Monday, June 01, 2009

Native Dog - A Continuation of the Carolina Dog Article in the June/July Issue

I'm so glad that LCD had the opportunity to interview the discoverer of the Carolina Dog, Dr. I Lehr Brisbin, after his lecture to the Charleston Audubon Society.  If you haven't read the article yet, you can read it online HERE

We'd last spoke with the Dr. about these native dogs back in 2005 and the dogs have come a long way in "dog world" since then.  Kennel clubs are taking note of this incredible dog, but with that attention has come controversy. Some lovers of the breed call for a complete immersion into mainstream dog fancy. This means registration with the AKC and the ability to show the dogs in an AKC registered show. But with registration comes the inability to breed captured wild dogs and according to Dr. Brisbin, the characteristics that make the Carolina Dog a Carolina Dog might be domesticated out of the dog

Top to bottom: Trink, Lady Jane & Hunter ( who we incorrectly named Tucker in the print edition) are all three full blood Carolina Dogs. Photos by Juanita Oser.

I'm curious to hear what LCD readers think about this breed and it's future. Do you feel that Brisbin, who currently owns the studbook, should continue to keep the line open? Should he continue to breed his dogs with captured wild dogs in order to keep certain characteristics strong ( snout pit digging, regurgitation, along with physical characteristics, etc.) or should he register the dogs and give them credibility with the AKC?  Let us know by leaving comments here on the blog.

Also interesting to hear about hybridization in our interview with Dr. Brisbin. As people encroach on the Carolina Dog territory it makes sense that the wild dogs would start breeding with our already domesticated dogs. I'm sure the local shelters are filled with Carolina Dog "hybrids." Take a look at local photographer Robbie Silver's dog, Gingy. Robbie (and Robbie's vet) believes Gingy is a Carolina Dog hybrid.

And last but not least, what should you do if you think you have a Carolina Dog, but you aren't sure? The Carolina Dog Association has some questions for you.

1. Is the dog's origin documented as being within the southeastern US , east of the Mississippi River and South of the Ohio and James Rivers?
2. Is the dog documented as having come from an isolated or rural area with few human inhabitants?
3. Does the dog fit the general description as set forth by the American Rare Breed Assoc. standard for the breed?
4. Does the dog exhibit primitive behavior traits, including, but not limited to: pack hierarchy with other dogs, strong prey drive, snout pit digging from Sept. to Feb., regurgitation for pups, communal pup rearing, digging of nesting dens, feces covering etc. At least one of these traits should be present.

If you answered YES to these questions, email photos and description of the dog to the Carolina Dog Association President Jane Gunnell at, or mail to Jane Gunnell, 262 Eastgate Drive, #342, Aiken, SC 29803. You can also speak with local Carolina Dog enthusiast Charles Ginetto at


Anonymous said...

I think that if you want to continue to grow a breed yet maintain their notable characteristics, then stay independent and do not join the AKC registry. Their sense of the "breed standard" has warped many fantastic breeds, leaving them incapable of performing their original functions or at least decreased their ability to perform. Several good examples include the german shepherd, who's hocks and hip angles are so drastic that they have difficulty in walking, much less herding sheep and protecting people. And a finer example is that of the golden retriever. Look at the breed from the 1970s and compare to now. They are a smaller breed, which shorter muzzles which have difficulty in carrying a duck. Rather defeats the point behind a hunting retriever don't you think.
I think at this time, until the AKC can revamp their judging styles and rules, it will defeat the purpose behind saving this newly found breed.

joan said...

They are such bright and handsome dogs.

Juanita Oser said...

First of all, a big THANK YOU to Lowcountry Dog Magazine, Leah England, Publisher and Laura Reiman, Author of the "Native Dog" article and the attention and awareness you have brought to our Carolina Dogs.

You mentioned the President of the Carolina Dog Association, Jane Gunnell, of the Banbury Cross Farm Carolina Dogs/American Dingos in your Blog and we would certainly be remiss if we did not give her much of the credit for these wonderful dogs in our lives. After her introduction to the dogs back in 1996, she has bred, raised, promoted--and loved the Carolina Dogs. Without her dedication, folks like my husband and I would not have the opportunity to experience these dogs of ages past in our homes today.

With regard to the AKC debate, I would have to point out, as your article does, that Carolina Dogs (CD's) are recognized by the American Rare Breed Association (ARBA) and the United Kennel Club (UKC) for those who wish to show/compete. Our youngest CD is an ARBA Champion. I also recently had the privilege of showing Jane Gunnell's beautiful six month old CD, "Banbury Cross Pockets" at the ARBA Peach Tree Classic in November, 2008. This little guy was rejected by his mother at just 7 days old, so Jane stepped in and took over, carrying him everywhere in her vest pockets--hence the name, "Pockets"! His first weekend show experience earned him multiple ribbons and a "Best in Show" (competing against all breeds and all ages).

As you may have guessed, these dogs are highly trainable and very intelligent. If you visit Jane's website,, you will see some of those dogs that have excelled in competition. Jackie and Rick Lancaster in particular, have trained and competed a number of Carolina Dogs in both ARBA and the UKC. They have achieved titles in Conformation, Obedience, Agility, Herding, Canine Good Citizenship, Therapy, etc. To quote from your article, "This dog will be whatever you want it to be."

Check them out. There just may be a beautiful Carolina Dog waiting to share your life!