Native American Indian Dog: Origin, Fun Facts, and How to Adopt One

Native American Indian Dog: Origin, Fun Facts, and How to Adopt One

Posted By BrittanyLCerny March 17th, 2021 Last Updated on: March 17th, 2021

If you've ever seen someone walking their dog, and you did a double-take to see if they were actually walking a wolf, it's entirely possible that that “wolf” was actually a Native American Indian Dog, or NAID.

While the NAID bears a striking resemblance to the wolf, this breed is actually not a wolf hybrid.

The NAID is a rare breed known for its long, pointy ears, thick coat, intense stare, and impressive build. According to K9 Web, they're generally strong, intelligent, and reliable working dogs. Their loyal, friendly demeanor and hypoallergenic coat also tend to make them ideal family pets.



The breed has grown in popularity in recent years, but where did the NAID actually come from?

Origin of the Native American Indian Dog

Did you know that wolves began the process of slowly evolving into dogs roughly 130,000 years ago?

According to the Smithsonian, “gray wolves and dogs diverged from an extinct wolf species some 15,000–40,000 years ago.” The evolution of wolves to dogs can be studied by tracing genetic mutation rates in genomes and comparing different fossils with breeds we have today. 

According to the experts at Animal Corner, the NAID is believed to be up to 30,000 years old. Some specialists have theorized that the NAID could even be the missing link between wolves and the modern dog as we know it today.

But to get a clear picture of how the NAID came to be, it's important to understand how the colonization of America wiped out ancient breeds of dogs.



When European colonists arrived in America, they brought over disease, violence, and a way of life that not only devastated Native populations and land, but also had an irreversible impact on their companion animals. Europeans at the time generally did not view dogs as companions the way many indigenous people did.

They looked at them more as pests or even food. So when these colonists pillaged and destroyed settlements, they also killed off the dogs living there. While some Europeans brought over their own dogs, they rejected the idea of breeding them with the Native “mongrels.”

So while some modern dog breeds share similar genes with ancient dogs—purebred, ancient Native dogs died off generations ago. The NAID as we know it, according to Animalso, has been recreated based on historical documentation of those early Native dog breeds.

The NAID is not recognized by the American Kennel Club, but it is recognized by the Native American Indian Dog Registry.

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Image Credit: Native American Indian Dog Preservation Project via Night Eyes Blog

Things to Know About the NAID

Temperament

Often called “gentle giants,” NAIDs typically love their owners and want lots of quality time with them. The breed is widely adored for its loyalty but can also be neurotic and anxious on the flip side. If you adopt them and abruptly leave them alone for a long period of time, uncrated, you might be surprised to come home to a disaster.

Luckily, this is something you can train out of the breed. Start by leaving them alone for a short time period, and gradually increase the time period. At the same time, if you need to consistently be away from your dog for many hours a day or you need to travel a lot for work, you may want to think twice about adopting one.

As the breed matures, it becomes more protective. So they can easily be trained into vigilant watchdogs and guard dogs as well. 

Exercise

The NAID, as you probably could've guessed by its appearance, is a highly active dog that needs lots of consistent exercise—preferably outdoors. If you're going for a walk, run, hike, or bike ride, be sure to take your NAID along. You'll thank yourself later. 

If you live in a condo or an apartment, be sure to carve out at least 30 minutes a day to get your NAID outside, but an hour is ideal. If they have access to a yard, make sure it's fenced in—NAIDs are notorious escape artists.

Diet

Despite its selective breeding, the NAID does not require a special diet, but they do require a lot of food. According to Animal Corner, you should feed them roughly 1,200 calories a day, which equates to around three cups of kibble.

Health Issues

Due to their selective breeding, the NAID tends to have fewer health problems than many breeds. One of the biggest concerns for them, as is the case for many larger breeds—is hip dysplasia. This is when the thigh bone and hip joint don't fit together the way they should. It can cause significant pain in the legs, but may not visibly affect your dog at all. 

Taking your NAID in for a regular checkup can ensure that you catch this stubborn issue before it reaches the more advanced stages.

Lifespan

The NAID has an above-average life expectancy for a dog its size—living, on average, between 14 and 19 years.

Adopting a Native American Indian Dog 

Again, the NAID is considered a rare breed, so finding one in a timely fashion could prove challenging. 

Your best bet is to try searching online for rescue organizations in your area. They may have a NAID waiting for its “furever” home. The Humane Society has an entire article titled “How to Find a Responsible Dog Breeder.”

Groups and pages on social media dedicated to specific breeds could also be worth looking into.

If you can't find one there, and you are comfortable working with a breeder, do your research. Find a breeder that is legitimate and has a strong track record, and make sure you have evidence that the dog is the breed they say it is. You want to avoid puppy mills at all costs. According to Animal Corner, the price of a NAID puppy will usually range from $1,500–$2,000. Litter sizes can vary from 4–10 pups.

So, now that you know all about the NAID, do you want to run out and adopt one ASAP? 


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Lee Ann Guerrero Buckley

We just lost our NAID at 17 years old, her cousin a few years ago at age 15. They are wonderful animals, but you have to FULLY educate yourself on Northern breed dogs. Even though they may be no/low wolf, they ACT like them. We went through many sofas, chairs, tables and landscaping. Another issue is if they are mixed with Husky, you can be guaranteed they will be escape artists and will require wolf proof enclosure (buried chain link on all sides). The first one we lost was my heart dog. I’ve never had a companion like him and never will again. Initially, I thought he would hit me in the face at night to get me to turn the AC on, as we lived in a very hot area. Then after a while, my husband pointed out that every time he did that, my blood sugars were low. He obviously detected a change in my breath and woke me up. The other thing people have to know is that when they blow their coats, it’s a storm. Don’t do it if you don’t like animal hair everywhere. We’ve opted not to get another as we are aging and can no longer pick up an animal as big as they are up to get in the car. You also have to take into account what happens when they age. Before we lost our babies, we made arrangements with family member to take care of them should we die first. That said, we loved them dearly and will miss them forever.

Peggy Peggy

I am fairly new to this site and I love it. I’ve always been told that I have ancestors of Native American lineage but I’m not sure. It doesn’t matter, really, because I love the Native American ways, regardless. Thank you so much for all the interesting posts. I am heartsick over the wolves that were slaughtered. I can’t understand that sort of thing.

Saundra Warren

Does it get to hot for these dogs in the summer? Here in Kansas I won’t have a Husky because they get so hot amd I wondered if their coats were as thick

Lee Ann Guerrero Buckley

Yes, they have a double coat that should never be shaved. We lived in a very hot area with our two dogs, but installed 20 ft of misters on the patio and a dog door so they could get into the air conditioning whenever they want. That said, they would normally only blow coat once a year, but will do it twice in a hot climate.

Arlyce Watson

What caught my attention about Native American dog are two things, large size (because they are easier to see and not trip over like I would with little dogs and easier to hug when in affectionate mood) and hypoallergenic
which, if I am not mistaken, would be good for me. I am allergic to animals, even though I love all animals, even rat and snake. I am wondering if that particular breed can be trained to be a Hearing Ear dog similar to a Seeing Eye dog, but for deaf people. Since NAID loves to be around its owner, I can take Hearing Ear dog everywhere I go. I will check with the hearing ear dog organizations in MD and Colorado about training NAID. They are selective about dogs that meet the criteria: young age preferably at 6 months, non-aggressive, good health and trainable. If approved, how do I direct them to obtaining a NAID at my expense? Thank you.

MaryStarshine Matlock

P.S. FYI… As a Sierra Club member it seems I may have worn myself out (smiling, really) responding to the Club members who kept asking me over and over to vote for Deb Haaland recently. It was great watching her inauguration this past week. :-))) I do, however, wonder and worry a little how “we” will fare as a people under the ties of the US Government…hoping underneath that Native tribes don’t lose their sovereignty over this. Am sure you know more about these things than I. I just want what will be best for the tribes, that they will still retain their sovereignty, ways and wisdom and not lose them to the White Man.
I think so much more highly of this side of me…as a Native with Native thinking, Native wisdom and some inherently Native ways and Native connections to the 3 levels on the World Tree, that I now know thanks to a Northern European Shaman who thought He was training me and got a big surprise…we both did. I don’t know if he was happy about it but I sure was!!! It explained a lot of my childhood experiences… :-))). Which also explained why things didn’t work out when I tried a few years back to be the Jewish part of me…nice people, but lacking in spirituality…and many of them trying to find it elsewhere, usually in Buddhist philosophy and ways…but that was never for me.
I know who I am now and have always been… A Native girl stuck in a Middle World somewhere with Natives who are dead, that are a part of me that I didn’t know personally when I sat in the woods staring through the trees up to the Sun…
Knowing this means so much to me that I can’t seem to stop making exclamations about it!!! Forgive me, please, for being repetitive… A thing which I believe will be relieved when I am able to once again go to a PowWow and make more friends to expand my world and fascination with…

MaryStarshine Matlock

Dear Paul,

Great article on the Native American Indian Dog, beautiful specimen. I rescued a Rat Terrier a few years ago who had been so emaciated he wound up at the Chihuahua Rescue at 9 lbs. with all his ribs sticking out of him. This little tyke is “enough for me!” really brave and protective, have to hold him back from attacking all the neighborhood German Shepherds he thinks might take me away from him. He’s mommy’s “Little Big Man” for sure.

My heart, however, is still “reeling” from the mass killing of over 200 Gray Wolves last month in Wisconsin….:-((( I think I wrote and wrote you about it, I was trying to STOP IT and so was another Sierra Club woman in WI. You must’ve been busy with the new website. These “chicken farmers” from Virginia killed more wolves than was allotted them. They also killed all the ones that were to have belonged and gone to the Ojibwe tribe, and more… :-(((. It was what Clint Eastwood in “Heartbreak Ridge” would’ve called “A cluster-fuck” for sure.

My condolences go out to the Ojibwe Tribe.

I am fighting a couple of serious health issues at the moment that are laying me low frequently. But I am also getting really in the mood for another PowWow again as soon as I can regain my energy and get my Covid shot in. Spurring me on was finding a stash of yet more! Native American beaded earrings I made years ago and I want to WEAR THEM AGAIN!!! (So glad I didn’t give all of them to my best friend who was married to a Cherokee man, but now is in heaven and greeted me when I went there a couple years ago in an NDE from a heart attack. So her oldest daughter inherited a few of the beaded earrings I made, but am happy I still have a few left for me to wear…to a PowWow or two, or three… :-))) when I regain my energy…

Look forward to meeting one of these days…but not in “heaven”…at a PowWow, please ! (In my excursion to Heaven I was at a county fair with a couple of friends who also had “crossed over”… as we used to like to do here on Earth…bigger than a Pow Wow but not as much FUN!)

Hoping you are well and happy…

Aho!

MaryStarshine Matlock

I absolutely love this post. I totally understand your worries about what will happen to Tribes under this woman. I understand that she is Native but there have been Natives who seemed to have forgotten about us after becoming involved with the government. As far the wolves these people are heartless monsters. Great Spirit created all on earth and the wolves are just doing what they were created to do. I am sure these people could have thought of something else to do but they just thought about destroying the wolves. It was the easiest way to do it and it was fine with them. But it is not fine with me or us. I would love to meet you as we have some physical issues and you seem like a hoot. I pray that Great Spirit will bless you abundantly with all that you need and some surprises along the way A’HO

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