Tahltan Bear Dogs and Pueblo Indian Dogs

The Tahltan bear dogs were found mostly with the Tahltan Indians of the Pacific Northwest territories in Canada, but they traded their dogs with many other tribes around them. These same small, shorter haired dogs were also found in the southwestern Indian groups of America. I was always amazed at how similar these two types were from Indian groups so far apart. Now with new research and talking with Tahltan Indians, we now know that these are actually related cultures with the same languages and traditions. The Tahltans, Navaho and southern Apache used to make long trips for trading and cultural exchanges, so this explains the obvious similarities of their dogs. There was also a small longer haired dog found in the southwest that seems to be very similar to the Hare Dogs found just in the northeastern parts of the continent. This brings up the possibility of the Tahltans or Northeastern tribes also trading these dogs with the Southwestern tribes or through the Plains groups.

The last Tahltan Indian Dog in the Canadian Kennel Club Registry

Tahltans were smaller than the Plains dogs by about 2 to 3 inches

They had huge ears and shorter hair,
very simaler to the Pueblo Dogs


One thing for sure is the close relationship of all the dogs to the Plains Dogs. The Pueblo and Tahltans were also used to create the Plains dogs thousands of years ago and we have also used them in combination with all the types of Indian Dogs in our American Indian Dogs breeding program. We still have some almost pure lines of Tahltan that we are trading with the Tahltans in an attempt to save their Bear Dogs.

Tahltan lines used in the American Indian Dog breeding program years ago

One of the modern Tahltan lines within the A.I.Dogs bloodlines

Notice big ears, short hair and old “lead” color in modern American Indian dog lines

The Tahltan and Pueblo were and are a tough, little, rather barky, hunting (both under water and out), tracking with sight and scent, tree climbing and herding dog. Barking while on the track and in the tree. I’ve even seen them bark under water, when sight hunting fish. The Native Americans used to pack these dogs on their backs to where other tracking dogs had taken them. When they caught the scent real strong they would turn their dogs loose and the dogs would tree the bear, sometimes climbing the tree and pulling down the bears. The meat was shared and packed home on the backs of the dogs.

Notice the smaller size to the Common and Plains and the sable markings

The Pueblo Dogs were found all the way
down into South America

The southern Navaho and Apache tribes had the small Pueblo Dogs

Notice the similarities of the modern American Indian dog with
Pueblo lines to the old.

The Tahltans were registered with the Canadian Kennel club up until the early 60’s at which time they thought they were completely extinct, but some survived and maybe by trading some bloodlines and some careful selective breeding and keeping them underground from the greedy rare breed mongers, they just may make a comeback. The CKC called me for their Canadian Bicentennial celebrations and asked if I would bring some of my Tahltan bloodlines to the celebration. I told them, "Yeah, right!", so they could steal them away? Now they have a very bad example on a Canadian stamp of the “so called” Tahltan bear dog, that never had spots. The ARBC; A rare breed club, already tried to take my Tahltan bloodlines away from me back in the late 60's and again in the 90's – They didn’t succeed and never will, despite their political hoax and warning sites.

“Dream Catcher” shows that very typical Old Pueblo Indian Dog look

The Pueblo are very closely related to the Northern Tahltan Indian Dogs

These dogs were the smallest of all the working Indian Dog types ranging from 17” to 19” at the shoulders and 25 to 35 lbs – about 2” shorter than the Plains dogs. The Pueblo Indians used their longer haired dogs for making long flowing wigs for ceremonies, plus weaving into clothing and rope. They were found in all the sable solid colors common in the Plains dogs with the blacks and blues (lead) being most common and with white on the chest, sometimes the feet and a shorter bushy tail.

Our respective bloodlines are alive and well within our breeding program and the Tahltans themselves have a breeding program they are keeping safe. So hopefully they won’t become just another political game for the big name dog registry’s that seem to enjoy ruining every breed they can get their hands on, starting with the rare breeds.

Click on the links below to see articles and photos of both the
old and new American Indian Dogs.

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