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Discussion Starter #1
okay Wildo you want new topics , how about this one ----- a convergence of topics which include a recent thread on Czechoslovakian Vlcak Page

memories of my friend who had trained with Pohranicni Straze and the yard of their experimental "wolf-dogs" , and reading Pukka's Promise but more importantly reading

Ceiridwen Terrill's PART WILD , I was thinking more and more of just exactly what it is to be a more natural dog --- still a dog .

In my childhood there were dogs, mutts, that were proud 100% street-dogs . No one tried to discover what percentage they were of GSD or Akita or Poodle etc. They came from genuine mutt-stock. Were they basically good and healthy?

Well the street dogs are indigenous dogs. You see them wandering in the streets in Brazil, in Iran, in India , in our Canadian north . I actually got to meet one of them -- super smart and self reliable , a little dog named Spruce .

Common denominator is an archetypical body type , feral dog, pariah dog, native dog --- .

Found this -- going back to pre-Columbian native American canine genetics Song Dog Kennels : The Founder Kennels for the American Indian Dog
 

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The current favored theory in dog domestication is that some wolves hung around the fringes of human settlements anywhere from 30,000 to 10,000 years ago scavenging human food scraps. The humans realized these wolves were useful since they naturally sounded warnings whenever other predators or strange tribes entered their territories. So the humans instead of killing these particular wolves tolerated their presence from several meters away. This state of tolerance may have lasted for thousands of years until wolf DNA (and some scientists argue human DNA as well) changed to the point that these particular proto-dogs became tame enough to mix with humans. It appears that dog domestication happened in different parts of the world at different times independently and was probably a slow process spanning hundreds if not thousands of years not one 'eureka' moment.

Now back to the present. A sister of mine lived in Africa for several years among subsistence farmers in rural areas in a fairly remote part of the continent. Since everyone in my family is a dog lover she developed an interest in observing the villagers' dogs. They eventually gifted her with one.

African village dogs genetically unique from all breeds | Cornell Chronicle

These dogs look pretty much like the generic street dog that you can find in virtually every country in the world today. They are not selectively bred by people but breed amongst themselves in the streets as they are totally off-leash. Of course, spay/neuter are unknown practices.

The relationship that the villagers had with their dogs was quite different with the relationship that we (in the US) have with our dogs. The individual dogs did not have names. Every dog was just called a generic name for dog in the local language. People generally spoke to dogs only when shooing them away. Dogs basically decided if they wanted to approach humans. Dogs were owned by families and were fed meager diets of food scraps (supplemented by whatever they could find in the streets), and generally slept in their family's compounds outdoors. Most dogs fiercely defended their family compounds from strangers. They rarely received physical affection from the humans and sort of just hung around.

Once in a while, men from the village would go hunting for wild animals. Typically, one to three men would carry hunting weapons and set off from the village. Five to six dogs from the neighborhood would just decide to go with the hunters. The hunters did not decide which dogs to take, the dogs decided themselves. My sister never went along on hunting forays so she did not know exactly how the dogs worked with the hunters. Some dogs would develop a reputation in the village as being good hunters, and the men appreciated it when these would decide to go with them. Some hunters developed some type of bond with a favorite hunting dog so these favored dogs would be fed better and be shooed away less but you would not see them being given the type of physical affection we see here.

My sister brought the dog home to the US when her African assignment was over. The dog did not bark at first but could howl with a variety of vocalizations that didn't sound like the dog howls we are used to. She did learn to bark with an 'almost bark sound' by copying the American dogs around her. What to me is incredibly interesting is this dog was basically raised like a typical American pet dog while having African village dog genes. This dog is addicted to physical affection from my sister and other family members. She is constantly nuzzling your hand asking for a pet. Once you start petting her she won't leave your side and if you stop she'll ask for more. She is protective of my sister's home and would take awhile to accept visitors. She is very selective of which people to trust and even some family members she has known for years could still get growled at. She is not a biter though and frequently uses the growl to basically say, "leave me alone." She would rather avoid than fight, and will walk away from other dogs or people. She is good to take on hikes because she is aloof to other dogs and people but will growl if a stranger tries to pet her. She is very agile and light on her feet with excellent balance on logs. I've encouraged my sister to try her at agility.

Her relationship with my GSDs has been difficult since she is a growler. My GSDs do not take growling from any dog lightly and will not walk away. So it took a long time, probably longer than normal, before the cultural barrier was breached. Now they tolerate each other.
 

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The book by Brian Hare The Genius of Dogs | Brian Hare has a great bit of history as well, and I like how he made sure he didn't use opinion but research.
I read Pukka's Promise, and then went right on to Hare's book...both are worthy reads.
I grew up with dogs that had the freedom that Ted K writes of. There was a different dynamic when the dogs weren't micro-managed or treated as furbabies. They were members of the families, but not coddled or helicoptered over as we all seem to do these days.
I've always been intrigued by the American Indian Dog, and one 'breeder' local to me is exploiting the name, IMO. Here is the website: indiandogs4u
 

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Living with dogs is all about their behavior. Are they submissive? dominant? aggressive? shy? driven? smart? fearful? bold? Of course, their appearance is important too. For many, appearance starts out as primary importance (if you can get the dog owner to admit it) but it's the behavior that determines how you live with them.
Mutts have the same wide variety (wider?) of behaviors as GSDs.
My point?
Many seem to think that their GSD acts a certain way because s/he is a GSD and has this or that ancestry.
Maybe it is just because s/he is a dog and all dogs (like people) have individual personalities.
 

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Discussion Starter #6
Wonderful responses . No point . That is too narrow . Think large and wide and broad .

One of the problems in "breeds" , GSD , is that sometimes people fail to remember that first and foremost they are a DOG, then a specific modified dog "breed".

For anyone who has really read von Stephanitz they will recall that the first quarter is the Rittmeister pondering cynology --- the development of "dog" and then taking great pains to document the indigenous dogs in use in different regions , different purposes . I would not doubt that had pre-Colombian dogs been available for his study he would have done so , and included them in his book .

When you have a breed it takes a great deal of effort to fight nature .

If I could I would cut and paste the dog on this web site , upper left corner Song Dog Kennels : The Founder Kennels for the American Indian Dog and then I would ask -- what do you think of my new GSD . You may well assume that it is a young gangly Czech working line .

Same page where you have the little pup -- if someone presented that picture and asked if the pup was purebred - many would say so. I probably would . GSD.

the others - could pass for liver colouration.

Von Stephanitz did want his dog to be natural.

If this is the form which is most efficient we should consider it.

by the way Spruce the native Inuit dog is impressively sturdy -- nothing hot house orchid about her -- and like the other examples she does not bark.
 

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Discussion Starter #7
"Many seem to think that their GSD acts a certain way because s/he is a GSD and has this or that ancestry.
Maybe it is just because s/he is a dog and all dogs (like people) have individual personalities"

but they do, it is . The difference is there because we have chosen , deliberately selected for it. Otherwise a GSD and a Bloodhound and a Saluki would be the same?

Actually there is a very good thread which Cliff started called "IceBerg Breeders"
 

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Every dog is natural as long as you don't crop ears, dock tails, neuter, spay, remove dew claws and vocal cords. IN short; intact the way they were born and meant to be. Just my opinion.
 

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does eating kibble factor into that wolfy dog?
 

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Discussion Starter #11 (Edited)
NO to this "Every dog is natural as long as you don't crop ears, dock tails, neuter, spay, remove dew claws and vocal cords. IN short; intact the way they were born and meant to be. Just my opinion."

Pugs extremely unnatural -- deformed . Bulldogs, Basset hounds , collies with skulls so narrow , the King Charles of some British expose who had brains too large for the skull and suffered terrible seizures. Dogs with achondroplasia as part of their breed description.

had to edit to include behavioural traits -- a good natural dog tends to be a generalist , not a specialist --

Konrad Lorenz and Trumler wrote about Dingos --- another natural form of dog. [ame]http://www.amazon.com/Man-Meets-Dog-Routledge-Classics/dp/0415267455[/ame] I wish they had not used that doggy milk bone as a front cover

I have the book in original German and a very early English edition. This is where what was coined as "bio-sensor" was written about many many years prior .
 

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Thanks for the info about this breed. It's name is almost the same as my maiden name, I'm 1/2 Czech. So if I ever get a yard, I should have a GSD for my German 1st name and a Vlcak for my last. Yes, silly.

Our family did look up the Indian dog, and were actually thinking of getting one but the breeders were to far for us to travel.
 

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I have always heard that if dogs were left to their own devices in terms of surviving and breeding you would find that within a shockingly few generations that the "natural dog" is a medium sized brown dog.

Temperament unknown but no doubt it would be resourceful and smart because these studies are based off of what happens with street dogs around the world.
 

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not an academic study but much more relaible, indigenous people here kept the genetically purest form of dingo to this day on an isolated island population, the dogs helped mainly track game that ran off with a spear hanging out of them in thick vegetation. any dog that showed people agression were killed and eaten. so selective breeding ocurred in a semi-wild to almost wild population which then bred to truly wild. alpha pack theory is surely not tenable within the last known 40 000 years and a timid mainly solitary scavenger theory is clearly more appropriate if this scenario exists in other parts of the world for most of the breeds that have been invented at least.

pit bulls that have an extended fight duration when most dogs will cease the fight as soon as dominance is established, this is as far from nature as you can get, pits would never survive in the wild where a collie probably would, and do, at least as hybrids.
 

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I have always heard that if dogs were left to their own devices in terms of surviving and breeding you would find that within a shockingly few generations that the "natural dog" is a medium sized brown dog.
that's my sister's African village dog...30 lbs, brown all over with uneven short white socks...when she is protective she is pretty fierce and scary...seems much bigger than her real size..though she is more bluff and posture than anything

She is very smart but not in a trainable sort of way...independent..follows basic obedience commands around 80% of the time...but can figure out things by herself
 

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I'm a bit lost on the term "natural". Domestication is not "natural" in my opinion.

To be natural "we" (humans) would not in charge of the selecting which dogs survive to reproduce. Although with village dogs humans don't select a breeding pair, it is human actions that decide which dog survives and which dog simply can not savvy the activities of human civilization. A village dog may be killed for chasing livestock, by a vehicle, etc. Natural selection processes like disease play a role, but it is a minor one. So, by nature of the definition, domestication is not natural but is influenced very strongly by humans and their activities.

"Natural selection" is not heavily human influenced.

So there is no such thing as a natural dog because anything domesticated- not just tamed- is not natural. It is a human creation. By that definition, humans are natural, but what we do to the natural world is not.
 

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I think that it is absolutely understandable that nature would find a niche to capitalize off of humans and their activities/byproducts. This is separate from an argument of influences due to directed domestication/ownership of dogs.
 

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