Guide to Patagonia's Monsters & Mysterious beings

I have written a book on this intriguing subject which has just been published.
In this blog I will post excerpts and other interesting texts on this fascinating subject.

Austin Whittall

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Chono and their "big woolly dogs"

chono dogs
"Big woolly dogs" and "blond indians". From [1]

Reading, always reading, I found a comment regarding Chono dogs. It was written by a catholic priest, Juan Bautista Ferrufino who visited the area (as a missionary) in 1611 and again in 1613.

He wrote that those who lived on the "Guaiteca Island" knitted coarse clothes from the wool and for this purpose they did not use goats or sheep or llama wool (like the Incas and the Andean cultures did), they used something very unusual; they:

Breed some big woolly dogs, which they shear in time and with that wool they knit their clothing [1]

He added that "they have blond hair", a very strange feature since all American natives have jet black hair. Perhaps it may be due to intermixing with foreign sailors (i.e. English or Dutch). Or could it be due to intercourse with the inhabitants of the mythical City of Caesars?

The fact that their dogs were "big" and "wooly" may indicate some relationship with the Andean wolf or the oop, which according to the natives of Northern Patagonia had a long shaggy coat: "the wool that covers it is like that of a sheep, a span or more in length, very soft and of a bright yellow color".

Now, the neatness of this is upset by another chronicler, Francisco Cortes Ojea, who in 1558 stated that:

they dress in wool of some small woolly dogs they breed [2]

So, big dogs or small dogs?. Maybe both. Did Ferrufino and Ladrillero meet the same natives? A mystery that, alas, will remain unsolved because both Chonos and their dog are extinct.


[1] Martinić Beros, Mateo (2005). De la Trapananda al Áysen: una mirada reflexiva sobre el acontecer de la Región de Aysén desde la prehistoria hasta nuestros días. Pehuén Editores. pp. 38+
[2] Gay, Carlos (1852). Historia física y política de Chile: segun documentos adquiridos en esta republica durante doze años de residencia en ella y publicada bajo los auspicios del Supremo Gobierno, Univ. de Gante. vol.2 pp. 96.

Patagonian Monsters - Cryptozoology, Myths & legends in Patagonia
2010 International Year of Biodiversity Copyright 2009-2010 by Austin Whittall © 

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