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Hare Indian Dog: an Extinct Breed

Hare Indian Dog


Hare Indian Dog

Yes, the Hare Indian dog is extinct due to breeding with other dogs The Hare Indians were a tribe that lived largely in Northeastern Canada, the United States, the McKenzie River and the largest lake that is totally in Canada. The great Bear lake extends Southwest to Lake Winnipeg, Lake Superior and then West to the McKenzie River,. Although the dogs are named for the Hare Indian Tribe the Bear, Mountain, Dogrib, Cree, Slave, and Chippewa tribes also owned them. Like other working breed dogs they were found in smaller numbers in other areas.

Sometimes referred to as Trap Line Dogs the Hare Indian dogs were sometimes used for checking traps with the hunters in canoes or snow shoes who packed the beaver skins out.

They are somewhat small, 17” to 19”, longhaired dogs, very refined and lean built. They might remind one of a Collie in appearance.

Black and White




The writer of the article in Song Dog Kennels on Indian dogs states that  the dogs could be related to the Viking dogs that were introduced 2,000 years ago. And probably mixed with Inuit and older Hare type dogs. And mixed with the Common Tahitian dogs to become the Plaines type. They had a very similar look and personality to the Icelandic dogs of the present. This would also be evidence of the Viking dog relationship theory. The Inuit’s dogs were also very collie like and smaller back then, as all the Indian dogs at that time. They were probably more related to each other then, unlike the differences now between the Inuit and Icelandic’s dogs. The Inuit dog has become larger and more husky like in modern times. The largest Malamutes from pre-Columbian times were never over 75 lbs. There are fake Native American dogs that are over this weight but no real ones would be over 75 lbs.



According to the Elders and early explorers the Hare dogs were very friendly, affectionate and playful, even with strangers. An early explorer explained that the Hare Dogs are fond of being caressed and rubbed on the back against you like a cat. They loved everyone they met. This was a way to identify the Hare dog years ago when finding foundation for Hare bloodlines. The modern Icelandic dogs also have this personality, which establishes another factor in the theory of the Icelandic relationship to the Hare dog. Many of the modern American Indian dogs have this quality, which was passed down from the Hare dogs.

Although very loving, docile and small the Hare dogs were very fast hunting and herding dogs that rarely barked, They were strong for their size and could be used for pulling toboggans, sleds and for packing, according to the Song dog Kennels article, although the Wikipedia article contradicts this. They could climb trees like cats and pull birds and game from the trees. They were silent hunters and could surprise game.


The Hare dog had a very slender head and elongated muzzle, large erect thickish ears pointed and broad at the base and closer together than those of the Canadian Eskimo dog. Gray eyes and light yellow, slender legs with webbed hairy feet and a bushy tail. They had longer hair around their shoulders with a ruff and britches. The fur of the muzzle was short and white, as were the legs, although it was longer and thicker at the feet.

Usually there is a dark patch above the eyes and darker sable coloring shadowed through the longer hair coats. They were found in the same colors as Plains and Tahitian Dogs.

It was somewhere between the sizes of the coyote and the American red fox.


A smaller version

There was also a shorter haired version called “the small Indian dog that was found in the warmer climates down the Atlantic coast and down into the tip of South America but they were not as numerous as the populations concentrated in the Hare Dogs territories. These dogs may have been related to Pueblo dogs, the Hare dogs or possibly both. Small Indian dogs were also used for herding fish into nets and thick forest hunters in the Amazon forests climbing trees silently after monkeys.


The Hare Indians used the dogs for coursing that is hunting by sight rather than scent. It was bred for speed and was something like a coyote. It ceased to be used as aboriginal hunting methods declined.

The breed might have originated from crossbreeding Tahitian dogs and dogs brought to North America by the Vikings during the Norse colonization of the Americas. It does have similarities to Icelandic breeds in appearance and behavior, such as a cat like body rubbing to express affection.

It appears that the Hare Indians and neighboring tribes living in Northern territories of Canada and the United States kept and used the dogs. They were not large enough to bring down large game like moose and reindeer their small size and broad feet allowed the pursuit of large animals in the deep snow. They could keep them at bay until the men arrived. A general belief among Indians was that the dog’s origins were connected to the Arctic fox. European biologist who first examined the Hare dogs found them identical to the coyote in build although the two species were not sympatric.

© 2011 Don A. Hoglund

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Richard Welch on April 05, 2016:

Since when is the MacKenzie River in northEASTERN Canada? A Hare Indian dog named Nawah is featured prominently in the books, "The Indian Captive", (1860) and "In Tribute to Matthew", (2009), and the movie "Matthew Lost"

stella vadakin from 3460NW 50 St Bell, Fl32619 on December 06, 2015:

Never heard of this dog before, but they sure are interesting. Climb trees? That would of been something to see. Good article.

Don A. Hoglund (author) from Wisconsin Rapids on October 22, 2015:

RJ, I tend to agree.

Reynold Jay from Saginaw, Michigan on October 22, 2015:

Dogs ( and most everything) mutated pretty much according to the needs of humans. Breeds that humans loved survived and the others just disappeared. Our food crops are a result of the same process. I'll plan to drop by and check out your Hubs more often , Don.

Don A. Hoglund (author) from Wisconsin Rapids on June 25, 2015:

Dolores, thank you for reading about the hare Indian dog. It appears tht this dog became obsolete when its usefulness as a hunting dog ended. In some cases dogs have become more of less extinct for one reason or another and a new interest in them led fanciers to recreate the breed for a different purpose, such as small dogs to adapt to apartment liveng. Who knows?

Dolores Monet from East Coast, United States on June 25, 2015:

Interesting hub on the Hare dog. They sound delightful. It makes me wonder how many breeds have disappeared and why. These dogs sound like they'd make great pets.

Don A. Hoglund (author) from Wisconsin Rapids on January 19, 2015:


It is always satisfying to learn something new. Thanks for commenting. I have made the correction you pointed out. thank you.

Susie Lehto from Minnesota on January 18, 2015:

I learned about something new to me today, and for that I am grateful.

Thank you, Don, this is interesting!

Don A. Hoglund (author) from Wisconsin Rapids on November 26, 2014:

Cam, thanks for reading and commenting. It does seem likely that the Vikings would have had dogs.

Don A. Hoglund (author) from Wisconsin Rapids on November 26, 2014:

Hi Audrey. Glad you stopped by to read about the Hare Indian Dog. When I can, I like to find unusual facts about dogs to write about. Thanks for the votes and share.

Chris Mills from Traverse City, MI on November 25, 2014:

Don, this article reminded me of Farley Mowat's book called Westviking. He discussed the viking voyages to Newfoundland. I don't remember dogs being mentioned, but I can't imagine they didn't bring their dogs. Very interesting article. Thanks.

Audrey Hunt from Pahrump NV on November 25, 2014:

The Hare dog is an interesting breed. An excellent hunting dog. I enjoyed learning about this Indian dog. Great hub and thanks. Voted up, useful, awesome, interesting and sharing. Happy Thanksgiving. - Audrey

Don A. Hoglund (author) from Wisconsin Rapids on November 20, 2014:

I'm glad you liked knoing about this Indian dog. Thanks for reading.

Debra Allen from West Virginia on November 20, 2014:

Thank you for spreading that news. I never knew about these. Interesting.

Don A. Hoglund (author) from Wisconsin Rapids on April 19, 2013:


Thanks for reading and commenting. I'm glad you found it worth saving.

daydreamer13 on April 19, 2013:

This is truly interesting. I printed this out to save. Thank you for this.

Don A. Hoglund (author) from Wisconsin Rapids on March 07, 2013:

Pamdora, I think dog breeds usually developed because of some sort of need, such a sled pulling. When the need or use changes interest in the breed is lost unless it is well established. I appreciate your comments.

Pamdora on March 07, 2013:

Wow. I thought I knew dogs, but had not come across one bit of information on the Hare breed until now. It's good to read that they resembled coyotes in build, though. We're very good friends with our local pack.

I do know how fast a line can disappear. For a number of years, I raised and bred a special strain of silver blue Great Danes that were quite remarkable. Then Life intervened, the dogs went to other people. A dozen or so years later, when I returned to Sierra Vista, there were no more silver blues. In fact, there were hardly any more Great Danes. They'd been sloppy-crossbred to this, that, and just about anything.

Voted Up and More.

Don A. Hoglund (author) from Wisconsin Rapids on January 03, 2012:

KDee, thanks for reading and commenting.There are so many breeds that most people have never heard of because they were not introduced as pets.I haven't got the least idea of how to transfer from an ipad. I am rather technologically challenged.

KDee411 from Bay Area, California on January 03, 2012:

Hello Dehoglund, first I want to thank you for following me again.I like my new name better, glad you found me.

Nice Hub, I love learning about different breeds of dogs. I had never heard of the Hare Indian Dog, to bad they are now extinct. They had to be good dogs, most herders are usually not barkers and very obedient. I have a McNab, I hope they don't become extinct.

Dehog, I'm having a hard time entering some hugs, can't get pictures in from my iPad. Hope I get it this week.

Don A. Hoglund (author) from Wisconsin Rapids on July 03, 2011:

Thank you for commenting.I'm glad it was useful to you.

Denise Handlon from Michigan on July 02, 2011:

Very interesting, D. I didn't realize this and really learned a great deal from your hub. Thanks!

Don A. Hoglund (author) from Wisconsin Rapids on March 26, 2011:

I am glad you like the hubs. Thanks fro the visit and comment.

Esther Shamsunder from Bangalore,India on March 26, 2011:

You do love dogs. I do too! Thanks for sharing another great hub.

Don A. Hoglund (author) from Wisconsin Rapids on March 19, 2011:

I think it somewhat depends on if there is anyone who wants to keep a breed going. Thanks for your comment.

Pamela N Red from Oklahoma on March 19, 2011:

Great story. I hadn't heard of this one but know there are quite a few dogs no longer around. The white terrier is now extinct and one of the dogs bred to make the Boston Terrier.

Makes you wonder why some breeds disappear.

Don A. Hoglund (author) from Wisconsin Rapids on March 19, 2011:


I appreciate your comments.

prasetio30 from malang-indonesia on March 19, 2011:

Another useful information from you. Thanks for share with us. Rated up as usual. Take care!


Don A. Hoglund (author) from Wisconsin Rapids on March 18, 2011:

There are so many Indian tribes in the US and Canada. The Hare tribe is one I sort of ran across along with their dogs. Thanks for commenting.

Susan Hazelton from Northern New York on March 18, 2011:

I had never heard of this breed before. What an interesting history the Hare Indian Breed has.

Don A. Hoglund (author) from Wisconsin Rapids on March 18, 2011:

I think the reasons for extinction is that they were no longer needed for the kind of hunting that the Hare Indians originally did. They became obsolete and interbred with other dogs.

Thanks for commenting.

Les Trois Chenes from Videix, Limousin, South West France on March 18, 2011:

I wonder why they went extinct. It would be intresting to know about other breeds of dog that no longer exist. I think there were enormous dogs in Britain, (carriage dogs?) that no longer exist.

Don A. Hoglund (author) from Wisconsin Rapids on March 17, 2011:

Thanks for your comment.Animals often become extict because they are no longer needed. In this case they merged with other breeds.

Mohan Kumar from UK on March 16, 2011:

sad to hear they're gone. There are so many beautiful creatures that we have lost through extinction. It's a shame... great hub dahoglund!

Don A. Hoglund (author) from Wisconsin Rapids on March 16, 2011:

I think it is how evolution works. I think there is an attemp to bring back some breeds as pets. However, even standard breeds tend to change as breeders decide on certain standards. Thanks for commenting.

L.L. Woodard from Oklahoma City on March 16, 2011:

Sadly the breed is no more, but as you've said was likely inter-bred into other types of dogs. So its legacy lives on, although with no fanfare.

Don A. Hoglund (author) from Wisconsin Rapids on March 16, 2011:

Thanks for your comment.I too was a big reader about dogs. I was especially a fan of Albert Payson Terhunne who wrote stories about collies.

Eiddwen from Wales on March 16, 2011:

I must admit that I had never heard of this breed but it was such a great read and also sad .

I from when I was a child have always read all sorts of books about 'man's best friend' and anything article to do with animals/pets. wildlife/nature etc is always a treat. This one was no exception.

I push all the buttons on this one.

Thank you so much for sharing

Take care


Don A. Hoglund (author) from Wisconsin Rapids on March 15, 2011:

Thanks for commenting. The Eskimos at that time at least were more into survival than pets, so they probably didn't make any attempt to preserve the breed. I just wrote another hub on the "Canadian Eskimo Dog" which some folks are trying to preserve.

SandyMcCollum on March 15, 2011:

Wow, I had no idea! They sound like sweet animals that I would have liked to have. I'm very interested in anything about the First Nations, so this is right up my alley.

Don A. Hoglund (author) from Wisconsin Rapids on March 15, 2011:

Thanks for commenting. Most of us haven't heard of the Hare Indians.

Ginn Navarre on March 15, 2011:

Very interesting and I too had never heard of this dog.

Don A. Hoglund (author) from Wisconsin Rapids on March 15, 2011:

Thanks for reading and commenting.

Chip from Cold Mountain on March 15, 2011:

Good read, thanks!

Don A. Hoglund (author) from Wisconsin Rapids on March 15, 2011:

I thought these Indian dogs were interesting and hoped others would share the interest. Thanks for reading it.

Susan Zutautas from Ontario, Canada on March 15, 2011:

Always like to learn more about dogs and have reading your hub. thanks so much!

Don A. Hoglund (author) from Wisconsin Rapids on March 15, 2011:

I think the American Indian Dog retains some of its characteristics--picture above. The Hare Indians were still a subsistence tribe and I would think they probably had no need for a dog that didn't earn its keep, so to speak. Therefore they would not have had any incentive to continue breeding it to type.

rorymullen from Maine on March 15, 2011:

The Indian Hare dog looks like it was a trusting breed. It is a shame that a lot of our animals are going extinct with nothing we can do really but watch it happen. Do you know if there is any closer resemblance to any common dog nowa days.

Don A. Hoglund (author) from Wisconsin Rapids on March 15, 2011:

Thank you for reading it and commenting.I am glad you liked it.

Benny Faye Ashton Douglass from Gold Canyon, Arizona on March 14, 2011:

Thank you dahoglund, for you hub on Indian Hare dog, I enjoyed the information. Thank you for sharing,. Godspeed. creativeone59

Don A. Hoglund (author) from Wisconsin Rapids on March 14, 2011:

Peggy W

I thought they were interesting. I'm not sure but I think they may be ancestors to the Husky which has some of the same qualities such as howling instead of barking, which is what our last dog did. Thanks for commenting.

Don A. Hoglund (author) from Wisconsin Rapids on March 14, 2011:


In a sense it is evolution. When the dogs were no longer needed for the kind of hunting that the Hare tribe did the dogs probably mixed with other dogs around until they all interbred. I would suspect that there have been several such breeds.

Peggy Woods from Houston, Texas on March 14, 2011:

I join the others in saying that I was unaware of this breed of dog. Thanks for the education!

WillStarr from Phoenix, Arizona on March 14, 2011:

I'd never heard of this breed and after reading about their friendly nature, it's sad that they are gone.

Informative hub.

Don A. Hoglund (author) from Wisconsin Rapids on March 14, 2011:

Truthfully I was unaware of the Hare Indian tribe until I started doing some research.Since i was a breedd the Indians used for hunting it may never have been a breed that the American Kennel Club would have cared about.Thanks for commenting.

Leah Lefler from Western New York on March 14, 2011:

Very interesting! I have never heard about the Hare dog - it is too bad the breed is now entirely gone.

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