The AKC has grouped all of the breeds that it registers into seven categories, or groups, roughly based on function and heritage. Breeds are grouped together because they share traits of form and function or a common heritage.
Carolina dogs are descended from the canines that accompanied the Paleo-Indians who traveled from Asia to North America over the Bering Land Bridge. Today, they can still be found living wild near the Georgia-South Carolina border, but have also been seen as far north as Ohio and Pennsylvania and as far west as Arizona; rural areas are the common denominator. The typical Carolina dog has pointed ears, a fox-like snout and a tail that curves like a fishhook when it is raised. They look similar to Australian Dingoes but, taxonomically, they fall under canis familiaris. Hesitant with strangers, they will sound the alarm when unaware of who’s at the door, but once they see their people, they are ecstatic. Carolina Dogs have an extreme pack mentality, as this was a necessity for survival in the wild.
The Carolina Dog should do well on a high-quality dog food, whether commercially manufactured or home-prepared with your veterinarian’s supervision and approval. Any diet should be appropriate to the dog’s age (puppy, adult, or senior). Some dogs are prone to getting overweight, so watch your dog’s calorie consumption and weight level. Treats can be an important aid in training, but giving too many can cause obesity. Learn about which human foods are safe for dogs, and which are not. Check with your vet if you have any concerns about your dog’s weight or diet. Clean, fresh water should be available at all times.
Minimal grooming is needed for Carolina Dogs. They tend to keep themselves clean much like a cat; however, occasional bathing may be necessary. These dogs do not require any special grooming techniques other than brushing and nail trimming. Coat length is short to medium, though, some dogs in the northern regions have developed a longer hair length. Coat density is effected seasonally, generally heavier in the cooler months and lighter in the warmer months. In cooler months, there should be a very pronounced undercoat. Short and smooth hair is found on the head, ears and front legs. Coarse, long guard hairs are on the neck, withers and back. When aroused, these hairs stand erect.
Like any other dog, the Carolina Dog requires exercise. These are not high-energy dogs, but should have some form of daily exercise. Options for exercise include play time in the backyard, preferably fenced, or being taken for walks several times a day. Exercise can also come in the form of indoor activities, like hide-and-seek, chasing a ball rolled along the floor, or learning new tricks. Certain outdoor activities like swimming, hiking, retrieving balls or flying discs can provide a good outlet for expending energy. Training for dog sports like agility, obedience and rally can also be a great way to give your dog exercise.
Carolina Dogs are very easily trained, eager to please, and may or may not respond to treat training. They excel in competitive activities and hunting small game.
In general, Carolina Dogs enjoy good health. Recent studies have shown that some are ivermectin sensitive, so discuss this with your veterinarian before administering any antiparasitic medications. Working with a responsible breeder, prospective owners can gain the education they need to learn about specific health concerns within the breed. Good breeders utilize health screenings and genetic testing to reduce the likelihood of disease in their puppies.
Fairly recent studies of the free-ranging dogs in particular regions of the United States from the Southeast through the desert Southwest have disclosed the continued existence of small primitive dogs whose appearance, behavior and ecology suggest a close ancestry with a possible descent with the dogs that accompanied man across the Bering land bridge into North America some 10,000 to 14,000 years ago. Skeletal remains and ceremonial burials of these dogs in some of the Southwest Cultures have been discovered, which documents their presence as companions of the Native Americans long before the arrival of the Europeans. Carolina Dogs were identified as such and so named because of the Southeast location where Dr. I. Lehr Brisbin’s initial contact with the dogs began.