Tahltan Bear Dog

The Tahltan Bear Dog was a breed of dog that was indigenous to Canada. This breed is believed to be extinct by most authorities.


Raised by the Tahltan people to hunt bear, the Tahltan Bear Dog was a mighty power in a small package. Before a hunt, the dogs were ceremonially bled by stabbing them in the hindquarters with the fibula bone of a fox or wolf. The morning of the hunt, two dogs were carried in a sack over the Native's shoulder until fresh bear tracks were sighted. Upon release, these little dogs moved lightly over the crust of snow while the bear was slowed down by the deep drifts. Their fox-like staccato yaps harassed the bear into submission or confused him until the Natives could come close enough for a kill. To prepare for a foray against big cats, a claw from a dead lynx was used to ceremonially mark the dog's face.The Tahltan Bear Dog had the courage to face a bear, but was friendly and gentle with smaller
animals and with humans. They lived in the tent with the family, sharing bed and board.Descended from pariah-type dogs that had come with prehistoric migrations, the Tahltan Dogs were centralized in the remote mountainous areas of northwestern British Columbia and the Southern Yukon. Their usual diet was small bits of birds, meat and fish, and they flourished in the bitter cold. Outside their native environment, they succumbed to distemper, heat prostration and problems due to dietary changes. As white explorers came into the territory, bringing a variety of other dogs, the Tahltan Dog became diluted.There are no living descendants past 1960-70. Genetic references in the archeological record show no modern relationship of Tahltan dogs to any modern populations. No modern breeds have any known genetic relationship with extant dogs. http://www.sciencemag.org/content/276/5319/1687.abstract

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