdr1 Gene’, Pharmacogenetics (2001)
- ‘Breeds Affected by the MDR1 Mutation’, WSU Veterinary Clinical Pharmacology Laboratory
- ‘Carolina Dog’, OFA Registry Sums
- Coates, J. & Wininger, F. ‘Canine Degenerative Myelopathy’, Veterinary Clinics of North America: Small Animal Practice (2010)