July 11, 2013

Native Native American dogs

Proc. R. Soc. B doi: 10.1098/rspb.2013.1142

Pre-Columbian origins of Native American dog breeds, with only limited replacement by European dogs, confirmed by mtDNA analysis

Barbara van Asch et al.

Dogs were present in pre-Columbian America, presumably brought by early human migrants from Asia. Studies of free-ranging village/street dogs have indicated almost total replacement of these original dogs by European dogs, but the extent to which Arctic, North and South American breeds are descendants of the original population remains to be assessed. Using a comprehensive phylogeographic analysis, we traced the origin of the mitochondrial DNA lineages for Inuit, Eskimo and Greenland dogs, Alaskan Malamute, Chihuahua, xoloitzcuintli and perro sín pelo del Peru, by comparing to extensive samples of East Asian (n = 984) and European dogs (n = 639), and previously published pre-Columbian sequences. Evidence for a pre-Columbian origin was found for all these breeds, except Alaskan Malamute for which results were ambigous. No European influence was indicated for the Arctic breeds Inuit, Eskimo and Greenland dog, and North/South American breeds had at most 30% European female lineages, suggesting marginal replacement by European dogs. Genetic continuity through time was shown by the sharing of a unique haplotype between the Mexican breed Chihuahua and ancient Mexican samples. We also analysed free-ranging dogs, confirming limited pre-Columbian ancestry overall, but also identifying pockets of remaining populations with high proportion of indigenous ancestry, and we provide the first DNA-based evidence that the Carolina dog, a free-ranging population in the USA, may have an ancient Asian origin.



eurologist said...

Good to see this confirms my hunch when I recently suggested better sampling of "native" American dogs, among others, to better understand the origins of cogs.

Charles Nydorf said...

It makes me wonder about the shy and elusive packs of strays in New York neighborhoods. They rarely called attention to themselves but one night they made a racket as they killed a raccoon on our front lawn.

Tom Bridgeland said...

Rural people in Central America keep dogs that don't appear to be any European breed. They are yellow-brown, sometimes brindled, and tend to be fairly small. People considered them filthy because their main food was feces, so they didn't pet/play with them. They were pretty good watchdogs, yapping wildly whenever anyone walked by. Maybe that was useful enough, for an animal that was not much cost since rarely fed. They didn't seem to be good for anything else.
I suspect a fair amount of native dog blood in these.

andrew said...

It is nice to see genetic data conform to expectations from prior literature on the subject once and a while.

Unknown said...

There are many comments and old researches links to support that indigenous Central and South American dog breeds have ancestry linked with old world dog breeds. This latest research seemed to defalsify old notions of chromosomal links. I owned different old world purebred dogs and mixed breed dogs. Now, we have Chihuahuas. Chihuahuas are very difference from those old world breeds. The modern day Chihuahua breed can be categorized into different bloodlines 1. those Chihuahuas mixed with European breeds bloodline 2. those Chihuahuas with high percentages of indigenous bloodline with have more in common with Xolo dog/other indigenous breeds and Pseudalopex/South American Fox.