Semi-Domesticated Coyotes and Early Native American Dogs

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Many wild coyotes go around attacking pets and giving the canines a bad name, but coyotes were once - and with some special breeders, still are - the Native American equivalent of dogs that were native to Europe. According to the 1978 book The Clever Coyote which was published by the University of Nebraska Press, coyotes were likely semi-domesticated by multiple different pre-Columbian Native American cultures. Some nineteenth-century writers wrote about how coyotes were kept by some of the native villages in the Great Plains.

How did these people manage to take a creature as wild as the coyote and make them act like many of the common dog breeds we have around? Well, it started with them finding coyote pups and taming them at a young age. Trying this particular method does not really work on adult coyotes but if you start young, you can have a semi-domesticated canine that acts like any domesticated canine. Coyotes have been able to be trained to retrieve items for their owners, allowing many Native Americans to use them as gun dogs that retrieve game for hunters. Coyotes were also trained to be able to behave like pointer dogs & point towards game or items of interest.

Many people in modern times own coyotes as domesticated canines too, so this is not just something for the Native Americans of yesteryear. For example, there is a girl in the United Kingdom that owns a coyote named Wiley as a pet & several states allow people to own domesticated coyotes as pets. This post is still a post in honor of Max the German Shepherd and while this article was not about Shepherds, we felt like it was still an interesting fact about a species of canine someone can treat as their own companion the way Max was a special companion before his passing...

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