Warm greetings to all the dog lovers! Recently, I was walking in a library and I was amazed to see loads of books written just on Dogs! There was a big encyclopedia devoted to them, Genius dogs and the one that caught my eye was a book named Dog Bible. Although, I felt like it was blasphemous, but I still cajoled myself to read it. When I picked it up, I weighed down my critical feelings with a better positive attitude; thinking that the Bible is such a revered and trusted upon book, that people can definitely use its name to show that something they are writing is of great value.
One by one, I started reading them and once again, it left me in awe to see so many species of dogs which were so articulately defined. It boosted my knowledge bank about dogs. I picked up the ones that I found the most intriguing, which are now counted as the extinct or extant (rarely found) species.
Every dog has a history in sports. There are various species which were developed only for sporting activities.
I. Pack Hunting
Our canine friends have been our companions for over a thousand years. There was a time, when hunting was the favorite sport of people, specifically in India, China, Egypt, Persia and then it moved on the whole of Europe. They required little training to do so, because of their origins from the wild animals like wolves, jackals, fox, hyena and coyote. A few of the pack hunting dogs that are extanct, but not yet extinct are:
(A) Raccoon Dog
Named so because its fur resembles that of a raccoon, but its facial features are like that of a fox. It can be mistaken for a fox at the first sight. A rare white phase specie is found only in China and Japan.
Dhole- is an Indian wild dog which is found in other Asian, European and North American countries as well. These are also known by names like the Red Dog or the Whistling Dog. They are great hunters and were found as pets of kings during 1800s.
(C) Bush Dog
Bush Dog- It belongs to the family of Canidae. Adult bush dogs have soft long brownish-tan fur, with a lighter reddish tinge on the head, neck and back and a bushy tail, while the underside is dark, sometimes with a lighter throat patch. Younger individuals, however, have black fur over their entire bodies. They are found in Central and North America and is believed to be extinct.
(D) African Wild Dog
African Wild Dog- This powerful hunter dog is now listed as being threatened with extinction. It is specially known for not having dewclaws. It was classified as endangered in 2016 by IUCN.
II. Fighting and Baiting
Fighting and Baiting- though it was a treachrous thing to do with dogs, but it sadly persisted throughout America and Europe. The game was that a bull would be tied so that it could move only in a radius of 30 feet. The dog’s part was to agitate the bull to the extent that it moves further towards it. The dog was used as an object to immobilize the bull. After bull baiting was prohibited, people started using dogs for bear baiting. Mainly, Mastiffs were used for gladiatorial combat purposes and they were specially bred for fighting sports. The Old English Bulldog is an extinct breed of dog. Historians are fairly confident that the Old English Bulldog is derived from ancient war dogs, such as the old Mastiff or Alaunt. Another dog called The Dogo Cubano (Cuban Dogge) is a the mix of a Cuban Bloodhound and Cuban Mastiff is an extinct dog breed from Cuba. It was of the Bullmastiff type and was used for bull and dog fighting. The breed was introduced in Cuba to capture runaway slaves. After the abolition of slavery, they ceased to exist in time. The Cuban Mastiff developed from several breeds of bulldogs, Mastiffs and cattle dogs, becoming an ideal fighter and property guardian.
III. Herd Keeping & Small Game Hunters
Where in America, Rome and Europe, Mastiffs were used for bull baiting; in Afghanistan, Japan and Turkey, they were used as herd keepers. They were kept to guard their flocks from wild animals or thieves. They fell under the category of Sheep herder and Cow herder. There were dogs, which were kept as Small Game Hunters. One of the specie that is rare to find is Mahratta Greyhound. Greyhounds were also used for racing for almost a hundred years.This particular Greyhound is unknown outside its province of Mahratta, India. It is a compact sighthound, well muscled, deep chested and strong backed.
IV. Coursing and Racing
Even before the sport of polo or camel jockey existed, dogs were used for racing and coursing. Mainly Greyhounds and Sighthounds were used for these sports. Banjara Greyhound is one of the rare species that is indigenous to India. Its origins can be found in either Sloughi or the Afghan Hound, but has a distinct feature of a squarer muzzle and a fur mottled with grey or blue. Pure Banjara breeds are hardly found now, since they are mostly bred with the Pariah dogs now.
Below mentioned are the specific species of dogs which have been called extinct now:
(A) The St. John’s water dog
The St. John’s water dog, also known as the St. John’s dog or the lesser Newfoundland, was a landrace of domestic dog from Newfoundland. It is random-bred mix of old English, Irish and Portuguese working dogs. They were much loved because of their usual adaptive and sporty behavior. They were favorite dogs of fishermen because they have extraordinary qualities of being obedient and even tempered. They were said to have excellent water skills and were apparently good at catching fish for their masters too. The St. John’s water dog is the ancestor of the modern retrievers, including the Flat Coated Retriever, Curly Coated Retriever, the Chesapeake Bay Retriever, the Golden Retriever, and the Labrador Retriever. They were also called water dogs because of their love for water and coat which was water resistant.
(B) Alpine Spaniel
The Alpine Spaniel is an extinct breed of dog which was used in mountain rescues by the Augustinian Canons, who run hospices in the region around the Great St. Bernard Pass. The spaniel was a large dog notable for its thick curly coat. One of the most famous specimens of the Alpine Spaniel is Barry, however his preserved body has been modified on more than one occasion to fit with descriptions of the extinct breed from earlier time periods. The breed is thought to be the predecessor to the modern St. Bernard and the Clumber Spaniel. Toy Trawler Spaniel is also an extinct specie which was a mix of Kin Charles Spaniel and Sussex Spaniel. It faced extinction in 1920.
(c) Molossian Hound
This ancient extinct breed of dog is considered to be the ancestor of today’s Mastiff-type dogs and of many other modern breeds. Mastiff-type dogs are often referred to as Molossus dogs or Molossers. It is one of the best-known breeds of antiquity; however, its function and physical characteristics are debated.
Woof! Our world would have been so much better if these species could have been taken care of. Imagine, how many more breeds with distinct features we could have created.