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

Wednesday, July 18, 2018

More on the Fuegian "dog" (actually a fox)

Following a recent paper that more or less says that American dogs were wiped out when Europeans arrived post-1492 AD, I came across this paper on the Fuegian Dog, which ratifies what I posted (Fuegian Dog: that they were domesticated foxes!)

This paper Molecular identification of a Fuegian dog belonging to the Fagnano Regional Museum ethnographic collection Tierra del Fuego by Romina S.Petrigh, Martín H.Fugassa,, Quaternary International, Volume 317, 13 December 2013, Pages 14-18, tells us the following:

Native-European contact in Tierra del Fuego was a rapid process, for which little ethnographic information has been produced. Although the Fuegian dog seemed to have been important to Selk'nam people's life, the taxonomic status of this extinct animal is still uncertain. The aim of the present work was to determine the zoological identity of a taxidermized canid belonging to a Fagnano Regional Museum collection, Río Grande, Tierra del Fuego. For this purpose, DNA from Fuegian dog and patagonian wild canids (Lycalopex culpaeus, Lycalopex griseus and Lycalopex gymnocercus) hairs was extracted. An mtDNA Region Control fragment was amplified by PCR and sequenced. Sequence alignment was performed among the sequences that were obtained in this research and the Canis lupus familiaris sequence from GenBank. Pairwise analysis showed a higher identity between the Fuegian dog and the culpeo fox (97.57%), with greater divergence with the current domestic dog (88.93%). These results were supported by the molecular phylogenetic analysis, suggesting atypical fox domestication by hunter-gatherers.

Above is the tree from the cited paper

This is another reference on Fuegian dogs (The Natural History of Dogs: Canidae Or Genus Canis of Authors ; Including Also the Genera Hyaena and Proteles, Volume 2) from 1840, by Charles Hamilton Smith.

Patagonian Monsters - Cryptozoology, Myths & legends in Patagonia Copyright 2009-2018 by Austin Whittall © 


  1. Austin, that is fascinating.
    The recent paper has issues.
    Native american dogs are still here,
    they are called chihuahuas and mexican hairless and chinese crested.
    These dogs form a separate clade, and surprisingly another paper shows that some of the terriers are related.
    The bull terriers and a couple others are the product of interbreeding native american dogs with european dogs in the 17th century.
    German posted a paper showing that earliest native american dogs were clustered more closely with american wolves, foxes and coyotes that with
    European wolves.
    Coyotes are the most trainable canids when using visual cues, like pointing to or looking at objects.

  2. Hm, domesticated fox, interesting.
    In North America there is the 'Carolina Dog', whose closest relative is the Dingo. Still there.

  3. Excellent article Austin. I always enjoy your posts.


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