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In ecology, the term pariah dog refers to free-ranging dogs that occupy an ecological niche based on waste from human settlements. When used in this manner, the term describes a large percentage of dogs worldwide, especially in developing countries, Eastern Europe and the Balkans.
While most pariah dogs are free-ranging, not all free-ranging dogs are genetically pariah dogs. Though they are "outcasts" in the social sense, and thus may still be called pariahs by observers who are not cynologists, feral dogs may be of any or mixed breeds. Individual dogs may be stray pets, descended from strays, or from litters abandoned by owners. They may live in packs, pairs, or singly.
All authentic strains of pariah dogs are at risk of losing their genetic uniqueness by interbreeding with purebred and mixed-breed strays. To prevent this from happening, some strains of pariah dogs are becoming formally recognized, registered, and pedigreed as breeds in order to preserve the pure type.
Breed groups in kennel clubs
The United Kennel Club (United States) recognizes purebred dogs bred for chasing large game in the Sighthound & Pariah Group. Included in this group are breeds that are either of early origin or modern reconstructions of early breeds or types. The group includes the Afghan Hound, Azawakh, Basenji, Borzoi, Canaan Dog, Carolina Dog, Chart Polski (Polish Greyhound), Cirneco dell'Etna, Greyhound, Hungarian Greyhound, Ibizan Hound, Irish Wolfhound, New Guinea Singing Dog, Pharaoh Hound, Portuguese Podengo, Rhodesian Ridgeback, Saluki, Scottish Deerhound, Sinhala Hound, Silken Windhound, Sloughi, Spanish Greyhound, Thai Ridgeback, Whippet, and Xoloitzcuintli.
In place of "pariah", which is derived from the Tamil word paraiyar and was first used in English in 1613 referring to a lower class within the traditional Indian caste system or "social outcasts", most registries other than United Kennel Club use the term "primitive". Primitive in the sense of "relating to an earliest or original stage or state" or "being little evolved from an early ancestral type" to refer to pariah-type dogs. The Fédération Cynologique Internationale, for example, places its pariah-type dogs within a breed group designated "Spitz and Primitive."
The Carolina Dog, found in the southeastern United States of America, is one example of a pariah-type feral dog. The Carolina Dog closely resembles feral dogs found in deserts of middle eastern countries. Both the desert dog (known as the Canaan Dog) and Carolina Dog are recognized as purebred by major registries.[unreliable source?]
Indian pariah dog
Indian pariah dogs are typically medium-sized and have yellow to rust-colored coats. Indian feral dogs are thought to be the ancestral stock of Australian Dingo. A 2004 Swedish study of mitochondrial DNA found that dingoes originated from southern China and not from India. A later study on indigenous australian DNA supports the conclusion that sea-farers from India arrived in northern Australia 4,000 years ago and the authors propose that these people may have brought their dogs with them, which may constitute the ancestral population of the dingo. A later genetic study of both mitochondrial and nuclear DNA found that the dingo is a divergent subspecies of the gray wolf and is considered genetically to be a basal member of the domestic dog clade, indicating that it cannot be a descendant of the Indian pariah dog.
- United Kennel Club. "United Kennel Club: Breed information". Archived from the original on 2011-01-03. Retrieved 2008-04-22.
- "pariah - definition of pariah". TheFreeDictionary. Retrieved 2008-04-26.
- The American Heritage Dictionary of the English Language, 4th edition. "primitive: Definition, Synonyms, More". Dictionary. Houghton Mifflin Company. Retrieved 2008-04-26.
adj. Not derived from something else; primary or basic. Of or relating to an earliest or original stage or state; primeval. Being little evolved from an early ancestral type.
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