​​​Village Dogs



Village Dogs

The Village Dogs of Banti

Village Dog is a colloquial term for domestic but semi-feral dogs that live in and around human habitations or travel along side nomadic tribes. 

Village Dogs are an admixture of ancient pariah or wild dogs influenced by domestic breeds introduced by humans.  Many bear traits that recall their ancestry tracing to the seafaring terrier breeds carried aboard sailing vessels as ratters.

Village Dogs serve as sentinels and hunting dogs as well as help to keep vermin and refuse under control.  In the traditional Papuan Village of Banti (which is actually a series of villages extending for a short stretch along the river), the dogs run loose to come and go as they please.  Despite this almost feral lifestyle, each dog has a familiar person with whom they affiliate and there is a well understood concept of ownership for each dog. 

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​​​new guinea highland wild dog foundation, inc
Village Dogs Need Study, too!
In addition to locating and studying the HWD, McIntyre also visited the traditional Papuan village of Banti, located  SW of Grasberg Mine.  At this location, Village Dogs were observed, filmed and photographed and DNA samples were obtained from 15 Village Dogs via buccal swabs and hair samples (with root preserved in 70% alcohol).  Village Dogs, sometimes referred to as pariah dogs, primitive or proto dogs, exist in proximity to humans much as they have since before or at the onset of domestication, currently believed to have occurred about 15,000 years ago.  Preceding human agriculture and the foundation stock for many domestic breeds, Village Dogs are free ranging, breeding at will without selective influences from humans, and subsist on scraps or by scavenging, possessing an overall higher tolerance of proximity to humans and human habitations than HWDs or other wild canids.  The study of Village Dogs is an important component in understanding canid origins, evolution, domestication and diversity
McIntyre collecting buccal swabs from Village Dogs assisted by Banti friends.  Despite Village Dogs being free ranging, running at large in the community and surrounding countryside, individual dogs form loose but unique and familiar affiliations with specific human individuals, and distinct “ownership” of Village Dogs is understood and recognized by village residents.

​The terrain and topography near the Village of Banti

Sneaky HWDs?
Some Village Dogs are morphologically similar to HWDs or NGSDs, suggesting ancestral inclusion and/or recent admixture, while others range in size, pelage color and length/texture, reproductive cycles and seasons, degree of neotiny, and other phenotypical traits, but with an overall higher tolerance of proximity to humans and human habitations.  ​​​​

​Some have speculated that the occasional HWD may be sneaking down the mountain late at night for some socializing.  If fact, one of the Village Dogs that bore strong resemblance to HWDs was tested and did in fact have the A29 Haplotype, confirming that some degree of admixture of HWD had been introduced into the Village Dog populations.   

​Note these Village  Dog's morphological similarity to HWDs

Interestingly, no admixture of Village Dog was noted in the HWD populations.  This is likely because Village Dogs remain anchored to the village, staying close to resources such as food, shelter, mates, offspring, etc., which exist in abundance.  They have no reason or motivation to abandon those resources to traverse very difficult terrain only to arrive at an inhospitable environment filled with HWDs that may well be territorial. 

​What then would the HWD's motivation be to make the trip downslope to the village?  Is their social structure such that some members need to disperse to find mates, similar to wolves?  Is the HWD better adapted to make the trip?  Possibly, there's much speculation that HWDs enjoy an adaptation to high altitude.

​These Village Dogs are  morphologcally similar to HWDs

Some NGSD owners report that their animals have a strong sense of familiarity and affinity for other NGSDs, with females in estrus choosing male Singers over other potential mates.  Could wild HWDs possess this same selectiveness, with females refusing to mate with a Village Dog should they encounter one, while female Village Dogs will happily accept a male HWD?  Further study is needed to know anything for sure, but it's most likely that Village Dogs stay close to resources whereas HWDs are more willing to roam and are better adapted to travel in rugged high mountain terrain and altitude. 

​DNA studies are ongoing and a second expedition is planned for 2017.

​Some of these pups resemble HWD puppies

​Village Dog Gallery

​Use arrows to scroll through images or click on gallery to view in expanded mode.

  1. Village Dogs
    Village Dogs
  2. Mac collecting buccal sample
    Mac collecting buccal sample
  3. Mac collects buccal swabs with help of Banti friends
    Mac collects buccal swabs with help of Banti friends
  4. Some pups resemble HWD pups
    Some pups resemble HWD pups
  5. A Banti resident helps with buccal swabs
    A Banti resident helps with buccal swabs
  6. Mac collecting buccal swabs
    Mac collecting buccal swabs
  7. Mac gets help wrangling a pup
    Mac gets help wrangling a pup