July 9, 2014 PetGuide
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Native American Indian Dog

  • Height: 23-34 inches
  • Weight: 55-120 lb
  • Lifespan: 14-19 years
  • Group: Not Applicable
  • Best Suited For: Experienced dog owners, houses with yards, farms/rural areas, families with older children
  • Temperament: Intelligent, loyal, alert, patient
  • Comparable Breeds: Alaskan Malamute, Siberian Husky

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If you saw a Native American Indian Dog, your first instinct might be to think it was a wolf. The Native American Indian Dog is an attractive breed with a wild appearance very similar to their ancestors. These dogs can grow to be fairly large, achieving a maximum weight upwards of 100 lbs., with a light but strong build. Their intelligence is obvious in their bright, almond-shaped eyes which range in color from brown to amber. Always on the alert, the American Indian Dog’s ears are large and firmly pricked, making sure that it catches every sound that comes its way.

Though the striking appearance of the Native American Indian Dog is what draws most people in, it doesn’t take long to realize that these dogs are also highly intelligent. These dogs have been trained to fulfill a variety of roles as search and rescue dogs, therapy dogs, hunting companions, skijoring dogs and even family pets. Despite their wild appearance, the Native American Indian Dog makes a very good family pet (when properly socialized) and can get along quite well with children.

The Native American Indian Dog is an attractive breed with a wild appearance very similar to their ancestors.

Though the exact details of its origins are unknown, the Native American Indian Dog is thought to have similar heritage to the Dingo. In fact, many believe the Native American Indian Dog to be a missing link connecting to some of the first dogs domesticated by humans over 12,000 years ago. When various migrating groups and foreign traders visited North America, they brought with them native dogs from their homelands. The native inhabitants of North America bred these dogs with the Coyote that was native to North America, creating a distinct breed that came to be called the Common Indian Dog or the Common Native Dog. Throughout the 1700’s, Native Americans all over the continent bred different dogs to achieve unique breeds with specific abilities. This being the case, the original Native American Indian Dogs were a conglomeration of different breeds rather than a single, unified breed.

Modern breeders of the Native American Indian Dog strive to recreate the appearance and versatility of the dogs originally kept by Native Americans. Using historical documents left by missionaries, trappers and explorers, the Native American Indian Dog breed was founded and trademarked by Mrs. Karen Markel during the mid-1990s. The owner of Majestic View Kennels, Markel sought to achieve through selective breeding the most valuable traits of the original Native American Indian Dogs – intelligence, versatility, longevity and a hypoallergenic coat. Today, these dogs are prized for their hunting ability and are also used as therapy dogs, competition dogs and family pets.


The origins of the Native American Indian Dog, and thus his pedigree, are widely debated. This is a relatively recent and a very rare breed, so there’s still not much we know about it, but there is one important thing about Native American Indian Dog’s ancestry we do know about- these are NOT wolf hybrids. The stunning wild looks of the breed are just that- looks- and any breeder who says otherwise is a dubious one. Wolf hybrids or wolfdogs are the results of mating between a wolf and a domestic dog, and the Native American Indian Dog was developed only from domesticated dog breeds.

So, what does this hybrid’s family tree look like? The breed is commonly thought to have descended from the Common Indian Dog, dogs that were bred by Native Americans as a cross between the native Coyote and the dogs brought to the continent by traders and explorers. Breeders claim that it was the two dogs acquired from Native American tribes that started the breed. Then, multiple other wolf-like dog breeds were introduced to the gene pool, including Alaskan Malamute, Siberian Husky, German Shepherd, and Chinook. The exact ratio of breeds is not known, but the mix of these gorgeous dogs results in a truly unique canine with a good character to boot. Needless to say, breeding plays a crucial role- a good choice of breeding stock, responsible practices, and care for the health and wellbeing of the litter is essential for a well-balanced and healthy Native American Indian Dog.

As a hybrid breed, the Native American Indian Dog is not recognized by the American Kennel Club or its international counterparts. Owing to this, puppies won’t be eligible for official pedigree papers, but a responsible breeder should offer a certificate and/or health guarantee for their puppies.

What does one feed a dog that looks like a wolf? You might think that Native American Indian Dog would prefer hunting for his own meals based off of his looks, but the truth is that these pooches love kibble same as the next pet dog. With a good choice of high-quality dry food for dogs, your new pet will be set up to thrive. Of course, you should choose kibble that’s made from high-grade, natural ingredients with meat being the first item on the list. Avoid cheap brands full of fillers and artificial dyes and additives. As a rule of thumb, Native American Indian Dog does good on dry food adapted to his unique needs- formula for large, active dogs is usually a good fit. Also, make sure that the kibble is age-appropriate, as fast growing Native American Indian Dog puppies will have different needs than, say, an aging senior.

Some Native American Indian Dog owners prefer going the raw food route or cooking their dog homemade meals. This can also be a good option for your pet, but only if you know what type of nutrients and ratios they need to stay healthy. Make sure to consult with a vet first if you plan on making your pet’s food- otherwise, you could be risking serious damage to their health.

The Native American Indian Dog is a highly intelligent breed that has the capacity to respond very well to training.

The Native American Indian Dog is a highly intelligent breed that has the capacity to respond very well to training. These dogs are naturally eager to please, so they will respond well to a firm and consistent hand in training. Native American Indian Dogs are sensitive animals that tend to do best when their owner is firm in authority, but without being harsh or cruel. Consistency is the key to training these dogs properly

This breed is incredibly versatile. The Native American Indian Dog can be trained to perform a variety of working tasks as well as to compete in agility or obedience training. This breed has also been used as a service animal and is prized as a hunting companion.

A large- to extra-large-sized breed, the Native American Indian Dog weighs between 55 and 120 lbs. (25 to 55 kg) in adulthood.

native-american-indian-dog-2These dogs are known for their intelligence and loyalty. Not only are these dogs naturally eager to please, but they have been known to become extremely loyal and protective of their families. Due to their protective instincts, Native American Indian Dogs can be shy or aloof around strangers if they are not properly socialized from a young age.

Native American Indian Dogs make excellent family pets with proper training and socialization. Despite their wild roots, these dogs do tend to get along well with other dogs and household pets, even livestock. This breed tends to do well with children, though they are recommended for homes with older children who know how to handle a dog.

The most common health problem affecting this breed is hip dysplasia. This condition is passed down genetically, so it is important to do a proper health screening before breeding your dog (and before purchasing a puppy from a breeder). As a large-breed dog, caution should also be taken to prevent puppies from growing too quickly and putting unnecessary strain on the joints. To prevent overgrowth, do not keep these dogs on a puppy formula for more than 8 to 10 months.

The average lifespan of the Native American Indian Dog is between 14 and 19 years.

As an active breed, the Native American Indian dog requires moderate daily exercise. These dogs do not do well cooped up in a small apartment or kept in a crate – they need to have room to stretch their legs. For the most part, a long daily walk or a brisk jog will be enough to satisfy this dog’s exercise requirements.

Not only are these dogs naturally eager to please, but they have been known to become extremely loyal and protective of their families.

The Native American Indian Dog is not recognized by the AKC but it is recognized by the Native American Indian Dog Registry (NAID), the National Kennel Club (NKC) and the Dog Registry of America, Inc. (DRA).

Native American Indian Dogs come in two different sizes and exhibit two different coat lengths and colors. The coat may be short and dense with an undercoat to protect against wind or water – it can also be a dense undercoat with a long overcoat. The color of the coat ranges from silver to black, often with a broken or tortoiseshell pattern.

One of the most valuable qualities of this breed is its hypoallergenic coat which makes it a good breed for people who suffer from allergies. These dogs do shed their undercoat once a year in the spring so frequent brushing during this time will help to control shedding indoors.

Because these dogs are highly intelligent, they can also be fairly strong-willed. This being the case, it is essential that you start the socialization process as early as possible and maintain consistent obedience training throughout the puppy’s young life.

Photo credit: Kobidog/Wikimedia; staci myers/Flickr; Houndofthenight/deviantart

Comparable Breeds

Go to Alaskan Malamute

Alaskan Malamute

  • Height: 23-25 inches
  • Weight: 75-85 lb
  • Lifespan: 12-15 years
  • Group: AKC Working
  • Best Suited For: Families with children, active singles and seniors, houses with yards
  • Temperament: Fun-loving, strong willed, independent, hard working
  • Comparable Breeds: Akita, Siberian Husky
Go to Siberian Husky

Siberian Husky

  • Height: 20-24 inches
  • Weight: 35-60 lb
  • Lifespan: 11-13 years
  • Group: AKC Working
  • Best Suited For: Families with children, active singles, houses with yards
  • Temperament: Adventurous, playful, alert, clever
  • Comparable Breeds: Akita, Alaskan Malamute