July 22, 2009

Indian dog steals baby

Native American Indian dog snatches newborn infant from crib, baby in critical condition

By Helena SungA tragic incident this week is bringing attention to a heretofore little known dog breed: the Native American Indian dog.

A family in Nicholasville, Kentucky brought their newborn baby, Alexander James Smith, home from the hospital this past Sunday. On Monday at about 1 p.m., the baby's father was horrified to see the family dog, a Native American Indian dog named Dakota, standing in the yard with the baby in its mouth.

The father gave chase, but the dog ran into the woods, later returning--alone. Luckily, the terrified father found little baby Alexander crying in the bushes about 150 yards away. He had cuts and punctures to his face and body, but he was alive, reports the Lexington Herald-Leader.
Infant snatched from crib by dog remains in critical condition

By Greg KocherThe Smiths have two Native American Indian dogs and a black Labrador named Maggie.

Michael Smith said they chose to get Native American Indian dogs in part because "my wife had done extensive research on them, and they're great family pets. She had talked to the breeder and had talked to other owners" of these types of dogs.

They got Dakota and Nikita from a Michigan breeder. He described the dogs' grandparents "as 90 percent wolf."

"They are the most mild-mannered dogs you could have," Smith said. "We've had them for four years, since they were pups."
Comment:  Some reactions posted on Facebook:Randi Rourke Barreiro
Would they have used the breed in the headline if it were a German Shepard?

Rob Schmidt
Indian dogs on the warpath! Look out, America!

Dave King
What you need to be concerned about is the white supremacist dog. He sports a shaved head, tattoos and genital piercings. They are very aggressive in packs and seem rather feeble when alone.
The first article does seem a bit inflammatory. Is the dog's breed really the key fact? This article hints that Indian dogs, like Indians, are savages at heart.

Is there really such a thing as a "Native American Indian dog" (NAID)? Here's more on the story:

Native American Indian DogThe NAID is a recreation and not an ancient breed, created by one breeder who has put a registered trademark on the NAID name. No authentic purebred is owned by anyone.

Some take it a step further and claim:

Any dog sold as an Indian dog is not even a recreation. Original native dogs are extinct and have been since before the invention of photography. Indians themselves did not have a pure breed of dog. Theirs were mixed dogs. With the arrival of the Europeans, these dogs became interbred with dogs from Europe and other countries. Because the dogs were never a purebred dog, and because no one bothered to study into them much, it would be impossible to "recreate" them. The NAID were originally bred by crossing wolfdogs and are a new type of dog started by one breeder.
Baby's injuries spark debate over wolflike dog

By Amy Wilson, Greg Kocher and Emily UlberWhen Michael Smith, Alexander's father, spoke to the media Tuesday, he said Dakota was "a Native American Indian" breed and said the breeder told him the dog's grandparentage as "90 percent wolf."

Critics argue that hybrids are unpredictable and dangerous, that they make poor pets and that there is no rabies vaccine available for wolves or their hybrids. Proponents claim the hybrid wolf is a good companion and is useful in educating the public about wolves. Many claim "once you have had a wolf hybrid, you will never own a dog again."

Mary Ann Zeigenfuse, a Lexington dog trainer and owner of Best Friends Obedience, said if Dakota is part wolf, she is no expert.

"If this is a wolf-hybrid, this is not a dog," she said. "It is still partly undomesticated. It may, in some cases, have no fear of humans."

When asked if she and loving pet owners could domesticate a wolf, she responded, "if I had 10,000 years."

There have been numerous reports of wolf hybrids injuring people, sometimes fatally. In 2002 in Ballard County, a wolf hybrid killed a 5-year-old boy; the animal's owner pleaded guilty to a charge of reckless homicide.

Janece Rollet, a certified canine behaviorist in Georgetown, is among the people who say that wolf hybrids are potential trouble. She said they are essentially wild animals.
And:Spokesmen for the American Kennel Club and United Kennel Club said Wednesday that those registry organizations do not recognize the Native American Indian dog as a breed.

However, do an Internet search and you will find sites that refer to Native American Indian dogs. According to Web sites devoted to the dog, there are only five breeders in the United States, and there's much discussion about their position and whether they have any verifiable claim to a dog with a specific native American origin with wolf ancestry.

Apparently, even the legal status of the dog has been challenged by some Native Americans.

Sherman Jett, supervisor of Jessamine County Animal Control, said he has never heard of a Native American Indian dog, nor has his predecessor. Beckey Reiter, director of Boone County Animal Control, also said "that's not a breed I'm aware of."

Jett said he could not say with certainty what type of animal Dakota is. "I honestly don't know," he said.

There are animals known as Native American dogs, "but they do not contain wolf," said Rollet. Native American dogs, she said, "are a combination of multiple, larger dogs: husky, German shepherd, malamute and so on."
It's still not clear if there's a separate breed called a Native American Indian dog. If it's a combination of other breeds, I don't see how it can be a breed itself.

But it seems clear Dakota is a wolf hybrid, not another kind of dog. The breeder may have called it a "Native American Indian dog" to make it sound more official and impressive and charge a higher price.

For more on the subject, see Indian Dog Training?


Anonymous said...

Regardless if there is such a breed called "the Native American Indian dog", it would be nice to have a breed in that name, along the catagories of larger dogs such as German Shepards, Malemute, Siberian Husky, etcetera.
Personally, I would love to own a "Native American Indian dog", but my climate doesn't permit it, since its over 100degrees here everyday during the summer, early fall and late spring in Maricopa County.


dmarks said...

Anon: There were true Native American dogs that were diminutive and looked quite similar to today's Chihuahua. I'm sure their modern relatives would have little problem in your climate. compared to shaggy northern breeds of dogs.

Tala's Mom said...

apparently a lot of you all just read over the fact that the dog was treating the baby like it would a puppy. it gripped it as gently as it could by the upper chest area, one of two spots a dog carries a puppy (the other being the "scruff" of the back of the neck) Dakota was by no means being vicious, she was trying to protect it, not kill it! believe me, if a 100lb (give or take) dog really thought the 6lb baby was a toy or anything else, that baby would NOT have made it out of the house alive. because the baby was only 4 days old it would be rather "fragile", the bones would be small, the skull would still have had the "soft spot" the trauma did not result from an "attack" on the baby, it came from being carried through the woods.
believe me when i say A NATIVE AMERICAN INDIAN DOG WOULD NEVER INTENTIONALLY HURT A CHILD if raised right (just like ANY other breed mind you). a NAID is really one of the most friendly and gentle dogs i have ever seen and had the pleasure to OWN. my 6 month old puppy (at 70lbs), Tala Koda is always calm, never rambunctious, especially around children. its like an instinct for them, they just know not to be rough around kids. my 1 year old neice is just FACINATED by the dogs mouth and he just sits there, mouth hanging open while she grabs his tongue and teeth and screaming and laughing. what a vicious dog right??
also, so many people get so upset over the name of this breed! who cares? us NAID owners didnt buy the breed because its "a recreation" we bought them because of their amazing personality, intelligence (yes thats the wolf) and their appearance! and yes, most of us know there is wolf in them, it just makes them all the more friendly! timid at first of course, but they have are exceptionally smart! my NAID, Tala, is training to be a Search and Rescue/Cadaver Dog!
now enough with the dog, lets skip to the parents shall we? we all know its a tragedy to have your little baby endure something like this, its every parents nightmare, but WHY would you leave the little baby alone with three dogs? it doesnt matter what kind (remember there are probably hundreds of NAIDs in the US now, this is the ONLY incident! what if it was a GSD or another large breed dog?)... you should NEVER NEVER leave an infant alone with any dog, especially ones who hadnt grown up with babies. the fact that Dakota had time to go upstairs, get the baby from the crib, go BACK downstairs and out the door without being seen or heard tells me the parents really werent paying much attention.. what happened to baby monitors anyways? they cost $10-$25 and they couldnt afford one but they could afford to buy two NAIDs at $1500 each?? thats rediculous. if you ask me, it was as much the parents fault as it was the dogs...

Tala's Mom said...

i made the mistake of not reading the rest of the posts.. the info and stupidity of these people is making my head spin!

Mary Ann Zeigenfuse is obviously not an expert in wolf OR DOG!! does she even know that EVERY SINGLE DOG BREED ORIGINATED FROM WOLVES???? if she was an "expert" on dogs, she would know this. and she is a HORRIBLE HORRIBLE trainer if she thinks it would take 10,000 years to domesticate an animal!! hahahaha she does realize that labradors, golden retrievers, german shepherds (only 60 years away from wolf), and EVERY SINGLE DOMESTICATED DOG is not even 2000 years old?? is she saying that the beloved golden retrievers of the US family home are not domesticated??? she is seriously retarded!! get some help Zeigenfuse and get some common sence before you try to sound intelligent ok?
secondly, the NAID IS the Native American Dog they are referring to. the NAIDs are a combination of the following breeds: German Shepherd, Malamut, Siberian Husky, and Chinook and of course there is some wolf thrown in but many people deny this, making people think there are NAIDs and the native american dog. there is no difference, just people who try to deny the fact that there is wolf in the mix.
also, the AKC sucks, it causes so much cruelty in animals its unreal (tail cropping, ear cropping etc etc...)! i would not register a dog with them EVER. the NAIDs ARE registered with the National Kennel Club.
and who said that the NAID "cant possibly be a breed because its a mix of other breeds"???? that is the STUPIDEST thing i have ever heard someone say about dog breeds!! dont they know that, to get all these fansy new "breeds" and the new "designer" dogs (oh isnt AKC accepting the poodle mutts? huh weird!). thats essentually what the NAIDs are, designer dogs with a better personality, more intelligence and a better appearance and durability!
im sorry but these people making such stupid statements should do their research and grow a damn brain before they speak to the press!

Rob said...

I didn't say the NAID "can't possibly" be a dog breed, Tala's Mom. I said "I don't see how it can be a breed." These are different statements with different intents. One is about the objective reality and the other is about my subjective knowledge, which is admittedly limited.

But here's a definition of a purebred dog breed. Let us know if it applies to the NAID:


The definition of a "purebred" in the dictionary is the following--"bred for many generations from a member of a recognized breed or strain: a pedigreed animal of unmixed lineage." According to the AKC a purebred dog means, "the sire and dam of a dog are members of a recognized breed and that the ancestry of a dog consists of the same breed over many generations."

Rob said...

Let's recall the facts, Tala's Mom. Indians didn't have a single or pure breed of dog, so it's not possible to have a breed descended from "Indian dogs." As DMarks noted, the closest thing to an exclusively Indian dog is the Chihuahua, which the Aztecs bred.

Here's some more information on ancient dog breeds:



Rob said...

As for the controversy over whether the North American Indian dog qualifies as a breed, two major kennel organizations don't recognize it. Therefore, don't chastise me for reporting the dispute. When everyone agrees the NAID is real and not the work of a few breeders trying to profit from wolf hybrids, I'll be happy to say so.

dmarks said...

Rob: There's a book about the aboriginal dogs of the Americas, and their fate. From what I recall, they were similar to Chihuahuas in look (even if larger) and were considered inferior and were targeted (at least informally) for extermination.

I can't recall the name of the book. I read it about 20 years ago.

Here is one book:


Here is an article:


I can't help but notice the mispelling in this sentence: "In all, many dogs filled rolls within Indian cultures". I'm sure the author was not referring to dogmeat being stuffed in baked pastries.

And check this:


Unknown said...

When will arrogant people understand that humans are not at the top of the food chain? The American Kennel Club does not recognize the "Native American Indian Dog" as a breed. An animal that has grandparents that were ninety percent wolf is not a domesticated animal.
What is the attraction? The cultural name "Native American Indian Dog? Everyone should have pride in their own culture and stop trying to ride on the coattails of another culture they really don't know anything about except what is incorrectly portrayed in the media.

Unknown said...

I sincerely hope the AKC NEVER recognizes NAIDS as a breed as I would hate to see such a wonderful breed of dog DESTROYED in the same way so many other "fasionable" breeds have been by the AKC!

As to Native Americans only having owned "diminutive" dogs much like a Chihuahua: Are you kidding me??? I can well believe there were some tribes where such dogs were kept as pets (or to control the rodent population) but I find it incredibly difficult to believe that no Native Americans ever owned ANY dog large enough to WORK! That notion doesn't even make BAD sense!

As to the AKC and the definition of a "breed" of dog, well, they've pretty well locked it in so that THEY control whether or not it's considered a "breed" haven't they? How very convenient for the AKC! (I know this reads "angry" but actually I'm laughing - it's just my style of writing, really!) Let's look at their "definition":

"bred for many generations". Please define "many" in this sentence. Oh, wait, IT'S THE AKC who decides how many is "many"!

"the sire and dam of a dog are members of a RECOGNIZED breed". Well, that's kind of a catch-22 isn't it, since THE AKC DECIDES WHETHER OR NOT A BREED IS "RECOGNIZED"!

Please remember, people: The AKC is a BUSINESS, not a charity and their "rules" are set up to protect the business! Using the AKC to determine whether or not the NAIDs are a "breed" is just plain foolish.

There is relatively little wolf in the current generation of NAIDs - no more, in fact, than you would find in the four breeds from which it sprung. And it's irrelevant in the context of domestication: Wolves can be and have been "domesticated" and many - oh, let's just call them "recognized" - breeds have sprung from crossing other breeds or even MUTTS with wolves in the past! To say the NAIDs are "not a breed" based on "wolf content" is just plain ridiculous!

To those who are offended by the name, I have two questions:

1) There is a "Caucasian Shepherd" or "Caucasian Mountain Dog". Doesn't "Caucasian" denote a White person? Should I be offended by this? I don't know if any of them have ever carried off a baby but perhaps I should just get offended in advance and get a jump on things?

2) How offended would anyone be by the name of this breed if the dog had picked up the baby and carried him from a burning house? If THAT had been the first you'd ever heard of this breed, would your reaction to the name be the same?

Unknown said...

I need to add another comment to this due to the notion that a "wolf dog" MUST be dangerous because of past attacks:

Pomeranians have been known to kill babies! Seriously, just google "pomeranian attack".

Should we outlaw Poms or warn people not to have them as pets?

People have a habit of thinking of their pets not as members of the family but as HUMAN members of the family! Of the three dogs in my house - a Springer Spaniel/Pit bull mix, a Shelty/Schipperkee mix and a NAID - the only one I will allow near my 16 month old granddaughter is the NAID and that ONLY under close supervision.

They are ANIMALS for cripes sake!! They do NOT have human instincts or human intelligence and it is up to the OWNER to properly supervise the dogs during interaction with people or other animals! I love all my dogs but I also KNOW their personalities. The other two aren't vicious, they're just too hyper to be allowed close contact with the baby!

It's called "responsible pet ownership"!

Rob said...

I don't see any reason to trust NAID breeders or owners over the AKC, Hollyhock. These individuals have a financial or emotional investment in proving their "breed" is real.

The definition I gave came only partly from the AKC. If you don't like it, give us your own definition. So far all I can tell is that a breed is whatever you say it is.

How many generations does it take before a dog is a separate breed? I don't know. You seem to be a dog expert, so you tell us. Give us a number and then we'll discuss it.

I'd say a dog pretty clearly isn't a separate breed when its grandparents are 90% wolf. Do you disagree? Because that's the description we have of the so-called NAID in question.

Rob said...

I'm not sure anyone here is offended by the "Indian dog" name. I know I'm not. I just said it plays into certain Native stereotypes. Stereotypes are often like other mistakes to me: dumb but not offensive.

The Caucasian Shepherd dog is named for the Caucasus Mountains, not the Caucasian race. The race is also named for the mountains, but the dog isn't named for the race. The NAID is named for the Amerindian race, so it's different.

Rob said...

For more on the subject, see Is "Indian Dog" a Breed?

kmd said...


Caucasian Shepherd Dogs (also called Caucasian Mountain Dogs, Caucasian Sheepdogs) are so named because of the geographic region from which they were bred -- i.e. the Caucasus Mountains.

They are not so named because white people bred them.

But this is a fascinating recreation of the way that the four "races" we currently use were created.


These categories were created in the 17th century by two European men. Note that three of the four are based on geographic regions, and only the fourth, intentionally lowest on the hierarchy, is based on color.

In any case. "Native American Indian Dog" is not based on a region it is based on some white breeders' racist notions of NDNs as closer to nature, more primitive, less civilized etc etc. Also those breeders are obviously correct in their guess that lots of dog owners would have the same racist stereotypes and be more likely to pay lots of money for a Genuwine Dog of the Savages.