How many of us can admit to perusing the pet adoption website Petfinder from time to time? Our household is at max capacity but I am definitely guilty!  Whether one is looking for a new pet, information, or just wants a daily dose of cuteness, it’s fun to pick a location or breed and hit that “find pets” button.  Today we’re introducing a new regular addition to our blog posts: SFYC Breed Feature.  Our first highlighted critter is the Carolina Dog and we enlisted the help Saving Carolina Dogs Rescue and Adoption Network to help us tell their story.


Carolina Dogs were discovered by a researcher named Dr. Lehr Brisbin in the 1970’s while doing unrelated work in South Carolina when he observed a multitude of what he initially believed to be stray dogs who all shared similar characteristics.  The rest, as they say, is history.  Dr. Brisbin devoted decades to studying them and introduced them as a breed to the UKC.  It is believed Carolina Dogs are cousins or descendants of the dogs that crossed the Bering Land Bridge thousands of years ago with the American Indians, meaning they evolved as a truly American breed!  Nowadays, although wild packs still exist in the southeast and as far west as Arizona, many intentionally bred Carolina Dogs and mixes from liasons with stray dogs, live as family pets across the country.


Bred by natural selection, Carolina Dogs are excellently camouflaged for hunting small game. Can you spot her?

So what does the breed look like?  Walk with one and you’ll be asked if she’s a dingo!  The most common coat color for Carolina Dogs is in the tan range, from cream to ginger.  Other colors include black with tan markings and piebald.  Their fur is short but dense, giving them the benefits of a double coat but not too thick to survive the southern heat.  They have erect ears, a narrow snout, a deep chest with a small waist, and a signature “fishhook” tail.  They look right at home trotting through the marshy fringes of this area’s many creeks since they resemble the swampy lowlands their ancestors come from.

what is a cd

If you are fortunate enough to share your life with a Carolina Dog, you can attest to their fascinating blend of natural instincts and fierce love for their people.  They are pack animals and bond very well to their families, maintaining some level of caution or shyness towards strangers depending on lots of factors including genetics and socialization.  They are intelligent, generally active dogs who thrive with companions who match those qualities.  Also noteworthy is the breed’s strong prey drive.  Carolina Dogs even have breed-specific behavioral traits, like the digging of “snout pits.”


If one is good, two must be better! Carolina Dogs are social and love to have companions.

You can read more information about Carolina Dogs here.  While you’re on the page, be sure to check out Saving Carolina Dogs’ adoptable dogs!  They welcome newcomers interested in learning more about the breed or helping out and have an active Facebook page you can request to join here.


Some of their rescue dogs travel quite far from their home range but adapt well, especially when they get to explore the outdoors!