Ever since man has learnt the art of settling down, he has made animals his friends. It has been a common practice to domesticate animals from the very dawn of the civilization and society. Different animals served different purposes. While some provided milk and eggs, others were used to ride upon and move around. Agriculture, too, makes use of certain animals, many are captured for their meat. But, the one animal that has been there as man’s best friend is the dog. It has been there to guard and protect humans.
Over the years, many new breeds of dogs have been created due to hybridization amongst different breeds. Unfortunately, many breeds of dogs have also disappeared. Let’s read about 10 extinct breeds of dogs.
10. Alpine Spaniel
These dogs with remarkably thick and curly coats were an intelligent breed, and were found during the 19th century in the region around the Great St. Bernard Pass where they were used as mountain rescues by the Augustinian Canons. The harsh climate of the Alps, a series of accidents, and some diseases are believed to be the leading cause of their extinction. The modern species of St. Bernard and Clumber Spaniel are the descendants of this breed.
9. Blue Paul Terrier
This extinct dog breed gets its name because of the bluish tinge it had on its coat, and from the sailor John Paul Jones who is believed to have brought it to Scotland. It had a muscular and powerful build, and was a strong and ruthless fighting dog. In the mid-1800s, these dogs participated regularly in the erstwhile sport of dog fighting. They started disappearing by around 1850-1900, and is believed to have evolved into American Pit Bull Terrier and Staffordshire Bull Terrier.
8. Cordoba Fighting Dog
Named after its place of origin, i.e. Cordoba in Argentina, this species was born by crossing the bull terrier with Mastiff, English Bulldog and Boxer. Their large bodies were generally solid white, with some brindle and fawn members, too. They were aggressive hunters, so much so that the males and females turned on each other instead of mating. Besides, many died in dog fighting pits. Eventually, they became extinct in the mid-20th century. Dogo Argentino is directly derived from them.
7. Kurī – Extinct Breeds of Dogs
The fox-like structure body and the fierce muzzle was not appealing enough, and were dismissed as treacherous and snappy, and had a poor sense of smell. Brought to New Zealand from Polynesia in the 13th century, these dogs, however, were great companions for the Maori women. These dogs served as a source of fur and meat. Besides, they were unable to survive interbreeding with European dogs. They became extinct by 1860, leaving behind three taxidermy examples.
6. Paisley Terrier
Originally from Scotland’s Paisley, this small and pretty dog was the erstwhile counterpart of Skye Terrier. Its long silky coat of tan and blue made it popular for shows, and was also bred as a companion. Sure enough, it pined for attention and togetherness. They were used to develop the much-loved breed of today named Yorkshire Terrier, which took away its glory in such a way that the Paisley faced disappearance in the 1800s.
5. Southern Hound
The breed is believed to be a cross of Talbot and Greyhounds, and was bred in Southern England in the 1400s. Armed with a keen sense of smell, these dogs could track day-old trails, and near the end of the Renaissance, their methodical and deliberate tracking skills were used in the popular sport of deer hunting. As they were slow, frustrated hunters crossed them with speedier canines for fox hunting, thus developing scent hounds, and leading to the Southern Hound’s extinction in the 1800s.
4. St. John’s Water Dog
The dogs with the characteristic black-and-white tuxedo pattern of coat were a mix of English, Irish and Portuguese working dogs, and lived in the 16th century in Newfoundland where fishermen relied on them for hauling lines and retrieving seas and ptarmigans. Taxes implemented on dog ownership, combined with quarantines on imported dogs in the UK, led to their extinction in 1980s, with the last two male species documented in the 1970s. Golden Retriever and Labrador are its descendants.
3. Talbot – Extinct Breeds of Dogs
In the Middle Ages, these dogs were reputed hunting companions, prized for their sense of smell and tracking abilities, despite slow speed. Brought to England in 1066 by William the Conqueror, as historians believe, the diligent white dogs were even used in battle, for law enforcement and in various forms of heraldry, and are featured on many coats of arms. Due to lack of purpose and need for care, they disappeared in the 16th century left behind beagles and bloodhounds.
2. Toy Trawler Spaniel
This breed is considered to be developed as the cross between the original Kin Charles Spaniel of the 16th century and the older variety of Sussex Spaniel In fact, it resembled the Kin Charles Spaniel physically, though it was much smaller. Initially bred as a sporting dog, came to be used petted as a toy and show dog. The breed faced extinction in 1920 with the death of the last of its kind, now preserved in the Natural History Museum at Tring in the U.K.
1. Hawaiian Poi Dog
This pariah dog breed of Polynesian origin was a spiritual protector of children, and were also a source of meat. They were fed poi, a mushy vegan diet, which led to the enlargement and fattening of heads. Lack of hunting needs led to their obesity. Gradually, the breed started to decline in the 18th century, due to lack of purpose with changing time and practices. European feral dogs interbred with them, and the poi dogs seized to exist as a distinct breed since the 20th century.
There are almost 40 breeds of dogs that have become extinct for various reasons. Some faced decline in popularity, some were unable to survive interbreeding, and many just attacked their own mates. Whatever be the reason, some many breeds, some adorable and others majestic, are no more to be found, though they have left behind some other, newer breeds which are very popular today.